Christmas Eve Blackjack
What better way to celebrate Christmas Eve than with a little Blackjack refresher, with loved ones of course.
Want to play a gripping hand of Blackjack? Want to be in control and take your playing power back? Then you need Power Blackjack, the game that gives you the chance to take charge of your own gambling destiny and turn a not-so-great hand into an oh-so-fantastic one! Want to learn how? Then read on and get ready to become master of your own fate!
A look back at Power Blackjack
Even if you’re a self-confessed gambling beginner, you’re sure to have heard of the game of Blackjack – a hugely popular and crowd-pleasing casino favourite. But who or what is Power Blackjack, and how did it come into play?
Simply put, Power Blackjack is a variation of the more traditional form of the game – one that includes two ‘power’ moves that, when used appropriately, could help change the outcome of a hand. Designed by famed casino game innovator, Geoff Hall, Power Blackjack came about as a result of Hall noticing by just how much his hand could be improved if he were able to switch one card for another between two simultaneous hands of Blackjack.
This idea eventually led to the 1990s game Black Blackjack Switch, of which Power Blackjack is another variation. As Hall himself explained in 2013, “Power Blackjack was my second Blackjack variant that I designed. Again I looked at what players either dislike in the current game or would like to do in a new game. The worst two hands in blackjack for a player are 15 and 16, so I thought ‘Why not let the player eliminate these hands by giving them a chance to split them like you would a pair?’ The other option called the ‘Power Double’ allows players to discard the doubling card if they don’t like it and take the next one out of the shoe.”
Once the game was patented in 2012, it made its way to a range of Las Vegas and Washington state casinos, before being developed for online play by Hall, in conjunction with WagerWorks, a software company that eventually became part of International Game Technology (IGT). While you may not find Power Blackjack at many online casinos today, it can still be a hugely entertaining game if and when you happen upon it – so it’s well worth knowing how and when to place your bets and bring out your power moves!
Blackjack and Power Blackjack – what’s the connection?
Before we hit you with just how different Power Blackjack is from regular Blackjack, it might be helpful for you to see just how the two match up when it comes to traditional rules:
Blackjack still pays out 3:2. Get an Ace with any card worth 10, and you’ll be paid out to the tune of 3:2. No surprises here!
Dealer hits on soft 17. If the dealer’s hand has an Ace in it, and totals 17, they have to hit, no questions asked. Some versions of Blackjack might allow the dealer to stand on this type of hand – in Power Blackjack though, they always have to hit.
Double on the split. If you choose to split your hand into two new hands, you can then choose to double down as well, if you’re confident of your chances. Both regular and Power Blackjack will allow you to do this.
No surrender. Many Blackjack variations will allow you to ‘surrender’ your weaker hand when faced with a strong dealer hand – if you do this immediately, you’ll receive half your bet back. In Power Blackjack, this isn’t an option.
Playing the game of Power Blackjack
Now that you know a little more about Power Blackjack, it’s time to dive right in and get to the rules!
When it comes to starting out, you’ll still place your bet in the same way as you normally would, and you’ll receive two cards face up from the dealer. As in regular Blackjack, the dealer will also receive two cards, one up and one down.
After the cards have been dealt, however, you could find the flow of play a little different thanks to two possible power moves:
The Power Split: If you’re holding a hard 15 or 16 (no Aces in your hand) you can choose to split immediately, and separate your single hand into two separate hands. Unlike regular Blackjack, you won’t need two cards of the same value to split (e.g. 8 and 8). If you have a 10 and a 6, you can split just as easily – and hopefully reap just as many rewards too! Remember though that if you choose to split, you’ll need to up your original bet at the same time, as now you’ll be playing two hands instead of one.
The Power Double: Got a hard 9, 10 or 11 as your starting hand? Then you can choose to Power Double – receive an additional card in exchange for an additional bet. Here’s the kicker though – if you don’t like that additional card, you can discard it and choose another additional card, hopefully one that’ll work more to your advantage. What that means is you get not one, but two extra chances to improve your hand. Talk about a power play!
Of course, the house does need to actually make a profit in order to survive, and here’s how they do it with two hugely valuable power moves on the table. If the dealer’s hand goes bust on exactly 22, all non-busted player hands will push, instead of winning outright. It’s known as the Push 22 Rule, and it’s the house’s way of ensuring that some kind of edge is retained over the course of a game.
Other than that, you’ll find all other rules fairly similar to those of classic Blackjack. Standard wins pay out even money, ties are pushed, and pairs can be split and re-split. Just remember to make your power move when the game calls for it, and you could soon turn a so-so hand into a powerful winning one!