How to Play Double Exposure Blackjack: Rules, Strategy & Odds
Double Exposure Blackjack is like no other blackjack game you will ever play. The rules of this game give the player the one advantage every traditional blackjack player wishes they had ““ the ability to see both of the dealer’s cards! You read that right. The name Double Exposure Blackjack refers to both of the dealer’s cards being exposed. This variation is also known as Face Up 21.
Because the player is given a formerly inconceivable advantage, land-based and online casinos must revert the edge back into their favor. To do so, the standard payouts are altered and there is no such thing as a tie. A natural Blackjack will always beat the dealer’s blackjack, but the payout is only 1 to 1. All tied hands go to the dealer, instead of being a push. Even so, with perfect strategy, the house edge is as low as 0.85%.
Variations in the rules of Double Exposure Blackjack include the following:
- The game is most often played with 8 decks of cards. Counting cards is hard enough with so many in the shoe, but at an online casino it is utterly futile. Online casinos reshuffle the deck with each new hand.
- Doubling down is only allowed on a player’s total of 9, 10 or 11, on two or more cards. Doubling after a split is also permitted. To double down, a player must double their original wager, taking only one more card and standing on the total.
- Splitting is only permitted on two cards of exact rank. Face cards cannot be split unless they are a Pair (i.e. Queen + Queen, not Jack + King). Aces may also be split but may not result in a blackjack; only a standard hand of 21. To split, the player must place an additional wager on the new hand that is equal to the original wager. Splitting is allowed only twice per round for a maximum of three hands.
- At an online casino, because both of the dealer’s cards are exposed, if the dealer’s starting total is Hard 17 or higher, and the player does not have a eligible hand to Split or Double, the hand will automatically take a Hit until such point that it beats the dealer’s total, or busts. This occurs because the player really has no other option.
- A tie is awarded to the dealer on all hands except blackjack. The player always wins with a natural blackjack.
- The dealer will accord to the following rules: The dealer will stand on a hard total of 17, but will hit a Soft 17 (any hand of 17 with an Ace valued at 11). Since both of the dealer’s cards are exposed, there is no use for insurance bets.
- If the dealer has blackjack, all player hands are immediately lost except in cases where the player also has blackjack. When this occurs, the player wins.
Double Exposure Blackjack Pay Table
Natural Blackjack Pays 1 to 1
Beating the Dealer Pays 1 to 1
Note that all Double Exposure Blackjack rules and payouts detailed above are standard at Microgaming online casinos, but may vary slightly at other live or online casinos.