How to Play Match Play 21 Blackjack: Rules, Strategy & Odds
Match Play 21 is not your typical blackjack variant. This game has more in common with Spanish 21 than any other form of blackjack, having very similar rules, payouts and bonuses for achieving specific hands. The most obvious similarity is that all 10’s are removed from the multiple decks. All Face Cards remain, but the 10’s are omitted, ultimately resulting in fewer blackjacks. This is done to offset the bonus payouts, since there is no side bet required to win them.
Variations in the rules of Match Play 21 include the following:
- Match Play 21 uses 6 decks of cards in the shoe. They are not standard 52-card decks, but rather 48-card decks with all 10’s removed. Note that card counting is not an option if you play this game at an online casino, where the shoe is constantly reshuffled with each new hand played.
- A player can double down on any two cards, before or after splitting, but may not double after taking a hit. In order to double down, the player must double their initial wager. They will receive one extra card on the hand and automatically stand on the resulting total.
- Splitting is permitted on any two cards of the same value, regardless of rank. This means that a player can split any two face cards, not just exact pairs. Splitting is allowed up to three times per round for a maximum of four hands. To split a hand, the player must bet an equal amount to the original wager on the newly created hand.
- The dealer will accord to the following rules: The dealer must stand on any total of 16 or below, and stand on a hard total of 17, but will hit a Soft 17 (any hand of 17 with an Ace valued at 11). Match Play 21 is a hole card game, meaning that the dealer will offer optional insurance bets and peek for blackjack if his up-card is a Face Card or Ace.
- If the dealer has blackjack, insurance bets win a payout of 2 to 1; however, all original bets are collected by the casino. If the dealer does not have blackjack, insurance bets are lost and the game continues.
- The player’s blackjack always beats the dealer’s blackjack.
Match Play 21 Standard Pay Table
- Natural Blackjack Pays 3 to 2
- Insurance Pays 2 to 1
- Beating the Dealer Pays 1 to 1
Match Play 21 Bonus Pay Table
Certain hands pay automatic bonuses in Match Play 21. There is no need to place a side bet to win these bonuses. The best possible payout is for achieving a “Match Play 21”?, wherein the player’s hand contains three 7’s of the same suit, and the dealer’s face up card is also a 7 (any suit).
Important: Doubling Down or Splitting at any time in the hand will negate eligibility for a bonus payout.
- Match Play 21 (7-7-7 Same Suit + Dealer’s Up Card 7) Pays 40 to 1
- 7-7-7 Spades Only Pays 3 to 1
- 7-7-7 Same Suit Pays 2 to 1
- 7-7-7 Mixed Suit Pays 3 to 2
- 6-7-8 Spades Only Pays 3 to 1
- 6-7-8 Same Suit Pays 2 to 1
- 6-7-8 Mixed Suit Pays 3 to 2
- 7-Card Charlie (7+ cards totaling 21) Pays 3 to 1
- 6-Card Charlie (6 cards totaling 21) Pays 2 to 1
- 5-Card Charlie (5 cards totaling 21) Pays 3 to 2
Note: The Match Play 21 rules and payouts detailed above are standard, but may vary slightly from one live or online casino to the next.