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Bodog's Super 21 forces players to rethink basic strategy

27 March 2008

With the movie 21 coming out this weekend in the U.S., we thought we'd take look at fun blackjack variation on Bodog – Super 21.

The basic concept of the game is the same. But there are some differences in the rules that change the nuances of the game. Among the key differences are:

  • Players can double down once at anytime in a hand
  • Players can surrender at anytime in a hand
  • Five-card 21 pays 2:1
  • Six-card 21 pays 2:1
  • Six cards is an instant win
  • Blackjack pays even money

The biggest rule change on this list is the ability to surrender at any point in the hand. Let's say that a player is dealt a 10 for a starting hand and the dealer has an ace showing. The player then draws a five for a total of 15. Now it's decision time. Does the player hit? Does the player stand and hope for the best? Or does the player surrender and keep half the original bet?

This is the sort of decision making that isn't present in standard blackjack. In that game, the correct play would be to hit and hope for the best. In Super 21, the correct play is to surrender, and hold on to half of your bet.

Another "new" decision that needs to be made in this game is when to double down. Let's say the player is dealt a five for a starting hand the dealer has a six showing. The player then draws a four. At this point, the player has the option of doubling down or playing for the multi-card winner. The correct play in this instance is just a hit. But if the total of nine had shown up in just two cards, then the correct play would have been to double down.

The one downside to the liberal rules in Super 21 is the payout for blackjack. In standard blackjack, the traditional payout for blackjack is 3:2. In Super 21, the payout is even money.

So go ahead, give Super 21 on Bodog a whir. The dealer won't yell "winner, winner, chicken dinner" when you win. But you will learn to think about blackjack differently.

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