Reverse of Blackjack Introduced at Vegas’ Golden Nugget

Have you heard of Rupert from ‘Survivor?’ I am sure you have, everyone who watches TV has at least heard of the shaggy, be-tie-dyed-shirted guy. After three spins on ‘Survivor’ Rupert Boneham has found his way to Las Vegas…with a new casino game in hand. The game, which is called Rupert’s Island Draw, is something of a reverse of blackjack.

We are all familiar with the concept of blackjack. The whole point is to beat the dealer without going over a hand total of 21.

Now there is Rupert’s Island Draw. Well, it is at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas for its 45 day to 180 day trial that was approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which Boneham went to in order to present his card game for approval.

It was after the NGCB’s approval that Boneham made a visit to Rich Lemon, the Casino Manager of Table Games at the Golden Nugget. Lemon was quickly impressed and says of the game, “There really is not another game like it on the casino floor. It is totally different.”

Rupert’s Island Draw is played with sixteen decks of cards made up of Aces, 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s. The objective of the game is not to beat the dealer, but to obtain a total less than the dealer’s. There are side bets in Rupert’s Island Draw, so I can classify it as the reverse of a blackjack variation. But beyond the side bets and the objective, there have been no other reports of the rules of Boneham’s card game.

Already the card game is a hit in the Golden Nugget, but that might be a result of Boneham being on hand to kick the game off. Now whether this reverse on blackjack will have staying power or any longevity in a casino and whether to continue to offer the game will be determined at the end of its trial.

Money on Splitting vs. Standing with a Pair of 10s

When being dealt a pair of 10s in blackjack there are really only two options for plays: splitting or standing. You cannot hit, not with a hand total of 20. The rule of thumb with a pair of 10s in a game of blackjack is to stand—no splitting! This is because a pat 20 is a strong hand.

But you will find that some blackjack players would rather split a pair of 10s when faced with a dealer 5 or 6. They are the two cards with the highest probability of ending in a bust for the dealer. The thought process is that if the dealer is more likely to bust with those two up cards, why not split the pair of 10s and try to make the most off of the round.

Odds on winning when splitting a pair of 10s against a 5 or 6 is not too shabby: 63% and 64% respectively. Best case scenario, meaning splitting against a 6, you stand to win $56. And that is $56 total; each hand would have a profit of $28, and together that is $56. All in all, the odds and profit are not too shabby.

But I think you might change your mind when you look at the odds and potential profit for standing on a pair of 10s against a dealer’s 5 or 6.

The odds of winning against a dealer’s 5 or 6 when standing on a pair of 10s is 84% and 85%, respectively of course. Already the money bells in your head should be beginning to go off. Again, looking at the best case scenario of facing a dealer’s 6, 85% is a better odd than 64%. That also means that the potential profit is higher too.

Now I know the money bells are going off.

So if you stand to win 85% of the time by standing on a pair of 10s in blackjack, that means you stand to lose only 15% of the time. Subtract 15 from 85 and you get 70, and $70 is the profit per $100 if you stand on a pair of 10s in blackjack against a dealer’s 6; profit on standing against a dealer’s 5 with a pair of 10s is $68 per $100. Still not bad. And certainly more profitable.

And profit is the point behind strategy in blackjack. Strategy is there to improve your odds at winning in blackjack, and winning means more opportunities to make a profit. Knowing the difference in odds between plays helps. In this case, you know that standing on a pair of 10s against a 5 or 6 will give you around $14 more per $100.