Super Fun 21 Isn’t That Fun for Blackjack Players

Attention blackjack players: avoid Super Fun 21, also known as just Super21.

There, now that my warning is out there, I’ll share with you why it’s in your best interest—and your bankroll’s interest—to stay away from this game. And this applies to all blackjack players, online and regular casino players.

Let’s take a look at what they’re offering.

Casinos will try to lure you in to play this blackjack variation by telling you it’s a single deck game. That should have great odds. But, wait it gets better.

Super 21 rules allow you to double down on any number of cards. Great, blackjack player odds just got better. I know you just can’t believe that. But, wait, there’s more.

Yes, more. You can surrender after doubling down if you like. I know, the odds just keep getting better and better.

Have you ever heard that phrase, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is?’

Guess what? That applies to Super Fun 21, or Super 21 if you’d rather call it that.

Traditional blackjack, online or not, pays out 3-2 for a natural blackjack. In Super Fun 21, the payout for a natural blackjack is even money. Yes, even money. There is one natural blackjack that pays more but it must be made up of diamonds. All other natural blackjacks receive even money.

This even money payout not only wipes out the advantages from this variation’s player-favorable rules, it actually increases the house edge…an 85% increase actually. That translates in a raise of 0.95% on top of their 2% to 5%.

Does sound like much fun anymore does it, blackjack players?

No, I didn’t think so. Super Fun 21, masquerading as Super 21 at times, should be avoided by all blackjack players, online and in casinos, for its even money payouts and increased house edge.

How to Play with Soft Hands–Soft 18

Similar to soft 17, soft 18 is another hand that blackjack players tend to play timidly.

It always boils down to that feeling of relief: “I have 18. I’m good. I have a shot at winning. And I don’t have to worry about busting.”

If you’re choosing to stand on soft 18, you might as well have been dealt a hard 18 if you’re going to ignore the opportunity offered to you by having been dealt that Ace.

So if that’s the way you want to play then let’s take a moment to look at hard 18. Basic strategy says to stand on hard 18. And it’s obvious logic that you do since hitting will most likely bust you.

But soft 18 is not hard 18, ergo the difference in names and ergo the need to treat them differently.

Your best chance of winning happens when the dealer’s upcard is a 2 through an 8, so it’s good strategy to stand on a soft 18 when faced with those dealer up cards. Here’s why.

Always figuring that his hole card is a 10, that would mean he would have a 12 through 18. He would have to hit on his 12 through 16 and stands a pretty decent chance of busting. And he would stand on his 17 or 18; the 17 you would beat and the 18 you would push, so at least you wouldn’t lose money there. So stand on a soft 18 against a 2 through 8—same as you would if you had a hard hand.

Here’s where your blackjack strategy is different from how you would play a hard 18.

You need to hit if you are facing a dealer 9, 10 or Ace. Factoring that assumed 10 hole card, he has 19, 20 or blackjack. And you can’t beat that if you stand on a soft 18. This is knowing your opponent and trying to find the most advantageous play.

Hitting here reduces your soft 18 to a hard 8. You can hit for a combination of low cards that can add up to at least 19, if not 20 or 21.

If it is allowed and you are a card counter and the deck is rich in high cards, you should double down if facing a dealer’s 3 through 6. That would reduce your soft 18 to a hard 8, which you can hit and still have a shot at coming in close to 21 and stay under as long as the deck is rich in high cards. Yes, it’s a gamble, but this is blackjack, not Monopoly.

Always think of what that hole card is, imagine it as a 10. Your blackjack strategy for soft hands should reflect that flexibility of the Ace you’re holding. Remember that some hands will be played the same as a hard hand and others won’t. The best fall-back is to play according to basic strategy—that chart will give you the best plays for soft hands if you can’t remember.

How to Play with Soft Hands–Soft 17

Soft hands can be tricky to play with real success. It’s all because of that Ace. Some players will look for the easy way out when they have been dealt a soft hand.

Take, for example, being dealt a 6 and an Ace. Soft 17.

Many players will play this hand as they would a hard 17. That’s because they are so focused on that 17. And in some cases that’s an acceptable thing to do. But in many cases it isn’t the most advantageous play to make. ‘Isn’t the most advantageous’ as in you are going to lose more money in the long run if you always stand on soft 17.

Let’s go back to the basic principle of blackjack strategy, and that is assuming that the dealer’s hole card is worth ten. Once you assume that you can assume what the dealer’s total is versus what your total is.

Pretend that you have been dealt a soft 17 and the dealer has an upcard of either an 8, 9, 10 or Ace. If the dealer has any one of those for an upcard, and you assume that his hole card is a ten, then you need to play a defensive strategy.

And having a soft 17 gives you the ability to play defensively. You can turn that soft 17 into a hard seven and hit, which is what basic strategy tells you to do with a hard 7. This is giving your hand another chance at winning.

You can take even more advantage of a soft 17 by doubling down. It’s best to double down when the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5 or 6. This is because the dealer has the best chances of busting against a soft 17, making you the winner.

You can use this blackjack strategy for a soft 17 both in casinos and online casinos.

Blackjack Strategy–Splitting Aces

As any good player with a good blackjack strategy knows, you always split Aces.

And you resplit too.

Every time that you split and resplit Aces you are increasing your odds by about 0.06%. Yes, I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but take what you can get. Every little bit helps right? Yes, it does. It’s these little tricks that increase your odds that you have a blackjack strategy.

Let’s say that you are dealt a pair of Aces. Don’t be hesitant to split them.

It used to be another blackjack house rule that you could only receive only one more draw card—similar to when you double down: you increase your bet, and receive only one more card. In most cases that has changed so that you can play out a split Ace as you would any other hand.

But what if you draw another Ace? Good blackjack strategy says to resplit.

Yes, you are making a third wager, but that is another hand that you have the possibility of winning. Don’t look at plays like double downs and splitting as instant losses. Look at them as a possibility.

If you are a card counter and the deck is counting positive, it is defiantly in your best interest to split and resplit—there are nines, tens and face cards in what remains of the deck. This makes your chance of making a hand total of 21 even better.

Imagine that you have a pair of Aces and you split. You are then dealt another Ace and resplit. That’s three hands that will be receiving cards from a deck that is rich in high cards. So make the extra bet and go with it.

Even if you aren’t a card counter, that 0.06% increase each time is worth the extra bet. So make sure that splitting Aces is a part of your blackjack strategy. It’s one more opportunity for you.

Misplayed Blackjack Hands—Part III

Last round of misplayed blackjack hands…for now. Who knows, I may discover some more that need light dumped on them.

You’ve heard me say this before, and here it is—basic strategy is the best thing you can do for yourself. So stick with it. You want the best odds, yes? Yes. And they don’t get much better than 0.5%. But that’ll only happen if you stick with The Chart. So do it.

11 vs. a dealer’s 10

As any good blackjack player knows it’s a pretty good idea to double down on an 11. And most of the time it’s easy to do—“Excuse me, sir, doubling down here, thank you.”

But for some reason there are more nerves involved with doubling down against a dealer’s 10. This is like standing on a stiff hand. It doesn’t feel good and your brain is trying to say that doubling down just isn’t the smart thing to do. You usually figure that the dealer’s hole card is a 10, so that would give him a pat 20.

But check this out: the dealer actually has less of a chance of making 20 than you do of making 20 or 21.

And to top this off look at it this way: if you hit you’ll win 56% of the time on one bet. But when you double you have two betting units out there, and you’ll win 54% of the time. So when your brain starts sowing seeds of doubt ask yourself which you’d rather have: win $5 56% of the time or $10 54% of the time.

The bottom line is that The Chart offers you the best chances of winning, and that’s not something to turn your nose up at. I know that it can be hard to go against what your brain is telling you. So perhaps the thing to do is work your brain around to understanding that basic strategy is your best chance at winning in the long run.

Respect to the Dealer’s 7 Up Card

The dealer’s 7 up card isn’t given its due. Often underestimated, this card should be treated with more respect than most players give it. It’s just a card, right? No. So many times have I seen a player play their hand out the wrong way when facing down a dealer’s 7. When faced with a dealer’s 7, here’s some things to keep in mind and work into your blackjack strategy.

Doubling Down with a 9: Okay, this one might qualify as a smart play. But there is a smarter move that can be made. Don’t double down when you have a 9. Yes, I said don’t double down. Double down only gives you a 53% chance of winning that hand. What if I told you there was a better play to make with better odds of winning? Just hit it. Forget doubling down this time. Hitting with a 9 when faced with a 7 actually gives you a 59% chance of winning. Go with the 59% and hit your hand.

Splitting two 6s: While we all play to win, how you play this hand should be factored into the part of your blackjack strategy of “What’s the best and cheapest way to lose.” This is pair is best left together. You have a greater chance of losing two hands built of those 6s than you do if you just hit. If you split and lose both hands, you’ve just lost twice the money you would have lost if you had only just hit your 12. Just accept that the chances aren’t that great with this hand, hit it, play it out and hope for better cards in the next round.

Standing with an Ace/6: Statistically your soft 17 is going to lose more than it will win. Don’t play for a push, be aggressive with this hand, be fearless. Hit it. Yes, the chances of a hit turning your soft 17 into a stiff hand is pretty good, but you know what? Hit that too. This goes back to being fearless and remembering that you aren’t going to win every hand. Standing with a soft seventeen already has a greater chance at losing than winning, so why not try to improve your hand by hitting. You never know, you just might. Yes, you might lose if you hit, but the chances weren’t stacked for you to win with a soft 17 anyway. So go ahead and hit.

Doubling Down with an Ace/6: Okay, I know I said play aggressive, to be fearless, but there are limits to that. Be smart. While I would hit on this hand, I wouldn’t double down on it either. That I would say is too fearless. There’s a difference between being fearless and stupid. You know that if you double down you’ll only receive one more card. Chances are when–not if—you hit, your first two cards will turn from a soft 17 to a 7, in which case you’ve 14 more points to play with. That means you’ll probably have to hit a second time, which is impossible when doubling down. The smartest thing to do with an Ace/6 when faced with a dealer’s 7 is to hit as much as basic strategy keeps telling you to, but do not double down.

Now that you can see how a dealer’s 7 is a bit trickier to navigate than you might have originally thought. Take those tips and work them into your blackjack strategy—you could think of it as your strategy for how to cope with a 7 up card.

House Rules to Look Out for Part II: Restrictions on Doubling Down

We all know to keep an eye out for blackjack games that allow us to double down on any pair. This is a player friendly rule, allowing you to double your bet when it looks like you just might beat the dealer. So why would you avoid a table that still allows you to double down even if you can’t double down on any two cards?

The answer comes down to the math on the odds. In a typical blackjack game, the house odds are around .5%. You might think that even being allowed to double down only on cards totaling 10 or 11 is still a pretty good deal. But really it’s not. In the blackjack games that only allow you to double on 10 and 11 totals is a game that is increasing the house edge. The edge will jump from around .5 to around .75. Defiantly not in your favor.

The reason this favors the house more is because you have more of a chance of busting on those hands. Imagine doubling on a total of 11. There are only twenty four cards out of fifty two that won’t bust you—and all twenty four cards may not be available for play either having already been played or are in other players hands. So you double down on your total of 11 and are dealt an 8. You just gave the dealer, ergo the casino, more money than is necessary!

If the point of blackjack is for you to make money, don’t give it away by playing games in which you can not double down on any two cards. You do not want to give the house an even bigger edge, and increase your chances of losing money. Follow basic strategy when playing blackjack including its rules for doubling down. Avoid blackjack games that restrict your doubling down despite the illusion they are doing you a favor by allowing you to still double on totals of 10 or 11.

Keep an Eye Out for: House Rules to Look Out for Part III: Restrictions on Splitting