I was playing a form of blackjack that had a bit of a twist to it when
it came to the rules. I don't remember its exact name, but I do remember
that a blackjack in diamonds paid two-to-one. Do you know what version
of blackjack I was playing? I actually won some money. Ed M.
Seeing that you
scored some scratch, Ed, you will most likely appreciate its name, Super
Fun 21. Although the object of the game remains the same -- beat the
dealer's hand by getting as close to 21 as you can without busting --
this mutant of blackjack incorporates a number of liberal rules and
bonuses not found in conventional blackjack.
Here are some of
Super's specifics and rule changes compared against those of commonplace
The game is usually
played with one deck, but sometimes two.
The dealer usually hits a soft 17.
Players may double down on any number of cards, even after splitting
Players may re-split up to four hands, including aces
Players may take late surrender on any number of cards, even after hitting,
splitting or doubling down.
A player hand totaling 20 or less, consisting of six cards or more,
except after doubling, automatically wins.
A player hand of 21 points, consisting of 5 cards or more, except after
doubling, pays 2 to 1 instantly.
A player blackjack always wins, even if the dealer has one.
And finally, that
one rule that popped up in your question letting me know exactly what
version of blackjack you were referencing: a blackjack in diamonds pays
2-to-1 compared to all other blackjacks that only pay even money --
that rule can make for some fun. But Super Fun, Ed? Hmmm.
Being that the casino
isn't in the business of giving Ed free money, the kicker(s) are that
all non-diamonds blackjacks pay only even money, and the dealer usually
hits a soft 17.
For those of you
accustomed to a 3-2 payoff for your snappers, expect even-money payoffs
on 15 of every 16 blackjacks, as only 1 of those 16 happy blackjacks,
on average, will be in diamonds.
As to the dealer
hitting a soft 17, this gives the house an edge of 0.94% compared to
0.75% if the dealer were to stand. When two decks are used, and the
dealer hits a soft 17, the house edge is 1.16%.
These two house
rules give the casino an advantage higher than in most everyday multi-deck
blackjack games, even when incorporating perfect basic strategy. Nevertheless,
if you get a hoot and a holler out of playing Super Fun 21, and are
willing to give up an extra few tenths of the house edge in exchange
for finally getting paid for a Five-Card Charlie, go have some fun,
This may come as a surprise to your readers, you not living in Las Vegas,
but there are more Catholic churches there than there are casinos. Not
surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips
rather than cash when the basket is passed. Since they get chips from
so many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect
the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby
Franciscan Monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the
casinos of origin and cashed in. I thought your readers might want to
know this interesting tidbit. Donald K.
Donald, and my readers thank you. Actually, things have evolved. There
are 39 Catholic churches in the greater Las Vegas area now compared
to over 80 casinos. But, that still doesn't change the fact that "Chip
Monks" do the collection sorting.
of the Week: "Why is it that the people who come down hardest
on luck are usually the ones who've already gotten theirs?" --
The Good Luck Book