21 Burn Blackjack
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21 Burn Blackjack

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There's nothing worse in blackjack than when you get dealt a sexy card as the first half of your pair, such as a ten or an ace, then you get dealt a real turkey for the second, such as a four, five or six. With Betsoft's 21 Burn Blackjack, if you don't like your second card, you can throw it away and get a new one!

This version of blackjack is played with six decks and there are a total of three positions in which you can play, so you can play three hands at once if you want. Once you've placed your chips in the betting areas, you are dealt a blackjack hand as normal (as is the dealer) but then alongside each hand you are dealt a third card, face down.

As you play each hand in turn, you get the chance to 'burn' the second card you were dealt and replace it with the face-down card. Naturally, you cannot do this for nothing - it costs you half of your original stake to do so. This appears in a circle labelled 'Burn Side Bet' but it's not quite a side bet as it does not form part of your original wager. So if you bet a dollar then pay fifty cents to burn, if you win you still only get back two dollars, and not three. The side bet aspect comes in if it turns out that your new card is an ace, which pays 2-1, or the ace of spades, which pays 7-1.

The other rules you need to be aware of are as follows:

  • Dealer hits on soft 17
  • Dealer peeks, and insurance is available and pays 2-1
  • Blackjack pays 1-1
  • You can double down on any total, including after a split
  • You may split pairs, but you cannot re-split
  • There is no surrendering
  • You cannot burn after splitting

All plays in this game are announced by a male voice that speaks very slowly - annoyingly slowly in fact. Thankfully, it can be turned off.

Conclusion

To burn or not to burn, that is the question. In fact there are very few situations in which burning your second card is going to be beneficial. You may get a better hand, but at the cost of half your original bet, which is simply too high a risk. Additionally, blackjack only pays evens. The only hands worth burning are when your first card is worth more then seven, and the total of your hand is between thirteen and seventeen inclusive, depending on whether the dealer's up card is greater than six.

For all other hands, normal 'perfect strategy' should be followed. The house edge in this game is around 0.54%. In 'normal' blackjack with the same rules and six decks the house edge is about the same.

Nothing else particularly stands out about this game, but then there's nothing particularly wrong with it either. If you're in the mood for a bit of blackjack variety, then 21 Burn Blackjack is as good a diversion as any.

Sounds good, let me play!

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