Australians love blackjack so you’ll find it offered at all land based casinos around the country. Australian casino vendors tend to offer blackjack games with higher house edges which aren’t as friendly to the player, but there are a few venues which offer good value if you know where to look. We take a look at some of the notable blackjack variants offered in real life Australian casinos.
Blackjack Plus at Crown Casino Melbourne & Perth
The Crown Casino’s in Melbourne and Perth set the benchmark for land based casinos in Australia, but the unique 21 variant offered at these casinos, Blackjack Plus, leaves a lot to be desired. This Crown-exclusive game has a reputation amongst seasoned gamblers as the worst game of blackjack in existence, with rules which work so heavily in favour of the house most knowledgeable players choose to avoid it at all costs.
On the surface, Blackjack Plus follows very similar rules to classic blackjack, with plenty of rules which appeal to the player like a blackjack payout of 3 to 2, the dealer must stand on soft 17, all five card hands totalling less than 21 are paid out instantly and doubling down is allowed on hands of two or three cards.
So what’s the problem, you might ask? Well, where things really take a sour turn is the significant addition of the dreadful rule that the dealer does not bust on a hand of 22 (you can pick your jaw up off the floor now). For a game which very existence is based on the fact a hand can never go over a value of 21, this additional rule in Crown’s Blackjack Plus defies the very nature of the game of blackjack.
To the unknowing eye, this might not seem like a big deal, but look at it this way: the original blackjack game offered by the Crown Casino had a theoretical RTP (return to player) of 99.44%. By adding the small allowance that the dealer doesn’t bust on a hand of 22, the RTP drops all the way down to 97.14%, increasing the house-edge from the typical blackjack house edge of 0.50% to a comparatively whopping 2.86%.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, unless you have a bankroll to burn it’s hard to avoid the Blackjack Plus rule when playing at the Crown Melbourne or Crown Perth. If you have a little more to spend you can still find tables offering classic Crown Blackjack, while high rollers can turn to Vegas Blackjack via exclusive entry to the Mahogany Room. Crown Pontoon is also available with minimum betting limits similar to Blackjack Plus.
Blackjack Challenge at The Star Casino & Jupiter’s Casino
The Star Casino in Sydney and Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast offers an easy to learn 21 variant called Blackjack Challenge. The rules don’t vary hugely from the classic game, but Blackjack Challenge is quite popular due to some rules favouring the player.
In a game of Blackjack Challenge, six decks of cards are used, the dealer stands on soft 17 and splitting and doubling down is allowed. The notable rules that favour the player are:
- A hand valued at 21 automatically wins
- A Five Card Trick/Five Card Charlie automatically wins (a hand consisting of five cards that hasn’t gone over 21)
- Option to place an Any Pairs side bet
If you’re looking for an easy to understand game that doesn’t vary far from the original Blackjack Challenge is well worth giving a go next time you’re playing at Sydney or Gold Coast casinos.
Blackjack side bets at Australian casinos
It’s common for Australian land based casinos to offer side bets on some blackjack tables, which are additional bets you can place on the off-chance of certain outcomes unfolding within your hand. If a side bet comes to fruition, it can be particularly lucrative, but with low odds in favour of the player and high house edges, its generally recommended to avoid these bets unless you have money to throw around or are on a particularly lucky streak.
Some of the side bets you can expect to find at brick and mortar casinos around Australia include:
Perfect Pairs – available at Adelaide Casino, Brisbane’s Treasury Casino, Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, the Perfect Pairs side bet allows you to place an additional wager that your first two cards dealt will be made up of a pair of cards with the same rank, with additional payout for a pair of cards with the same rank and the same colour, and the same rank in the same suit.
Any Pairs – this side bet is available in some games at Sydney’s Star Casino and Jupiter’s Casino and is basically the same as the Perfect Pairs bet except wins are paid out on any matching pair dealt within the first two cards.
Blackpot – popular at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, a Blackpot is a side bet on receiving a six and seven, seven and eight, or six and eight within your first two cards, with wins paying 10 to 1. If you hit on a winning Blackpot bet and your next card completes a six, seven, eight combo you’ll win a huge 100 to 1.
Magnificent Sevens – this incredibly lucrative side bet is offered at the Crown Casinos, with huge payouts if your manage to draw three sevens in the same suit.
Super Sevens (or Super Bonus) – this additional blackjack bonus is offered in some games of 21 at a few Aussie casinos including The Star Sydney and The Treasury Brisbane. If the player has three sevens of the same suit and the dealer’s first card is a seven, the players wins an additional lucrative amount while other players at the table win a smaller “envy” bonus. An additional wager is not required to win a Super Sevens bet.
Play online for better variety
If you are from a country where online gambling is legal (Australia unfortunately has banned online blackjack since September 2017) and want to be part of the action and excitement of gambling in a land based casino, there’s no choice but to accept whichever versions of blackjack the casino is offering. International casinos provide great blackjack tables that will suit the needs of most recreational players just looking to have a little fun, but for the serious blackjack players looking for games with the best odds, online is the place to be.
For a wide range of real money blackjack variants with odds that better favour the players, we recommend:
Another benefit of playing online is that these sites offer the option of playing games for free in demo mode, so you can hone in on your blackjack strategy without any risk to your bankroll.