Microgaming blackjack includes a package of several dozen games. Some of the catalogue is repetitive, using the same rules, but with the better graphics and sound quality in the Gold Series package. The default list of games provides all sorts of challenges, along with one of the lowest casino advantages in the casino industry. Since the list of games is extraordinary, let’s start covering all the games you’ll find in the Microgaming library.
The traditional version of the game is offered by Microgaming, which most other games are based on. This game is played with a single deck. No surrender is allowed. Players can split only once and a split after a double is not allowed. The dealer does not peek for a blackjack, so gamblers lose their entire bet (including splits and doubles) when this happen. Players are allowed to draw after splitting aces, though. With these rules, the house edge is a nice 0.13%.
The European version of the game uses two decks. In this version, the dealer stands when they have a soft 17. Once again, a full no-peek and no surrender are enforced, so you’ll lose the fully doubled wager. No splitting is allowed, which also means no doubling after a split occurs. In fact, the only time you can double down is when you have a 9, 10, or 11. Insurance isn’t resolved until the complete end of the hand. When these rules are used, the casino’s advantage sits at 0.39% with optimal play.
Double exposure, sometimes known as face-up 21 or “Dealer Disclosure”, lets the player see both of the dealer’s cards. To offset this advantage, the dealer wins all ties and natural 21’s pay at 1:1. If you tie with a natural, you win a 1:1 payout. Double exposure is played with 8 decks, a double after a split is allowed, and players are allowed up to four hands through splitting. The house edge on the standard version of face-up 21 is 0.69%.
Pontoon is a popular game in the United Kingdom, with certain rules deviations from the classic game which presents major advantages and disadvantages for the gambler. The 5-card hand, called a “pontoon”, pays at 2:1 and is the best hand in the game. At the same time, the dealer has no upcard and wins on all ties. Several software design companies have games by the same name, but their rules different significantly from the Microgaming variant. In the Microgaming version of this game, the dealer stands on a soft 17 and players only receive one card apiece after splitting aces.
As the Aussies reading this might have guessed, pontoon is not the same game Australian pontoon, which is played in Australia and Thailand. For a description of that game, read the next entry on this page: Spanish 21.
This is the same game as Spanish 21, just renamed for Microgaming’s purposes. The Spanish deck is used, meaning the four 10’s are removed from each deck. Usually, there are 6 or 8 multi-decks in the shoe. Players receive a chance at a $1,000 to $5,000 payout, depending on how much they wager ($25 steps up the jackpot). The lack of tens favours the dealer, but the game still has a low house edge.
Super Fun 21
Super fun 21 is found in several Las Vegas casinos and in all Microgaming online casinos. It has a lot of rules which favour the player, along with one or two big rules with favour the house. A natural twenty-one always wins for the player. Also, if these cards are diamonds, you’ll be paid 2:1 instead of 3:2. A player’s hand of 6 or more cards with a 20 or less always win, unless you doubled the bet. A 5-card twenty-one pays at 2:1. The rules for doubling are liberal. The “Double-Down Rescue” lets you surrender half your bet, even after doubling. At the same time, all natural 21’s receive only a 1:1 payout.
Multi-hand 21 typically uses 5 decks and requires the dealer to stand on a soft 17. Gamblers can double down on a 9 through 11 only. No resplitting is allowed. Also, no doubling is allowed after splitting. Betters are allowed to draw to split aces. Once again, the full no-peek rule is in effect, so you get no surrender and lose your full bet. Insurance is not resolved until the end of the hand. The house edge on this game is 0.57%. I should mention that multi-hand gaming exposes you to the house edge multiple times in one click of the “Deal” button. Gamblers should bet accordingly, or else 5-hand multihand blackjack is likely to cause you to lose five times the money per hour.
Triple Sevens Blackjack
The triple-sevens game has the exact same rules at the multi-hand 21 game explained above. One important variation in play must be pointed out. The payout on the 777 hand is contingent on getting sevens in the first three cards. If you want to qualify for the big jackpot, do not split 7’s. If you do, you lose the chance to win the triple-sevens payout.
Vegas Strip Twenty-One
Vegas Strip blackjack is the version used by many casinos on the Strip. The Vegas Strip version is played using four decks. Doubling is allowed on the first two cards, while the double after a split is allowed. Players are allowed to resplit up to three hands. The dealer peeks for blackjack, allowing late surrender. Using these rules, an optimal player should expect a house edge of 0.3606%.
“Vegas Downtown” is a variant played with 2 decks. Double is allowed with any two dealt card and doubling down after a split is allowed. Also, resplitting up to three hands is allowed. The dealer peeks for blackjack, while the dealer hits on a soft 17. Playing under these rules, gamblers should be playing against a house edge of 0.40%.
A variation of Vegas downtown 21 is called “Bonus Blackjack”. In this game, you have a side bet which pays out at 50x the initial wager. Despite this large payout, the house edge on the side bet is a less-than-thrilling 6.46%. Keep that in mind when deciding whether to play this variant.
This is the variation played in Atlantic City. The multi-deck has 8 decks in it. The dealer stands on a soft 17, which is an advantage to you. Players can double on any first two cards in the hand. They also can double after a split, while resplitting up to three hands. The dealer peeks for a natural twenty-one, while late surrender is an option.
Using these rules, you’ll get a house edge of 0.365%. Players can use a Vegas Strip twenty-one basic strategy chart for this game, except they should remember to surrender when holding a 16 against a 9, 10, or an ace. Also, they should surrender when holding a 15 against a 10. Otherwise, the strategy tips are the same for both.