In fairness, we, along with many of our readers, are mostly concerned with the pokies and exactly what’s happening with the latest releases from Aristocrat, Ainsworth and the other major names here in the country. However, the top land based venues such as those operated by Crown are interested not only in the pokies, but also table games and other casino essentials. To be honest, their enthusiasm is infectious and more and more players are taking to the tables for a little lower variance action and now those players don’t need to just settle for the standard game, as Crown is introducing a couple of great new variants to keep players entertained.
Changes to the standard rules of blackjack are often risky for land based establishments and often continue to be the choice of online casinos as opposed to their offline counterparts. The main reason for this is of course that the number of tables in any gaming room is limited, even when your casinos are as large as those belonging to Crown. Online casinos naturally don’t have this kind of limitation and so players that are looking to experiment generally head there.
However, one of the biggest changes in recent times is the introduction of Blackjack Plus, which was originally introduced at the Crown Melbourne three years ago. Now, it has peaked and outnumbers the more traditional form of blackjack by more than two to one in terms of the number of tables on offer at the venue.
Sadly, the game is actually better for the casino than the player, although this certainly explains why they were so keen to break the mould. The main rule change is actually an unusual one, as the dealer can stand on 22, which effectively counts as a draw against any other active hand. So, whether you’ve stood on seventeen or 21, you’ve basically pushed with the house. It’s better than losing by all means, but does increase the house odds by 2.3 percent. It doesn’t sound like much, but gets a lot bigger when you consider that the standard house edge on blackjack at Crown casinos is 0.56 percent.
Of far more interest to players rather than accountants is the introduction of Blackjack Supernova at the same venue. Progressive jackpots on blackjack are no longer solely available online and, through the use of side bets on the first two cards dealt, players can take a shot at three different progressive prizes – the minor, major and mystery jackpots. They certainly make the Blackjack Plus tables more attractive as these are the only tables that accept the side bets and players must place a minimum wager of $15 in order to be able to place the minimum $2.50 side bet. However, with the game adding to the variance, it might not totally appeal to blackjack purists, particularly those that rely on the relatively limited house advantage on standard blackjack.
We mentioned earlier in the feature that playing online has long been the best way to access a twist on standard blackjack and with the increase of the house edge, we’d dare say that this continues to be the case. If you head over to one of our featured Microgaming casinos, such as Royal Vegas, for example, you’ll encounter more versions of blackjack than you could ever imagine and the house edge is at least kept fair at all times.
One example of this is Atlantic City Blackjack, which is exclusive to Microgaming. It uses eight decks rather than the standard six, which does of course initially push the edge in the house’s favour once again. However, the addition of Late Surrender to the rules, whereby players can give up their hand in order to receive half their stake back at any time before the dealer’s cards are turned face up, offers another decision and element to the standard game that can make the difference between a winning and losing session.
For sheer quantity, Microgaming is the undisputed leader when it comes to online blackjack, and even their standard version is pretty solid to play too. That means that casinos like Royal Vegas and All Slots have everything you need in order to experience blackjack with a twist, without succumbing to the whims of a noticeably increased house edge!