Which is why it’s only fair that we take a closer look at this game. After playing it for a while, we think we have a good strategy ready to go. This won’t be at the same level of detail as our standard blackjack strategy guide. That said, it does serve as a general rule of thumb you can refer to while playing.
The Basics of Free Bet Blackjack
Before we can run, we
need to walk. If you’ve played blackjack before, you’re already well on your
way to master free bet blackjack. It plays very similarly to a standard table,
with a few key differences. The game is played with six card decks, with normal
English decks. Blackjack pays 3-2; everything is as usual so far.
The differences are as
follows: first, you get a free double down on every hard nine, ten or eleven. Emphasis
on the hard hand – if you have an
ace, you won’t be able to double down for free.
Players can also split
on all pairs except two. A pair of tens cannot be split, as it would make it
all too easy to possibly score blackjack. You also cannot split a pair of
fours. In total, punters can re-split four times, and this includes aces!
Did we mention you can double down after a free split? In addition, you can do it without any extra cost! All of these things come together to form a strong advantage to the player. So how do the operators keep their edge?
The answer is simple;
the dealer can no longer bust by going over 21. What was once a sure-fire win
for punters is now just a push. You get your money back, but you not a win. The
RTP for Free Bet Blackjack is similar to standard blackjack, so there’s no
reason to get scared by this new rule. It all balances out in the end.
The Free Bet Strategy
As we already
mentioned, we get plenty of free double downs, splits and re-splits. Every time
you have a hard nine, ten or eleven, you can double down on the casino’s dime.
You only risk your own initial bet! The same is true for the first split, which
can be done with any pair except for tens and fours. Re-splits don’t appear to
be limited by the same restriction, though we wouldn’t push it too far.
Since our advantage
comes from using these new possibilities, we want to maximize their use. That
said, we don’t want to take bad splits if we don’t need to. Doubling down on
nines, tens and elevens regardless of dealer card is safe. However, splitting
requires a bit more strategy.
You want to split any pair if the dealer’s face-up card is a five or a six. Any higher, and you’ll want to hold off. This is it as far as hard hands go. For soft hands, you want to pay particular attention, as they have better winning potential.
If you have a soft
sixteen, seventeen or eighteen, you’ll want to double down against the dealer,
if he has a six or less as his up card. You can also double down from a soft
sixteen up to a soft twenty if you received a free split; though note this
double down won’t be free. Soft seventeen, eighteen and nineteen are also safe
to double down after a free split if the dealer’s face-up card is a five. Don’t
double any other soft hands.
We enjoyed the time we
spent playing Free Bet Blackjack. In fact, figuring out when you want to double
down or split was half of the fun! Stick to our strategy, and you’ll be right
as rain. It’s a fantastic variant, and one we look forward to playing
long-term! You can also try Quantum
Blackjack, and see if lady luck blesses you with a multiplier or