21 Duel Blackjack

There are hundreds of blackjack versions in land-based and online casinos and one of the most exciting releases in recent years is Playtech’s 21 Duel Blackjack. This is an RNG game that can be found in a wide range of casinos offering gaming content from Playtech.

This virtual take on the classic blackjack is very entertaining because it is fast-paced and includes certain aspects of Texas Hold’em Poker. However, it is hard to compare this game to any specific type of blackjack or poker as it is quite unique. In Playtech’s 21 Duel Blackjack, players are dealt one card face-up and one card face down. The dealer gets two cards face-down and then, he draws two community cards that are placed face-up in the middle of the table.

As you can see, the game is quite different from standard blackjack – there are no regular Hit and Stand options, no Doubling, Splitting or Surrender. Instead, the gameplay resembles more that of Texas Hold’em poker, although the aim is still the same – to beat the dealer by having cards that are as close to 21 as possible without busting. The game uses six 52-card decks and all cards and hands are scored as in blackjack. However, there are no blackjack hands – an Ace and a 10-value card count as 21. The theoretical RTP of the game is 98.38%.

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Folding and Picking Community Cards

The game starts when the player makes an Ante bet and an optional 2 Up side bet. Once everyone receives their cards, the player has two options:

  • Fold – When the player folds, he loses the Ante bet and the round ends.
  • Pick the left or right community card – The player can select one of the two community cards to combine with his face-up card. With this, the player also Raises, placing a second bet on the community card of his choice and it is equal to the Ante.

Hitting and Standing Decisions

At this point, the player may have 21, which means he wins the round, receiving an even payout on the Ante and the additional bet. If the total of his hand is over 21, he busts and loses but if it is lower, he has the option to Hit or Stand. Standing means the player’s turn is over and the dealer opens up his cards – of course, the player should Stand only if he believes his hand is high enough to beat the dealer.

If it is not particularly high, however, the player Hits, hoping to get 21 or as close to it as possible without going bust. When the player chooses to Hit, his face-down card flips open and is added to his hand. With this, the round ends with three possible outcomes:

  • 21 – If the player’s hand shows 21, then he immediately wins a payout of 1:1.
  • Bust – If the player’s hand is over 21, he busts and loses all bets.
  • Below 21 – If the player’s hand is below 21, the round continues with the dealer’s turn.

Dealer’s Turn

Once the player chooses to Stand, the dealer’s turn commences in a manner that is almost the same to way players are required to play. There are no differences, except for one very specific rule – if the dealer’s hand is less than 13, the dealer does not qualify for the round and player wins the Ante bet (1:1) even if he has a lower hand. The other bet is a push. The dealer is required to Hit on 16 or lower and stand on all 17s. The dealer also follows specific rules when deciding to Hit or Stand and they are based on the hand rankings.

2 Up Bet

This is an optional side bet in Playtech’s 21 Duel Blackjack and it applies for the player’s face-up card and the two community cards. With this side bet, which is placed in the beginning along with the Ante, players bet that the first three cards that are shown on the table will form a poker hand. If there is a Pair in these cards, the 2 Up bet wins and the payout is 3:1. If the cards form a Three of Kind (three cards of the same rank), the payout is 20:1.

While the RTP on the main game is 98.38%, it is significantly lower when the 2 Up Bet is played – only 93.47%.