The blackjack family of casino games is quite diverse, with dozens of interesting variations available to gamblers. There are titles that slightly alter the blackjack experience, while others turn it on its head. Regardless of the actual changes to the game, playing a new variation of blackjack is always fun and exciting. For this reason, we would like to bring to your attention a specific variation that is not often talked about – Pitch Blackjack. Unique features and favorable rules are present in this game and below, we will take a look at what makes it so great.
How to Play Pitch Blackjack
Playing Pitch Blackjack is not all too different than a more traditional variation of the game. You can still perform all of the same actions, namely, hitting, standing, doubling, splitting, etc. The game still requires you to form a better hand than the dealer without going over 21 so if you have ever played blackjack before, you should be already familiar with the ins and outs of Pitch Blackjack, as well.
Basic Rules and Payouts
As with any blackjack game, the goal of the game is to beat the dealer without going over 21. The concept is simple and easy to understand, which makes the whole blackjack genre so appealing. However, in typical blackjack titles, the cards are dealt face up so that all players can see them. In Pitch Blackjack, on the other hand, they are dealt face down to you so that you and only you can know what they are. This iconic feature is where the name of the variation comes from.
Other important rules to Pitch Blackjack include the number of decks and the table limits. It is set in stone that Pitch Blackjack is played with one or two decks, at most. The specific number of decks is decided by the establishment, but it never exceeds two. Additionally, this also allows the dealer to handle the cards by hand, rather than use a shoe. As for the table limits, Pitch Blackjack usually comes with higher minimums than the average blackjack game. This is due to the possibility for card counting and the reduction of the house edge on account of the low number of decks.
When it comes to payouts, you will find that the game is unchanged in this respect. A normal blackjack win will net you even money, whereas a blackjack will pay the usual 3:2. Insurance, if you choose to take it, will offer you a 2:1 payout. More on that later. The dealer will draw to 16 and stand on soft 17s, though in rare circumstance they might hit.
Insurance is usually available in Pitch Blackjack. For those not in the know, Insurance is a side bet offered to you when the dealer draws an Ace and it amounts to half of your initial bet. In the event, that the dealer scores a blackjack, the Insurance bet will pay 2:1 thus giving you back your initial stake. It is a means of protecting yourself against an unwinnable situation.
Though it sounds fine and well in theory, in practice, Insurance does not help you that much. For one, the odds of the dealer hitting a blackjack are significantly lower than them not doing it. Moreover, you do not make a profit off of this bet, so when you do the math, it is more advantageous for you to eat the cost of losing to the dealer’s blackjack than to continuously put down Insurance bets.
Doubling down is an action the player takes to increase their initial bet twofold. This has a great impact on the result of the hand and on your bankroll. If you wish to make a good profit in any blackjack variation, it is essential to learn when to Double down and when to simply hit or stand. In the case of Pitch Blackjack, there are certain situations where you are allowed to Double down and where you are not.
Generally, you can Double down on any starting hand but as soon as you take any action, the option disappears. If you split an identical pair, you will not be allowed to Double down on the resulting hands. Moreover, once you Double down you will be required to reveal your hand, a final card will be added to it and that will be the final hand.
Splitting is another interesting feature of blackjack that you should use to its full potential. When you are dealt a hand of cards with identical value, you get to separate them into two different hands. You reveal your cards, add a bet equal to your original and are dealt one more card to each hand. From then on, the two hands will be completely separate from each other. You resplit hands up to 3 times for a maximum of four hands at once. When you split a pair of Aces, each hand will receive only one card and you will stand.
Surrender is often available if you wish to make the best from a bad hand. Basically, you can forfeit your hand and half of the original bet to maintain your bankroll. This feature protects you from losing too much but using it requires some good game sense and skill. Learning when to use Surrender is crucial to maximizing your win potential.
Pitch Blackjack House Edge and RTP Values
When it comes to the house edge and RTP values of Pitch Blackjack, we have to account for the differences between the common sets of rules. The most often changed rule is the number of decks involved so we will work with that as the defining factor. Single-deck Pitch Blackjack comes with a house edge of 0.19% and 99.81% RTP, which is good by both general casino and blackjack standards. The two-deck variation does not stray too far, with a house edge of 0.45% and RTP of 99.55%.