Triple 7 ranks among the most popular blackjack variations out there because it combines the rules of the traditional casino-banked card game with a progressive side bet that can reward players with a massive jackpot.
Creating this blackjack variation was a smart move on behalf of software providers. Gambling operators are well familiar with the fact the vast majority of blackjack players are not concerned with advanced techniques like card counting, neither do they incorporate optimal strategy while at the tables.
In a way, the introduction of variations like Triple 7 allows casinos to increase their take from the blackjack tables they operate. This variant of the game is mostly available at online casinos although a number of landbased establishments have also made it available to their customers. Online you can typically find it at websites that use the Microgaming software.
Basic Rules and Payouts in Triple 7 Blackjack
Triple 7 Blackjack is a shoe game that normally uses five full decks of cards. When you play it online, the decks are reshuffled automatically by the software at the end of each round. The objective is again to beat the dealer with a stronger hand total without going over 21.
Once the cards have been dealt at the start of a round, the players act on their hands and can make the standard decisions in blackjack, i.e. hitting, standing, doubling, or splitting pairs. When the dealer’s exposed card is an Ace, players are offered to buy insurance by making another bet that amounts to half their initial stake. If the dealer indeed has a natural, the insurance bet pays at a ratio of 2 to 1. If not, the player automatically loses their insurance.
Dealers of Triple 7 Blackjack must stand on all totals of 17, both soft and hard. A player blackjack offers the standard payout of 3 to 2. The other winning hands pay out even money unless you hit one of the combinations of 7s listed below, in which case you earn a higher payout.
Additional Payouts in Triple 7
In order to qualify for the additional payouts awarded on hands that contain one or more 7s, the player is expected to contribute an extra side bet, typically to the amount of $1. In Microgaming’s online version of this game, these side bets are automatically subtracted from your balance each time you play a hand. This makes the game very expensive to play even with a sufficiently high bankroll.
On the positive side of things, the side bet can earn you a tasty payout. How much you get depends on the number of 7s you have in your hand. Side bets pay as follows:
- 5 to 1 for one 7 regardless of its suit
- 25 to 1 for two 7s of any suit
- 50 to 1 for two suited 7s of spades, clubs, or hearts
- 250 to 1 for three 7s of any suit
- 1,000 to 1 for three suited 7s of spaces, clubs, or hearts
- The entire progressive jackpot for three 7s of diamonds
Note that these are the payouts in Microgaming’s online variation of the game. The ratios may differ at landbased tables where players usually get 2,000 to 1 or even 5,000 to 1 for three suited 7s. Other than that, you get the extra payouts for qualifying hands even if they result in the loss of your main bet.
Splitting Pairs in Triple 7 Blackjack
The splitting rules in Triple 7 are less favorable than those in standard variations of blackjack. Players can split a single time only to a maximum of two hands as resplitting is not an option here.
Also, you can split ten-value cards but only if they are identical like J-J, K-K, Q-Q, or 10-10. Aces can also be split but if you happen to catch a ten-value card, the hand is not considered a blackjack. Instead, it is treated as a regular 21 and returns even money. Drawing to split Aces is not an option, either.
Doubling Down Rules in Triple 7 Blackjack
The rigidity of the rules also affects the doubling down decisions players can make in Triple 7. You are allowed to double down but only on starting hands that consist of two cards for a total of 9, 10, and 11. Players are dealt only one extra card following a double down. Doubling after a split is not permitted here, which increases the house edge of the game even further.
House Edge and RTP
The unfavorable rules of Triple 7 Blackjack yield a higher house edge for your main bets but this gets even higher on the side bets that qualify you for winning the progressive pot.
Each side bet contributes to the progressive pools. Once a player wins the jackpot, the pools are reset and the pot starts accumulating all over again. In the Microgaming version, the pot starts seeding at the amount of $10,000. It pays around $74,000 on average and hits roughly once per year.
We only mention these figures because most players mistakenly assume making the side bet every time is worth it because it can eventually earn them the progressive payout. Unfortunately, the odds of winning the jackpot are minuscule. What adds insult to injury is the fact the pools are reset to the above-specified minimum each time somebody does win, which gives the house a huge edge of around 38%.
The edge is reduced by 3.5% for each increment of $10,000 that is pooled. Respectively, the side bets start yielding a positive expectation once the pools reach $109,000, which rarely happens since the pot drops at $74,000 on average.
Triple 7 Strategy and Tips
The basic strategy moves for this variation are almost the same as those for traditional blackjack games but there are several exceptions. These concern primarily one’s splitting decisions for pairs of 7s.
The basic strategy normally recommends players to split paired 7s against dealer upcards deuce through 7. However, this move is no longer optimal here. You should always keep your 7s together because drawing a third 7 can earn you an extra payout of 250x your side bet if unsuited or 1,000x your side bet when suited.
Last but not least, playing the side bet becomes a smart move only once the jackpot has reached $109,000 in Microgaming’s version of the game. We suggest you wait until this happens before you take a shot at winning a massive payout.