Hold’em Blackjack is a player-to player game which is relatively new to online casinos. When I heard that Andy Goetsch had decided to combine the numerical simplicity of blackjack with the complexity and psychology of poker, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Could these two vastly different games be brought together without losing the charms of both?
Well Hold ’em Blackjack certainly isn’t a novelty and has gone from strength to strength and is now being played in some of the biggest online poker rooms. And they get good traffic for these games. Let’s look at how the game is played.
How to Play Hold ’em Blackjack
The card rankings are the same as regular blackjack. i.e. Numbers have their face value, Pictures are worth 10, and Aces 1 or 11. The best hand is seven cards worth less than 21 (called ‘seven card Charlie’), then the next is 21, then 20 etc. (Hands over 21 are busted.) All 21 point hands have the same value, regardless of what combination of cards they are. The best hand wins the pot and any ties split it.
The betting is similar to Texas Hold ’em. Two players post the small and big blinds with the rest of the players adding the ante to the pot. Then all the players (starting to the left of the dealer) receive one card each face down and the betting action begins starting to the left of the big blind. Betting actions are the same as from Texas Hold ’em (raise, call, fold etc.). IThe first and second rounds of betting are Fixed Limit (equal to the Big Blind in the first round).
Each player receives one card face up, then betting continues (Fixed Limit, equal to twice the Big Blind).
Remaining players complete their hands, Hitting until they think they have made their best possible Blackjack hand. (Cards are dealt face down). Interestingly, players with busted hands must Stand as they are still in the game. A busted hand of 22 beats a busted hand of 23. Then betting commences once again, this time it’s Spread Limit (this means that the amount of a raise needs to be between twice and ten times the amount of the Big Blind).
The players show their hands in the same order as Texas Hold ’em. The player with the best hand gets the pot, but any ties split it. Ties are a lot more common than in Texas Hold ’em, as it is only the total of the hand that counts, not which cards it is made up with.
is Hold ’em Blackjack the next Texas Hold ’em?
In conculsion, Hold ’em Blackjack is a very interesting game and a lot more interesting than I expected. Having only one card showing makes a big difference. Often, I found it preferable to have a weak card there, as it allowed me to take more cards making my hand more difficult to predict. Will it replace Texas Hold ’em? Well, maybe not, but given the upsurge in online gambling with the general public, and its uptake by the major online casinos, Hold ’em Blackjack could well become a close second.