Blackjack can be played using between 1 deck and 8 decks of 52 cards and in the game of Big Five Blackjack the house uses 5 decks of cards. The game is played following the standard Blackjack rules with some exceptions.
Players can opt for late surrender in this game variant only if the dealer is not showing an Ace which means that the player forfeits half of his bet and is removed from that hand.
The hand begins
The hand begins with the player being dealt 2 cards and he can decide to split his hand if the cards are a pair of the same value and he must then place an additional bet on the second hand.
When a player splits a pair of Aces he can only get one more card dealt to each hand and if the hand shows a value of 21 after a split it will not be treated as a Blackjack for betting purposes but simply as a 21 which is paid out at lower odds.
Players can split hands up to the point that they have 4 hands and it is permitted to double down only once per hand after receiving the first two cards only and NOT on a Blackjack hand.
Doubling down is the term used for doubling the original bet made and immediately being dealt an additional card so in effect the player is paying to be shown the next card. Doubling down should be done when the player feels in a strong position and not just for the sake of it.
It is also important to note that Big Five Blackjack is not a peek game where the dealer can check to see if his hole card would create a Blackjack hand if he is showing an Ace or a 10.
When the dealer has a ‘soft 17 hand’ meaning that he has an Ace card that is being counted as having a value of 11, he will always ‘hit’ in Big Five Blackjack which means he will ask for an additional card.
You should take into account the dealers cards when deciding to take the option of late surrender. When the dealer is showing a 9 or 10 and you have a total of 16 then you should surrender and similarly when the dealer shows a 10 and you have just 14 or 15 then it is time to surrender.
When the dealer has a 10 and you have a pair of 8s or 9s then it is also time to surrender forfeiting half of your bet and waiting to go on with play in the next hand. It is important to learn these strategic rules in order to ensure that the house does not increase its edge and reduce your chance of winning the hand.