There are now dozens of 21 game variants now available online; this review takes a look at Blackjack Players’ Choice by 1×2 Gaming. It is most certainly one of the more intriguing blackjack games because you get to choose both your hand and the dealer’s hand. However, there are a number of tweaks to the more ‘traditional’ blackjack rule book – most of which favour the house – to offset this privilege.
Continue reading to find out how to play Blackjack Players’ Choice. Plus, you’ll learn about its return to player percentage (RTP), and we’ll share some tips from our experience playing this game.
How to Play Blackjack Players’ Choice?
Although Blackjack Players’ Choice follows the basic concept of standard blackjack once you’ve chosen the hands, the beginning is somewhat different. As the saying goes, ‘a picture says a thousand words’, so the simplest method of explaining how to play Blackjack Players’ Choice is by showing you the playing table, and explaining the separate elements.
- A game begins with the player placing a bet. The table limit is 0.10 minimum – 200.00 maximum.
- With the stake on the table, click ‘Deal’.
- Five separate two-card hands are dealt – all face down. You can ignore the grey arrow above the third hand. This is just to prompt you to select a hand.
- What is important are the card values at the top of the screen. In this example, you can see: 11 – 15 – 21* – 17 – 14*. The * denotes a soft hand.
- These hand values relate to the five blackjack hands on the table. However, they are in a random order, so the 11 could be any of the hands – it is not necessarily the leftmost one.
- Now, the player must select one hand by clicking on it.
- As an example, we chose the middle hand, and a nine is flipped over.
- With the knowledge that this hand contains a nine, now refer to the hand values to deduce what it could be.
- 11 – Yes (9+2)
- 15 – Yes (9+6)
- 21* – No, it couldn’t be this hand because it the * denotes a soft hand (which is ace = 11 points)
- 17 – Yes (9+8)
- 14* – No, because the soft hand
- Based on this, the player must decide whether to ‘keep’ the hand or ‘discard’ it. For this guide, we will discard this hand.
- The discarded cards are removed from the game. Next, the player must choose one of the four remaining hands.
- The player is only allowed to discard one, so the second pick is the hand he/she must play. Again, the player must attempt to deduce which hand this may be.
- 11 – Yes (5+6)
- 15 – Yes (10+5)
- 21* – No
- 17 – No
- 14* – No
- Following that, the player chooses the dealer’s hand from the possibilities that remain.
- With selecting the hands completed, the player refers to the hands values once more to determine what the dealer may have – taking into account the information that is already known. So, the dealer is showing a 10.
- 11 – No
- 15 – No (because that is the player’s hand)
- 21* – Yes
- 17 – Yes
- 14* – No
- As the dealer’s hand is either hard 17 or soft 21, the only option is to ‘hit’.
- It’s a 5, to make a hand total of 20 – on which the player stands.
- The action turns to the dealer’s hand. He had 17, so draws another card, and busts. Player wins!
1X2 Gaming Players’ Choice Rules
We stressed above that some of the blackjack rules you’re most familiar don’t apply to Player’s Choice. Here is a rundown for this variant:
- Played with eight standard 52-card decks.
- The dealer stands on 18 or above on both hard and soft hands.
- The dealer plays to win or tie on hand values less than 18. This means if the player stands on 13, the dealer can win with a total of 14. He doesn’t have to draw up to 18.
- Blackjack pays 6:5. Most other variants pay 3:2.
- The player loses half of his stake on all ties.
- There is no surrender rule available in Blackjack Players’ Choice.
- No splitting of hands when dealt two card of the same rank.
- No double-down.
Blackjack Players’ Choice RTP
The theoretical return to player (RTP) percentage is 98.37%. That means on average for every $100 wagered, the payout should be $98.37. For blackjack, this is low. You can play European blackjack or classic single-deck blackjack with an RTP around 99.50%.
Useful Tips for Playing Players’ Choice
The standard basic blackjack strategy for eight deck games doesn’t really apply to Blackjack Players’ Choice because there are too many rule changes, such as the dealer playing to win or tie on 18 or less. Also, there being no surrender, splitting or doubling affect your strategy.
Ultimately, your success relies on your powers of deduction, and then making a decision based on that. For example:
- If the hand values showing are 9 – 10 – 8 – 18 – 20.
- You select a hand and a 10 is shown, you know that you have either the 18 or 20.
- The dealer then shows a 10.
- Your cards are revealed to show you have the 18.
- The basic strategy is of course to stand with 18, but here we know the dealer is holding 20.
- Therefore, we have to load the gun and take the chance.
In summing up, hardcore blackjack players are unlikely to play this variant mainly because the house edge is worse than a standard blackjack game but for casual players it is quite fun.
All casino games against a dealer favour the casino, so they should be played merely for entertainment, which this form of blackjack provides. As the player is choosing the cards and working out the possible hand values, we found that we were playing far fewer hands per hour with Blackjack Players’ Choice compared to a regular game. This helped to keep the bankroll in good shape for longer, which again, from an entertainment stand point, is a great.