Walk into any casino and go to the right place and you’ll see tens if not hundreds of blackjack tables, arranged by minimum bet and usually teeming with gamblers. Elsewhere in casinos there are rows and rows of video table games, where blackjack enthusiasts try their luck at variations on classic blackjack setups. If you don’t feel like visiting a casino, however, we have great news. All of these varied blackjack games are available to be played online for real money or just for fun. One particular blackjack variation that we find intriguing? Pirate 21 blackjack.
Without further ado, here is an in-depth play guide on Pirate 21, a game that flips the traditional blackjack blueprint on its head.
While most variations on the same old traditional blackjack games stick with either making small changes to the game mechanics or adding side bets, Pirate 21 Blackjack is unique in that it doesn’t stop at one or the other; it does both.
Much like Spanish 21, Pirate 21 is played with a six deck shoe, but the decks themselves are without any 10s. This changes the odds and the way players approach both their own hands and their analysis of the dealer’s hand, which is a breath of fresh air for blackjack enthusiasts looking for a change of pace.
Players have the option of selecting a number of hands between 1 and 3 to play simultaneously, as well as corresponding side bets for each active hand. The limits for the main game bets are 1 credit and 200 credits, respectively while the limits for side bets fall in the range between 1 credit per bet and 50 credits.
You might notice that unlike many varieties of blackjack, there is no “insurance” stripe on the table. Most blackjack games allow the player to select whether to risk half their bet on the eventuality of the dealer obtaining a blackjack when they have an ace showing, Pirate 21 Blackjack is one of a select few variations that don’t allow this option.
Essentially, with the only change from the standard game of blackjack being the absence of any 10s in the deck, Pirate 21 is played pretty traditionally, with the exception of a few rule changes to shift the odds back toward the player a bit. These include bonuses for combinations of 6-7-8 in a hand, three 7s and 21s that use 5, 6, or 7 or more cards (5 Card Charlie or higher).
Pirate 21 and Spanish 21 are practically identical up to this point, but fear not: the side bet is where Pirate 21 Blackjack differentiates itself not only from this similar game but from the rest of the market. If players elect to wager on a side bet, and the cards that the player draws match those of the dealer, the player is payed out 4 to 1 (or 9 to 1 if suited).
Pirate 21 Blackjack bends the confines of what traditional blackjack players have come to expect from the game just enough to make it an interesting game, and that lucrative side bet sure doesn’t hurt either.