We have seen many different types of blackjack variations available today at online casinos. Big 5 Blackjack is unique because it really isn’t a variation at all. It gets its name from the number of decks that are used to play the game. Big 5 Blackjack was developed by Microgaming and is gaining popularity at some casinos online that you may be familiar with.
Counting Edge decided to take a closer look at this game. We wanted to know if it is a blackjack variation that gives players a chance to win. Here is a closer look at what we found in our review.
The Basics of Big 5 Blackjack
When we tell you the premise behind Big 5 Blackjack you are probably going to wonder why this game is called a variation. The game gets its name from the fact that five decks are used in the shoe from which the cards are dealt. In most live casino games it is customary for four or six decks to be used. Microgaming made it five decks and gave the game a catchy name. Presto! A blackjack variation was born.
On the surface this probably seems like a joke, but there is a wrinkle here. Big 5 Blackjack is a virtual version of the game. You have probably noticed that virtual online blackjack games use one deck with 52 cards. That deck is shuffled after each hand. This means that card counting is nullified in an online blackjack game where the player is the only one playing.
Using a shoe with five decks would seem to mean that a player could count cards. There would be multiple hands dealt from the shoe before the decks are shuffled. If there is penetration and multiple decks, there is a possibility of card counting.
Without question this could be a game changer for the player who wants to play virtual blackjack with a huge advantage. In fact, the house edge at Big 5 Blackjack is promoted as being 0.47%. With counting the player might be able to swing the edge in his or her favor.
The casino know this, of course, and they are banking on players knowing it. They want players to flock to the game because they think there is a better chance to win. What they don’t want you to know is that the inexperienced or novice online blackjack player will not be able to take advantage of the low house edge.
How Big 5 Blackjack is Dealt
Play begins in Big 5 Blackjack with the player making a minimum bet. This bet can be as low as $1, but it is more common to find a $5 minimum wager. Once the player has made their starting bet, the cards are dealt from the virtual 5-deck shoe.
The player receives two face-up cards for the hand that they are playing. The player can play up to three individual hands. The blackjack dealer is also dealt two cards. One of these is facing up and one is hidden to the player.
If the dealer has an ace or a ten showing, he will check for blackjack. A dealer blackjack is an automatic winner for the house unless the player also has a blackjack. If the player has a blackjack and the dealer does not, the player is paid 3-2 for their winning hand.
Player Options in Big 5 Blackjack
After the cards have been dealt and the player and dealer do not have blackjack, a number of options can be exercised by the player. The player can choose to ask for additional cards to improve their hand. They may also stand on the total that they have been dealt. If the player exceeds the total of 21 at any time the game is over and the player loses.
Players may double down on any two starting cards. This means that the player makes an additional wager that is equal to the first. After this bet is made the player receives one more card. This completes the hand and the player’s hand must beat the total of the dealer.
A player can split any pair of cards that is originally dealt to begin the game. This means placing another wager equal to the first. The pair will now become two separate hands, and play continues as normal. Players are also allowed to double down after splitting.
If the dealer shows an ace the player may use early surrender, and insurance is also available when the dealer has an ace on top.
Dealer Options in Big 5 Blackjack
In Big 5 Blackjack the dealer is bound by the standard rules of blackjack. The dealer must hit a hand of 16 or below, and must also hit the soft 17. A hard 17 or any hand above this total requires the dealer to stand. Players should remember that allowing the dealer to hit a soft 17 is a small advantage for the casino.
Should You Play Big 5 Blackjack Online?
This is a good question. To be honest, we can’t think of any reason why you should not play this blackjack variation. This is especially true if you are already playing blackjack online. Except for the use of five decks from a shoe, the game is exactly the same as the one that you have been playing.
If you happen to be one of those individuals who counts cards, good for you! Big 5 Blackjack online might just give you a better chance to win. The only other type of online blackjack game that offers the possibility of counting is a live dealer blackjack game, and not all online casino have those games.
You could also use Big 5 Blackjack if you wanted to practice your card counting skills online. You can play this game for $1 a hand in many casinos. That’s a pretty low risk to master a skill that you can use to beat the game. There is also the chance that you will walk away with a profit even when you are using the game for practice. Here is a free blackjack game. Wondering where to play blackjack online? We list several sites should you be interested to play blackjack for real money.