Chinese Blackjack is one of the more exotic blackjack variants to be found. In South East Asia it is extremely popular during the Chinese New Year and can be found in many casinos. Chinese Blackjack is also known as 21-point, Ban-Nag, or Ban-Luk depending on the various localities where the game is found.

The resemblance of Chinese Blackjack to standard blackjack is very evident in the basic rules of the game and how the cards are dealt. Beyond this basic similarity, however, are several key differences which make Chinese Blackjack a fun and challenging betting game.

The Basics Of Chinese Blackjack

In Chinese Blackjack all players are playing against the dealer who represents the casino. There is no limit to the number of players who can participate, but the common occurrence is to find 5-6 players per table.

Only two decks of 52 cards are used in Chinese Blackjack. You will not find six or eight deck games. Players attempt to reach a total of 21, or as close as possible to 21 without going over. The cards are valued exactly the same as in regular blackjack with the exception of the aces. All number cards are assigned their face value. All face cards are assigned a value of 10.

The value of an ace in Chinese Blackjack varies depending upon the number of cards held by a player. If a player has two cards an ace may be valued as 10 or 11. If a player has three cards an ace may be valued as 1 or 10. If a player has four or more cards an ace can only be valued as a 1.

How Chinese Blackjack Is Dealt

To begin a round of play in Chinese Blackjack the dealer shuffles the cards and has one player cut the deck by removing a portion of cards from the top. This portion of cards is then set aside and the dealer deals each player two face down cards. The blackjack dealer is always the last to receive cards in a round of play.

After all of the players and the dealers have received their cards, the remaining cards are joined with the portion that was cut and set aside to begin the round.

Player Options In Chinese Blackjack

Once all of the players at the table and the dealer have received their cards the player to the dealer’s immediate left is given the opportunity to act on their hand. The options available to a player in Chinese Blackjack are very similar to those in regular blackjack. Players have the option of hitting or standing on their hand. The main difference at this stage of the game is that there are certain hands in Chinese Blackjack which are regarded as winning hands immediately.

These hands are:

A Ban-Ban. A Ban-Ban occurs when a player receives two aces. When a player receives a Ban-Ban their hand is an immediate winner and is paid off at generous odds of 3-1 by the house. However, if the dealer also holds a Ban-Ban or an escape hand (see below) the player has a tie and does not collect.

A Ban-Nag is exactly the same as a regular blackjack. It consists of one ace and one ten-value card. A Ban-Nag is paid off at odds of 2-1 unless the dealer also holds a Ban-Nag or a Ban-Ban.

An Escape Hand is a starting hand which totals 15. When a player holds an escape hand he has the option of continuing on or he may resign the hand and reclaim his original bet. An Escape Hand also applies to the dealer. If the dealer holds a 15 he/she may choose to continue in the hand or resign the hand. If the dealer resigns the hand then the hand is over and the cards are reshuffled for a new round of play.

A 5-Dragon is a player hand which contains five cards that total 21 or less. A 5-Dragon of less than 21 is an immediate winner and is paid at odds of 2-1. A 5-Dragon which totals 21 wins immediately and is paid at 3-1.

The Dealer Options In Chinese Blackjack

After all players at the table have acted on their hands the dealer must then exercise their own set of options. This is where things begin to seriously deviate from standard blackjack. The player can seriously wind up on the losing end of the stick when the dealer holds a powerful hand.

If the dealer holds a total of less than 16, he must take a hit to try and improve his hand. If, however, the dealer has any total from 16-20 he may reveal a certain number of player hands before deciding if he should take a hit or stand. If the dealer reaches a total of 21 without busting, the hand ends and all players lose their original wager. If the dealer busts his hand by going over 21, all players are paid even money on their hands.

If a dealer is fortunate enough to receive a 5-Dragon without totaling 21, all players lose and must pay the dealer twice the amount of their original wager. If the dealer has a 5-Dragon that exactly totals 21, this is bad news for the player. The player must now pay the dealer three times their original wager.

The House Edge In Chinese Blackjack

It should be very obvious that the house or dealer holds a very significant advantage over the player. This is why when Chinese Blackjack is played in homes everyone gets a chance to be the dealer. Otherwise, players would always be at a disadvantage.

The possibility of having to pay the dealer either two or three times the original wager makes Chinese Blackjack a true gambling game. While there is a significant amount of skill involved in Chinese Blackjack, and basic blackjack strategy does come into play, even the proper strategy is not enough to reduce the massive edge retained by the house.

Chinese Bj At Online Casinos

You can find the game at online casinos and you can play blackjack for real money or just for fun / practice on a windows or Mac OSX. Also it should be available in the near future on iphones and android devices too. If you play online it is not the same as being at an asian casino but its pretty exciting in any case! To play blackjack for money online we recommend that you try one of the recommended casinos. You can read the Casino Max review, Miami Club review , High Country casino review, Cherry Jackpot casino review, or Roaring 21 review to name a few.

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