Those who like to play blackjack online for real money or at a live casino in Las Vegas may have encountered Power Blackjack. This variation of the standard game of 21 has a few twists that make it exciting, but is it a good blackjack game for the player? Let’s see if we can answer that question and others about Power Blackjack.
The Rules of Power Blackjack
In many respects the rules of Power Blackjack are just like those of standard blackjack. Players are still trying to make a total of 21 without going over, and they must beat the dealer’s total. 10 cards and face cards in the deck are assigned a value of 10 while other cards are assigned their face value. Aces can be counted as 1 or 11.
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In a live casino the cards are dealt from a shoe containing 6-8 decks of cards. Online the cards are dealt virtually by a random number generator. The cards online are “shuffled” after each hand of play. A blackjack pays the player 3-2 while other wins pay even money.
In Power Blackjack a dealer is required to hit a soft 17. There is no surrender allowed and players may not double down their hands after a split. Players are given the same options that they are given in regular blackjack. They can hit, stand, double, or split. Beyond this, the rules begin to change some. Specifically, there are different rules about splits and doubles.
The Power Double in Power Blackjack
When a player is dealt a doubling hand in Power Blackjack, new rules come into play. A player that receives a 9, 10, or 11 on their first two cards may choose to Power Double. To do this the player will place a wager equal to the original wager next to the first bet. The player will then receive one additional card to make the hand.
The Power Double allows the player one chance to replace the additional card if they do not like the total. If they choose to do this another card will be dealt from the shoe to replace it. This can only be done one time. Here’s an example.
The player receives a total of 11 and decides to Power Double by doubling the original bet. They player is then given one card on the total of 11. This card is a 3 which gives the player a total of 14. The player elects to Power Double and replace the 3 with a new card. A new card is dealt and it is a 10. The player now has 21 and must stand.
What the Power Double in Blackjack does is basically give the player two chances to hit a ten with their double card. In some casinos the Power Double is also allowed on totals of soft 19 and soft 20. The casinos want the player to believe that this chance at an extra card gives them a huge advantage over the house. It does indeed give an advantage, but this advantage is offset by some other rule changes.
The Power Split in Power Blackjack
When a player is dealt a 15 or a 16 in a game of Power Blackjack the player may elect to do a Power Split. The casino will allow the player to split these cards even if they are not the same card. Here is an example.
A player is given an 8 and a 7 for a total of 15. The player chooses to make a Power Split and split these two cards. Each card receives another card and becomes a separate hand. On the 8 the player receives an A for a total of 19. On the 7 the player receives a 4 for an 11. He cannot double down after a Power Split so the player hits and gets a 10 for a 21.
The Power Split can be very useful in turning a losing hand into two winning ones. It can also make two losing hands out of one. In some cases the player is better off sticking with the original total and simply hitting the hand.
The Dealer Pushes on 22
The Power Split and Power Double give the player an added advantage. The casino must offset this advantage in some way. The way that it chooses to do this is by allowing the dealer to push or tie when he or she gets a total of 22. In regular blackjack the dealer would bust after going over 21.
This means that the dealer ties any player with an active hand when he receives a 22. The 22 will tie totals of 21, 20, 19, and so on. This is a huge benefit to the casino and it brings the house edge back in line with what the casino needs in order to profit at the game of Power Blackjack.
Strategy in Power Blackjack
In general basic blackjack strategy is applied in Power Blackjack. The player can find basic strategy charts here at Counting Edge. Players are advised not to deviate from basic strategy when playing Power Blackjack except in a very few circumstances which involve how to play hands that can be doubled or split.
The player is advised to Power Double a 9 against all dealer upcards except a 6 or a 10. The six should be given a regular double and the 10 should be hit. A total of 10 should be Power Doubled against a dealer’s 9 or 10. Totals of 11 should only be Power Doubled against a 10 or an A.
There are many cases in which the Power Split should be used. We have provided a chart so that you can see all the instances when you will want to Power Split the cards against the dealer. Of the two advantages in the game the Power Split is probably far more useful and beneficial to the player.
Is Power Blackjack a Good Game for the Player?
Like most variations of blackjack that are introduced in a live or online casino Power Blackjack looks great. It will appeal to many players who want to try something new and also to players who think it gives them a better chance to win. In reality, the game of Power Blackjack will shift the odds in favor of the house by a very small amount.
In Power Blackjack players are encouraged to double and split cards when they might not have done so in regular blackjack. This means that the player will be spending more money than they intend to spend and lose more than they intend over the long run.
Our advice to the player is to play Power Blackjack for fun if desired, but stick to regular blackjack when you want to make a serious attempt to win money. You can try to win right now when you sign up for one of our recommended online casinos such as Casino Max. You might even receive a nice welcome bonus when you make your first deposit.