The leading online gaming software provider WagerWorks has in its portfolio a blackjack variant called Power Blackjack. It can be played at online casinos like Virgin Casino. Most of the rules are similar to the European version of blackjack, but there are a few differences. These result in eliminating the drudgery of playing the same blackjack game again and again and give the player something new to think about. This article first explains the rules of Power Blackjack and then discusses the elements of strategy arising out of the change in rules.
The rules that are common with European Blackjack variants are briefly described. Power Blackjack is played with six standard decks of playing cards. Blackjack pays 3 to 2. The dealer stands on soft 17. The normal Double move is allowed and players can Double after the Split move as well. Players can Split to two hands only. The European no hole card rule is followed. The dealer does not check for blackjack upfront but if he gets a blackjack eventually then the player loses all bets.
Two addition moves referred to as Power moves are allowed to the player. If the player has a two card total of 9 to 11 or a soft total of 19 or 20, then he may execute the Power Double. In this move if the player does not like his third card, he may exchange it for another unseen card. If the player has any hard total of 15 or 16 then he may execute a Power Split. This is just like the normal Split move, but is being allowed even when the initial two cards do not have the same rank. These two moves give the player an advantage and therefore he has to pay a compensatory price. If the dealer busts with a total of 22, then all valid player hands will push. If a player has busted he loses straight away.
Just because the player can execute the Power Double and the Power Split in certain conditions does not imply that it is always in his interest to do so. The strategic element that is unique to Power Blackjack is when to employ these moves and when not to. The Power Split should always be employed if the dealer has an 8 or lower card. If the player’s cards are 6, 9 or 7, 9 then he should also Power Split if the dealer has a 9. If the player’s cards are 5, 10 or 6, 10 then he should also Power Split if the dealer has a 9 or 10.
The player should Power Double under the following situations. His two card total is 9 and the dealer holds a 9 or lower card. His two card total is 10 and the dealer holds a 10 or lower card. His two card total is 11. His two card total is a soft 19 and the dealer holds a 9 or lower card. His two card total is a soft 20 and the dealer holds an 8 or lower card. In the Power Double the dealer has to make another strategic choice. This is under what circumstances should he keep the second card. These rules are as follows. The player should keep any card forming a three card total of 20 or 21. The player should keep any card forming a three card total of 19, except with 2-card 11 against a dealer 10. The player should keep any card forming a three card total of 18 under stipulated conditions. He should replace all other cards.