Blackjack Variations: Double-Down Rescue and Side Bets with Super Fun 21
This casino card game would look almost identical to Blackjack to players who do not understand the strategy of the game. While the differences with Super Fun 21 are subtle, they do make a real difference to your strategy. These differences can also add some interest to the game, and make for some windfall payouts with the side-bets.
This is a relatively recent game in Blackjack terms, having been patented in 1999. The inventor of Super Fun 21 is Howard F Grossman. This game is commonly found in live casinos alongside the regular Blackjack tables.
How to play Super Fun 21
The deal, betting sequence and process for deciding which hands win is the same as in a standard (US rules) Blackjack game with this variant. The usual setup is a 6 deck shoe. Though this game can theoretically be played with 1 deck, the nature of the side bets in particular would quickly attract card counters. The house edge in this games is not the lowest of all the Blackjack family, though it does come in at a reasonable 1.2% to 1.6% in favor of the house – low by the standards of many other games.
Soft 17 is a ‘stand’ most of the time in Super Fun 21, this does contribute to the house edge. As you will see this is made up for in other ways.
In a standard game the players are dealt 2 cards face-up and the dealer one face-up and one face down. If the dealer has an ace or picture showing, she will ‘peek’ for Blackjack. With an ace showing, players will be asked if they would like the insurance side-bet. This has a big house edge, and should be avoided.
The action then proceeds from the right to left as the players look at the table, with each player hitting, doubling, splitting or standing as appropriate to the dealer’s up card.
Differences with Super Fun 21
The first difference comes with player Blackjack situations. This pays at the lower even money rate, rather than 1.5 to 1 in many other games. Blackjack in diamonds plays at 2-to-1 to make up for this a little. One big difference is that a player’s Blackjack hand always beats the same hand from the dealer.
Splitting rules are applied liberally in Super Fun 21. You can split a hand up to 4 times with no restrictions on how to play the hands after you have split (for example you can double after a split, and can split aces too). You are free to double down on any cards you like, and are not restricted to 9 through 11 as in some variations.
Double Down Rescue
This is a unique idea found only in this game. If you double down, then you only get one card as usual. However, if this is a bad card then you have the opportunity to surrender the hand after you have doubled. This loses only your original bet, with the double part returned to you. This has rescued many players from having to deal with hitting 15 after what looked like a promising double-down opportunity.
Bigger Payouts for 6-Card Winning Hands
This aspect of the game seems to be borrowed from the popular Pontoon variation. If you win a hand with 6 separate cards, then you get a 2:1 payout instead of even money. This is rare of course, though it does add a little excitement to the game when you have the nerve-wracking proposition of having to hit on a 5 card 15 or 16.
You’ll often find side bets like perfect pairs or those based on 7’s offered alongside this game in live casinos. Like all casino side-bets, you will need to balance the extra entertainment you get from the potential for a big win, with the fact that these bets have a big edge in favor of the house.
To summarize; Super Fun 21 makes a great change-up from regular Blackjack. The liberal splitting and doubling rules, player Blackjack beating dealer blackjack and enhanced payout for 6-card winning hands have ensured that this variation is one of the most popular around.