Match Play 21
Are you looking for a variation of Blackjack that has just the one big modification but leaves the rest the same? If so, a good one to consider is Match Play 21, which can be thought of as similar to Spanish 21 but a bit closer in terms of rules and payouts to the traditional Blackjack game. In brief, it is like Blackjack but uses multiple decks (typically six) and is played without the 10 cards. This gives the house a bit more of an edge vis-à-vis regular Blackjack, but in return the payouts for players are a bit higher.
In terms of availability, online sites seem to imply that the game is more likely to be found online than it is in a brick and mortar casino, but it is apparently becoming more common throughout land-based casinos as well.
Match Play 21 Rules
The goal of Match Play 21 is the same as other varieties of the game: have the sum of your cards be as close to 21 as possible without going over. If you hit exactly 21 or are closer to 21 than is the dealer without going over, you win. The big difference between Match Play 21 and most variations of Blackjack is that it is played with the 10 cards removed from the deck. It should be noted that the Aces and other face cards remain included.
What this does is it effectively lowers the odds of winning for the player very slightly, and it decreases with the number of decks being used. Speaking of which, Match Play 21 is usually played with around six decks, but sources note that in certain places it is played with as few as two and in some with as many as eight.
The other rules remain the same as what most players are used to: players may split up to two times, provided that each split occurs when there are two cards of the same value. Players may split once and then re-split one more time. It is also possible to double down on each bet, but do note that only one additional card is dealt when that occurs.
What’s on hand to offset the slight advantage for the dealer is a potentially more rewarding payout scheme that utilizes the following:
- 21 with 5 cards- 3:2 payout
- 21 with 6 cards- 2:1 payout
- 21 with 7 cards or more- 3:1 payout
- Any 6-7-8 combination- 3:2 payout
- Suited 6-7-8 combination- 2:1 payout
- 6-7-8 all in spades- 3:1 payout
- Any 7-7-7 – 3:2 payout
- Suited 7-7-7 – 2:1 payout
- 7-7-7 all in spades- 3:1 payout
- 7-7-7 when dealer is showing 7 – 40:1 payout
Match Play 21 Blackjack is likely a good option for those who have tried Blackjack and then are looking for something that’s just a bit different to venture into something new. It could also be a mainstay for those who give it a shot and find it hits their personal sweet spot!