Players’ Choice Blackjack

‘Players’ Choice Blackjack’, which can be played at Mr Green Online Casino, is becoming an increasingly popular variant of Blackjack due to several unique features which the game boasts.

But, What is Players’ Choice Blackjack? How do you play it? And, is it better than the original, standard version? Keep reading to find out the answers to those questions and more …

How to Play Players’ Choice Blackjack

We are going to assume that you know the usual rules and how to play the standard form of blackjack, if you don’t this post will explain it for you.

Okay, settle in and let’s get started!

Below, is the table layout which you will find at Mr Green Online Casino.

blackjack players' choice

Choose the stake that you wish to bet by clicking the appropriate chip at the bottom. Then click in the ‘STAKE’ box to place the bet. If, for example, you want to bet $2, simply select the $1 chip and click the stake box twice.

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We have $1 on the table (above) and are good to go. Click ‘DEAL’.

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As you can see (above), 5 pairs of cards have been dealt all face down – no prizes for guessing how the name ‘Players’ Choice’ came about. The other thing you need to note are the 5 numbers at the top of the screen (in this example you can see 9, 18, 20, 17, 14) – these are the hand values. Understandably, these are in a random order but at least we know what is on the table.

Slide4

It’s time to pick which pair of cards we wish to play the game of blackjack with. We have selected the 4th from the left and we have flipped over the Jack of hearts. Straight away, we know from the hand values that the hand valuing 9 is still on the table and that means our hand could be worth either 18, 20, 17, or 14.

You now have two choices – KEEP or DISCARD. As we are seeing a 10 point card, we will keep this hand.

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The JH comes down in front of us and now it is time to select the hand for the dealer. Hope you are feeling lucky!

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We chose the dealer’s hand – they also flipped over a jack (clubs). Our other card is turned over to reveal the Queen of hearts – nice we got the 20 point hand, therefore, we know that the dealer has either 18, 17 or 14 as those are the only possibles remaining. We will settle for that so click ‘STAND’.

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And there we go, the dealer pops up with the 17 and that’s one in the bag for us.

Let’s play another hand just to run through it again to make sure everything is crystal.

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Choose the amount you want to bet and click ‘STAKE’. (above)

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The money is in play, now hit ‘DEAL’.

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Out come the 5 sets of hands ready for you to pick one.

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We’ve hit a 2 – not the best but not the worst either. Now, have a look at the hand values at the top (11, 8, 11, 18* (soft), 11). Our math tells us that we cannot be holding the 18* but any of the other hands are possible. So, let’s ‘DISCARD’ this hand.

Slide12

Having discarded the original pair, we now get the chance to pick again from the four remaining sets. You only get 2 picks so this is the final one of those – the hand we select is the hand we play.

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And … we have hit a 3. This doesn’t help much but there you go.

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Select the dealer’s hand and the same as before. Both our cards are revealed as is one of the dealer’s. We hit the 8 and as the dealer is showing a 2 (clubs), we know they did not hit the 18*either  so they are holding 11 (as that is the only choice available).

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With our 8, we have to ‘HIT’ and we draw a 10 – total of 18 so it is time to ‘STAND’.

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The dealer reveals a 9 to go with his 2 (the 11 we knew they had) and then draws a 7 to also hit 18. It’s a tie – which sadly, for us, means we lose half of our stake.

So, that is Players’ Choice Blackjack, but is it better than the original game?

Well, there are pros and cons. Let’s start with the negatives. As you can see above,

  • a tie means we lose (although only half our stake, it is still a loss).
  • There is no doubling at all and doubling when you are holding 11 against a dealer’s 6 is one of blackjack’s great joys.
  • There is no splitting – again, splitting is nice when played correctly and is missed a little.
  • The dealer does not have to qualify so it is not wise to stand on 15 if the dealer is showing a 5 or 6 because if they hit a 10 – you’ve bummed out.
  • Blackjack only pays 1:1 – ouch! we all like the 3:2 payout, don’t we?
  • Also, and probably most importantly, the house edge is slightly worse in this form of blackjack compared to a standard game. Using the correct basic strategy the return is 98.36% against 99.4% for a standard game. This isn’t much but it does add up.

On the positive side,

  • picking your own cards kind of makes it feel little we are more in control (a trick of the brain really) but still, the option to mathematically work out what your hand value could be by comparing to the values given at the top is a great bonus.
  • The ability to discard your first pick if you don’t like it is also nice; however, in some ways you are merely discarding what you deem as the weakest hand which obviously helps the dealer when you choose their hand. A case of ‘6 of one and half a dozen of the other’.

In summing up, hardcore blackjack players are unlikely to play this variant mainly because the house edge is worse than a standard blackjack game but for casual players it is quite fun. We at Gamblers Pro like Players’ Choice Blackjack as it makes us think a little more throughout the game. All casino games against a dealer favour the casino so should be played merely for entertainment, which this form of blackjack provides. As the player is choosing the cards and working out the possible hand values, the hand per hour ratio is a lot lower than that of standard blackjack which again if you are playing for entertainment purposes is a nice thing.

Of note, the standard basic strategy for blackjack needs to be tweaked a little, which is again good and bad. For example, if the hand values showing are 9, 10, 8, 18, and 20 and you select a hand and a 10 is shown, you know that you have either the 18 or 20. The dealer then shows a 10 as well and the value of your cards are revealed to show you have the 18. The basic strategy is of course to stand but here we know the dealer is holding 20 so we have to load the gun and take the chance.

What we are wondering here at Gamblers pro HQ is whether or not a betting strategy when playing this form of blackjack would be more effective than against a standard variant of the game. We will review that for you and let you know the results later.

Why not give it a try yourself? Click the banner below to access this game at Mr Green Online Casino.

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