Chinese Blackjack is also known by several different titles – 21-point, Hokkien, Ban-nag, Ban-luck and Kampung Blackjack. It is more popular in China and Southeast Asia than in western countries, but there are casinos that offer it.
Chinese Blackjack is played with one or two decks of cards and accepts unlimited number of players. A large portion of the rules match the rules of standard blackjack, but there are also characteristics that make this version unique.
Learn the Game Objective, Rules and Features
Due to the special nature of Chinese Blackjack, it is advisable not to play until one has learned the game rules and proceedings.
You should know that there is a main and a secondary objective in Chinese Blackjack. The main goal is to create a blackjack hand that beats the dealer’s hand with a total as close to 21 as possible.
Going bust is not an option, as you will automatically lose in that case. The second objective is to obtain one of the special winning hands – Ban-luck (Ban-nag), Ban-ban, Free Hand and Pairs. Some versions of the game also feature special payouts for hands such as 7-7-7 and 5 Dragon.
Card values come with some differences when compared to regular blackjack. Face cards are worth 10 and number cards retain their face values.
The value of Ace differs depending on the number of cards in the player’s hand. The Ace counts as either 10 or 11 if the player has only two cards. If the player has three cards in hand, the Ace is valued either as 1 or 10 points.
Should the player keep 4 or more cards in his/her hand, the value of the Ace drops to 1.
A Chinese Blackjack Round Playthrough
Before each round starts, players are required to place their bets to signify that they will be participating. As soon as all the bets are concluded, the cards will be dealt face down to all the players and the dealer.
When the initial cards are drawn, players get to act on their hands, for example stand or hit. However, if they have specified cards in their staring hands, they may win right away.
- When a player has two Aces, this hand is considered a Ban-ban and delivers a payout at 3:1 odds.
- A Ban-nag is the equivalent of regular natural blackjack, consisting of an Ace and a card that has the value of 10. If the dealer doesn’t also have a Ban-nag or Ban-ban, this hand wins.
- A Free Hand (also known as an Escape Hand) is a hand that totals 15 points with the two initial cards. The player may decide to stop the game at this point; the cards are collected, shuffled and dealt again. This also applies to the dealer.
- When the player has a Pair, he or she wins double the stake.
More Special Payouts
Chinese Blackjack comes with more special payouts for certain hands. 7-7-7 is considered a lucky hand and pays your wager multiplied by 7. The only way to obtain such a hand is to initially have a pair of sevens and receive another 7 as a third card.
The 5 Dragon hand is only paid in Chinese Blackjack. It requires the player to have 5 cards in his/her hand without busting. This special hand pays double the bet.
Rules for the Dealer
Both the players and the dealer are allowed to keep a maximum of 5 cards in their hands. Once all the players have acted, it is the dealer’s turn.
The dealer must hit if their total is below 17. If the dealer’s hand has a total between 16 and 21, the dealer can challenge other players’ hands – reveal them and compare them to his hand total. Whichever hand is the closest to 21, wins.