One of the less-mentioned members of the blackjack family is Pitch Blackjack. Usually, the games you play are called “shoe” blackjack games, since they are played with as much as six decks or more, from a shoe.
Pitch Blackjack is played with just one or two decks of cards, so you will often find versions which are called single-deck or double-deck blackjack.
Apart from the cards being held by the dealer and not arranged in a shoe, there are a few other differences from standard blackjack gameplay that are reflected in Pitch Blackjack, so here’s how to approach playing it.
Where the Name Comes From?
Why is it called “pitch blackjack”? This type of blackjack gets its name from how the cards are dealt to each player at the table. The game does not make use of a shoe since only one or two decks are utilised.
There are never more than two decks in the game. The dealer has the deck by his/her side and “pitches” the cards to each player.
Revise Your Standard Blackjack Knowledge
To be able to play Pitch blackjack, you need to have a basic understanding how blackjack works. The game still requires you to form a better hand than the dealer without going over 21.
The actions allowed during a round are still the same as in regular blackjack – you can hit, stand, double, split etcetera. The game is also unchanged in terms of payouts. Blackjack pays the usual 3:2, while insurance pays 2:1 should you decide to take it.
The Initial Deal
In a “shoe” game of blackjack, the two initial cards dealt to each player are delivered face-up. In Pitch Blackjack, the initial two cards are placed facing down.
When placed face-up, the players aren’t allowed to touch their cards since they can already see what cards they have, In this case, they can use one hand to pick up the two-card hand and check what cards the dealer gave them.
Acting on Your Hand
As we’ve mentioned, when the time comes for you to act on your hand, you will have all the same options to hit, stand, double down, split a pair or surrender. If you are playing Pitch Blackjack at a land-based casino, you need to remember the proper hand signals for each action.
If you want to hit, scrape the cards towards yourself. To stand, slide the two cards beneath the chips that you have placed in the betting box at the beginning of the round.
To double down, you need to turn the cards over and place another bet equal to your initial bet. This will prompt the dealer to draw another card for you, hopefully, to improve the total value of your hand.
To split, you will also have to turn the cards over and show the pair you want to split, after which you will receive another card for each new hand, and you’ll also have to double your original wager. To surrender, wave your hand above the chips you’ve wagered initially.
Further House Rules
In Pitch Blackjack, it is expected that the dealer will hit on 16 and stand on all 17s. Splitting is allowed up to 3 times, but you must place an additional wager equal to the main bet each time you split.
Aces can be split only once, though. Doubling down is allowed on any two cards unless you have a natural blackjack.
Single-deck Pitch Blackjack will typically offer 99.81% RTP. The double-deck version comes with a house edge of 0.45% and an RTP of 99.55%.