What Is Free Bet Blackjack? A Complete Guide

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· 26 May 2022

Blackjack is one of the most played games at the casino table. The simple rules are coupled with an unprecedented dose of excitement, especially when you’re playing heads up against the dealer. Thanks to its popularity, there are several blackjack variants.

One of those variants introduces free doubles on the first two cards, totaling nine, ten, or 11. It also has free splits on any pair except tens. The rules of this variant make the already simple game even more appealing. We’re talking about free bet blackjack, and in this guide, we’ll tell you how to play it and what tactics work best.

Spice Up the Rules

The mastermind behind this variant of blackjack is Geoff Hall, a mathematician and an inventor who wanted to make the game more engaging and competitive. Players now have greater chances of getting a free wager while the house edge remains low.

The game was officially unveiled in 2012 in Las Vegas, where people could try out blackjack with the “free bet” chip for the first time.

Since then, it has become widely popular among casino players, especially at online crypto casinos that focus on blackjack. The number of gambling sites that offer this variant is continually growing.

It’s played with a six-deck shoe that has six decks or 312 cards in total. Alternatively, you can play this game with one deck with standard 52 cards and without wildcards or jokers, which delivers better payouts.

The standard blackjack rules, table maximums, and minimums apply here. There are a few additional rules for getting the “free bet” chip and a changed push, which we’ll get into later.

Free Bet Differences

When we make the free bet blackjack vs. regular blackjack comparison, we see that the main difference is the reduced level of risk for the player. When participants double or split, they don’t have to place their chips. Instead, the dealer gives them a “free bet” chip, so long as some basic requirements are fulfilled, which we’ll explain in detail below.

Avoid Split Ten Valued Cards

The first difference is that players can split their pairs into two hands without placing another wager. Free bet blackjack rules stipulate that any pair can be split except for tens, which means you cannot split a pair of 10s, Jacks, Queens, or Kings. Keep in mind that some casinos add fours to the list of pairs you cannot split.

The player then gets a “free bet” chip from the dealer. If they win both hands, they double their winnings. Otherwise, the player receives the chip worth the initial bet if they win the second hand.

That doesn’t mean you cannot play the standard split move that’s available in the original blackjack. You can still split two cards with the same rank or number and get the usual winnings if you succeed. However, you won’t receive a “free bet” chip and the potential double winnings.

Chase a Hard Total of 9, 10, or 11

The second difference is that you can place a double without introducing an additional bet if you have a hard nine, hard ten, or hard 11, which makes playing free bet blackjack worth it. Then you get a “free bet” chip that gives you a bonus hand. In case you win, you’ll receive your bet back, along with winnings that are double the original wager.

As with the standard split, you can continue playing the usual double, where you place an extra wager and get an additional card. However, you won’t receive a “free bet” chip or double winnings.

22 Is a Push for Dealers

This particular departure from the original version of the game won’t go down well with some players. A dealer’s hand that adds up to 22 is a push. At this point, a player does not win or lose and gets their original wager returned. You have to remember this one rule regardless of whether you play free bet blackjack online or in brick-and-mortar casinos. If you get 21 or less and the dealer gets 22, all bets left standing push.

In the original version of the game, this would constitute a win for the player. But in this case, no one wins or loses. If you think this sounds similar to Blackjack Switch, you’re right, as Geoff Hall created both variants.

The good news with this change in the rules is that the house edge remains minuscule in six-deck games. The free bet blackjack house edge is around 1.04%. In other words, the rules of this variant keep the game balanced.

Game Overview

Now that we’ve covered the key differences between this variant and the classic version of blackjack, it’s time to summarize the rules of the game.

  • There is no surrender
  • Dealer hits soft 17’s
  • Pairs re-split is allowed for up to four hands per round
  • Blackjack pays three to two
  • You can double only on two cards
  • You can double (for free) after split

When we talk about playing free bet blackjack online, it’s crucial to note that some crypto casinos may have slightly different rules. However, most sites don’t make any changes to the rules.

Tips & Tricks

This blackjack variant offers more chances of getting cash from free bets while minimizing risks to your bankroll. Players chase splits and double downs that can increase their winnings, thanks to the “free bet” chips that double the rewards.

That’s why it’s important to focus on doubling down on a two-card hand with a hard total of nine, ten, or eleven. Play aggressively and chase free splits on any pair as part of your free bet blackjack strategy. The only exceptions are the tens, fives on an offered free double, and fours when playing against the dealer with five and six-up cards.

When the dealer has a six-up card with a soft 16, 17, and 18, the player should double down. If you get a free split with a soft 16 up to a soft 20, double down against the dealer’s six-up, which won’t be free.

Double down with a soft 17 through to soft 19 if the dealer plays a free split with a five-up card. Otherwise, the best strategy for free bet blackjack is to avoid doubling down on any other soft hand.

Below are strategy tables for a free hand, real cash hand, and splits. These show how important it is to get free splits and free doubles whenever you can.

FREE BET BLACKJACK FREE HAND

FREE BET BLACKJACK REAL MONEY HAND

FREE BET BLACKJACK SPLIT

Pot of Gold Side Bets

Side bets offered at certain casinos are also referred to as the pot of gold. With this side wager, you bet on receiving the “free bet” chip on that hand. You’ll win proportionally to the number of “free bet” chips you gather in one hand by doubling or splitting.

Should I Play Free Bet Blackjack?

Playing free bet blackjack is a fun way to get your hands on better crypto casino payouts and take a break from the more traditional version of the game. The thin house edge and simple rules make this a safe bet. If you choose to try your hand at free bet blackjack, you’re guaranteed plenty of excitement.

 FAQ

Is blackjack a skill or luck?

Experts argue that blackjack is a skill-oriented game because of the game’s mathematical underpinnings. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get lucky and win while playing blackjack.

Is it worth playing free bet blackjack?

This blackjack variant is worth trying out because the initial wager allows players to double down and split pair wagers for free.

Can I play blackjack for free?

You can play on specific casino sites completely free or in demo mode, which doesn’t require an actual cash commitment.

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