21st Century Blackjack is played among up to 10 players (usually eight). One of the players is designated as the player-dealer (indicated by dealer button). Each player is dealt two cards. All cards are dealt face up, except for the player-dealer’s first card, which is dealt face down.
Hands then compete, one at a time, as in a Nevada blackjack game, against the player-dealer hand. The object of the game is to get as close to a natural as possible (21 formed by an ace plus a 10, jack, queen, or king), without going over 21. A natural pays 6:5 — except for ties. You can’t bust by going over 21; your hand has a chance to push if it totals 22-25 and is closer to 21 than the player-dealer’s hand.
Any hand that does not go over a natural and is the same as the player-dealer’s is a push (tie).
Players must hit 11 or less, and can choose to hit or stand on 12-20. The player-dealer has no choices. The player-dealer must stand on hard 17 and higher, hit soft 17, and hit any other hand 16 or less.
Bay 101 provides house dealers for all games but does not participate in the actual play of the game and has no interest in the outcome of play. No player ever plays against or makes a wager against Bay 101.
21st Century Blackjack is played with eight decks, dealt from a shoe. Each deck has 52 standard playing cards, consisting of four suits, spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. No suit is "worth" more than any other. Each suit consists of 13 cards, given point values:
|ace||1 or 11|
|9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2||face value|
|king, queen, jack, 10||10|
|natural||A♥ K♠ ; A♠ 10♥|
|multicard 21||6♠ 4♠ 4♥ 7♠ ; 7♥ 3♠ A♣; 6♦ A♠ 4♦|
|20||K♠ 10♥ ; 9♠ A♥ ; 8♠ 6♦ 6♣ ; 3♠ 2♥ 4♦ 2♦ 9♥|
|19||8♠ A♥ ; Q♠ 9♣ ; A♠ 2♥ 4♦ 2♦|
|hard 17||K♠ 7♥; 8♠ 8♦ A♣|
|soft 17||A♥ 6♠; A♦ 4♠ 2♥|
|hand that can be split||A♠ A♥; 9♠ 9♥; J♠ J♣; 10♠ K♥|
The player-dealer puts up a bank against which the remaining players make wagers.
Each player may take the bank twice in a row, then the button rotates clockwise. A player, in turn, may decline or accept the player-dealer position.
The house dealer deals eight hands (10 for some games), starting with the position to the left of the player-dealer. All hands go directly to the seat position, except for the hand of the player-dealer, which goes directly in front of the house dealer. Hands are not dealt to empty seats. Each player is dealt two cards. All cards are dealt face up, except for the player-dealer’s first card, which is dealt face down. This card is called the hole card.
If the player-dealer hand has an ace or 10-count card up, the house dealer checks the hole card to see whether the hand is a natural. The checking is done with a device that identifies a natural but does not reveal the card to the house dealer. If the player-dealer has a natural, all player hands lose, except for a player who also has a natural. In that case, it is a push (tie), and no chips change hands. If the player-dealer does not have a natural, players act on their hands in turn, clockwise, beginning with the seat to the left of the player-dealer.
Players have the option to stand, hit, double down or split based on the total of their hand. Players must hit any total 11 or less and stand on any 21. A natural is paid 6:5. For totals 12 through 20, players have the option of hitting or standing. Players are not allowed to touch their cards. They must indicate their intention by hand action or verbal request.
The player-dealer has no option, in that the player-dealer must stand on hard 17 or higher and hit soft 17 or lower.
A player may double-down on the first two cards only, regardless of hand total (except for a natural). The player is dealt one card face down after doubling the size of the wager.
A player may split any two cards of the same value to form two new hands, each played separately. Cards ace through 9 can be split, as well as any two cards of value 10. For example, all of the following can be split: A♠ A♦; 9♠ 9♥; J♠ J♣; 10♠ K♥. To split, the player must put an amount equal to the original bet on each card and then receives one card on each card, after which the house-dealer deals one card face up to the first hand. After the player has completed action on the first hand (hit or stand) the house-dealer then deals to the second hand. Exception: Split aces are dealt only one card each, face down.
Only the original two cards can be split. An ace and a 10 value card do not constitute a natural in a split hand.
The player-dealer pays or collects from player hands clockwise beginning with the hand in an order determined by the player-dealer hole card. The house dealer places an action button in front of the hand determined in this way. An ace in the hole for the player-dealer starts payoff with the first player to the left of the player-dealer; a deuce in the hole starts payoff with the second player to the left of the player-dealer; and so on.
The order in which payoffs are made is important, because if the player-dealer loses his stake, not all player hands may get action. (The commonly used term for this is the bank does not cover.) Also, a hand may not get complete action. Here is an example: The player-dealer puts up a bank of $200. The action button has wagered $100 and the next five players have wagered $50 each. The player-dealer loses the first three hands, paying the action button $100 and the next two wagers of $50 each. The bank is now empty, and the remaining three players get no action on their $50 wagers. It doesn’t matter whether their hands would win or lose against the player-dealer. A player may never win or lose more than the total of the wager.
After a player-dealer has had two opportunities to put up a bank, the next player clockwise has the option of putting up a bank. No player must put up a bank.
The house dealer controls the shuffling and dealing of the cards, orderliness of the game, and the house collections for each hand.
Multiple players may wager on the same hand. There are multiple betting circles for this purpose at each seat. When a player bets on a hand and is not seated at that location at the table it is called backline betting. Backline bettors frequently stand behind the seated player on whose hand they’re betting but they can also be seated at another seat location. Kum-kum betting (more than one player placing a wager in the same betting circle) is not permitted.
The player with the largest amount wagered determines the play of the hand (whether to hit, stand, split, or double down). If a backline bettor does not wish to split or double down, he can elect to have action only on the amount of his initial wager. In the case of a split, the result would be based only on the outcome of the first hand (the one to the bettor’s right).