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21 Duel Blackjack



21 Duel Blackjack is a variant of the standard Blackjack. It is a cross between Blackjack and Texas Hold ‘Em poker, with community cards being shared by both the player and the dealer and uses 6 standard decks of playing cards.

We are currently only aware of 21 Duel Blackjack being offered online by Playtech casinos.

Play Structure

Player places an Ante wager is dealt 1 card face up and one card face down and dealer is dealt 2 cards face down. 2 community cards are dealt face up. The player can select one of the community cards to play with the card in their hand – which costs an additional wager equal to the Ante bet - or chooses to Fold losing their Ante bet. If the player selects one of the community cards they are then given the choice whether to Hit which turns over their face down card and increases the score of their hand or Stand and discard their face down card retaining the current score of their hand.

The dealer will then reveal one of their face down cards and select a community card to play with. The community card selected is based on which hand total would appear highest in the following table;

2 Card Score Possible Hand Compositions
21 Blackjack (an Ace and a Ten)
20 A9, TT
19 A8, T9
11 92, 83, 74, 65
10 82, 73, 64, 55
9 72, 63, 54
18 99, T8, A7
17 98, T7, A6
Soft 16 A5
Soft 15 A4
Soft 14 A3
Soft 13 A2
Soft 12 AA
8 62, 53, 44
7 52, 43
6 42, 33
5 32
12 T2, 93, 84, 75, 66
13 T3, 94, 85, 76
14 T4, 95, 86, 77
15 T5, 96, 87
16 T6, 97, 88
4 22

To give an example of the above rules; if the dealer has a 9 in their hand and the community cards are a 2 or a T the dealer will go with the T making a hand of 19, which is above a hand of 11 which could have been formed with the 2.

If the combined total of the dealer’s hand card and community card is 16 or lower they will turn their second card over and add it to their total.


How the results are decided and Payouts

As with Blackjack the basic objective is to get closer to the total of 21 than the dealer without going over and this is how the results of the hand are decided. There are two fundamental differences to the standard Blackjack system;

1.       A Blackjack counts only as 21 and can be pushed by any other 21.

2.       To qualify the dealer has to have a total of 13 or more. If the dealer does not qualify the player automatically wins even if their total is lower than the dealer’s.

This leaves 4 potential payout situations;

1.       The Player Folds and loses their Ante bet.

2.       The Player continues to play but the dealer does not qualify. This results in a 1 to 1 payoff on the Ante bet and a push on the community card bet.

3.       The Player continues to play and busts, or the dealer qualifies and has a higher total than the player. This results in the player losing both their Ante and community card bet.

The player continues to play, the dealer qualifies and the player has a higher total. This results in a 1 to 1 payout  on both the Ante and community card bets.


2Up Side Bet

21 Duel Blackjack also offers the 2Up side bet. This is a wager that the first 3 cards shown on the table (the player’s 1st card and the 2 community cards) will be a pair or 3 of a Kind. The payouts are as follows;

Hand Probability Payout
3 of a Kind 0.005248418 20 to 1
Pair 0.206119697 3 to 1
House Edge 6.53%


Optimal Strategy

You can use the below strategy calculator to play optimally;

You also should not play the 2Up side bet.

An alternative simplified strategy can be found below. This will allow you to achieve a House Edge within 0.03% of optimal.

1. If you have one of the following hands you should Fold. All other hands should be Played. Note that the folded hands have a player upcard of 2-7 and a communal card of 10 or A.

Player Upcard Communal Card 1 Communal Card 2
2 10 5-6
3 10 4-5
4 10 3-4
5 10 2, 7-10
6 10 6-10
7 10 5-7
2 A 5-6, 10
3 A 9-10
4 A 8-10
5 A 7-10
6 A 8

2. When play a hand you should choose the communal card to make the highest two-card rank on the list below:

Soft 16
Soft 15-12
Hard 16 when stand*
Hard 12
Hard 13
Hard 15 when stand*
Hard 14-16 (when hit)

*See stand exceptions in step #3

3. In general you need to hit 16 or less and stand on 17 or greater with the following exceptions:

-Hit soft 17, if one of the communal cards is an ace

-Stand on hard 15-16, if both communal cards are 2-6

-Stand on hard 16, with communal cards of 10 & 2



House Edge*

The House Edge for 21 Duel Blackjack is 1.62% and for the 2Up side bet it is 6.5304%


Fairness Calculator

Below you can find a calculator to allow you to check the fairness of your wins/losses when playing 21 Duel Blackjack.

[FAIRNESS CALCULATOR game_group="bj" software="bj" game="pt_21" game_title="21 Duel Blackjack - part of Playtech"]

*This fairness calculator will assume that you’ve been playing with the optimal strategy detailed above. If you have not then the calculator will NOT return accurate results.



Winning Strategies


As far as we’re aware 21 Duel Blackjack is only offered online at Playtech casinos.


There are several methods of legitimately gaining an advantage playing online 21 Duel Blackjack games. By and large these involve the use of promotions, bonuses and comp point systems as the games by themselves – assuming the game is functioning in a correct fashion and there are no errors in the paytable – will not provide any additional information about the cards and shuffles after every hand.

It should be noted that online advantage play is not specific to 21 Duel Blackjack and in recent years the wagering requirements for player’s choosing to play any table game has inflated to the point that 21 Duel Blackjack is now often a sub-optimal choice for the player. For more information on beating online casinos see

* All ‘House Edge’ figures in this article are based on the ‘loss per unit wagered’ rather than ‘loss per initial bet’.


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