There is an abomination of a Blackjack game out there that is known as, ‘Super 21,’ and alternatively known as, ‘Super Fun 21.’ While the game is intriguing to many players in that it has rules that are generally considered player favorable, (and would be on any other Blackjack game) the game both sucks and has a greater house edge working against the player due to the fact that the majority of Blackjacks only pay even money.
Despite the fact that Super 21, in whatever form, has a house edge worse than most other games of Blackjack, it is a staple of several casinos and can also be found at many online casinos powered by Realtime Gaming software. Granted, the variety of options that this game presents can understandably make it fun for a player to play, but when having such fun, a savvy player will always be asking the question, ‘How much is this fun affecting my wallet?’
The casino is also asking that question, which is why they are more than happy to spread this abomination of a Blackjack game. Even the Playtech version has a house edge in excess of 1%, (RTP of 98.94%) so that should leave little to no doubt that this game should not be played?
Have you made it this far?
You really shouldn’t be considering playing this game, but since you made it this far, we might as well discuss the rules:
Unlike Spanish 21 (a.k.a. Match Play 21, Pontoon) this game is not so far removed from the game of blackjack as to be considered a completely separate game. This game is close to having that distinction placed upon it, but it shares enough rules with standard blackjack that it can rightfully be considered a variant standard blackjack. In fact, if any rule is not specifically mentioned throughout this article, then it is safe to assume that it is the same as in standard blackjack.
As we hinted at above, this game pretty much trades a bunch of rules that are favorable for the player, or at least, would otherwise be and derives its (often huge) house edge by way of the fact that blackjacks generally only pay even money.
The game can be played with one, two or six decks, the House Edge is lower the fewer the number of decks with which the game is played.
The dealer generally hits a soft 17, however, it would be a beneficial rule for the player if the dealer were to stand on soft-17. The dealer also hits soft-17 on the Realtime Gaming version.
We will now list the player-friendly rules:
-The player can double after splitting.
-The player can split up to four hands. (Two resplits)
-The player may hit or double down split aces.
-The player may double on any number of cards
-The player may surrender on any number of cards
-The player may surrender his original wager after doubling (similar to Spanish 21) and if the player does, the player will lose the sum of his/her original wager only.
-A player hand total of twenty or less, except after doubling, automatically wins if it consists of six cards.
-A player total of 21 with five or more cards automatically wins and pays double the amount wagered as long as the player has not doubled.
-A player natural always wins, and a natural in diamonds pays 2:1 with others being even money.
While a player natural automatically winning seems like a good rule, it’s actually not. It’s important for a player to keep in mind that, as annoying as it is when a dealer draws a natural against a player’s natural, that doesn’t happen very often. Even paying 2:1 on a diamond natural does not come close to making up for the fact that blackjack should always pay 3:2, and it is for that reason that this game can offer rules that would otherwise be so player-favorable.
The house edge depends on the number of decks being played, and this is mostly due to deck composition strategies predicated upon the effect-of-removal. Ergo, much as with standard blackjack, the fewer the amount of decks, the lower the house edge. However, the effect of fewer decks (in terms of change to the house edge) is not quite as great as it is with standard blackjack and the house edges are as follows based on the rule set above with the following decks:
1 Deck, Dealer Hits Soft 17: 1.16%
2 Decks, Dealer Hits Soft 17: 1.30%
6 Decks, Dealer Hits Soft 17: 1.40%
There have also been reports of casinos in which this game is spread and the dealer stands on soft-17, however, those reports have not ever been confirmed. What is more likely the case is that there has been a dealer (on one occasion or more) who deals both Super 21 as well as a standard blackjack game in which the dealer stands on Soft-17, and that’s why the dealer is confused and thinks that rule carries over to Super 21 when it actually shouldn’t.
The Realtime Gaming house edge is 1.06% on six decks, but that reduced house edge is because the special, ‘Automatic win,’ pays apply even if the player has doubled.
There is no question that Super 21, or Super Fun 21, is super fun for the casino, and maybe it is even super fun for the player, but it will not be super fun at all for the player’s wallet. Absent a dealer dealing the game improperly, it is difficult to believe that a given casino will not have a better variation of blackjack available at a given bet level, and this is true for both land-based and online casinos. One case in point is Realtime Gaming, for whom this is the worst blackjack game that they offer.
This game basically crosses Spanish 21 (also known as Match Play 21 or Pontoon) and Standard Blackjack and comes up with a mishmash that is not quite as fun as Spanish yet has a greater house edge working against the player. In fairness, Super Fun 21 is far from the worst game in the casino with a house edge lower even than the Pass Line bet at Craps assuming perfect strategy, but it is certainly not the best Blackjack game that a player will be able to find. If you’re absolutely determined to play an unusual Blackjack variation, Realtime Gaming has plenty, and all of them have a lower house edge than this one.