Chinese Blackjack, also known as “21-point,” “Ban-Nag,” and “Ban-Luck,” is a variation of standard blackjack which originates from Southeast Asia. Two standard decks are used in this version, and the game begins with all players placing their respective bets.
Each player receives two cards facing down. Chinese Blackjack cards are treated the same as in traditional blackjack, with the exception of the aces. This is the main difference in Chinese Blackjack, and the key to winning or losing the game.
Values of an ace card vary, and these values depend on the number of cards a player is holding in his or her hand. Two-card hands give a value of 10 or 11 to an ace card, three-card hands give aces a 1 or 10 value, and four-card hands or higher give the ace card a value of only 1.
Much like other variations of standard blackjack, special card combinations are used which may be called “ban-ban,” “ban-nag,” or “15 points.”
A “ban-ban” is two aces, and pays 3:1. The exception to this rule is if the dealer also has a ban-ban. This is considered a tie, and pays even money. Ban-bans are special because a dealer’s ban-ban beats all other hands.
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A “ban-nag” is the same as a standard blackjack hand, or an ace paired with either a 10, jack, king or queen. This hand results in an immediate payout of 2:1. The exception to this rule is when the dealer also has a ban-nag. This results in a tie, and the player is paid even money. In addition, the ban-nag of a dealer is superior to all hands except for the ban-ban.
The “15 point” hand is exactly what it sounds like. A player with an exact total of 15 points may also call this a “free hand” or “escape hand”. This hand allows the player to choose whether or not to continue playing the current hand, as well as the dealer. When a dealer has a 15 point hand and chooses to end the hand, no one wins, and the cards are recouped for the next hand.
Other than the presence of the above named special card combinations, most of the strategies and rules of standard blackjack apply to Chinese Blackjack. However, in this version, a player with a 5-card hand and who does not bust has a “5-Dragon”, and is paid 2:1. If the dealer reaches a 5-Dragon, players must pay double the initial bets.
When a 5-card hand totals exactly 21, the payout is 3:1. However, a dealer’s 5-card hand that also totals 21 requires players to pay triple their initial bets.
Chinese Blackjack is another fun version of standard blackjack which includes special payout rates for specific card combinations. Becoming familiar with these combinations and employing the correct strategies can greatly increase a player’s winnings and status on a live or online table.
Familiarity with and mastering standard blackjack rules prior to playing variations of the game can greatly increase chances of winning Chinese Blackjack, as basic playing strategies remain the same between the two.