Super Fun 21 Blackjack – Not Fun?
I recently received a question about the blackjack variation called Super Fun 21 Blackjack. I figured I’d post the question and answer here for others that may be interested in this game. I’ll also be looking to add more question and answer type of posts in the future.
First let’s take a look at the typical rules for Super Fun 21…
Super Fun 21 Rules
1. Dealer typically will hit on Soft 17.
2. Player may double after splitting (including aces).
3. Player may split up to four hands (including aces).
4. Player may hit or double down on split aces.
5. Play may double after hitting.
6. Player may surrender anytime (even after doubling).
7. A player’s six cards totaling 20 or less is an automatic win (except after doubling).
8. A player’s five cards or more totaling 21 pays 2-to-1 (except after doubling).
9. A player blackjack is an instant winner (even if the dealer has blackjack).
10. Blackjacks pay even money.
Okay, so now onto the question…
Super Fun 21 Strategy – Q & A
Would you surrender after doubling down against a 4, 5, or 6 if you
don’t make a hand above 17?
I’m assuming that the dealer will only bust out less than half the
time even with these cards. I’m thinking my analysis doesn’t fully
account for all expected values, so that’s why I’m confused.
Blackjack Instructor’s Answer:
To answer your question, it would depend on the count if you’re card counting. This is because an extremely high positive count would increase the dealer’s odds of busting. If you’re not card counting, then this is a bit trickier than you might have thought. Let’s make an example…
Say you’re facing a dealer’s 6 on a Super Fun 21 double deck game and your double has fallen short of 17 (as mentioned in the question). Now the dealer must bust for you to win. The dealer will bust a 6 roughly 42% of the time. If you played this out 100 times you would win the double 42 times and lose it 58 times. That’s an overall loss of 16 doubles. If you had chosen to surrender all those doubles, then you would have lost the value of 100 original bets (same as 50 doubles). Clearly you would be much worse off surrendering.
Here’s the value of betting $100 and doubling versus a dealer’s 6…
1. If you double, end up with 16 or less, and don’t surrender = $32 loss (expected value)
2. If you double, end up with 16 or less, and surrender = $100 loss (expected value)
Now think about it this way… would you ever surrender a 12-16 versus a dealer’s 6 if it weren’t a double but were your original hand instead? Hopefully the answer is no. So the fact that you have twice as much money on it after doubling shouldn’t change the way you play it. It’s still just a 12-16 versus a 6 at that point.
Super Fun 21 Blackjack Odds
My recommendation to all blackjack players, card counting or not, is to stay away from Super Fun 21. The overall odds of Super Fun 21 are deceivingly poor for the player. Some of the more favorable player rules available in this game can often trick players into thinking the terrible “even money” payment on blackjacks is tolerable. It isn’t.
A quick way to make this clear is to compare the difference in the house edge of a regular blackjack game and a Super Fun 21 blackjack game at a casino like the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The house edge of the Super Fun 21 version of Bellagio’s double deck is roughly 6X as high as that of the regular double deck blackjack (S17, DAS). Hopefully that says enough.