How to Play Chinese Blackjack
Written by Chris
Published date · Aug. 23, 2022 | Last Updated · Oct. 17, 2022 | Read Time: 4 mins
Chinese Blackjack is a popular casino game played across Asia. Traditionally, this variant is played on Chinese New Year, as people believe it helps usher in good luck. It also has some interesting rules. This includes creating unique hands while all players involved become the dealer. With the latter rule in mind, Chinese Blackjack is a game you can play amongst friends. If this sounds like an interesting way to play blackjack, check out how to play Chinese Blackjack below.
What is Chinese Blackjack?
Chinese Blackjack is also known as 21-Point, Ban-Luck (Hokkien), Ban Nang (Cantonese), and Kampung Blackjack (Malaysia). You will find it closely resembles classic blackjack with a few added rules to add to the fun. It is a double-deck game, so you’ll need your 2-deck basic strategy on hand. Plus, you will not play against the house per se. Instead, you’ll play versus the other players seated at the table.
How to Play Chinese Blackjack?
In Chinese Blackjack, players choose one person to act as the dealer while all remaining participants are players. There is no limit to the number of participants, but 5 or 6 players is the recommended norm. You will also need two decks of 52 cards. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand total without going over 21 or to create one of several special hands.
What are the Basic Chinese Blackjack Rules?
Players place their bets before the dealer deals two face-up cards to each player and to the dealer position. Starting from the dealer’s left, have 2 options.
‘Hit’ you will take another card, and it will add to your hand’s total score
‘Stand’ is to stick with the hand total you have
Once all players have taken their turn, the dealer then does the same. Players that bust lose their bet, while players with a higher hand total than the dealer receive a 1-to-1 payout. There are also special hands explained below.
The card values in Chinese Blackjack are almost identical to classic blackjack apart from the Ace. All number cards carry their face value, so 2 = 2 points, 3 = 3 points, and so on. Picture cards carry a value of 10. However, the value of the Ace card varies depending on the number of cards a player has. If a player has just two cards, they can choose a value of 10 or 11 for that card. With 3 cards, the ace value is 1 or 10, and with 4+ cards, the ace carries a value of 1.
What are the Special Card Combinations of Chinese Blackjack?
Players win payouts when they land a lucky starting hand from their first two cards – something not seen in classic blackjack.
A Ban-Nag is the same hand as a natural blackjack (21 from the first two cards) in classic blackjack. This earns the player a 2-1 payout unless the dealer has a Ban-Nag or a Ban-Ban.
If the first two cards are a pair of aces (called a Ban-Ban), the player immediately wins 3-1 on their bet. If the dealer also has a Ban-Ban the hand is a tie resulting in a push (dealer returns the player bet). Players also do not receive 3-1 if the dealer has an ‘Escape Hand.’
The ‘Escape Hand’ is otherwise known as 15 points. This occurs when a player or the dealer has a starting hand value of 15. In both cases, the player or the dealer has the option to continue or to resign their hand. If a player resigns, they receive their bets back. If the dealer resigns, the round between the player and dealer ends with all bets carried over for a fresh round.
What are the “Lucky Drawn Hands”?
Lucky drawn hands are those that involve more than just the two starting cards. For instance, a player that receives a 7-7-7 from his first three cards will receive a 7-to-1 payout. Another lucky drawn hand is one that contains 5-cards without busting. Called the 5-Dragon, this hand pays 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 if the five cards total 21. This applies to the dealer, too, so players will have to pay the dealer double or triple their bets if the dealer lands the 5-Dragon.
What are the Player and Dealer Options?
There are certain rules that the players and dealers must abide by.
Players must hit with a hand lower than 16. Meanwhile, they have the option to hit or stand for any hand valued between 16 and 20. Anyone with 21 has to stand.
The dealer also has some options. Any hand lower than 16, the dealer must hit. However, if the hand total is 16-20, the dealer can choose a certain number of player hands before deciding whether to hit or stand. If the dealer lands a 21-value hand, all players lose (unless they have special hands). If the dealer busts or has a lower value hand than players, he pays out even money.
What are the Differences with Classic Blackjack?
The core differences between Chinese Blackjack and classic blackjack are the special hands mentioned above. Also, the changing value of the Ace card.
Is it Possible to Play Chinese Blackjack Online?
Unfortunately, Chinese Blackjack is not easy to find in Western online casinos. However, it can feature at online casinos that operate across Asia, but even then, it’s not common. That said, now that you know the rules, you can always play Chinese Blackjack at home with some friends. Alternatively, you can try out the many other blackjack variants available at online casinos in the UK.
So What Next?
The way Chinese Blackjack is set up makes it easy to play amongst friends. Everyone takes turns to deal, and there are various unique rules to spice up the gameplay. Also, if you can find Chinese Blackjack at an online casino played versus the house, it’s worth a try. One thing is for sure, the special hands and varied Ace values make it a fun blackjack variant. For more casino fun, check out our ‘How to Play’ guides covering a variety of fantastic casino table games.