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21st Century Blackjack

21st Century Blackjack (or 21CB) is an exciting, modern adaption of classic blackjack. While the game follows the typical blackjack structure, it also boasts several core differences regarding dealers, going bust, and even jokers.

21CB is designed to offer even more ways to win while also protecting players from harmful situations. Anyone looking for a dynamic version of blackjack (especially with the novel player-dealer setup) should put 21st Century Blackjack at the top of their list.

How to Play

21st Century Blackjack is always played with 8 decks – including jokers – and uses CSMs (continuous shuffling machines) to make card counting impossible. Being dealt 21 (normally called ‘blackjack’) is known as a natural in 21st Century Blackjack. Excitingly, when a player is dealt 1 joker and any other card, this also counts as a natural!

For example, if dealt 3-joker, the joker effectively counts as 18. If dealt two jokers, this is called a “super 21” and even beats the dealer’s natural. At some casinos, a ‘super 21’ also unlocks a bonus jackpot.

Another thrilling change is that going over 21 does not bust for hands up to 25. Instead, once the dealer completes their hand:

  • If their total is less than or equal to the player’s, then the player does lose.
  • If the dealer is further from 21 than the player, it’s a push and the player’s stake is returned.

This transforms any typical blackjack strategy. Bad scenarios like hitting a King on 12 are no longer disasters.

The player-dealer arrangement

But here’s the most shocking change: the house does not act as the dealer. Instead, the game uses player-dealers (also called BANKs) indicated by the dealer token passed around the table. All hands play out as usual, with the dealer playing last, but there are two core differences:

  • When the ‘BANK’ wins a hand, they personally take the winnings, not the house.
  • But if the player wins, the BANK (our player-dealer) personally pays out the winnings

It’s a double-edged sword that could bring huge profit or total ruin to any player, and it’s an integral part of what makes 21st Century Blackjack so enticing and entertaining for players of all levels.

21st Century Blackjack Rules

What’s the same?

Despite its many differences, gameplay in 21st Century Blackjack follows a similar pattern to classic blackjack. There are 8 seats at the table and all players receive two initial cards, face up: the BANK keeps one card face-down.

Starting at the player-dealer’s left, players can choose to double-down, split, hit, or stand as usual. Once all hands are settled, the player-dealer then plays out their hand and all winnings are settled accordingly. But despite all this, there are quite significant differences.

Fundamental gameplay changes

Any player that receives 1 joker is rewarded with an instant natural, or 21. Hitting 2 jokers is known as a ‘super 21 and instantly beats all other hands – even a BANK natural. Players can also reach a total of 25 without going bust: if the BANK goes bust to a higher total, the player’s bet is pushed.

It’s possible to skirt some per-bet limits since players can wager up to 3 separate bets on each hand. This is done by placing chips into each of the 3 ‘betting circles’ on the table. Players can also bet on other players’ hands in the same way; the BANK cannot do this.

If a player volunteers to be BANK, but doesn’t have sufficient cash to pay out all winnings, the house can step in to fund the extra cash. However, the house will also take 50% of any wins, so it’s best for players to only play as BANK if they have ample funds.

Best real money 21st Century Blackjack online casinos


The first major upside to 21st Century Blackjack is that the game fundamentally mirrors the classic game: if you’ve played before, then it’s a smooth transition to 21CB. And where traditional blackjack has become a bit stagnant and boring for many players, 21st Century Blackjack offers refreshing and invigorating variety.

For us, the player-dealer element is an exceptional change. It raises the stakes, makes the game more meaningful and really charges each table’s atmosphere. On the one hand, becoming BANK is a great way for players to leverage house advantage and make a profit. However, with the inclusion of jokers, 8 decks, and no-busts up to 25, this strategy could also result in heavy losses.

If there’s one major downside to the game, it’s the house edge. Basic strategy goes out the window because of the rule changes and card counting is generally impossible with the use of CSMs. Even with traditional shuffling, tracking the true count is meaningless if there’s no applicable strategy to follow.

21st Century Blackjack is an incredible game for beginner and expert players looking to have fun. There’s good volatility and the satisfaction of taking your fellow players’ money as BANK is like nothing else.

But if you’re a committed pro looking to use counting and perfect basic strategy to make incremental, long-term gains, then we recommend sticking with classic blackjack.

  • Published date: 2020-04-19 09:15
  • Modified date: 2020-04-19 09:17