Mines Games Free Bet Blackjack by Evolution Gaming
This blackjack variation first debuted in Las Vegas casinos a decade or so ago. It also became available at many live dealer casinos after Evolution Gaming adapted it for online play in 2019.
The main peculiarity of this variant is that it enables players to double down or split their hands at no cost. Sounds great, right? Well, we hate to break it to you but there is a catch and it nearly triples the house advantage.
The main pitfall of playing Free Bet Blackjack is that if the dealer draws to 22, they push with the player instead of busting. This is basically the same as someone advertising free burger patties while requiring customers to pay thrice than normal for the bread bun.
Rules of Play in Free Bet Blackjack
Expected Return in Free Bet Blackjack
Double Exposure is a unique blackjack variation, also known as Face Up 21 or Dealer Disclosure. The variant is available at multiple landbased casinos across gambling hubs like Reno, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. It has also made it to the virtual realm thanks to software suppliers like Play’n GO and Pragmatic which have adapted the game for online play.
2. Both Dealer Cards Are Exposed but at What Cost?
As the name suggests, both cards of the dealer are dealt face up for players to see before they make any playing decisions. While this sounds amazing, other changes were made to offset the massive advantage this information gives to players. Truth be told, Double Exposure is an amalgamation of some of the worst rules one can possibly find in blackjack.
3. The Dealer Takes All Ties Bar Tied Blackjacks
To begin with, the dealer wins all ties which significantly tips the scales in favor of the house. The only exception to this rule is when both the dealer and the player obtain blackjacks, in which case the player’s natural wins.
4. Blackjacks Pay Even Money
What makes things worse, however, is that blackjacks pay at reduced odds of 1 to 1 rather than at the standard ratio of 3 to 2. Most of the other rules also work to the disadvantage of players. Play’n GO’s version, in particular, offers the following playing conditions. You will find many of the detrimental rules we discussed earlier on this list.
- Six decks are reshuffled after every round.
- The dealer must stand on all totals of 17.
- Players cannot resplit.
- Split aces receive only one additional card.
- Doubling down is possible only on hard totals of 9, 10, and 11.
- Players cannot double down after splitting.
- Two-card totals of 21 after splitting count as regular 21 rather than blackjacks.
- Players cannot buy insurance for obvious reasons.
5. Pragmatic Play’s Version Is Worse
As difficult as it is to believe, some online variations of Double Exposure offer even poorer rules than those described above. Such is the case in Pragmatic Play’s version of the game where you can play up to three betting spots simultaneously. The expected return to player is even lower as you shall see shortly.
- Pragmatic’s version uses 5 standard decks.
- The dealer must draw to soft 17.
- Surrendering, resplitting, and hitting split aces are disallowed.
- Players cannot split unlike ten-value cards, eg. K/J, 10/Q, J/Q.
- Doubling down is allowed only on 9, 10, and 11, including on soft totals.
- Players can double down after splitting pairs.
All of the other rules coincide with those in the Play’n GO version, which is to say the dealer wins all ties bar tied blackjacks and naturals pay at lower odds of 1 to 1. The only favorable rule featured in this version is that players are allowed to double down after splits.
6. BGaming’s Version Has the Best Odds
Younger software studio BGaming also released a version of Double Exposure in early 2018 and surprisingly, it comes with the lowest house edge out of all variations we have so far discussed. The majority of the rules coincide with those in the Play’n GO version, the only difference being here you have eight full decks in play rather than six.
7. Expected Return in Double Exposure
The expected return of Double Exposure is subpar compared to that in standard blackjack where you get to see only one of the dealer’s cards. The dealer taking ties and the even-money payouts on blackjacks, combined with the rigid doubling and splitting rules, boost the house edge to nearly one percent in Play’n GO’s variation.
|Theoretical Return and House Edges in Double Exposure
If you do insist on playing Double Exposure, we recommend you go for the variation developed by BGaming as it carries the lowest house edge (0.70%) out of the three. This will cost you less money as you will lose ¢0.70 per every hundred dollars wagered on average.
Pragmatic Play has released the most expensive version thus far as players can anticipate long-term theoretical losses of $1.20 per every hundred dollars they risk on average. Play’n GO’s version is slightly better as you will lose a little less than a dollar per every hundred dollars wagered.
It is worth stressing that the return percentages listed above are only accurate if you play with perfect basic strategy for Double Exposure. With that said, the strategy is vastly different from that for conventional blackjack where the player’s decisions are based only on their card total and the value of the dealer’s exposed card.