The gambling world is filled with blackjack variations. Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, and Super Fun 21 are just some of the available variations.
Of course, you’ve probably heard of these games at some point or another. They’re common at online casinos and even available in some land-based establishments.
Have you heard of Mega blackjack, though? If not, then you’re definitely not alone.
Mega Blackjack is much more obscure in the gambling industry. But as I’ll cover below, it’s a fun game that’s worth a try.
Brief History of Mega Blackjack
Mega Blackjack definitely doesn’t rank as high as Spanish 21 or Blackjack Switch in terms of popularity. But there’s good reason for this — the Mega variation has only been around for a few years.
They’ve had success with this game and continue offering it at various casinos across the United States.
As for AGS, they’re a game developer that first started out in the Class II Native American market. They’ve since expanded beyond just providing Class II games and now provide a variety of table games and Class III (e.g. slots) machines.
Mega Blackjack Rules
If you’ve played classic real money blackjack before, you shouldn’t have much trouble adjusting to the Mega version. It follows standard rules for the most part.
However, Mega Blackjack does have some unique rules that you should know beforehand. Here are both the standard and more-unique points of the game:
- 6 decks
- Dealer hits a soft 17.
- Dealer peeks for a natural blackjack with an ace or 10 upcard.
- Double down after splitting (DAS) is allowed.
- Players can re-split up to four hands.
- Gamblers can resplit aces.
- No surrender is available.
- Normal winning hands pay 1:1.
- A natural blackjack normally pays 3:1 (casinos can adjust these payouts).
- A winning suited A-K natural blackjack pays 5:1.
- If the dealer busts with 4+ cards, then the player pushes.
- Players receive a 3:2 payout for drawing to 21 (includes splits & double downs).
- These games can feature the “Buster Blackjack” side bet (wager on how many cards the dealer needs to bust).
Rules such as six decks, dealers hitting a soft 17, and DAS are quite common throughout gaming. Mega Blackjack differs, though, through a few specific rules.
First off, a natural pays 3:1 under normal circumstances. It pays even more for a suited A-K natural at 5:1. Most blackjack variations only pay either 3:2 or 6:5 for a natural.
The other big change involves specific dealer bust outs. You automatically win in this circumstance no matter what in other blackjack games. However, the Mega version sees you push when the croupier busts with four or more cards.
How to Play Mega Blackjack
Other than its unique rules, Mega Blackjack plays just like classic 21. You place your bet before a hand like normal and have the same available actions (hit, stand, double down, and split).
The Buster Blackjack bet presents one slight nuance. You have the option to make this side wager along with your regular bet before a hand.
As covered earlier, natural blackjacks pay differently in this game. You also push when the dealer busts out with 4+ cards.
But these rules don’t affect the actual process of playing Mega Blackjack. If you’ve played any other variation before, you should be perfectly comfortable with this one.
Mega Blackjack Strategy
The strategy for Mega Blackjack doesn’t differ tremendously when compared to other games. It does, however, contain some minor discrepancies.
The good news is that you can easily find strategy charts that cover this game. A simple search for a “Mega Blackjack strategy chart” will provide all the strategy you need.
I suggest going over your chart before hitting the casino. After all, you don’t want the dealer and/or other players getting mad because you keep referring to this resource on every hand.
Mega Blackjack House Edge
Mega blackjack is an appealing game when you want a new variation to play. After all, it features large natural blackjack payouts and a fun side bet.
The number of decks in play and whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17 (they normally hit) can influence the house advantage. But even with a 1.32% house advantage, Mega Blackjack gives you a stronger chance to win than the average table.
Many blackjack games in land-based casinos feature between a 1.5% and 2% house advantage. These same tables usually only pay 6:5 for a natural (raises house edge by 1.4% versus 3:2 payouts).
An 1.32%, or even 0.82%, house edge isn’t the absolute best that you’ll find in gambling. But it’s pretty good on a broader spectrum.
Pros of Playing Mega Blackjack
This game offers a few notable advantages over classic 21 and other variations. Below, you can see the biggest benefits of Mega Blackjack.
Relatively Low House Edge
Again, the Mega Blackjack house edge ranges from 0.82% to 1.32%. Obviously you want the former figure, but you can’t go wrong either way.
By comparison, French roulette gives you the strongest chance to win out of any roulette variation with a 1.35% house edge.
You do need to use optimal strategy to achieve the lowest house advantage. Luckily, you won’t have much difficulty in finding a strategy chart for this game.
Large Natural Payouts
Natural blackjacks are always exciting, because they typically offer you either a 3:2 or 6:5 pay out. Both of these payoffs are bigger than the 1:1 standard for winning hands.
But Mega Blackjack gives you even more reason to get excited. It offers 3:1 for a regular natural or even 5:1 for a suited AK natural. These payouts spice up the action and give you a chance to turn a $10 bet, for example, into a $30 or $50 win.
Blackjack doesn’t really need any more variations. After all, it currently features more than a dozen different games.
But if you’re somebody who likes variety in your blackjack experience, then you’ll really appreciate another quality game.
Mega Blackjack isn’t just another variation either. It has unique rules that make it stand out from the pack.
Cons of Playing Mega Blackjack
You may be interested in trying this game based on what’s been covered so far. However, I urge you to consider the possible downsides before running out and looking for it.
Blackjack will never be as volatile as slot machines in any form. But Mega Blackjack does involve more variance than the average blackjack variant.
On the plus side, it sees you win large natural payouts. The downside, though, is that the dealer pushes when busting with 4+ cards.
The latter occurrence happens around 1 out of every 9 hands. You’re robbed of a guaranteed payout each time it happens.
The fewer regular payouts counteract the enhanced 3:1 and 5:1 natural payouts to some degree.
If you’re all about increasing your chances of winning, then you no doubt study strategy when playing a new blackjack game. Of course, you must learn new strategy for Mega Blackjack.
The charts for this game are readily available on different websites. But as mentioned before, casinos and players frown on you checking a chart for every decision.
You may ultimately embrace learning new strategy. On the other hand, you might not enjoy mastering another chart if you’re already well-versed with classic 21.
Not Widely Available
Odds are, you won’t walk into your local casino and find Mega Blackjack. You also won’t find it at online casinos either (at least not now anyways).
This game is only a few years old and still slowly spreading throughout casinos. It’s available in Las Vegas and some other casinos but still isn’t heavily prevalent throughout gambling.
Mega Blackjack presents a fun take on a classic game. It amps up the excitement by delivering larger natural blackjack payouts.
The downside to these bigger payouts is that you push when the dealer busts out in certain circumstances. But you still get fair odds with this game in comparison to other blackjack variations.
The big matter involves actually finding Mega Blackjack. If you can find this game, you should certainly consider playing a few hands or more.