The game referred to as “Chinese Blackjack” is also called 21-point or Hokkien. It is extremely similar in its basic design to traditional casino Blackjack. The game needs a dealer who uses one or two fifty-two card decks of standard playing cards, and there can be any number of players who are working to beat the dealer in a one on one game.
The differences between Chinese Blackjack and traditional Blackjack start with the opening of a game. Chinese Blackjack requires the players to place their bets, then the dealer shuffles the cards and the players receive their two cards, face down from the dealer.
Chinese Blackjack values cards almost identically to traditional Blackjack with only a few exceptions:
The face cards of the Jack, Queen and King are valued at ten
The two through ten cards hold their face value
If a player has two cards in their hand an Ace is equal to ten or eleven
A player who holds three can value their Ace at ten or one
If a player holds for or more cards than the Ace can only be valued at one.
After the dealing is done all players, including the dealer, must check their hands for special winning combinations. These are:
Two Aces equals a “Ban-Ban” – this means the player has won the bet they placed, which is tripled. The dealer must pay the bet immediately, unless they too have a “Ban-Ban” or a “free hand”. A dealer getting “Ban-Ban” has won the hand and all bets are tripled, unless a player too has “Ban-Ban” or a free hand.
A “free hand” is derived by a two card hand that equals fifteen. A dealer who gets a free hand does not pay a “Ban-Ban” to any players. The dealer with a free hand may also decide to end the game, collect the cards and begin a new game. Players with a free hand may decide to continue with the game or are free to exit with their bet.
An Ace plus a ten, Jack, King or Queen equals a “Ban-Luck” – This wins a player double their bet, unless the dealer has a “Ban-Ban”, “Ban-Luck” or free hand. When a dealer receives a “Ban-Luck” all players’ bets are doubled, unless they too have “Ban-Luck” or a free hand.
After checking for special combinations the players take their turn, and depending upon their hands they can either take more cards (“hit”), or hold where they are (“stand”). If a player should total more than twenty-one they have “bust” and the game is over.
Next it is the dealer’s turn and they too have some choices about “hitting”, “standing” and some additional benefits. This can include revealing a player’s hand if it has not yet been shown, busting, or tying with a player or two. Once a dealer has settled with all the players, the cards are collected and the dealer reshuffles and a new game begins.