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Suit ‘em Up Blackjack

There are two different ways in which blackjack games can stand out from the crowd. The first is by playing around with the rules to find a unique combination that players haven’t seen before. This can be anything from altering the number of decks or the rules for doubling down to radical changes that lead to variants like Super Fun 21 and Pontoon.

The other alternative is to ad side bets that give your game a distinctive flavor. That’s been the strategy of NYX Gaming, which has created a number of different blackjack options that all use the same rules when it comes to the main game. However, each comes with a different side wager that gives a unique flavor to each offering. One example is Suit ‘em Up Blackjack, which offers a simple but elegant way to give players a chance to win more money: just match the suit of your two starting cards, and you’ll take home some extra cash before the hand even starts.

How to Play

As we’ve said, NYX Gaming appears to have a common set of rules for many of their blackjack games, and this one is no different. With that in mind, let’s go over the rules and general game flow, which will help you play many of the different versions offered by this developer.

In this version, you’ll be playing with cards that are dealt out of a shoe that includes six full decks of standard playing cards. Each round starts with the player making a bet; in the case of this game, you have the option of playing up to three hands at once, each for its own bet. There is also the option to play a side bet, which we’ll talk about in a later section.

At the start of the round, each hand will be dealt two cards. For the players, both cards will be face up, while the dealer gets one up, and one down (known as the hole card). The object of the game is to make a hand that will beat the dealer. The best score possible is a 21; hands are ranked by how close they are to 21 without going over. Every card will contribute points towards your score: numbered cards are worth their printed value, face cards are worth ten, and aces may count as either 11 or 1, depending on what is best for your hand.

The best possible starting hand is an ace and a ten-point card, which is known as a blackjack. This hand never loses, and only a dealer blackjack can push with it. If the dealer does not have one, then a player blackjack pays out at 3-2 odds.

Should the dealer start with a ten or an ace showing, they will check their hole card to make sure they haven’t made a natural 21 themselves. In the case of an ace, the dealer will also offer insurance. This option bet costs half the amount of your initial hand wager, and pays out at 2-1 if the dealer actually does have a blackjack. In other words, it protects your hand should this happen, as you’ll end up breaking even thanks to having insurance.

If the dealer does have a blackjack, the hand ends immediately, and all player hands (except for their own blackjacks) lose. In all other cases, players now have the option of playing out their hands. There are a number of decisions players can make at various points during play, some of which are always available, and some that can only be utilized at the start of the hand. Here’s a rundown of what you might choose to do:

  • Hit: At any time, you may choose to take another card, adding it to your hand score.
  • Stand: At any time, you may choose to stand, meaning you’ll stick with your hand as is for the rest of the round.
  • Double Down: This option is only available on your initial two-card hand, and in this version of the game, may only be chosen if your hand score is 9, 10, or 11. If you choose to double down, you must make a second bet equal in size to your initial wager, after which you will receive exactly one more card. Your hand will then stand automatically, with no further play available.
  • Split: If you have two cards of the same rank, you will have the option of splitting them into two separate hands, each of which will be played for a full bet. Each hand will get a second card, after which you can play them as normal. Splitting is only allowed once per hand. Note that if you split aces, a 21 that results is not considered a blackjack.

You can play out every hand in this manner until one of two things happens: either you stand, or your hand reaches a total of 22 or more. If the latter should happen, your hand will “bust,” and all bets made on it will lose immediately.

Once all player hands have been played out, the dealer will get their turn to make decisions for their own hand. First, the dealer reveals their hole card. After that, they must follow a couple of simple rules. If the dealer has 16 or less, then they will hit; if they have 17 or more, they stand.

Should the dealer bust, then all remaining player bets pay out at even money (except for blackjacks, which pay at 3-2 odds as described above). If the dealer stands, then their score is compared to that of each player hand. If the player hand is higher, all bets win at even money odds; if the dealer has the better score, then all bets are lost. In the case of a tie, all wagers push.

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Suit 'em Up Blackjack

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The Side Bet

At the start of each hand, players also have the chance to take the optional Suit ‘em Up side bet. This game is simple: you’ll win if your first two cards are of the same suit, and lose if they are not. That means the bet is resolved immediately after hands are dealt, and there’s no strategy involved in deciding whether or not you make money when you play.

Not all suited hands are created equally, however. Depending on what two cards you have, you may have the opportunity to win various payouts as follows:

  • Two Suited Cards: 2-1
  • Suited Eleven: 3-1
  • Suited Pair: 5-1
  • Suited blackjack: 10-1
  • Suited Aces: 50-1

Making the Most of Your Play

One of the great things about Suit ‘em Up Blackjack is the fact that the ruleset is pretty player friendly. There are a mix of rather favorable variations at work here, and the result is a game that has a house edge of just 0.37%.

Of course, you’ll need to play a perfect basic strategy in order to get those excellent odds. It’s not very difficult to find charts that you can use to guide your play in order to ensure you aren’t making any errors that are costing you money. And if you’d like an even simpler way to jump into the action, we’re happy to provide a simple strategy that – while not exactly perfectly aligned with optimal strategy – will ensure you steer clear of any major mistakes.

The following idea is an adapted version of a strategy first proposed by Michael Shackleford. Note that a soft hand is one in which an ace can still be counted as 11 points; all other hands are “hard.” In order to use this guide, just find the description of your hand, and make the decision indicated. It’s that simple!

Hard Hands

  • Eight or Less: Always hit.
  • Nine: Double down against a dealer 6 or less; hit against a 7 or higher.
  • 10-11: Double down if your total is more than what the dealer is showing; otherwise, hit.
  • 12-16: Stand against a dealer 6 or less; hit against a 7 or higher.
  • 17 or More: Always stand.

Soft Hands

  • 17 or Less: Always hit.
  • 18: Stand against a dealer 6 or less; hit against a 7 or higher.
  • 19 or More: Always stand.

Pairs

  • Always split eights and aces.
  • Never split fours, fives, or tens.
  • Other pairs: Split against a dealer 6 or less; do not split against a 7 or higher.

In addition, you should never take insurance. By following these rules, you should avoid any major errors and stay within a couple tenths of a percent of the optimal returns on this game.

As we said earlier, there is no strategy to use in the side bet. However, the overall odds in the Suit ‘em Up game are not that bad, by the standards of bonus bets: overall, the house edge is a pretty reasonable 4.65%.

A Fun Game in an Attractive Package

Overall, we have to give high marks to this title. Not only is this a version of blackjack that offers excellent odds to players, but it also presents this casino classic in an attractive and intuitive way, making it easy and fun to play. The aesthetics are very modern, and the voice prompts are professional and pleasant to listen to. The layout might take some getting used to compared to more conventional online representations of the table, but that shouldn’t take more than a couple hands to get over. We’ll also note that the action is a tad on the slow side, though we can’t imagine this will cause too many problems for the vast majority of players.

All told, Suit ‘em Up Blackjack is a game that seems accessible to both novices and serious gamblers alike. If you’re looking for a new online version of 21 to play, we’d highly recommend checking out this title – or one of the many other versions offered by NYX, such as Lucky Lucky or Lucky Ladies.

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