Burn 20 Blackjack

Burn 20 Blackjack logo

Burn 20 Blackjack offers a new spin on traditional blackjack by removing the best hands from the dealer’s arsenal, along with a few other important adjustments to the rules. So, for those that love a good blackjack variation and find yourself circling Downtown Las Vegas as your next vacation destination, this page provides a comprehensive walkthrough of Burn 20 Blackjack.

You’ll find a breakdown of the different rules and gameplay structure. Use our casino guide and find where Burn 20 Blackjack is played. Learn the basic blackjack strategy that is designed to give you better chances of winning and turning the edge to your advantage.

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Rules and How to Play

Playing BlackjackBurn 20 Blackjack is based on traditional blackjack, so unless otherwise stated, the rules remain the same across both games.

The main action begins with players placing a mandatory ante bet before each hand, the objective of the game is to reach a total of 21 or closest to it without going over or “busting,” and making a “blackjack” (any 10 value card plus an ace) results in an automatic winner.

Decks & Cards

The standard 52 card deck of playing cards is used in Burn 20 Blackjack, and each card between 2 and 10 holds the same value as its numerical rank. All face cards (J, Q, K) are valued at 10, and aces hold a variable value of either 1 or 11 depending on the situation. Burn 20 Blackjack is played with a six deck shoe.

Burn 20 Blackjack Rules

Burn 20 Blackjack was formed by changing some of the basic rules of ordinary blackjack, so we’ll cover each important aspect of the gameplay individually, explaining the rule itself before covering exactly how it affects the overall experience:

#1

When Dealer Holds Hard 20, Must Discard Hand and Draw Replacement Cards

This is the main rule change which defines Burn 20 Blackjack. Whenever the dealer shows a 10 value card as their up card, they will use the hole card scanner to check the value of their down card. Should this down card be revealed to be another 10 value card, the dealer must discard the hand and draw two replacement cards from the shoe.

#2

When Dealer Holds Suited Blackjack, Must Discard Hand and Draw Replacement Cards

An extension of the first rule, this means that whenever the dealer shows a 10 value as their up card and the card scanner reveals an ace of the same suit as their down card, the suited blackjack must be discarded and replaced. On the same note, whenever the dealer has discarded a suited blackjack in this fashion, and their replacement cards form a blackjack (suited or unsuited), this hand must also be discarded.

#3

Dealer Continues Discard Process Until They Don’t Hold a Hard 20 or Blackjack

Following a dealer discard, the dealer will repeat the same process described by the rules above, with the point being that they can never hold a hard 20 total, a suited blackjack, or a blackjack following a discard.

#4

When Dealer Makes 22 Total, All Non-Blackjack Hands Are Declared to Pushes

The game compensates for offering the favorable rules regarding dealer discards by giving the house a built-in Whenever the dealer busts but lands on a total of exactly 22, players with hands still live will receive their wager back as a push. Instead of winning with an 18 as the dealer busts, when they make a 22, your winning hand actually becomes a wash.

#5

The Dealer Must Hit on Soft 17’s

When the dealer holds a hand totaling 17 which includes an ace, more commonly known as a “soft 17” because the value is variable at this time, the dealer has no other option but to hit and take another card. This is a basic element of “European” blackjack, and over the long run, the dealer being forced to hit on soft 17s slightly benefits the house.

#6

Making Blackjack is an Automatic Win with a 3 to 2 Payout

Whenever your first two cards form a blackjack – any ace combined with a 10 value card – your hand will be deemed an automatic winner. Just like the typical game of traditional blackjack, the payout when you make the game’s best hand stands at 3 to 2 on your wager.

#7

Players Can Split Aces; Split Aces Receive One Card Each

When your first two cards are both aces, you can elect to split the hand and form two separate hands (by doubling your wager). When you do decide to split aces, however, each new hand will receive no more than one card.

#8

Players Can Double Down on Any Number of Cards, EXCEPT After Splitting Aces

Players are permitted to double down at any point in the hand, no matter how many cards they currently hold, but only when they haven’t split aces to begin with. This is a more player friendly option than is found in traditional blackjack, which limits doubling down to your first two cards, and most variants, which usually let you double down on up to three cards only.

#9

Players May Not Surrender

The surrender option, in which players can elect to forfeit the hand in exchange for one-half of their wager being returned, is not available in Burn 20 Blackjack.

#10

Insurance Pays 2 to 1

Players may elect to use the insurance option.

Best Places to Play Burn 20 Blackjack

Binions Casino and HotelAt this point in time, it appears that Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel, located in Downtown Las Vegas, is the only venue to have ever offered Burn 20 Blackjack.

The game has yet to be adapted for online casino play, but as the industry grows and acquires additional rights to gaming concepts like Burn 20 Blackjack, this may change.

The current status of Burn 20 Blackjack at Binion’s is undetermined, so if you plan on making a trip to Fremont Street anytime soon, feel free to call the casino and ask for the table games manager, before inquiring as to whether or not you can still find tables in use.

Burn 20 Blackjack Strategy

Number of Blackjack DecksBurn 20 Blackjack is based on the traditional form of the game, which means this new variant can be broken down and analyzed on the same mathematical basis.

With a limited amount of information at your disposal, namely your two cards and the dealer’s up cards (along with any discards), the possible decisions available given any scenario can always be assessed according to statistical probability. This means that the same basic strategy charts used by savvy blackjack players, which help govern the game’s closest decisions, can also be constructed for Burn 20 Blackjack.

Thankfully, the preeminent casino game theorist and expert on statistical probability known as the “Wizard of Odds” online has undertaken the task of devising an optimal strategy chart for this obscure blackjack variant. You can head to the Wizard’s page on Burn 20 Blackjack to read through the chart for yourself, and using the information there follows the same precepts as the basic blackjack charts sold in gift shops across the country.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

One of the most pivotal aspects of casino game strategy is based on the concept of house edge. Fundamentally, the term house edge describes the theoretical rate of return that the casino expects to gain on any available wager. When using the rules of traditional blackjack, a player who no grasp whatsoever on basic strategy will be up against a house edge of approximately 1.5 percent. Put another way, for every $100 this player wagers over the infinite long run, the casino can expect to keep $1.50 of that amount.

Basic Blackjack Strategy table 3D

When optimal blackjack strategy is put into play, however, skilled players can instantly cut their house edge down to under 0.50 percent – which makes regular blackjack one of the most favorable bets on any casino floor. When compared to other popular games like roulette (5.26 percent house edge on double zero wheels), and most hybrid table games like Three Card Poker (between 3 and 7 percent), it’s immediately clear why blackjack is so popular all over the world.

OUSC Recommendation

One of the best parts about playing Burn 20 Blackjack is that this variant preserves the inherent appeal of a low variance, low volatility game. Rather than juicing up the house edge under the guise of entertaining rule changes, Burn 20 Blackjack creates a fun new experience for players, while still offering a house edge of just 0.80 percent. Of course, this number assumes that you’ll be employing proper strategy, so be sure to study the Wizard’s basic strategy charts. However, when you do, this game offers a house edge on par with traditional blackjack. This really is the best thing a casino gambler can ask for. You can also learn how to play from About.com.

Brief History

The original trademark application for a casino table game known as “Burn 20 Blackjack” was filed by Customized Games Limited in 2011.

Shortly thereafter, the blackjack variant made its debut at the Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel, located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. At this point, it does not appear that Burn 20 Blackjack became popular enough to warrant additional contracts with other casino properties, so Binion’s may be the only location regularly making the game available.