Double Attack Blackjack
Double Attack Blackjack is a somewhat popular game that derives its rules and gameplay from traditional blackjack. It uses various different rules that make it an interesting game to play. One rule allows players to double their wager after the dealer’s up-card is dealt and before the player cards are dealt.
Using this guide you’ll find a detailed walkthrough of the game’s unique rules and structure, complete with comparisons to the rules found in classic blackjack. Read the explanations on how each rule adjustment affects the gameplay experience. After that, we’ll guide through the process of finding the game, both in brick and mortar and online casinos. Get an introduction to the proper strategy needed to excel at Double Attack Blackjack.
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Rules and How to Play
Double Attack Blackjack is an offshoot of traditional blackjack, so unless otherwise noted, the basic rules remain the same across both games.
Thus, all players begin the hand by placing a mandatory ante bet, the objective of the game is to form 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.
Uses A Spanish Deck
One of the primary differences between Double Attack Blackjack and its namesake game is that this new version uses a 48 card deck of playing cards, rather than the standard 52 card variety. Typically referred to as a “Spanish” deck in blackjack parlance, this 48 card deck is created by removing the four 10s. This leaves the cards between 2 and 9, each of which is valued at its numerical rank, followed by the face cards (J, Q, K), which are valued at 10, and the aces, which hold a variable value of either 1 or 11 depending on the situation.
Double Down on Dealer’s Up Card
The other main feature of the game allows players to double their initial wager upon seeing the dealer’s up card. As a partial information game, Double Attack Blackjack permits player’s to capitalize on favorable spots in which the dealer holds a weak up card, and the doubled ante bet can result in increased wagers on subsequent splits and double downs as well.
Double Attack Blackjack Rules
Double Attack Blackjack was devised by implementing a few crucial shifts to the rules and structure of basic blackjack, so below we’ll cover each adjustment individually, explaining the rule itself before touching on the ways it affects your overall gameplay experience:
The Dealer Must Stand on Soft 17’s
At any point when the dealer’s hand forms a total of 17 while including an ace (typically known as a “soft 17” because the value is variable at this time), the dealer will be forced to stand and draw no additional cards. The “stand on soft 17” rule is an element common to “American” blackjack, and over the long run, the dealer standing on soft 17s slightly benefits the player in terms of overall probability.
The Dealer Receives One Up Card to Begin Hand
This rule gives Double Attack Blackjack its name, as the dealer will receive a single up card as the first card dealt from the deck. Upon seeing this up card, players are then allowed to double their original ante wager if they so choose.
Players can Double the Ante Wager Upon Viewing Dealer’s Up Card
To begin each hand, players will place a mandatory ante wager, and then the dealer will distribute a single card face up to themselves. This up card provides the player with an approximate idea of the dealer’s probable hand strength, and in Double Attack Blackjack, players can then elect to double their ante wager before proceeding with the hand.
Players can Split and/or Double Down After a “Double Attack” Bet
On occasions when players decide to double their ante bet, all subsequent decisions to split and/or double down must include the newly sized wager. For example, after making an ante bet of $5, and doubling that to $10 once you’ve seen the dealer’s up card, splitting your hand or doubling down will require an additional wager of $10.
The Dealer Must Peek for Blackjack
Upon receiving their second card, which will be turned face down, the dealer must check their cards to see if they have formed blackjack whenever their up card is an ace or a face card. This can be accomplished the old fashioned way, simply be squeezing the down card and taking a look, or by sliding the down card under a scanning device which is programmed to detect aces or face cards. In the event that the dealer does hold a blackjack, all player bets are claimed by the house – except, of course, players who have made their own blackjack.
A Blackjack is Declared an Automatic Winner at Even Money
On occasions when your first two cards combine to form a blackjack (any ace plus any face card), the hand will be deemed an automatic winner. The payout for blackjacks in Double Attack Blackjack stand at even money, however, and not at the more generous 3 to 2 or 6 to 5 rates found in traditional formats of the game. And when the dealer manages to land a blackjack of their own, all player blackjacks will still be paid out.
Players can Split Aces up to One Time Only
Whenever your two-card starting hand includes identical cards, including aces, you can elect to split the pair up to form two new starting hands. This move requires an additional wager equal to your current ante bet combined with your Double Attack bet, and the dealer will then distribute a single card to complete each of the new hands. When splitting aces, and landing another pair of aces, you won’t be able to re-split, but re-splitting is permitted up to four times when any other card pairs following a split.
Split Aces Receive Only a Single Card
On occasions when you’ve split aces, the dealer will distribute only one card to each of the new hands, and players are not allowed to hit and take additional cards. This rule is similar to the double down rule, which holds that players receive only a single card to complete their hand after doubling down.
Players can Double Down at Any Time
The option to double down, or increase your wager by twice the combined amount of your ante and Double Attack bets, is extended at all times. This means players can double down after splitting, or when holding three or more cards. Any individual hand may be doubled down on only once, so no redoubling is permitted.
Players can Surrender the Hand at Any Time, Even After Splitting or Doubling Down
On occasions when you face an unfavorable situation, based on your cards and the dealer’s up card, you can always opt to surrender the hand. By surrendering, you forfeit all current hands in play, in exchange for one-half of the original ante AND one-half of your Double Attack bet being returned. The surrender option can be used after splitting or doubling down, and in each case, half of your total bet will be returned.
Insurance Pays 5 to 2
Players may elect to take the insurance option, and when the dealer does showdown a blackjack, your insurance bet will be paid out at 5 to 2 odds.
As you can see, Double Attack Blackjack generally sticks to the basic blackjack template, while also shaking things up with the removal of four 10s and the added ability to Double Attack and increase your ante wager.
Evening Out the Playing Field
To offset the player advantage offered by the Double Attack bet, the game’s designers went with a lower even money payout on player blackjacks and removing four 10 value cards from the deck obviously benefits the house.
Bust It Side Bet
In addition to the base game, Double Attack Blackjack also includes the “Bust It” side bet. This side bet requires an additional wager before the start of each hand, and it pays out whenever the dealer happens to go bust holding exactly three cards. Unless the dealer busts with a three card hand, the Bust It side bet is deemed a loser.
Most winning Bust It side bets are paid out based on the dealer’s third card, which will be the card that caused them to go over a 21 total and bust.
In addition, players can also win significant sums on their Bust It side bet when the dealer goes bust holding exactly three 8s.
Bust It Payouts
The following pay table is used for the Bust It side bet, with payouts awarded based on the value of the dealer’s third bust card or an 8 8 8 combination:
|DEALER BUSTS ON||PAYS|
|Dealer has suited 8 8 8|
200 to 1
|Dealer has colored 8 8 8|
50 to 1
|Dealer busts on 6|
15 to 1
|Dealer busts on 7|
10 to 1
|Dealer busts on 8|
8 to 1
|Dealer busts on 9|
6 to 1
|Dealer busts on face card|
3 to 1
Best Places to Play Double Attack Blackjack
As the centerpiece of Xcite Gaming’s hybrid table game portfolio, Double Attack Blackjack is currently authorized and approved for play in the following states and Canadian provinces:
- New Jersey
According to the Xcite Gaming website, Double Attack Blackjack tables can be found in the following casino properties:
- Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada (The Strip)
- El Cortez Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada (Downtown)
- Trump Taj Mahal – Atlantic City, New Jersey
- Harrah’s Resort – Atlantic City, New Jersey
- Showboat Atlantic City Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City, New Jersey
- Tropicana Casino & Resort – Atlantic City, New Jersey
- Fallsview Casino Resort – Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
- Horseshoe Hammond Casino – Hammond, Indiana
For what it’s worth, the Xcite Gaming website doesn’t appear to be regularly updated, so the list of casinos offering Double Attack Blackjack may have grown or shrunk since publication. The game seems to have caught on most prominently in Atlantic City, and it’s very likely that most, if not all, of the casino properties there now spread Double Attack Blackjack.
When it comes to the online casino industry, the game has been adapted by leading software provider Playtech, along with rival developer WagerWorks.
Playtech Online Casinos
A full list of Playtech powered online casino platforms which offer Double Attack Blackjack can be found below:
- 21 Nova
- 50 Stars Casino
- Betfred Casino
- Betfair Casino
- Carnival Casino
- Casino Plex
- Casino Bellini
- Casino Las Vegas
- Casino Tropez
- Casino King
- Casino Stugan
- CORAL casino
- Club Dice Casino
- Eurogrand Casino
- EuroMaxPlay Casino
- Europa Casino
- EuropaPlay Casino
- Everest Casino
- Florijn Casino
- Fly Casino
- Folke Automaten
- Gala Casino
- Gala Sweden
- Genting Casino
- Golden Galaxy Casino
- Imperial Casino
- Jackpot 247 Casino
- King Solomon’s Casino
- Ladbrokes Vegas
- Magic Box Casino
- Mansion Casino
- Mobil Bet
- Noble Casino
- Omni Casino
- Paddy Power Casino
- ParadiseWin Casino
- Poker770 Casino
- Redluck Casino
- Slots Heaven
- Slots Million
- Sports Interaction
- S Casino
- Super Casino
- Titan Casino
- TitanBet Italia
- Vernon’s Casino
- Vegas Red Casino
- VIPStakes Casino
- William Hill Casino Club
- Windows Casino
- Winner Casino
WagerWorks Online Casinos
Finally, if you prefer the WagerWorks software suite, here is a list of online casino brands affiliated with the company which includes Double Attack Blackjack as part of their table games menu:
- 377 Bet Casino
- 888 Casino
- BetClick Casino
- BetReels Casino
- BetVictor Casino
- Casino Euro
- JetBull Casino
- MrGreen Casino
- Paddy Power Casino
- Virgin Casino
Double Attack Blackjack Strategy
The first element of casino game strategy every blackjack player should know, and know well, concerns the concept of house edge.
Simply put, the house edge rate offered by any casino game, or individual wager, defines the player’s expected return when wagering over the infinite long run. Put another way, this percentage equates to the amount of dollars, from every $100 wagered, that the casino can expect to keep.
For a game of chance like roulette, which offers a house edge of 2.70 percent on single zero wheels and 5.26 percent on double zero wheels, the numbers break down as follows.
When betting $100 over the infinite long run on a single zero roulette wheel, you can expect to bring back $97.30 ($100 $2.70 = $97.30). Looking at it from the casino’s perspective, this game provides a profit of $2.70 for every $100 risked by players.
Jumping to a double zero roulette wheel, one which holds an extra “house space” that typically causes players to lose, and your house edge jumps accordingly. On this game, players can expect to bring back only $94.74 on their $100 worth of wagers, while the casino will expect to win $5.26.
By examining the numbers, it’s clear that playing single zero roulette is a far better bet than the double zero alternatives, so players should always seek out games with as low of a house edge as possible.
Blackjack Variants & Their House Edge
Of course, if you’re reading a page on blackjack variants, you probably know by now that traditional blackjack carries one of the lowest house edge rates on the casino floor. For players relying on gut instinct alone, the house edge on ordinary twenty-one stands at a low 1.50 percent on average, while sharp players utilizing optimal strategy can shave the number down to under 0.50 percent.
With that said, any blackjack variant that doesn’t at least approach these favorable house edge rates should be considered a pass by serious blackjack players. After all, why mess with a new game like Double Attack Blackjack when the basic version of twenty-one already offers such a tremendous value?
Offers a Low House Edge
Fortunately for blackjack players looking to preserve their bankrolls while experimenting with new forms of their favorite game, Double Attack Blackjack manages to mimic its namesake by offering a reasonably low house edge of 0.62 percent. The Proper strategy doesn’t preclude savvy players from taking a flier on this new format, and by employing basic strategy, you can still enjoy a great house edge rate which all but matches that found on normal blackjack tables.
Side Bet House Edge
This figure represents the base game only, though, as the Bust It side bet carries a house edge of 8.01 percent. Along with the 12.27 percent house edge attached to the insurance option, both of these add-ons to Double Attack Blackjack should be lumped together in the “sucker bet” category, and sound strategy dictates avoiding both the Bust It side bet and the insurance option at all times.
When it comes to the game’s crucial decision point – whether or not to Double Attack and increase your wager upon seeing the dealer’s up card – Michael Shackleford of the acclaimed Wizard of Odds casino game resource has developed a mathematical guideline to making this pivotal play correctly.
Double Attack Blackjack Basic Strategy
According to Shackleford’s calculations, players should always Double Attack and raise their bet when the dealer’s up card is valued at 2 through 8. The chart below document’s Shackleford’s methodology, as players should only raise when the expected value exceeds zero:
DEALER UP CARD
Finally, for a detailed and accurate basic strategy chart used to govern your decision making (hit/stand/split/double/surrender) during the course of each hand, you can check out Shackleford’s basic strategy for Double Attack Blackjack.
Double Attack Blackjack History
The hybrid table game known as Double Attack Blackjack was designed by casino game Joe Centrone of Xcite Gaming – the company responsible for popular blackjack variants such as Double Attack 21 and Bust It!.
Centrone filed the original trademark application for Double Attack Blackjack in 2005, and a short time later, the game began appearing in brick and mortar casinos in both Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In just over a decade since then, Xcite Gaming has managed to secure approval for this exciting twist on traditional blackjack in several more states, and the game is currently authorized in Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, along with the Canadian province of Ontario.
Expanded into Online Casinos
The game has also been adapted for play via the increasingly popular online casino model. Today, two major software providers have folded Double Attack Blackjack into their table games menu, making the game available on dozens of online casino platforms worldwide.