Playtech is among the oldest and most recognized suppliers of online casino software, boasting an impressively large selection of blackjack games. The company’s blackjack suite is a great option for players based outside the USA who are looking to play the game of 21 for real money.
Playtech’s rich blackjack selection is unfortunately unavailable to US-based players. The software studio exited this market in October 2008 after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law. Nevertheless, the supplier operates across twenty regulated markets including Italy, France, China, the UK, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Sweden.
The studio impresses with a large roster of online blackjack games, most of which have been optimized for play on portable devices. Playtech’s variations of 21 offer some of the most favorable playing conditions you can find online.
One distinctive example is their take on Geoff Hall’s Blackjack Switch, which yields one of the highest theoretical return percentages we have so far seen in online blackjack. When played with perfect basic strategy, this game has a casino advantage of 0.13% only.
Continue reading if this piques your interest as we inspect closely Playtech’s suite of blackjack variations, their distinctive features, and standard set of rules. Also covered are the supplier’s progressive jackpot variations of the game along with their suite of live dealer blackjack tables. We finish off with detailed overviews of six of the Playtech blackjack games we find particularly compelling.
Rundown of Playtech’s History and Industry Achievements
Along with Microgaming, Playtech is among the dinosaurs of the online gambling industry, having started its operations in 1999. The company was established in Estonia by entrepreneur Teddy Sagi in partnership with experts in the fields of gambling, multimedia, and software engineering.
2Scope of Operations
Today, the leading software company has expanded its operations to 20 regulated jurisdictions. It has offices in 17 different countries and employs over 5,000 people. Its products are available across 140 licensed online casinos, including industry veterans such as Willian Hill, Ladbrokes, and Grosvenor Casinos. Furthermore, this is a publicly-traded company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. As of 2019, Playtech’s net income stands at €133.6 million.
3Commitment to Responsible Gambling
Also important is the fact the company demonstrates a solid commitment to responsible gambling. Playtech acquired the responsible gaming analytics company BetBuddy and integrated its software for behavioral identification within its player management system. This allows Playtech to quickly identify problem players and better assist them in gambling more responsibly.
4Awards and Accolades
Always committed to innovations and quality, Playtech has won multiple awards for the excellence of its products. Some of these accolades include the Supplier Innovation Award, Poker Supplier of the Year, and Bingo Supplier of the Year at the 2018 Gaming Intelligence Awards. The studio also triumphed in the category of Casino Platform Supplier Award at the EGR Italy Awards in the same year.
Useful Features in Playtech’s Blackjack Games
Playtech’s blackjack variants impress with a rich set of great features that significantly improve players’ gaming experience. Most of the virtual tables are customizable allowing you to tailor your experience to your personal preference. The interface is quite user-friendly, which renders Playtech’s games suitable for blackjack novices who are yet to learn how to play 21.
Standard Set of Rules in Playtech Blackjack
It is impossible to list the exact rules of each Playtech blackjack variant, especially when we consider the great diversity of games the studio has so far released. It suffices to say most of the options play under rather favorable rules.
These include late surrender, peeking, and liberal doubling and splitting. Another unique thing about Playtech blackjack is that some games offer the rare Charlie rule. The rules we describe below are standard for the majority of Playtech blackjack variations.
Side Bets in Playtech Blackjack Games
Playtech offers blackjack games with several optional side wagers that can earn the player higher payouts. One of the newer releases, All Bets Blackjack, is particularly impressive because it features five popular groups of side wagers. We examine these in more depth below. Just to warn you, the house edges of all of these are significantly higher than those of the main games.
Playtech’s Progressive Jackpot Blackjack
Progressive Blackjack by Playtech
Frankie Dettori Magic Seven Blackjack Jackpot
Progressive Blackjack by Playtech is one of the older releases of the studio but nevertheless, the game serves as an enticing combination of excitement and huge prizes. You can play for the pot for as little as $1 per hand.
Here you get the chance to win the entire jackpot or a portion of it when you are dealt specific combinations of aces consecutively. This is where you shall need to make one important basic strategy deviation concerning paired aces.
Rather than always splitting them as the strategy dictates, you should keep them together, hoping to draw additional consecutive aces for the progressive prize. At least if you are playing the side bet.
Check out the paytable below for further information on the progressive side bet’s odds. Keep in mind you qualify only if your first card is an ace. If you draw a hand like 5/A/A/A these will not count because they are not consecutive.
- Four suited aces win the entire progressive pot
- Three suited aces pay at odds of 5,000 to 1
- Four offsuit aces pay 2,500 to 1
- Three offsuit aces pay at odds of 250 to 1
- Two suited aces offer a payout of 100 to 1
- Two offsuit aces pay at odds of 50 to 1
- A single ace drawn as the first card pays 5 to 1.
Live Dealer Blackjack Suite
1Live Dealer Games
So far, we have discussed solely Playtech blackjack variations where you play against the Random Number Generator. The software returns the discards to the shoe and reshuffles all packs automatically at the end of each round.
What’s great about Playtech is that its omni-channel features a huge variety of products, including a well-rounded suite of live dealer games. Those of you who crave a more life-like experience can join Playtech’s skilled dealers for a game of live blackjack.
2Betting Behind Is Available
Multiple tables with varying table limits are available and so is the Bet Behind option. It enables you to post wagers on the hands of other players seated at the live tables when no vacant seats are available. The side bets we discussed previously are also offered at some of the live tables.
Playtech’s live dealer tables provide a very authentic gaming experience to all fans of blackjacks. The live studio is located in Latvia’s capital, Riga, and the live action is streamed around the clock.
3Over 500 Professional Dealers
More than 500 professionally trained dealers have found employment in the studio. Dealers rotate every thirty minutes or so and host the games in several native languages, including English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Romanian, and Mandarin. There are shift managers and pit bosses just like in a landbased casino.
4The General Rules
Now, let’s see some of the rules that commonly overlap between Playtech’s live blackjack variations.
- Eight full decks are in play and blackjacks pay 3 to 2.
- Some games like Live Ultimate Blackjack allow an unlimited number of players tojoin the gameplay simultaneously.
- Players can double down after splits.
- Drawing to split aces is disallowed.
- Games that play under Las Vegas and European rules are available.
- The dealers do not peek but offer players the insurance bet when exposing an ace.
- The dealers draw to 16 and stand on soft 17.
- Surrender is unavailable although the ten-card Charlie rule applies at most tables.
- Dealers usually shuffle the packs manually although some tables use the automaticShufflemaster.
- These general playing conditions yield a house edge of around 0.50%.
Classic Blackjack Variants by Playtech
Playtech has several authentic releases that are likely to appeal to fans of classic blackjack. These are available across a broad range of Playtech-powered casinos so it won’t be long until you find them. The games impress with a classic, life-like feel and offer relatively low house edges.
Unorthodox Blackjack Releases by Playtech
Playtech’s selection is also rich in unorthodox blackjack variations as you shall see from the games we cover below. Some of these variants are unique to Playtech’s blackjack suite and you will not find them anywhere else but in casinos powered by the supplier. Some of them offer unconventional twists while others feature the side bets we discussed earlier.