Although not technically blackjack, 7 E Mezzo – or Sette E Mezzo as it is also called – follows the same basic principles and is actually thought to be one of the games that inspired modern day blackjack.
The idea of the game is to get as close to 7 ½ as possible without going bust, which is possible because face cards are worth half a point in this game.
It is played with a single Neapolitan deck containing 40 cards from 4 different suits, so the 8s, 9s and 10s have been removed for obvious reasons.
Playtech have developed both the RNG and the live version of the game, so players can experience it however best suits them.
It is perhaps worth explaining a little about Neapolitan cards since they look very different from the cards we are all used to playing with.
The deck is made up in the same way as a standard deck of cards, with 4 suits of 13 cards running from one to ten and then 3 face cards.
The big difference is that the suits have different themes: Denari (Coins), Coppe (Cups), Spade (Swords) and Bastoni (Clubs).
Of course the game, or the dealer, will know what these cards are instantly and you will see your hand total so you don’t technically need to be able to recognise each card straight away, but it does make things more fun if you do.
How to Play 7 E Mezzo
The table layout is very similar to a blackjack table, albeit with an Italian air, and you will notice a few side bets that will be covered shortly.
Let’s run through an example hand.
You will notice that only one card has been dealt to the player and one to the dealer. This is another key difference between 7 E Mezzo and blackjack.
We have been dealt a 1, so any card other than a 7 is going to be an improvement on our hand so we will hit and see what we get.
As luck would have it we are dealt the King of Denari which can stand in for any card, so in this situation it stands in for a 6 making our hand total 7. Given that the target in this game is 7 ½ it would be foolish to hit again, so we will stand.
The dealer actually ended up with a 7 as well so, unlike in blackjack, the game was lost. There is no such thing as a push in 7 E Mezzo, if your hand is the same as the dealer’s you lose.
It’s as easy as that. There are no options to double or split and insurance is not offered either, so it is a much simpler game.
Another big difference between this game and blackjack is that there is one card here that is wild and can count as any other value in the deck; the King of Denari.
This is the most valuable card in the deck for another reason too; if your total is 7 ½ and includes the King of Denari, the payout is 2:1 instead of the standard 1:1 for a winning hand.
Here are the other rules:
- Used cards reintroduced after each game round.
- Dealer stands on 3 or above.
- Face cards are worth ½ except the King of Denari.
- If your first card is a face card one more card is dealt automatically.
- When player has 7 ½ dealer must hit until his hand is equal or he busts.
Two side bets are included in this game which you can see flanking the main betting area; Partita Perfetta and Mano di Poker.
Partita Perfetta requires your first card and the dealer’s first card to form a pair. However, the dealer only reveals their card at the later stage of the game, so if the player goes bust the side bet will lose.
Assuming the game gets to a point where the dealer uncovers their first card and completes their hand, the payouts are as follows:
|Pair 1 to 6||5:1|
|Pair of Face Cards||10:1|
|Pair of 7s||55:1|
The Mano di Poker side bet has a clue in the name, and it can be won regardless of when the game ends.
It takes into account the dealer’s up card and the player’s first two cards. That means the player must hit in order for this bet to have a chance of winning. However, the player can win this side bet even if they go bust with their second card as the dealer will turn over their up card to complete the side bet.
The payouts are as follows:
|Any 3 of a Kind||50:1|
With a theoretical return to player percentage of 99.54% this game sits in the same sort of ball park as blackjack.
The RTP for the Partita Perfetta side bet is lower at 96.15% and the RTP for the Mano di Poker side bet is 96.32%.
Sette e Mezzo Live
Usually available at any casino that offers Playtech live casino products, this is essentially the same game but played with a live dealer who runs the game from a professional studio. This is filmed and live streamed to your screen.
Players can interact with the dealer and make their choices independently of other players in the game, although all players are playing the same hand against the dealer.
The rules are a little different for the live version of the game as it is more historically accurate, and we have a guide on that game in full here.