Lesser known live casino provider Visionary iGaming are behind this blackjack variation, known as Blackjack Early Payout, and it shares some similarities with Blackjack Surrender in that you can end the hand early.
Unusually for a a live casino game you can play up to three hands at a time, and is played with six decks.
The useful thing about Blackjack Early Payout is that you can minimise losses on a weak hand that you would otherwise have been forced to play, and it gives a little more flexibility to players.
Those in the UK will struggle to find it readily available though, unfortunately, until Visionary iGaming get on the radar of some of the online casinos operating here.
Gameplay & Rules
The interface will look a little different to what you are probably used to from the likes of Evolution or Playtech, but all the usual elements are there such as previous results, a chat box, a countdown timer and the ability to select your chip size.
One major difference is that instead of the interface overlaying a live stream with digital representations of your cards, the live stream is shown completely in its own window while what looks like an RNG version of the game plays out underneath, so the two are kept entirely separate.
They will of course show the same thing though, your cards will be the same whether you are looking at the digital table or the live stream.
Although hundreds of people can be playing the same hand, each player’s actions are individual to them, so no one else can make a decision that will impact the result for you.
The basic game rules are as follows:
- Dealer hits on soft 17
- Double on any card.
- Double on split.
- Only one card dealt to split Aces.
- Early payout re-calculated whenever your hand changes.
You must make your decisions such as hitting, splitting etc. by clicking the buttons on the screen before the time runs out, but if you are too late the game is programmed to make a decision for you based on basic strategy.
One other interesting option that isn’t usually seen is the ability to tip the dealer, by dropping a chip in the digital ‘tip’ slot.
Early Payout Option
The key differentiator here is the ability to end the game early and receive a payout based on the state of the table at that moment.
The difference between this and Blackjack Surrender is that the latter has a flat 50% rate of return if the player chooses to surrender, so they effectively halve their losses for that hand. This is useful if your hand is weak, but not if it is strong.
With Blackjack Early Payout the rate of return is calculated based on the odds and probabilities of the cards on display, so it can be used where the situation looks positive for the player, not just when things don’t look so good.
In a situation where your hand looks stronger than the dealer’s, you may be offered a percentage on top of your stake as early winnings which you can accept rather than risking playing on and things potentially going against you. The amount you are offered will not be as much as you would win if you played the hand through and won, but it is guaranteed in that moment.
For example if you had bet £10 and were dealt 21, the game might offer you £9.75 early payout. This is slightly less than the 1:1 you would get if you played on and won, but it does eliminate the possibility of the dealer also getting 21 which would result in a push, winning you nothing.
If you do decide to take an early payout the game will still play out to completion, so you will be able to see if you made the right decision. This could be a plus or a negative depending on your temperament!
As well as the early payout option, this Blackjack variation comes with two side bets:
The Pairs side bet is a wager that the player’s first two cards dealt will be a pair, so 4 of clubs and 4 of hearts, for example. This pays out at 11:1.
The Rummy side bet is a wager that the player’s first two cards plus the dealer’s up card will create either 3 cards of the same rank (7 of hearts, 7 of diamonds, 7 of clubs), 3 cards of the same suit (all clubs, or all hearts, etc.), or a 3 card straight (6 of spades, 7 of hearts, 8 of clubs for example). This pays out at 9:1.
These side bets each require an extra stake and can only be used if you are also betting on the main game. However, the side bets pay out independently, so they win or lose after the first cards are dealt and have no impact on the blackjack hand whatsoever.
Provided players use the optimal basic strategy that is always encouraged with blackjack, the theoretical return to player percentage for this game, or RTP, is 99.5%.
It’s around about the normal range for blackjack variations, and indeed regular blackjack comes with a 99.54% RTP, so it’s only a shade lower.
Many blackjack variations offering extra features make the player suffer for them with a lower RTP, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.