This game from Playtech is possibly the most intricate version of blackjack that you will ever play. It has no fewer than 3 side bets as well as its own base game ‘free chip’ feature which is where the name comes from.
There is a very busy table what with so many options and payouts to list, so a brief moment to take it all in before you start playing is advisable.
The game of blackjack is more or less the same as normal here, but the many additional bets and features create many more chances to win and at much larger payouts too – you can get up to a 1000:1 return on one of the side bets.
Standard payouts remain in place for the base game, so 3:2 for blackjack, 2:1 for insurance, and 1:1 for a winning hand; and all of the usual splitting and doubling rules apply outside of the free chip feature, so you can split up to three times and double after splitting.
You also have the option to play three hands at once, and as you can see from the image below:
The rules for 16s and 17s plus a few others are as follows:
- Push if you stand on any 17 and the dealer busts.
- Win if you stand on natural 17 and dealer also has 17 natural or not.
- Push if you stand on unnatural 17 and dealer also has 17.
- Dealer always draws to 16, stands on hard 17, and hits on soft 17.
- Blackjack beats 21.
- Unsettled hands push if dealer’s up card is 10 and he busts.
There are separate rules for the side bets, but before we look at them lets get to grips with the free chip feature.
Free Chip Feature
This feature applies to splitting and doubling, but only in certain scenarios. When these scenarios occur a different set of buttons will show up and give you the choice of a free double or a free split. See the images on the right for an example of what it looks like.
Firstly, a free double is available when you have a natural hard 9, 10, or 11. You can still double in other scenarios but it will not be available for free.
This basically doubles your stake on the hand in play at no extra cost to you, so the £5 bet becomes a £10 bet thanks to the free chip, and should you win your payout will be more.
Secondly, a free split is available on all pairs except 10s and face cards. Again, splits are available on these cards if you want to do it but not for free.
This means you will be playing two hands instead of one so you have double the chances of winning at no extra cost. Your initial stake is matched on your second hand by the game, this is your free chip.
Be aware that in both instances your free chip will not be paid out to you if you win, only the winnings made from it. So a £5 bet that becomes a £10 bet thanks to the free chip will pay out £15, not £20; your initial £5 stake plus £10 worth of winnings. The free chip itself goes back to the casino.
What with there being three side bets there is quite a lot to take on board, but all have a minimum bet of £1.
Payouts will be unique to the side bet in question and are covered below, but it is not compulsory to use the side bets if you don’t want to. Equally you can use a side bet on one hand but not the next, or if you are playing three hands at once you can use side bets on one of them but not the other.
You can also play whichever side bet you want individually or all three of them at the same time. Basically, you can do whatever you want with these, whereas the free chip feature triggers automatically.
This side bet concerns the dealer, not the player.
You are betting that the dealer will bust, and how that happens will dictate the payout you receive as shown in the table below.
The dealer will continue to draw cards regardless of what else has happened in the game in order to determine the outcome of the side bet. This means you can lose the hand but win the side bet.
|Busts & Up Card 10||3:1|
|Busts, Player Has 17||5:1|
|Busts, Up Card 10, Player 17||9:1|
|Busts, Up Card Ace, Player 17||45:1|
Be aware that if you split only the first two outcomes above will pay out (Dealer Busts; Busts & Up Card 10).
Much easier to get your head around, this bet concerns both your hand and the dealer’s hand, and you are betting on the occurrence of pairs.
This means two cards of the same value in the same hand.
They must also be the first two cards drawn for each hand, so if you had a 5 and a 10, hit, and got another 5, this would not be a winning side bet.
Here are the payouts:
|Same Colour Pair||12:1|
|Perfect Pair (same suite)||25:1|
Note that the pair needs to occur in the same hand, so a four of diamonds in your hand and a 4 of hearts in the dealer’s would not count as a pair, but if both of those cards were in the same hand the side bet would be a winner.
This side bet ties in with the free chip feature, as you are betting on the feature occuring.
The number of times the free chip feature occurs during your hand the higher your payout for the side bet will be, although to achieve the highest payout of 1000:1 you would need 3 free splits in a row (so your first free split to result in a second, and the second to result in a third), plus a free double on all of those hands plus the main hand – extremely unlikely.
Nevertheless, the payouts are as follows:
|1 Free Chip||3:1|
|2 Free Chips||10:1|
|3 Free Chips||25:1|
|4 Free Chips||50:1|
|5 Free Chips||100:1|
|6 Free Chips||300:1|
|7 Free Chips||1000:1|
Note that you do not need your hand to win in order to win this side bet.
The return to player percentage isn’t actually quite as high as it usually is in Free Chip Blackjack, despite the freebies. It stands at 99.23% for the base game.
This takes the free chip feature and adjusted rules into account, which have been adjusted as they have to balance out the free chip feature. So it isn’t really ‘free’ at all.
Each side bet comes with it’s own RTP, with the Bust Bonanza offering 96.37%, the Perfect Pairs side bet offering 93.89%, and the Free Fortune offering 96.50%.