I was introduced to Free Bet Blackjack over the summer. I’m skeptical about all blackjack variants and approached the game gingerly. After a few hands of Free Bet Blackjack, I was hooked! The low rolling session was just about break-even but my eyes were opened to a different blackjack game that’s available in most casinos.
Free Bet Blackjack
New blackjack games come and go but Free Bet Blackjack has stood the test of time. It’s one of the most popular blackjack variants along with Blackjack Switch. At first, the “free bet” is can be startling. After a few “free” opportunities it becomes the only hand(s) you want, that isn’t a natural blackjack.
The thing that adds to the excitement of Free Bet Blackjack is the free bets (duh). When a player is dealt a hand to split or double down, they don’t have to risk any additional money to partake. The “free bet” is a “free” extra wager that you’d have to add when splitting or doubling. Unfortunately, this isn’t available for all hands.
Players may double whenever they want. However, “Free Doubles” are only offered for two-card totals of 9, 10, or 11. Simply tell the dealer that you’d like to make a free double and they’ll place a “free bet” button or chip next to one of the hands. The dealer will then add an additional card to your hand.
If the dealer wins, the player only loses the original wager made. For example, a double at a traditional $10 blackjack game would mean there are two $10 wagers and a dealer win would mean the hand is a total loss of $20. A Free Bet Blackjack double on a 9, 10, or 11 would only be a $10 loss for the player.
If the player wins, they win both the original wager as well as the same amount for a free double. The bettor in the example above will win $20 after only risking $10. That’s fun!
A player may ask for a “free split” on any pair except a pair of 10’s. The free split is played similar to a traditional split. Again, just tell the dealer you’d like to split. They’ll place the free bet button or chip next to one of the hands.
The dealer will pay each hand that wins. If both $10 hands win, the player will receive $10 for each. That’s a total of $20 won for a $10 wager. Again, if the dealer gets a 22 both hands will push.
Not A Bad Bet
Blackjack variants typically aren’t for advantage players. These “carnival games” are geared towards tourists and recreational players looking for something different. Depending on the rules, Free Bet Blackjack can have a relatively low house edge.
The house edge isn’t bad but it’s not as good as the best blackjack games. However, it’s not as bad as some carny games. According to Wizard of Odds, the house edge for standard rules 1.04% if the casino pays 3:2 for a natural blackjack. If the player is paid 6:5 (most Las Vegas casinos) the house edge jumps to 2.4%.
Not all casinos offer Free Bet Blackjack with the same rules. Visit Wizard of Odds to see how the odds are affected based on the rules at your casino.
There are definitely better blackjack games to play. However, Free Bet Blackjack is fun if you’re a recreational blackjack player looking for something different.