Intro to Match Play 21

Match Play 21 is a form of blackjack with the same general structure as blackjack. The goal is still to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over but there are 3 key differences between traditional blackjack and Match Play 21:

  1. All 10s are removed from the deck – normal face cards remain
  2. The player receives special payouts for certain hands – see chart below
  3. Player blackjacks beat dealer blackjacks

Match Play 21 is named for its biggest hand, the “Match Play 21.” This is a hand in which the player ends up with three 7s of the same suit and the dealer’s up card is a 7. When a player achieves a Match Play 21, the payout is a nice 40 to 1. This means that if you bet $10 on a hand of blackjack, your payout for a Match Play 21 would be $400.

Players may double down in Match Play 21 on any number of cards but they may only double down once. After a player doubles down, that player will receive exactly one more card. Surrenders are also allowed after double downs, in which case the player surrenders the double-down wager.

How to Play

  1. Each player at the table places a wager.
  2. Each player then receives two cards face up. The dealer receives one card face up and one card face down.
  3. The players may now “hit,” or draw a card, as many times as they wish. When the players finish hitting or decline to draw in the first place, they are said to “stand.”
  4. The dealer draws cards until he reaches a soft 18 or a hard 17. “Soft” means that the hand includes an Ace and “hard” means the hand does not contain an Ace.
  5. The dealer’s hand is then compared to each other player’s hand. Any players who got closer to 21 than the dealer without going over win their bets. Any players who came short of the dealer or went over 21 points lose their bets.
  6. If the dealer goes over 21 points, it’s called a “bust” and every other player who did not go over 21 wins the hand.
  7. The term “blackjack” is used to describe a hand in which the player gets 21 points with just two cards (an Ace plus any card worth 10 points). When a player wins with a blackjack, that player receives 3 to 2 on his wager. This means that if a player bets $10 on a hand and then wins with a blackjack, that player will receive $15.

Card Values

  • The numbered cards 2-10 are worth face value in points.
  • The cards Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points.
  • Aces are worth 1 or 11 points.

Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 points and that value can change as the hand progresses. The Ace automatically becomes worth the number that best suits the player’s hand. For example, if a player has A-7-K the Ace would have to be worth 1 point to keep the hand from busting.

If a player has a hand like A-4, the hand can be worth either 5 points or 15 points. If that player hits and gets an 8, the Ace would then be forced to be worth 1 point since if it was worth 11 points, it would cause the hand to bust.

Special Payouts

When players end up with any of the following hands, the following payouts are awarded:

Match Play 21 Payouts