Blackjack strategy 101: What is the Free Bet Blackjack variant?
Could Free Bet Blackjack the way forward for online casino games? We delve inside this unique blackjack variant and offer some tips.
Free Bet Blackjack is a unique variant of the popular casino card game available across Las Vegas.
Though it originated at the Golden Nugget, Free Bet Blackjack can now be played at many of the big casinos on the legendary Strip.
At first glance, Free Bet Blackjack plays just like the Classic Blackjack variants you will find in the Betway lobby.
But there is one cool twist: the double down and split are totally free and won't cost you extra money.
Let's take a closer look at this fun land-based casino variant.
How Free Bet Blackjack works
In regular blackjack, players place an ante at the start of a hand. If they receive a pair the player can place an equal, second bet and split their pair into two separate hands.
Players can also double down, placing an additional wager on their hand and receiving one further card.
In Free Bet Blackjack, players get free splits and free double downs. However, there are a couple of notable restrictions:
- Free double downs only on hands totalling 9, 10, or 11 that don't contain an ace (e.g. 5-4, 6-4, 9-2). Regular double downs can be paid for on all other hands.
- Free splits on all pairs except those with 10-value cards (e.g. J-J, 10-10). The player gets free multiple splits on these hands.
- A free double down on a split. For example, if the player split 8-8 into two hands, they would get a free double down on one of the new hands.
There's also one difference to look out for. The dealer is allowed to go bust on 22. If the dealer hits 22 and the player has a valid hand, their bet is pushed".
If the player has blackjack and the dealer makes 22, they will get paid in the normal way. If both the dealer and the player have a blackjack, it's a push.
The dealer will stand on 18 or higher in Free Bet Blackjack. The dealer also hits soft 17. But remember, hitting 22 is good for the dealer.
Free Bet Blackjack vs Classic Blackjack: a comparison
Because of the advantage to the player, the optimal strategy in Free Bet Blackjack changes slightly compared to Classic Blackjack.
With the player getting lots of free moves, it encourages a more aggressive strategy.
For example, players can use the double down more liberally. It's free, after all.
If the dealer shows a 10 or 11, for example, this is usually an inadvisable double down in Classic Blackjack. You will have to pay for it and you may end up not winning. In Free Bet Blackjack, it's worth the punt.
Split all pairs except 5-5 and 10-10: Although you would get a free split on 5-5, it also totals 10. That means you can also get a free double down. So, instead of splitting into two mediocre hands, double down instead and try to beat the dealer.
Similarly, if you get two 10-value cards like 10-10 or K-K, simply stand and hope the dealer busts.
Double down on 9, 10 or 11: In regular Blackjack, doubling down on 9, 10 or 11 is worth the extra wager. If you are being offered it for free, it's even more advantageous.
Try great blackjack variants at Betway Casino
Free Bet Blackjack is a fun variation on Classic Blackjack that lets players be a bit more aggressive with their moves.
There is always risk involved with Free Bet Blackjack, and there are more instances of a push because the dealer can go to 22 before busting. However, with some optimal strategy, there is plenty for casino players to get their teeth into.
If you like blackjack, you will find a great range of games available at Betway Casino for practice play or real money.