Caribbean 21

Caribbean 21 is a game formerly hosted by some Realtime Gaming online casinos. Though it is based on blackjack it is different from blackjack in many respects. The ace is constrained to have a value of 1 at all times. Therefore the usual two-card blackjack hand consisting of an ace and a 10 value card has no relevance because it totals only 11. This is replaced by a three-card hand called Caribbean 21, which consists of an ace and two 10 value cards. The regular blackjack rules have also been tweaked considerably and therefore players should read and understand these rules before wagering.

Caribbean 21 Rules

Apart from the ace all other cards are valued as in blackjack. The game starts with the player making the initial wager. Two cards are dealt face up to the player and one card is dealt face up to the dealer. The dealer does not take a hole card and therefore there is no question of the dealer checking for Caribbean 21. However, the player can take insurance against the dealer having a Caribbean 21 if the dealer’s face up card is an ace. Unlike in regular blackjack, insurance may be taken at any time and for any amount up to half the total bet at the time insurance is taken. The insurance bet pays out at 9 to 1 if the dealer gets two 10 value cards as the second and third cards so as to form a Caribbean 21. The player can also add to the insurance bet at any time, as long as the total insurance bet is not more than half the total wager. The insurance bet is settled at the end of the hand.

The hit and stand moves are the same as in regular blackjack. The doubling down move and split moves are somewhat different. The player can double down at any time and even with more than two cards. This includes re-double down and double-down after a split. Players can split on any two cards. There are no special rules for splitting aces. The player can also surrender at any time. When the player surrenders he forfeits half his total bet at that time.

Caribbean 21 Payouts

The winning positions and payouts are as follows. The objective as in regular blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. Caribbean 21 is ranked higher than all other 21 point hands. The dealer wins all ties. If the player is dealt a Caribbean 21 he receives a payout of 3 to 2. If the player busts he loses his wager. If he stands and the dealer busts he is paid even money. If both stand and the player’s hand is closer to 21 then the player is paid even money. If both stand and the dealer’s hand is closer to 21 then the player loses his wager.

The house edge on the basic bet with optimal strategy is about 0.2%, which puts Caribbean 21 with the most player friendly blackjack variants. The house edge on the insurance bet is over 5% and hence it should be avoided.

More Caribbean 21 Information

Caribbean 21 was dropped by the RTG platform after a huge controversy in 2004 when a gambler using the name “Pirateofc21” won 1.3 million US dollars playing the game. The casino where he won the money, Hamptoncasino.com, refused to pay the money to the Pirate of the Caribbean claiming he won it using an outlawed software program that helped him to cheat at the casino game.