Big 5 Blackjack is an elegantly designed version of online blackjack, released as part of Microgaming’s Gold Series of table games. Along with its impressive visuals and authentic casino atmosphere, the game comes with fairly standard rules and gameplay, with one tiny exception – it uses 5 decks of cards.
Blackjack is usually played with 2, 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards and the use of a 5-deck shoe makes Microgaming’s Big 5 Blackjack a really unique game. Moreover, it is available in both single and multi-hand versions and the latter allows up to 5 hands to be played against the dealer.
Rules and Gameplay
This is a standard game of blackjack that follows the European dealing style, in which the dealer draws a single card for himself initially. The use of 5 standard decks of cards as opposed to 6 or 8 decks does not change the gaming experience in any way. Once players receive the first two cards (or more, if they opted for the multi-hand version of the game), they can Hit, Stand, or Double their bet.
The Double button is available on the first two cards only or after a Split. Splitting can be done on any two cards of the same value or denominations, which means that players can Split any unlike 10-value cards such as a Jack and a King, for instance. The game allows up to 3 Splits per round, except when it involves Aces – players cannot re-split Aces and when they do Split them, each of the new hands will receive a single, final card.
There are also two things to remember regarding the available dealer decisions. Since there is no hole card in this game, the dealer cannot peek for blackjack. More importantly – the rules of the game require the dealer to Hit on soft 17, i.e. hands where the Ace may count as 1 or 11.
Big 5 Blackjack does not differ much from most online blackjack variations. It does have two options that cannot be found in many games, however. One of them is the side bet for Insurance, which pays the standard 2:1 rate, while the other is Surrender. The vast majority of land-based casinos does not allow players to Surrender – with this option, they can give up half of their bet for the “privilege” of not playing out out their hand.
Here, players are allowed to take Early Surrender – this will be their first option at the beginning of every round. If the dealer’s first card is an Ace, however, Surrender is not allowed.
Big 5 Blackjack is an interesting variation of blackjack and it is recommended for all kinds of players – beginner-level players will certainly appreciate the simple rules and gameplay, while blackjack pros will probably want to try out a blackjack variation with a 5-deck shoe.