Pros and Cons of Double Exposure Blackjack

Double Exposure Blackjack, also known as Face Up 21, is one of the most unique forms of the game. What appeals to gambling enthusiasts is that the player is able to see not one, but both of the dealer's cards, before taking any action on their own cards. Naturally, casinos aren't in the habit of giving players an upper hand, thus when an advantage is given, another will be taken away.

The ability to see both of the dealer's cards before deciding whether to hit, stand, double or split is something many players would consider an extreme allowance, and rightfully so. In a traditional blackjack game, where the dealer is showing an Ace or 10/face card, the player is often forced into making a tough decision as to whether they should hit, or even surrender, in a total as high as 16.

By exposing the dealer's hand completely, the entire strategy behind the game is altered. The player knows at every moment whether or not he will need to hit in order to beat the dealer's current total. If the player exceeds that total without busting, it is then up to the dealer to regain the lead in order to best the player. And of course the dealer must continue to abide by the casino's rules of hit or stand.

As mentioned above, when the casino giveth, the casino taketh away. In order to drag the odds back into the casino's favor, one particular rule is altered. Instead of a tie between the dealer and player being called a Push, and the player's bet returned, the dealer automatically wins all ties.

The only exception to the "dealer wins all ties" rule is when the player is dealt a natural blackjack. If the player and dealer both have blackjack, the player either wins or it is called a Push. This win-or-push rule varies from one land-based or online gambling operator to the next. However, another consist rule alteration states that a natural blackjack pays even money, not the standard 3-to-2. 

Now to answer your probable question: Is there really an advantage to playing Double Exposure Blackjack? It depends on the rules of the game, meaning the benefits are weighed by the specific rules of one casino to the next. The lowest house edge in Double Exposure Blackjack is 0.26%, which is notably better than standard blackjack when a basic strategy chart is applied. The following is a list of viable rules and their corresponding house edge.

House Edge 0.26% - 6 Decks; Soft 17 rule applies; Double on any two cards; One Split allowed; No Double after Split; Player wins tie on Blackjack; double payouts for suited 6-7-8 or Ace + Jack of particular suit (usually spades).

House Edge 0.66% - 8 decks; No Soft 17 rule; Double on 9-11 only; One Split allowed; Double after Split allowed; Player wins tie on Blackjack.

House Edge 0.68% - 6 decks; Soft 17 rule applies; Double on 9-11 only; Split up to four times; Double after Split allowed; Player wins tie on Blackjack.

House Edge 0.96% - 6 decks; No Soft 17 rule; Double on Hard 9-11 only; One Split allowed; cannot Double after Split; Player wins tie on Blackjack.

Note: All other known variations of Double Exposure, particularly those that Push on a tied blackjack, have a house edge higher than 1%; worse than that of a traditional casino blackjack game.