Over the years, blackjack is becoming more innovative with its game variations. One of which is the Double Attack Blackjack. Unlike the classic American card game, Double Attack has a lot of twists which makes it more interesting for players looking for a change in the game.
This blackjack variation is very popular in Atlantic City. About half of the casinos in the area offer this variation. But if you’re playing in Vegas, you may have to chance upon one or two casinos offering this on their tables.
What is Double Attack?
For starters, it’s important to know that Double Attack isn’t your standard 21 card game. It can become tricky and those who are planning to make big money here should practice firsthand.
Double Attack is played in eight Spanish decks where all the 10 value cards are removed from the shoe. With this, you have a total of 48 cards in one deck.
Like the classic blackjack, you have to aim to go closer to 21 or get a hand higher than what the dealer has without getting busted.
When the game starts, you’d place an initial bet same as what you’d do with American blackjack. But once the dealer dealt its up-card, you have the option to place a ‘double attack’ bet. Basically, this means you’re going to double or increase your initial bet before the other cards are dealt.
Once the players placed their optional double attack bets, the cards will be dealt as usual.
When it comes to splitting, the players can split in just about any pairs. However, a split of Aces only gets one card each. You can resplit up to four times except for the split Aces.
Like the usual blackjack system, you can double down, take insurance, or even surrender. Take note that the dealer will stand at Soft 17.
This seems like a typical blackjack, but to know more about the rules, read on below.
If you want to know more about the Double Attack, here’s Mark DeVol on the You Can Bet on That podcast:
Rules of the game
Before you try your hand on the double attack variation, I suggest that you take the rules by heart first. Your ignorance of the rules may cause you premium money in the long run. And like what I always say, it’s never a good idea to practice in an actual casino.
These are the usual rules in the Double Attack blackjack variation. Some casinos may tweak some of the rules. With that, you should ask first before sitting on the game table.
Depending on the rule variations of casinos, the house edge of the Double Attack variation will be around 0.6%. This is only a tad higher than the classic American blackjack which is around 0.53%.
When it comes to Double Attack, most players will likely bite the additional wager 58% of the time. Given that the Double attack amount will be refunded in the event of surrendering, it’s a considerably low-risk gamble.
But how much are you likely to lose on Double Attack games? The element of risk, or the amount you’re bound to lose in relation to your bet, is 0.35%.
If you’re planning to take insurance, you should know first that it has a staggering house edge of 12.27%. Unless you’re card counting, it’s not ideal to risk your money in such a high edge. You’re just going to mess up your strategy and lose a lot of money along the way.
In the Double Attack blackjack variation, there are two known side bets, the classic insurance and the Bust It. As usual, the dealer will peek for blackjack and the players can place an optional insurance bet. It pays 5:2 which seems to be lucrative for many.
How about the Bust It side bet? This is the side bet where the player bets that the dealer will bust with three cards on his or her hand. Moreover, you should place this side bet before the round begins. Remember, though, that this side bet will be effective even if you decide to surrender your hand.
The Bust It side bets come with a variety of payouts depending on the suit of cards the dealer will have. Here’s the usual payout scenario in Atlantic City:
Three suited eights – pays 200:1
Same color, three eights – pays 50:1
Also, the payout may vary depending on the bust card or the last card that will cause the dealer to go over 21. Here are the usual payouts on this blackjack system:
Six card – pays 15:1
Seven card – pays 10:1
Eight card – pays 8:1
Nine card – pays 6:1
Face card – pays 3:1
This may look very attractive. Still, the higher the payout gets, the higher the house edge becomes. Casinos won’t offer such a fortune if the odds are high that you’re going to win it. This is true not just in Double Attack but for all side bets in blackjack.
With a house edge of 0.6%, the Double Attack has a shameful payout of 1:1 for natural blackjacks. And to lure players to spend more, they have a very lucrative payout on insurance and other side bets.
If you’re planning to play blackjack for a living, I wouldn’t recommend Double Attack. You can spend your time and money to other lucrative variations like the American Blackjack that pays 3:2.
Still, this is much better than playing blackjack variations that play 6:5. Nonetheless, this is a sucker game for those who want to make big profits out of specific hands per hour.
The playing strategies for Double Attack are very different from the classic card game. Remember, you can surrender even after doubling down. But before we dive deep into hitting, standing, doubling down, or surrendering, you have to know when you should grab the Double Attack opportunity.
Some say that it’s favorable to place a Double Attack blackjack increase if the dealer has 2 to 8 up-card. Still, this is a weak basis even if you’re card counting. You’re blind with what the players’ cards will be and it will be hard to tell if you have a high chance of winning the hand.
With this, double attack at your own volition. This is the same as grabbing insurance and side bets.
Now, let’s proceed with the playing strategies. These are just basic techniques for this blackjack system and you can deviate based on your card counting status. These chart and strategies are courtesy of Wizards of Odds:
These strategies would be ideal for those who are new to Double Attack Blackjack. If you’re card counting, feel free to deviate from this if the shoe is rich. Still, it will help if you know the basic strategy by heart.
Can you count cards in Double Attack?
If you’re playing in an actual casino and there’s no automatic shuffler on the shoe, you can definitely count cards. The only thing you have to think about is how to camouflage your skills. And even if you know how to do so, the pay may not be ideal if you’re playing for business.
Anyway, the fact that the shoe doesn’t have 10 cards is already a good start. It can both be a blessing and a curse for you as a card counter.
If you’re a master card counter, you can try your hand on the Bust It bet. Still, skip the side bet if you can live without it. The Bust It and insurance are reeking with house edge which is added pain aside from the even-money pay for a natural blackjack.
How to manage your bankroll
When playing Double Attack, you should have a solid bankroll management system. You can apply just about any system you’ll practice in other variations. And if you’re playing for the money, there’s no way side bets can help your bankroll.
In a separate post, we’ve discussed in detail how you’ll manage your bankroll. Feel free to read this before heading to the casino.
Always, always calculate your EV or expected value. You’re not supposed to play blind and end up broke. If you want to walk out of the casino alive, you have to understand the math behind the game.
Is this worth your time and money?
If you’re just playing for fun, Double Attack will be a great challenge. It has rules which are different from the classic card game we’ve gone used to.
However, for those playing for the money, it’s not the best variation to earn profits. A natural blackjack pays even money. And even if the side bets look lucrative, it’s just a bait to milk your bankroll.
If you want to be a blackjack connoisseur, you can try the Double Attack Blackjack. Learn its rules and compare them to the games you’ve played before. This way, you’ll become a well-rounded player and someone who’s knowledgeable in various rules of the game.