In the traditional game of blackjack, players make one initial bet prior to the deal of the cards. In Multiple Action Blackjack, a player can make up to three bets per hand. It works like this.
Prior to the deal, you can wager three bets in separate vertical betting areas (usually circles) located in front of each player. For example at a $5 minimum bet game, a player may place one red $5 chip in the first betting circle, a second red chip in the second betting circle, and a third red chip in the third circle. In essence you have wagered $15 prior to the deal (depending upon the local casino rules you may be allowed to wager two or sometimes only one bet per hand).
After all players have made their bets, the dealer will deal the cards just like in the regular blackjack game. The playing rules are the same. You may hit, stand, double down or split. If you win the hand the dealer will pay you one red chip for the red chip you wagered in the first betting circle. If you lose the hand, the dealer will remove the chip in the first betting circle. So far the game is identical to the regular blackjack, but here is how it differs.
After the first round is completed the dealer will discard his draw cards and keep only his original upcard on the table. All player cards that were dealt from the first round remain on the table. The dealer then draws additional cards to his hand to complete a second dealer hand. He then compares his total to the player hand total (remember the player hand is the same in this round as the first) and pay off winning bets and collect losing bets in the player’s second betting circle. The dealer will then repeat the process again for the third hand namely, discard all his cards except the initial upcard and draw new cards for the third and final hand. A final round of payoffs occur to the player’s third betting circle then the dealer will remove all the cards from the table.
In essence when you play Multiple Action Blackjack, the dealer keeps the same upcard for all three hands. Depending upon what he draws for each round, your initial hand could win all three bets, lose all three, or win or lose two out of three. In some cases, a hand may end up a tie when the player and dealer’s total are identical.
Let’s try a hand. Suppose you bet $5 in each betting circle. The cards are dealt and you have a 10, 8 and the dealer shows an 8 upcard. You stand on your 18. The dealer will draw a card to his 8. Assume it was a 9 for a 17. Your hand of 18 beats the dealer’s hand of 17 and the dealer will pay you $5 for the $5 you bet in the first betting circle.
The dealer will remove his 9 draw card, and leave the 8 upcard and your 10 and 8 (18) on the table. He then plays out his hand again with the original 8 upcard still on the table. Suppose he draws a 2 for a 10. He must draw again and this time he pulls a picture card for a 20. You would lose your second bet (the dealer’s 20 beats your 18) and the dealer will remove your $5 bet in the second betting circle. Again the dealer removes his draw cards, leaves his 8 upcard on the table, and draws for a third hand. Assume he draws a 5, then a king and busts. You will automatically win the third bet because the dealer busted.
You also have the option of doubling own on one, two, or all three of your bets. Thus if you wagered three $5 red chips, you could double down on say a two card hand totaling 11 and place additional red chips next to one, two or all three of the original chips (since doubling down is a smart play, it’s wise to double all your bets).
You can also split if you are dealt two identical cards but in this case you must double all three of your initial bets. When the dealer’s upcard is an ace you can make the insurance bet on one, two, or all three of your original bets.
In the case you make three initial wagers and you are dealt a blackjack, you automatically win all three bets as long as the dealer doesn’t get a blackjack. Each of your bets will be paid off at 3 to 2. This is one of the attractions of Multiple Action Blackjack. Get a blackjack hand and you automatically win three bets.
On the downside, if you make three bets and while drawing cards to your hand you bust, you will automatically lose all three bets. Since most players don’t relish the thought of drawing a high card to a 14,15, or 16 and losing all three bets, they tend to play conservatively and stand instead. This is however a big mistake. Because the rules and payoffs in Multiple Action Blackjack are the same as the regular game, you should use the same basic playing strategy as the traditional game (you should hit hard 14, 15, and 16 hands if the dealer shows a 7 through ace upcard).
You are probably wondering why the casinos would offer this game as an alternative to regular blackjack? For one, more hands can be played per hour in Multiple Action Blackjack because player’s hands are only dealt only once per two or three rounds. The more hands dealt per hour the more profit the casino will generate. Also as I mentioned above, players have the tendency to deviate from the basic playing strategy resulting in a slightly higher win rate for the casinos compared to the regular game.
Players enjoy this game because when a player gets a good streak of winning hands they will generally win more playing Multiple Action Blackjack than the traditional game. Also, when the casinos are crowded and table minimums are high, you will usually find the lowest minimums at the Multiple Action Blackjack tables. Likewise in smaller casinos that have a maximum bet of $5 per hand, you can exceed that by playing Multiple Action Blackjack.
From a risk standpoint, your risk is slightly higher by making three bets on one hand versus betting three simultaneous hands in a regular game. This means you should have a slightly higher playing bankroll than the traditional blackjack game to maintain the same risk.
A lot of players make one or two bets per hand and then increase to three bets per hand when they win (if they lose they continue to make the minimum bets per hand). That betting strategy won’t change the casino’s edge but it’s not a bad way to reduce the swings in your bankroll.