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Double Attack Blackjack

By: Fabian Rictor, Wednesday November 3rd 2010
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Double Attack Blackjack is a blackjack variant developed by WagerWorks, the online casino software wing of IGT. It is offered at all WagerWorks online casinos such as Virgin Casino. The essence of Double Attack Blackjack is that the dealer's face up card is dealt first. Then, before seeing his cards, the player has to decide whether or not to double his wager. This article briefly describes the rules and outlines the strategy for the key decisions.
Double Attack Blackjack is played with eight Spanish decks. A Spanish deck is a 48-card deck made by removing the four tens from the conventional deck. The dealer's rules are that the dealer will stand on soft 17 and that he will peek for blackjack after the player decides on the Double Attack but before the player makes any other move. The player's rules are as follows. Double is possible on any two or more cards. The player may double after a split, except split aces. When aces are split, each ace receives only one card. The player can surrender a given hand on two or more cards. The player can surrender after a double down. The player may draw a maximum of eight cards for any hand. An eight-card hand whose value does not exceed 21 beats all dealer hands except for blackjack. Insurance is offered when the dealer's face-up card is an ace. The insurance bet is half of the player's initial bet. Insurance bet pays 3 to 1 on the dealer getting blackjack.
The Double Attack is played out as follows. The first card dealt is the dealer's face up card. Immediately after this card is dealt, the player has the option to Double Attack by raising his bet. The raise may be up to the original wager. If the player later splits or doubles then he must match his original wager and Double Attack bet, if he made one. If the player surrenders, he will be refunded half his original and Double Attack bet. The major price that the player has to pay for the Double Attack advantage is that player blackjack pays even money instead of 3 to 2.

The key element of the strategy in Double Attack Blackjack is when to place the Double Attack wager. Like every strategy in blackjack this is determined by computer simulation. The outcome is that when the dealer's face up card is from 2 to 8 the player has a greater chance of winning. When the dealer's face up card is an ace, nine or ten value card the player has a greater chance of losing. Hence the player should place the Double Attack wager when the dealer's face up card is from 2 to 8. And he should always go for the maximum by doubling his original wager. When the odds are in ones favor then one should bet to the hilt. It must have been noticed that on a long term average the player will go for the Double Attack about 58% of the times. This does not mean that he will win 58% of the times. When the dealer's face up card is from 2 to 8 the player will win only marginally more times than he loses. However, when the dealer's face up card is an ace, nine or ten value card the player will lose significantly more times than he will win. For the strategy in the normal play, players should follow the strategy card for the exact rules prevalent in this blackjack variant.

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