Stand or Bust

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Many variations of Blackjack have been created over the years. Most of them share one aspect in common—the player must try to beat the dealer. But here’s a version that breaks that mould. In this table game developed by Ash Gaming for online casinos, only the dealer receives cards; the player isn’t dealt a hand at all.

Instead of trying to accumulate cards with a total value as close to 21 as possible without going over, the object is to correctly predict whether the dealer will “Stand or Bust,” based solely upon seeing the dealer’s up card. The player may wager either way, and as simple as game may sound, there is considerable strategy involved, along with opportunities for huge winnings because Stand or Bust is based upon fixed-odds payouts.

The game display features an overhead view of a standard Blackjack table. Although there appear to be four player positions, only the dealer’s hand is dealt. For that purpose there is a shoe of cards at the upper right and a discard tray at the upper left. The player’s controls run along the bottom of the screen. On the table surface in front of the dealer’s chip tray, one the key game rules is printed: “Dealer stands on 17 or above.”

Additional rules and instructions are shown when the game window opens: “You will be offered four potential starting cards for the Dealer’s hand. Select one of the cards and bet on whether the Dealer will stand or bust. The Dealer plays a Blackjack hand starting with your chosen card and will stand on 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and bust on anything higher. Your winnings carry on to be used as your stake for the next hand. You can bank all or bank half of your winnings at any time.”

The control panel features a red “Turbo Bet” button on the left to speed play. A prompt in the middle the panel urges the player to “Select your stake and click DEAL to continue….” Using the +/- toggles next to the prompt, the amount of the initial Stake can be selected from £0.50 up to £20. The green “Deal” button on the right end of the panel is used to begin the game.

First, four potential cards are shown to be the dealer’s up card. Above each card “Stand pays” indicates the value of a correct wager on Stand and below each card “Bust pays” shows how much a Bust is worth. If none of the four cards is desired, the green “Shuffle” button at the lower right can be used to discard the choices and display another four cards. Initially, the player has three shuffles available, as tracked in a counter above the Shuffle button.

To select an up card for the dealer, just click on the Stand or Bust option to its immediate right. The other three cards will disappear, the corresponding up card will be dealt and the dealer will draw until a total of 17 or higher is reached. If the player’s Stand or Bust choice is correct, the amount won will be displayed on the control panel and four more cards will appear for the next hand.

At this point, the player may choose to Save Half the winnings or Save All and end the series of hands. The player may continue forecasting Stand or Bust until an incorrect wager is made or a decision is taken to Save All. If four correct predictions are made in a row, the player is allocated an extra shuffle up to a maximum of six. Note that the game is played with a single deck and discards are shuffled back into the deck before the second card is dealt, so the same cards could appear again in the game.

Just for reference, the odds that the dealer will go Bust with a specific up card are as follows: Ace - 17% chance; 10 - 23% chance; 9 - 23% chance; 8 - 24% chance; 7 - 26% chance; 6 - 42% chance; 5 - 42% chance; 4 - 40% chance; 3 - 37% chance; and 2 - 35% chance of a Bust.

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