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Vin Narayanan

Vin  Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

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Face Up 21 an intense blackjack variation

29 May 2008

By Vin Narayanan

I find standard blackjack to be a rather relaxing game. I total up my cards, compare it to the dealer's up card, and then make the right decision according to Basic Strategy. I've pretty much programmed myself to make the right decision, so play moves fairly quickly with almost no anguish. The same can not be said for Bodog's Face Up 21.

Don't get me wrong. I like the game. Actually, I really like the game. But this variation of blackjack manages to twist my innards in a way very few games can.

The game itself pretty simple variation of classic blackjack. But in this version, you get to see both of the dealer's cards. And that changes the things dramatically. The added information comes with a hefty financial and emotional price tag. All player wins, including blackjack, are even money in this game. Pushes, with the exceptions of blackjack, go to the dealer (that really sucks). And you can only double down on two-card totals of 9, 10 and 11.

The emotional hit you take in this game is just as high. Watching a hard-earned 21 turn into a losing hand because the dealer sucks out – remember, pushes go to the dealer – is on of the worst feelings you can have in gambling. And there's a huge difference between knowing you have to beat an 18 or 19 vs. playing against a probable 18 or 19.

But even with the financial and emotional hits, this game is fun to play. And the primary reason is it forces you to completely rethink your strategy. One prime example of this is what to do when the dealer is showing 16 (and see, you know it's actually 16!!) and you have 20. Splitting actually becomes an option here, because the dealers is showing a bust hand, and the game allows you to split cards of equal value. Additionally, when the dealer is showing 17-21, you know have to keep hitting until you bust or win.

So if you're looking for a fun variation blackjack, go ahead and give Bodog's Face Up 21 a try. We can guarantee it won't be boring.

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