Caribbean 21

Caribbean 21

Without a doubt, Caribbean 21 is the most complicated game in the blackjack genre online. It offers rules that are extremely liberal with the ability to split any two cards. You can also double repeatedly, which leads to extremely complicated strategies.

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An Introduction to Caribbean 21

From our experience in the online gambling industry, we’ve seen that players react differently to different things. For example, when a game is really far outside of the box, there will be one of two reactions. On the one hand, they may completely reject it because of how alienating it can be. On the other hand, they can really be drawn to it as something fresh and exciting.

Caribbean 21 Winning
Caribbean 21 Winning

Caribbean 21 is a game that tends to fall into the latter category.

Blackjack isn’t exactly a game that inspires most players to think of it as exciting. While they may think it’s fun, it’s not a really wild game that’s super action-packed. That’s a big part of the appeal to many. With that said, Caribbean 21 really bucks that trend and takes a major step in that direction.

As a result, this ends up being a very polarizing blackjack game. For the most part, people will generally either really love it or not care for it at all. Most people who like blackjack seem to like it, however. With that said, there’s a lot to get used to that’s different than typical blackjack.

The Best Casinos for Caribbean 21

The most popular software provider that offers Caribbean 21 is Realtime Gaming. However, others may offer it as well. Aside from making sure that the site actually has the game, there are other things to check out. First, you’ll want to make sure they have a good reputation like the casinos we have reviewed. This includes being licensed in the appropriate jurisdictions.

However, with Caribbean 21 being such a strategic game, you can also look for promotional opportunities. Any bonuses or loyalty points that can be earned while playing this game are a great thing. They can add small amounts to your effective payout rate and really get the house edge down tremendously.

Rules, Procedures and Gameplay

Even if you’re familiar with blackjack as a genre, this game can throw you off because it’s so different. As such, we’re going to really break down the rule set for Caribbean 21. This will help players to understand what the game is like before they jump in and play. With it being so different compared to other blackjack games, we think this is important.

Caribbean 21 Options
Caribbean 21 Options

Basic Gameplay Procedure

The individual hands of this game have a straightforward procedure. We’ll look at that procedure first before getting into the strategic options. It’s absolutely critical to understand what makes this game different than other more typical titles.

  1. A shoe of several decks is shuffled automatically before each hand.
  2. You’ll place a bet and will receive two cards face-up. The dealer receives two cards with one face-up and one face-down.
  3. The cards are all worth their face value in points. Jacks, Queens and Kings are all worth 10 points. Aces are always worth 1 point (and never 11 like other styles of blackjack).
  4. You get options to hit, stand, double split or surrender. We’ll get into what these options do down below.
  5. You can double at any time and split with any two cards. This includes re-splitting and re-doubling. This set of rule changes is what sets Caribbean 21 apart the most from other blackjack titles.
  6. Players can also surrender at any point in any hand.
  7. If you receive two cards worth ten points and an ace, that’s called a “Caribbean 21” in this game. You can get a “Caribbean 21” after splitting. These hands rank higher than other ways of getting a total of 21, and they pay at 3:2.
  8. If you go over a total of 21, then you lose your cards and your bet associated with that hand.
  9. Once you stand, the dealer hits repeatedly until a total of 17 or more is earned.
  10. If the dealer goes over 21, then your active hands automatically win.

You win with a higher total if neither of you bust, but the dealer wins on a tie.

Caribbean 21 Multiple Hands
Caribbean 21 Multiple Hands

The Strategic Options

The actions you can take with your hand are called your strategic options in blackjack games. In this game, you have five of them available. Here is a quick overview of each:

  • Hit – Your hand receives one additional card.
  • Stand – You end play on your hand and receive no more cards.
  • Double – An additional wager is added to double the size of your wager for the hand. You also receive an additional card.
  • Split – Only available with two cards, they are split to create two new hands. An additional wager is added for the second hand that’s worth the value of the wager before the split.
  • Surrender – With this option, you take back one-half of the wager attached to the hand. However, you also give that hand up and any chances of winning.

Players also have the option for insurance in this game. That’s available if the dealer is showing an ace as the up-card. It pays at 9:1 if the dealer picks up two ten-point cards. What’s really interesting is that you can add insurance at any point in the hand, and you can add to the size of your insurance wager once it’s already made. The only restriction is that your insurance wager can never be worth more than one-half of the total amount bet on all of your active hands combined.

The Important Differences to Note

We want to take a moment to summarize the important differences between Caribbean 21 and other types of blackjack out there. This is worth a quick glance to make sure that you didn’t miss anything important.

  • Aces are always worth one point in this game. That means no soft hands are used.
  • Doubling can be done with any number of cards. It can also be done as many times as you want per hand.
  • Splitting can happen with any two starting cards. They do not have to match in rank.
  • A tie results in a loss for the player instead of a push.

This handful of changes results in major differences in how the game is played.

Caribbean 21 Main Screen
Caribbean 21 Main Screen

How to Win at Caribbean 21

Strategy for this game is particularly complicated. There’s no way we could break down a complete strategy for this game within the scope of what you’re reading. In fact, there are probably zero human beings in the world who can play this game perfectly 100 percent.

However, one thing we can tell you is that most decisions are pretty intuitive. You should split and double a lot. You should also surrender fairly often, which is atypical for most blackjack games.

Because so much doubling and splitting happens, your initial bets should be much smaller than usual. We suggest starting with a bet size that’s worth about one third of what you’d typically use. This will cover most of the issues of volatility that come along with varying bet sizes overall.


With Caribbean 21, you’re getting a game that has a high level of sophistication. That’s because the rule set is so different and so liberal than other styles of the game. With that said, you will want to be the type of player who enjoys something different with this title. If you don’t like getting too far outside of the box, then other blackjack options may be better for you.


Which online casinos have Caribbean 21?

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