Power Blackjack Live Strategy Guide
Evolution Gaming’s Power Blackjack Live game allows players to do things like quadruple their bet size instead of doubling. However, it also removes several of the cards from the deck, which drastically affects what the correct strategies are and makes it a must to learn a specific strategy for this game that’s different than other multi-deck blackjack approaches.
An Introduction to Power Blackjack Live Strategy
The number of blackjack variations out there overall is easily in the hundreds, but a lot of them have strategies that are very similar. In the least bit, the vast majority of them follow general principles that will get you a pretty decent payout rate, and following them is usually a fine idea.
Power Blackjack Live, on the other hand, is the exception to all of these rules.
The strategies are not as intuitive as players would like for them to be because the deck used is fundamentally different in a serious way. Moreover, the options available when betting are atypical as well. When you combine these factors, you do get an interesting experience, but you also get a virtual minefield of traps that you can easily fall into from a strategic perspective.
Our goal here is to break things down in a way that will have you playing much better than you would otherwise. Strategy about this game is not as widely available as virtually any other blackjack game out there, but what we’re going to look at here is verified by Evolution Gaming themselves as the best possible strategy for this game.
Important Rules and Adjustments
There are two very serious rule changes at the Power Blackjack Live tables that makes it a completely different beast than other similar titles in the genre. First and foremost, players have the option to triple or quadruple (in addition to doubling) in situations where they could normally only double. The idea is the same: You triple or quadruple your bet, and you get exactly one card.
The adjustment to make for this rule is actually pretty straightforward: You should never double or triple, and the only option of the three that you should ever take is quadrupling.
The second change is a much more difficult one to contend with that affects strategy for a wide range of different types of hands in this game. This rule change is that all 9s and 10s have been removed from the deck. This creates a 44-card deck that isn’t used in any other prominent blackjack game online.
It’s this deck that makes it so difficult to find solid strategic advice for the Power Blackjack Live dealer games that Evolution Gaming has available. There just isn’t much out there that breaks down how this type of deck changes things, but we have you covered.
Other Rules and Notes on Gameplay Procedure
The gameplay procedure is essentially the same as other blackjack games, so there’s not much to cover on that particular front. However, there are a few other rules that are relevant to the strategies involved, and we’ll quickly list them here:
- Only one split is allowed per hand.
- Doubling, tripling and quadrupling are allowed after a split.
- The dealer stands with a soft total of 17.
- There is no six card Charlie rule like what you find with other Evolution Gaming blackjack titles.
- The dealer always peeks for blackjack with an ace or 10-point card.
- The game uses an eight-deck shoe with 50 percent penetration before a new shoe is used.
These rules only have small influences on the strategies we’re going to break down below, so they aren’t worth going into a lot of depth on individually. The one that’s really interesting, however, is the rule about the shoe having 50 percent penetration. This can lead to some options for counting cards as a viable strategy.
Breaking Down Power Blackjack Live Strategies
Now we’re going to get into the actual strategies for the game. To do so, we’ll break things up into categories of situations based on hard hands, soft hands and paired hands.
We’re going to be referring to what we call “face cards” in this strategy guide, and we mean jacks, queens and kings when we say that. Aces are not considered face cards for our purposes in the following.
Playing Hard Hands in Power Blackjack Live
The base assumption is that we’re going to be hitting with the majority of spots we run into with hard hands in this game. What we’re really interested in primarily is the exceptions where we do something other than hit, which includes quadrupling and standing.
We’ll break down these strategies based on your total. If no specific recommendation is given, assume that you always hit.
- Totals of 10 or 11 – Quadruple if you face a 7 or lower with a total of 10, and quadruple when facing an 8 or lower with a total of 11.
- Total of 15 – Stand when facing a 5 only.
- Total of 16 – Stand when facing a 2 or 4-6.*
- Total of 17 – Stand when facing anything other than an ace.
- Total of 18+ – Always stand.
* There’s an interesting mathematical point that causes this issue where you should hit when facing a 3 but should hit when facing every other card from 2 to 6. It’s an exception that should be noted and kept fresh when playing because hard totals of 16 aren’t uncommon.
Overall, there’s not actually much to learn with these hard totals because you hit such an overwhelming portion of the time. With that said, the strategies aren’t completely similar in structure to what you find in other multi-deck blackjack games, which makes them anti-intuitive, and as a result, you will probably have to study them longer to really get them down.
Playing Soft Hands in Power Blackjack Live
With hard hands in live dealer Power Blackjack games, your main concern is whether you’ll hit or stand with the exception of playing a 10 or 11. With soft cards, however, you’ll have more opportunities to quadruple, and knowing when to quadruple correctly is key.
This is absolutely critical because quadrupling in a spot where it’s not profitable is much worse than a similar doubling mistake would be in other games.
With that said, playing soft hands with a total of 17 or lower is really easy and has you hit almost always. It only requires learning a few simple exceptions:
- When Facing a 6 – Quadruple with totals of 15, 16 or 17.
- When Facing a 7 – Quadruple with a total of 17 only.
Likewise, playing with a total of 19 or higher requires you to always stand with only one exception:
- When Facing a 6 – Quadruple with a total of 19 (stand against all other dealer totals).
That leaves playing a soft 18, which is the most difficult and tricky hand to play in Power Blackjack Live. It has what’s known as a broken strategy, meaning that it’s broken up into different parts that are not very cohesive. Here’s how it breaks down in order of the dealer cards you can face:
- Facing a 2 – Quadruple
- Facing a 3 – Hit*
- Facing a 4-6 – Quadruple
- Facing a 7 – Stand**
- Facing an 8-A – Hit
* This echos the situation with playing against a three differently with a hard 16, which can make it easier to remember.
** The stand here, which seems out of place, is because the dealer stands on a soft 17, making it easier to win when the dealer stands.
Soft totals are a bit more complicated than hard totals, and that’s why we recommend learning the hard totals first. The soft totals overall aren’t that bad except for the issue with a soft 18, but the thing about it is that’s where a lot of your mistakes are going to come from, so it’s worth putting in additional effort to get better at those spots in particular.
Playing Paired Hands in Power Blackjack Live
Finally, we have the situation with paired hands. What we really want to know is whether we should split or play the hand normally as if it was a typical hard hand.
We want to first say that there is no easy way to learn this, but it’s worth the effort because splitting doubles the size of your wager. If you quadruple afterward, then you could end up multiplying your total wager by as much as a factor of eight, so a small mistake can get seriously amplified very quickly.
Our base assumption is going to be as follows: Except for the starting hand AA, you’re going to play a paired hand according to the hard hand recommendations above if you do not split. That only leaves one thing to learn, which is when you should split with each pairing.
- Paired 22 and 44 – Only split against a 6.
- Paired 33 and 66 – Split when facing an 8 or lower.
- Paired 77 – Split when facing a 7 or lower.
Along with these rules, you’ll always split 88, and you’ll never split 55 or two paired face cards. With AA, you’ll always split except when facing a 7 or an A, in which case you’ll hit instead.
These can be a little tricky to learn, but it’s worth putting in the practice to learn how to play these spots because of how the bets multiply in this game.
A Note on Card Counting
Card counting is an interesting subject in Power Blackjack Live for two main reasons.
First, it’s a viable strategy to some degree because of the live dealer shoe environment. This is unlike most other online blackjack games that shuffle after each hand. With that said, it becomes more effective when there is a deeper penetration into the shoe, so you will run into fewer situations where you can use it to get an edge.
Second, it’s important to note that there is no established body of mathematical work that explains the nuances of how an edge can be achieved with counting cards in this game. This is because of the atypical deck size with 44 cards instead of the usual 52-card French deck or even the not uncommon 48-card Spanish deck (no 10s).
Generally speaking, we think that following a modified Hi-Lo approach where the sixes count as a zero instead of a non-zero point total would be a good starting point for developing a counting system for Evolution Gaming’s Power Blackjack.
Strategy for Power Blackjack Live is a fun topic for people who are really into the strategic principles of casino games. It’s similar enough to other multi-deck blackjack games to have certain common elements, but it’s different enough to be fresh for people who like taking on new challenges.
Adjusting to a new type of deck is not easy, and it’ll require a lot of work to not go onto “auto pilot” frequently. However, with a bit of work and study, the actual strategies aren’t really any tougher than learning strategy for any other blackjack game.