Unlimited Blackjack Strategy Guide
Ezugi’s live dealer Unlimited Blackjack game has a set of particular rules that you can’t really find anywhere else. While the object of the rule changes are to speed up the game, they actually affect the relevant strategies in a way that you won’t see in any other form of blackjack, whether it’s a traditional online game or a live dealer scenario.
An Introduction to Unlimited Blackjack Strategy
Unlimited Blackjack is a live dealer game produced by Ezugi. The premise of the game is that everyone playing is playing the same exact hand, and each way the hand can be played is dealt out in one way or another.
However, there are some rule changes that are critical to note in terms of how they affect strategy.
Aside from that, they have some atypical rules for this game in general as far as particular rule sets and combinations of rule sets that you don’t really see, and that can affect strategy in a pretty interesting way. We’ll get into these differences below and show you what you need to know to get the most from this title since it has a pretty high payout rate when you play correctly and can easily be the best-paying title in a given online casino.
Important Rules and Changes
We’re going to assume that you understand the basic rules and idea of blackjack, and we’re going to get right into the rules and other changes that affect things from a strategic standpoint. These changes might seem small at times, but they change how you have to play in a serious way. If you don’t make the proper adjustments, then you’ll be stuck with a higher house advantage.
The Essential Parameters of the Game
Each blackjack game, no matter if it’s live dealer or not, will have a few basic parameters that set the stage for the rest of the action. The following lists those parameters for the Unlimited Blackjack live dealer tables along with strategic considerations for those parameters.
- An eight-deck shoe is used in this game. While it doesn’t have a particularly high penetration, there are opportunities to implement card counting techniques for a higher payout rate.
- The dealer peeks for blackjack with aces but not tens. That affects a handful of doubling situations in this game.
- You can double after a split as long as that split is not aces, and you can only split to two total hands, which we’ll get more into down below since the splitting rule is different than any other blackjack game.
- Split aces only get one card to each hand with no ability to double or hit.
- The dealer stands on a soft 17, which is a small change that actually helps your payout rate compared to if the dealer hit instead.
- No surrender option is used in this game, which hurts your payout rate but is common, so it’s not a big deal.
With these guidelines in line, we’re going to get into some more intricate aspects of the rules.
The Dealing Approach
Dealing in this game is based on the idea that everyone is playing the same hand. As a result, they had to come up with a way to deal with things like some players wanting to hit while others stand in terms of having the cards deal out appropriately.
As a result, they came up with a system where you get about five seconds or so to act between decisions, and if you do not act, then the game acts for you based on a pretty reasonable strategy. If you take an option that doesn’t require as many cards as other options, those additional cards that do not apply to your specific hand will be faded out in shades of gray to make things more clear about what does and does not apply to your playing of the hand.
The idea behind the action proceeding after every five seconds (roughly) is to speed the game along so that you don’t have to wait on players to take multiple actions that don’t even apply to your hand.
The Result for Splitting
Splitting is a tricky option to handle with the above, so they came up with a unique solution. We’ll explain it as follows in terms of being dealt a paired hand:
- If you have 44, 55, 99 or a pair of 10-point cards, then you never have the option to split, and it’s treated like a normal hard hand.
- With all other paired hands, they will always be split. However, before you see what the two new hands will be, you’ll be granted the option to play one or two of the resulting hands. If you play two, you add an additional bet as is typical.
- This creates a new strategic decision: How many hands to play in a splitting situation based on the cards and the dealer’s card.
This can seem a bit trickier than it really is when you’re reading about it, but after you see one or two paired hands in action, it becomes very intuitive very quickly.
Specific Strategies: Three Hand Types
At this point, we’ll get into the specifics of strategy for Unlimited Blackjack. We’ll do this by classifying everything into one of three types of hands: hard hands, soft hands and pairs.
For the sake of the following, we’ll use the terms “strong” and “weak” dealer cards. A weak dealer card is when the dealer shows 2-6, and the dealer is strong with 7-A.
All of your decisions will be based on three pieces of information: the type of hand you have, the total you hold and the dealer’s up card.
Hard hands are typically considered to be the easiest to learn how to play in blackjack games in general, but in this game, they’re similar to soft hands in terms of complication. In any case, the correct strategies for either aren’t incredibly difficult, but they do require some practice and study if you want to be able to execute them consistently at the tables within the 5-second time limit for each decision.
If you have a hard total of eight or lower, then you’re always going to hit. There’s no other viable option. With a nine, however, you’ll double when facing a three through six instead. From there, with a 10 or 11, you’ll always double against a 2-9 and hit otherwise.
With hard totals that go from 12 through 16, you’ll always stand against weak dealer cards and hit against strong dealer cards with a single exception. With a specific total of 12, you’ll also hit against a dealer showing 2-3.
Finally, you’ll always stand with a hard total of 17 or higher. There are no exceptions to this rule as a part of this overall Unlimited Blackjack strategy.
Playing soft hands is a little tricky because you have to learn when to double, and there’s no convenient pattern to follow like what you can find with certain other games. Instead of just memorizing a chart, which can make you prone to mistakes here and there, there’s a little bit of a different rule you can use:
Only double against weak dealer hands when your total combined with twice the dealer’s total is at least 24.
The only exception to this is when you have 17 and are facing a dealer with a 3. Your total plus twice the dealer’s total will give you 23 here, but you should double in what can be considered the most borderline case in this game.
With soft totals of 17 or lower, hit if you aren’t doubling. Likewise, always stand with 19 or higher with soft hands.
This leaves soft hands with a total of 18. They are the odd one out here because they have the most complicated strategy, and they are the soft hand that you’ll be the most likely to make mistakes with as a result.
Because of the splitting rule, Unlimited Blackjack strategy for splitting is much different than what you see with any other blackjack game out there. There’s simply nothing available other than this particular title that offers this particular decision that’s at the core of this strategy.
To rehash, you do not have the option to put in a split with 44, 55, 99 or pairs of 10-point cards. As a result, you’ll always play those normally, and you don’t actually need to learn anything new here if you understand the above. This is because you simply play them like normal hard hands.
With the other paired hands, you have to make a decision about whether you want to play just one or both of the resulting split hands. What’s interesting here is that you don’t actually get to see what those resulting hands are going to be, so you can’t just pick out the favorable totals.
As is the case with most other decisions, it largely comes down to which pair you have and the dealer’s up card. Things break down into a few cases, and it’s a little tricky to learn at first, but it doesn’t take long to get because there’s not that much information overall to commit to memory.
- 22, 33, 77 – Only play both when against a dealer 4, 5 or 6.
- 66 – Play both against a dealer 5 or 6 only.
- 88 – Play both against a dealer card that’s 2-7.
- AA – Always play both hands.
There are only four cases to know, and the AA one is really easy to remember, so that just narrows things down even further.
Possibilities for Card Counting
Because live dealer Unlimited Blackjack from Ezugi offers a shoe that’s dealt from over and over again without constant shuffling, making it atypical compared to most online blackjack games, there are serious opportunities to count cards. Most players who are into online types of blackjack don’t know much about card counting because it’s primarily something that applies to brick and mortar games, so we’re going to offer a quick primer of a common system called the hi-lo counting system.
- When there is a fresh shoe, start with a count of 0.
- For each card 2-6 that is dealt, add 1 to your count.
- For each card 10-A that is dealt, subtract 1 from your count.
- After each hand, divide the count by the approximate number of decks left in the shoe (the entire shoe contains eight decks in this game) to get what’s called the true count.
- If the true count is 5 or higher, then increase your bet size because you have an advantage against the house.
There are other adjustments that you can make with this system in terms of changing up how you actually play individual hands in specific situations, but that’s largely outside of the scope of what we’re looking at here.
The thing about Unlimited Blackjack live strategy is that there are some nuances that make it stand out compared to other blackjack titles online, and that goes for other forms of live dealer blackjack as well. The key to being good at this game and getting the most out of the payout rate, which can get to more than 99.5 percent with correct play, is to not get into an “auto-pilot” mode and to instead remember to adjust to the rules of this specific game and to keep your mind on the count.