Buffalo Blackjack is a table-comparing casino game that is a variation of the traditional gambling game Blackjack.
Buffalo Blackjack is identical to traditional Blackjack, except for two additional side-bets that alter the House Edge of the game somewhat.
How to Play Buffalo Blackjack?
Buffalo Blackjack follows all of the standard procedures of regular Blackjack. This means a shoe is made, composed of six-eight Standard Anglo-American 52-card decks.
Each Player pays an Ante, as is usual in Blackjack variations. However, after the Ante has been paid and before cards have been dealt, Players can make an additional wager on 2 of 4 possible side-bets on offer.
Depending on the casino, one will either find the 21+3 and the Bust Bonuses, or the 21 Magic and Top 3 Bonuses.
The 21 Magic Bonus pays out higher rewards for the more cards it took to form a 21. In order to be paid for the Magic Bonus at all, a Player’s hand must equal 21. If it does, the more “Hits” a Player took in order to reach 21, the more money they get paid out.
The Bust Bonus is simply a Bonus table that pays out if the Dealer busts, offering different payouts for the Dealer’s top card before the Showdown.
The 21+3 Bonus is an interesting bonus that creates a 3-card Poker hand. The Player uses their two cards, as well as the Dealer’s top card, in order to form the best possible 3-card Poker hand. If the Player forms at least a straight or better, they win the bonus.
Players will find at most Buffalo tables either a combination of 21 Magic and Bust Bonuses, or 21+3 and Bust Bonuses. Bonuses are paid out after cards are dealt, but before the Showdown begins.
Aside from these bonuses, games Play out according to the normal procedures of Blackjack. On the game itself, outside of the bonuses, Players are paid on a 1:1 basis except for Blackjack, which pays 3:2.
Some rules to keep in mind when playing this game:
- Buffalo Blackjack plays using the standard rules of Blackjack, with two of three possible bonuses in addition to the normal game rules.
- The bonuses have no sway over the game itself, nor do the games determine the bonus payouts. Players are paid for their bonuses before the game itself begins.
- Players are sometimes required to make their Magic 21/21+3 bonus before they can make a bust bonus wager as well.
Imagine the following is your hand after you have placed a $10 wager on the 21+3, and a $10 on the Bust bonus, after placing a $10 wager:
And suppose the Dealer’s visible top card is:
Unfortunately, the 21+3 wager did not pay out for you, but the bust bonus might still pay out depending on the Dealer’s hand. Once the showdown begins:
Very unlucky! Not only do you lose your 21+3, but you lose your wager and the Bust bonus as well! However, there was nothing you could do. Hitting on an 18 is almost never wise, and will result in a loss on anything except 2 or 3.
Strategy and Tips
As with most table games, the bonuses are not good to play. Yes, while the lure of a high sudden jackpot payout might seem like a no-brainer because you can’t win what you don’t play, the reality is that the likelihood of hitting a jackpot or high-paying combination on one of the bonuses, even the progressive bonus, is very low.
You are essentially wasting money, decreasing your odds of making money when compared to just playing the game without participating in the bonuses. Generally, Players should avoid side bets and bonus wagers.
Payouts and Odds in Buffalo Blackjack
21+3 Bonus Payouts
The 21+3 bonus is most often utilized as a “Progressive” Bonus. This means that a casino-wide jackpot is generated by all of the wagers made onto the bonus and lost. If a Player manages to achieve specific conditions, they might be entitled to the total Jackpot.
Generally, in Progressive Payouts, Players are only allowed to wager a single dollar or so, with the maximum varying slightly from casino to casino. One possible Payout for the 21+3 Bonus is as follows:
|Three Aces or Kings (House Choice of Suit)
|100% Progressive Jackpot
|Three Aces or Kings (All Same Suit)
|Three Kind (All Same Suit)
|Flush Or Lower
21 Magic Payouts
The 21 Magic Side Bet pays out only if Players achieve a 21, with the number of cards it took for them to reach 21 proportional to their payout. This is explained better by the table:
|Number of Cards in Hand to Reach 21
|Two cards (Or a Natural)
So, for example, a hand of 2♦ 5♣ 3♦ A♣ would be a 9x payout, as it took four total cards to reach 21. This bonus does not pay out if a Player does not reach 21.
Bust Bonus Payouts
The Bust Bonus pays out based on the Dealer’s top card when they busted. The top card is just the visible face-up card for the Dealer.
The Bust Bonus offers two different payouts, one for if all of the Dealer’s cards are the same suit, and one for all others.
The actual game of Buffalo Blackjack only has a House Edge of about half a percent, while the bonuses can all range from 5-10%, meaning the game without bonuses is generally far better for the Player.