No Bust Blackjack is a Table-Comparing game played predominantly in the State of California.
California Gaming Law is a factor in the game’s mechanics; as traditional Blackjack is illegal in the state. As such, California No Bust Blackjack offers a few rule changes to the traditional table game to remain within the boundaries of the local law.
Dive right in and play at these top-rated sites:
How to Play No Bust Blackjack?
The rule changes in this game create a unique Blackjack experience that everybody should try playing at least once.
California No Bust Blackjack uses a non-standard deck. Rather than the Standard 52-card deck, the game utilizes the 54-card Joker variant of the Anglo-American deck. One of the two Jokers should be removed from each deck in Play, for a total of 53 cards.
California No Bust utilizes multiple decks at once. The Dealer will create a Shoe, a deck made of multiple decks, out of 6 of these 53-card decks for a total of 318 cards.
Each Player must make an Ante, just like in any other casino Table game.
No Official “Banker”
California No Bust Blackjack is inherently different from most Blackjack games simply because there is no official “Banker” at the table.
Due to restrictions under California Gaming Law, traditional Blackjack is actually illegal. There can technically be no “House” against which the Player bets. Games in California must be played against other individual Players, rather than the casino itself.
This means that in No Bust Blackjack, Players are given the chance to be the Dealer/Banker. They assume all of the normal responsibilities and functions of the Dealer, including paying out all other winning Players and collecting money from all losing Players.
The casino will still provide a “Dealer” that represents the House, though they are technically an independent third-party contractor.
In reality, this means that if you wish, you can decline the option to Bank, as there is always a Banker available if nobody at the table wishes to do so.
This Third-Party Banker will also cover any losses the Player cannot cover as the Banker if they lose, however, that losing Player will be forced to leave the table as they are completely out of money.
The game begins as a traditional game of Blackjack, with the Dealer (Whoever they are) giving each Player two face-up cards, and themselves one card face-down and one card face-up.
Jokers as Wild
Jokers are wild in California No Bust, and will always equal 21.
For Example, if you are dealt a 4 and a Joker, then your hand is 21, with the Joker acting as a wild card to become 17. 17+4=21.
If the Dealer’s top card is Joker, they immediately turn over their face-down card and the Showdown immediately begins. Players are not able to hit, and anything but a natural 21 loses the bet.
Conversely, the Player can also immediately declare a natural if they have a pair of Jokers, a pair of Aces, or a Joker and an Ace. In these situations, the Player is immediately paid out unless the Dealer also possesses a natural. If the Dealer also has a natural, the bet is pushed. Otherwise, the Player is paid out immediately.
If the Dealer’s top card is not a Joker, then the game continues as a normal game of Blackjack, with Players taking the appropriate betting positions available in regular Blackjack, with one additional.
Players are allowed to surrender their hand at any time before the Showdown, during which they surrender half of their wager and keep the other half but cannot collect any earnings even if they would have beaten the Dealer.
Players cannot surrender when the Dealer has a Joker as the top card, as the Showdown begins instantly in that case.
Players are able to Hit, Stand, Double Down, and Split just as they are in traditional Blackjack.
Players are able to split three times if they are dealt three pairs in a row, and Players are free to Double Down after they have already split a hand.
As the name suggests, Busting in No Bust Blackjack is not the immediate end of a Player. Instead, if a Player’s total exceeds 21, they do not immediately lose but rather wait to see the Dealer’s betting position.
- If the Dealer is going to have to hit, there is a chance the Dealer also busts.
- If both the Player and Dealer bust, the card total at which they busted becomes important.
- If the Dealer’s total is higher than the Player’s after they both bust, the Player’s bets are pushed.
- If the Dealer’s total is lower than the Player after they both bust, then the Player loses their wager to the Dealer.
For example, the Player busts with 22, but the Dealer busts with 24, then the Player simply receives a push.
Players are given the chance to be the Dealer for two hands, before the privilege passes on to the next Player in order. When a Player declines to be the Dealer, the position moves to the next Player in order.
The game continues normally once a Player or the third-party contractor decides to be the Dealer.
No Bust Blackjack Rules
Below you can find a summary of the game rules:
- Each Player is given the chance to be the Dealer, though they can decline if they so choose.
- Players that go over 21 do not automatically lose if their total is less than the Dealer’s total (“No Bust Over 21”).
- Jokers are wild cards that become whatever value is necessary to equal 21. Joker and any card is always 21.
- The Pair of Jokers Natural pays out 2x instead of 1:1. Everything else pays out 1:1.
- You can Double Down after Splitting.
Card Values and Hand Rankings
|11 or 1
In No Bust Blackjack, cards are worth what they are in traditional Blackjack.
- Aces are 11 or 1, depending on whether they will force a bust, and numbered cards are worth their printed value (2-10).
- Face cards are each worth 10, except for the Joker.
As explained above, the Joker will always combine with its other card to form 21. A Joker and a 5 make 21, with the Joker becoming a 16. A Joker and a 3 is 21, with the Joker becoming an 18.
Two Jokers, Two Aces, or a Joker and an Ace, are called Naturals. Naturals pay out immediately and beat other forms of 21.
For example, if the Player has Two Jokers, they still beat a Dealer with 5-9-7.
Imagine the following is your hand at the start of a game of No Bust Blackjack:
13 is not the strongest hand in traditional Blackjack, as it is very likely to bust. However, California No Bust has fewer penalties for busting.
Although Doubling Down is not an optimal strategy, it has less penalty for failure in this game, and might not be a completely terrible option. However, just assume you hit:
That Joker could have cost you double your money! Now you have a total of 23, and cannot keep hitting. However, you haven’t lost yet. Once all the other Players have taken their turns, the Dealer reveals their cards:
The Dealer must hit and is dealt
With a total of only 15, the Dealer must hit again:
And Busts at 25!
Since your total is only 23, and both you and the Dealer went Bust, your money is pushed rather than being lost.
Take Advantage of Being the Dealer
Being the Dealer in No Bust Blackjack is actually quite disadvantageous as the edge is very even. This means that you are more likely to go even as the Dealer than you are to win any money.
The Tables are only giving you the option to be the Dealer in order to comply with California law, but without any of the training or infinite financial resources of the casino, they do not expect you to turn a profit from it in the way that casinos do.
Double Down on totals of 9, 10, or 11
The most likely single card to receive in a deck is a 10, meaning Double Down on a total of 9, 10, or 11 gives you the highest chance of doubling your bet and receiving a very strong hand of 19, 20, or 21.
House Edge and Odds
In order to comply with California law, the House Edge of California No Bust Blackjack is actually exceedingly low. Games must be considered games of skill or consisting of fair odds to be played legally in a California casino.
In order to still make a profit, the casino charges a 1% commission for every $100 wagered at a given table. This commission included makes the House Edge about 0.44%, with the Third-Party Contractor technically acting as an agent of the House, with the money they wager with and win both coming from and returning to the House.