What do you suppose people who really really want to have
the best of two radically different things do to fulfill
their heart's desire? That's right, they find ways to merge
the best of the two worlds.
Such was the case with Blackjack and Texas Holdem, too.
These are the two most popular card games, yet they're so
different in nature and play. Who would've thought they
could ever be molded into one game, retaining the best
qualities of both in the process?
Apparently, somebody decided it would be a great idea to
have a game called Holdem Blackjack, with its card-ranking
and simplicity borrowed from Blackjack, retaining the
excitement of the complex strategy-based play, with its
psychological implications, from Texas Holdem.
If you think Holdem Blackjack is some kind of novelty game
only available in a single
poker room , better think again: there are at least 11
well-established poker rooms offering this game to their
customers, and the traffic they get for these games is
pretty solid too.
But how exactly does HB play?
The card rankings are the same as in regular casino
blackjack, namely: all cards from 2 to 10 have the numeric
value written on them, Jacks through Kings are worth 10,
Aces are worth 1 or 11 ( whichever helps the player best)
The best possible hand in Blackjack Holdem is a seven-card
hand that doesn't go over 21. ( it's also called 7 Card
Charlie) the next best possible hand is 21, then 20, then 19
and so on. If you have exactly 21 it doesn't matter whether
you have a natural blackjack ( AJ, AK AQ) or any other cards
with their values amounting to 21. High cards won't be used
The play itself is entirely borrowed from Texas Holdem.
There's a dealer button that moves around the table in a
clockwise direction, with one position after each hand, the
small blinds and big blinds are similar to those used in TH,
too. The person to the immediate left of the dealer posts
the small blind ( half of the big blind) with the person on
his left posting the big blind. These initial blind bets
will count as pot-equity in the game. I'm underlining this
fact, because HB is played with antes too, posted before the
blinds by every single player. The ante is half the small
blind and it won't count towards pot-equity.
After all the forced bets are posted ( antes and blinds)
each player receives one card face down, starting with the
player on the left of the dealer button and going in a
clockwise direction. After this card is dealt, the first
betting round commences.
HB is played with one of the most interesting hybrid betting
systems: the first and second rounds of betting are Fixed
Limit ( meaning that your raises will be limited to the
amount of the big-blind in the first round and twice this
amount in the second one) and the last betting round (third)
is Spread Limit.
( for those of you who may not know this: Spread Limit
means, that the amount of a raise needs to be between two
times the amount of the big blind and ten times that same
After the first round is completed, ( players may undertake
any of the actions they know from TH: call, fold, raise,
checkraise etc..) every player gets a second card, this time
face up. The second round of betting starts, still with
Fixed Limit betting rules in place. After the second betting
round, each player, in turn, will have the choice to hit or
stand until he feels he's built the best possible blackjack
hand. ( the max number of cards a player can hold at
showdown is 7 so they will be able to draw 5 more at this
stage) it is important to know that busted hands are not out
of the game. This is what makes it really interesting. If
you hit 22 and everyone else busts out with at least 23 you
will still win).
The last betting round ( Spread Limit) goes down, followed
by the Showdown. The player who shows down the best possible
Blackjack hand wins the pot. Ties can occur quite often,
given the fact that high cards are not used as tiebreakers,
only the raw value of the hand matters. In case of a tie,
the pot is split equally between the winners.
Given the fact that it is an officially recognized game,
offered by many prestigious online poker rooms, you can play
real money tables, earn player points,
and bonuses on Holdem Blackjack just like you do on Texas
Who knows? Considering how interesting it is, this game may
well become the next big thing after Texas Holdem.