Deal and Reveal Blackjack

Las Vegas is a fascinating place for anyone who likes to observe human nature and applied mathematics. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, where I was speaking at a conference, I saw a new table game at the Palazzo called Deal & Reveal.

Deal & Reveal is a slight variation of normal Blackjack, but the small difference in rules is quite interesting. In regular Blackjack, the dealer deals herself one card face down and one card face up. In Deal & Reveal, if the dealer’s up card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, she turns the face-down card up too so you see both dealer’s cards before you decide to hit, stand, double, or split. (I’ve left out several important details).

So, suppose you have a 13 and the dealer has a 6 showing. In regular Blackjack you’d stand and hope the dealer has a face-down card worth 10, and then she’d hit and draw a 10-value card, and bust.

But in Deal & Reveal if the dealer has a 6 showing, she’d immediately turn up her other card. Now, if the down-card is a 10, you’d stand as usual. But suppose the dealer’s down card is revealed to be a 5 – she has 11 and so instead of standing on your 13, you’d hit.

Interesting game! In most situations you’d play like usual, but seeing both dealer’s cards can change your strategy in some cases. As usual with games in Las Vegas, it’s mostly about psychology. For Deal & Reveal I really like the extra decision making. I wish I had time to do a math analysis (with a computer simulation) to examine strategies.

Las Vegas never ceases to amaze me with the constant pace of change and innovation. Vegas has a dark side to be sure, but if you are fascinated by math and psychology, Vegas is one of the most interesting places in the world for observation.


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