Double Exposure Blackjack

Double Exposure Blackjack was invented by American game theorist Richard Arnold Epstein and made its debut at the now-defunct Vegas World casino. It is known by a number of names, including Face Up 21, Dealer Disclosure, and Zweikartenspiel (German for “two card game”). The primary difference between this blackjack variant and the traditional version of the game is the fact that both of the dealer’s initial two cards are dealt face-up. This creates a wealth of new opportunities, although other rules exist to allow the house to maintain their edge over the customer.

This article examines the rules of Double Exposure Blackjack, especially those that differ from the standard game. We’ll also discuss the odds for a player’s success, noting the best places to play Double Exposure Blackjack (as well as the worst).

How to Play Double Exposure Blackjack

When learning how to play Double Exposure Blackjack, you should keep in mind that the game largely works the same way as traditional blackjack. This means the goal of the player is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over, while at the same time having a higher total than the dealer.

The number of 52-card decks used in the game can vary from casino to casino. In most cases, it tends to be six or eight. Of course, this won’t matter if you’re playing online; a format where the art of card counting is rendered moot by instantaneous computerized shuffling. 

The card values are also the same as regular blackjack. The face cards (king, queen, and jack) each count as 10 points, while all other cards are valued at the number displayed on their surface. Aces can be worth 1 or 11 points, and this number can be switched as the hand is played out.

The biggest difference in the game is that both dealer cards are exposed. Players are also limited to a split once per game (although I have encountered casinos where this was not the case), and the dealer wins on all ties except for a natural blackjack. The payout on blackjack for players has also been lowered, as it pays even money instead of the standard 3:2.

The rules listed above tend to be consistent in most places offering Double Exposure Blackjack, while others may differ. The following are some of the variations you’re likely to find.

The dealer may be required to hit or stand on a soft 17. In the case of tied blackjack, the win either goes to the player or is counted as a push. With a split, the player may or may not double down depending on the house rules. The same goes for doubling down on any first two cards, as I’ve seen places where this can go either way. Another one that varies is the ability of players to split unlike 10 value cards.

Since the rules differ with each establishment, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly read over the game before putting money on the line. This is especially easy when playing Double Exposure Blackjack online, as each game can be clicked for a thorough description, as well as rules and payouts.

Double Exposure Blackjack Odds and Probability 

Like most games of chance, the Double Exposure Blackjack odds and probability are tied to the subtle differences in rules that exist from casino to casino. While one establishment may offer rule variations that are a slight benefit to the player, the next will throw in a subtle wrinkle that swings the odds even more in favor of the house. Ultimately, however, all versions are meant to pay the house more than the player, a rule that any gaming enthusiast would be wise to commit to memory. It should also be noted that the house edge for Double Exposure Blackjack is higher than the traditional version of the game, although experts have noted that it still offers some of the best odds in the casino when played with the proper strategy.

While Double Exposure Blackjack can be found online, it debuted in land-based casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and even Tunica. Some of these establishments have since gone out of business, but a few still remain. Before planning a trip to play this variant, it’s wise to become familiar with the casinos that offer the best odds on Double Exposure Blackjack. 

The best place to play is Atlantic City. The Tropicana, Trump Taj Mahal, and Claridge each offer the game with a low house edge of 0.66%. This version of the game is played with eight decks and requires the dealer to stand on a soft 17. Doubling down after a split is allowed, although doubles can only be made on a hard 9 to 11 and a soft 19 or 20. Only one split is allowed per hand, and the player wins on a tied blackjack with the house.

The worst Double Exposure Blackjack odds are in Reno, Nevada at Circus Circus. Their house edge over players stands at 1.47% thanks to a six-deck game with the following rules: Dealer hits on a soft 17. Double down only on a hard 9 to 11. Doubling after the split is prohibited. Player may split once per hand. Tied blackjacks count as a push.

If you’ve ever played blackjack and been driven crazy by the inability to see the dealer’s hole card, then Double Exposure Blackjack is worth seeking out. While its availability is sporadic, it allows players to take away one of the most frustrating aspects of the game. Other rules are in place to compensate for this advantage, however, so anyone expecting to break the bank should think twice before playing.