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General Rules of the Chinese Blackjack

31 Jul 2008

The Chinese version of a popular game Blackjack is called a 21-point a ban-nag (Cantonese), or ban-luck (Hokkien).

Chinese Blackjack is played mostly in South-East Asia and is similar to traditional Blackjack.

The number of players is not limited. Usually the game of Chinese Blackjack uses one or two 52-card decks. One of the most interesting features that differs the Chinese Blackjack from conventional Blackjack is the fact that the dealer has the right to reveal any player’s hand selectively, and after settling bets with them, he goes on to other players and reveals their hands. The next unique feature is the fact that a 5-card hand has a special status, when unbusted. Despite of all the common Blackjack rules, as in the traditional Blackjack, the game itself may differ from house to house.

Dealing the cards

Dealer shuffles the cards and deals two cards each all face down starting from himself clockwise or anticlockwise.

Card Values in Chinese Blackjack

  • K, Q, J = 10
  • 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 = as numbered
  • total number of cards = 2, then Ace = 11 or 10
  • total number of cards = 3, then Ace = 10 or 1
  • total number of cards = 4 and above, then Ace = 1

Special card combinations in Chinese Blackjack

The first thing each player (including the dealer) does, is checking for special card combinations

  • 15 points = free hand
  • Ace + (10/J/Q/K) = ban-luck
  • Ace + Ace = ban-ban

15 Points

When a player has a hand of 15 points, such a hand in Chinese Blackjack is called a “free hand” (escape hand). At this point he has an option of whether to continue the play or not to continue, in case he decides to stop, all the cards are collected back, shuffled and dealt again. The dealer has the same option as the player (!!!!!) – in case he has a free hand, he can decide to collect cards or to continue the play.

Ban-Luck (ban-nag)

When a player has a ban-luck, his bet pays off immediately 2-to-1, unless dealer’s hand is a ban-luck (a tie), a ban-ban (the player loses) or a free hand (an escape).

In case the dealer’s hand is a ban-luck he wins all the players’ bets immediately, unless the player’s hand is a ban-ban (dealer loses), a ban-luck (a tie), or a free hand (an escape).


When player receives two Aces, he is said to have a ban-ban. The player who has a ban-ban immediately wins his bet tripled, unless the dealer receives a ban-ban (a tie), or a 15 (free hand, an escape). According to the Chinese Blackjack rules, the same situation happens with the dealer, he gets his bet tripled with the exception of a tie, or an escape hand.

Player’s choice in Chinese Blackjack

Additionally to all the standard Blackjack options (HIT- take another card, STAND – receive no more cards), Chinese Blackjack provides another option. When a player (a dealer) receives 5 cards (5- Dragon) without busting, his bet pays off 2-to-1 immediately (dealer collects double bets from all the players in case he has a Dragon without busting), and in case a player (a dealer) receives 5 cards are exactly 21, his bet pays off 3-to-1 immediately (dealer collects triple bets from all the players in case he has a Dragon of 21).

Dealer’s choice

According to the Chinese Blackjack rules, the dealer can reveal any player’s hands in case he has a total of 16 or higher. In addition, in case dealer’s hand is a 21, he reveals all players’ hands, and those who lose pay out their bets 2-to-1. In case dealer busts, he pays all the players even money. In case dealer busts with 5 cards, he pays off double (House Rule) to players, whose hands have not been yet revealed (without opening them). In case dealer has a 5-card Dragon, he gets all players’ bets doubled, and tripled in case 5 cards are 21.

After all the hands are played, and all the bets are paid, dealer collects all the cards and starts a new hand.

NB: Please note, that all the rules of Chinese Blackjack provided above are general, and may differ from one casino to another. To avoid any misunderstandings please bother to read rules of Chinese Blackjack on a site you are playing at or ask the dealer in the casino before the play.

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Nicholas (Nick the Greek) Dandalos
Remember this: The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself