Chinese Blackjack: Cards Dealt, Options, and Dealer Hands

Have you ever heard of “Chinese Blackjack”? It is one of the most interesting blackjack variants to be found. In South East Asia, it is very popular during the Chinese New Year and can be played in many land-based casinos like Genting Casino. 

The appearance of this variant to standard blackjack is very evident in the basic rules of the game, and how cards will be dealt. However, there are several key differences which make it a fun and more challenging betting game. 

Chinese Blackjack Definition

The Basics of Chinese Blackjack

Chinese Blackjack is known as 21-point a bang-nag (Cantonese), or ban-luck (Hokkien), is very popular in South-East Asia, and is a lot like the standard Blackjack we know. 

There is no limit to the number of players who can play, however, the common happening is to find 5 – 6 players in each table. In addition, only 2 decks of 52 cards will be used in this blackjack variant. You will not find 6 or 8 deck games. 

Players will try to reach a total of 21, or as close as possible to 21 without going over. The cards are valued exactly similar to regular blackjack with the exception of Aces. All numbers cards are designated their face value. In addition, all face cards are designated a value of 10. 

The value of an Ace in Chinese Blackjack varies based on the number of cards that players have. When a player has two cards, an Ace might be valued as 10 or 11. When a player has 3 cards, an Ace might be valued as 1 or 10. When a player has 4 or more cards, an Ace can only be valued as a 1. 

How Cards Dealt in Chinese Blackjack?

To start a round of play in Chinese Blackjack, the dealer will shuffle the cards and have one player cut the deck by removing a portion of cards from the top. This portion of cards will be set aside and the dealer deals every player two face-down cars. The dealer will always be the last to receive cards in a round of play. 

After all players and dealers have received their cards, then the remaining cards will be joined with the portion that was cut and set aside to start the round.

The Options in Chinese Blackjack

Once all players at the table and the dealer have received their cards, then the player to the dealer’s will immediately left is given the chance to act on their hand. In addition, the option to a player in this variation is the same as those in regular blackjack. Players have the option of hitting or standing on their hand. 

The big difference at this stage of the game is that there are certain hands which are regarded as the winning hands immediately. These hands in Chinese Blackjack are:

1. A Ban-Ban

A Ban-Ban will happen when a player gets two Aces. When a player gets a Ban-Ban, their hand is an immediate winner and will be paid off at the odds of 3 – 1 by the house. However, when the dealer also holds a Ban-Ban or an escape hand, then the player has a tie and doesn’t collect. 

2. A Ban-Nag

A Ban-Nag is precisely similar to the regular blackjack. It has one Ace and 10-value card. This option will be paid off at odds of 2 – 1, unless the dealer also holds a Ban-Nag or a Ban-Ban. 

3. An Escape Hand 

An Escape Hand will be the starting hand which totals 15. When a player holds an escape hand, he has the option of continuing on or he might stop the hand and reclaim his first bet. 

This option is also used by the dealer. If the dealer holds a 15, he can choose to continue in the hand or stop the hand. When the dealer stops the hand, then the hand will be over and the dards will reshuffle for a new round of play. 

4. A 5-Dragon

A 5-Dragon in Chinese Blackjack is an option when a player’s hand contains 5 cards with the total 21 or less. This option of less than 21 is an immediate winner and will be paid at odds of 2 – 1. Moreover, a 5-Dragon which totals 21 wins and paid at 3 – 1.

The Dealer Options in Chinese Blackjack

After all players at the table acted on their hands, it is dealer time to set options. This is where the things start to seriously deviate from the regular blackjack. Players can seriously wind up on the losing end of the stick when the dealer has a powerful hand.

When the dealer has a total of less than 16, he must take a hit to try and improve his hand. However, when the dealer has any total from 16 – 20, he might show a certain number of player hands before considering if he should take a hit or stand. 

When he reaches a total of 21 without busting, then the hand will end and all players will lose their first bet. When the dealer busts his hands by going over 21, all players will be paid even money on their hands. 

When the dealer is lucky enough to have a 5-Dragon without totaling 21, all players will lose and must pay the dealer twice the amount of their first bet. When the dealer gets a 5-Dragon that is exactly 21, this will be bad news for players, as they must pay the dealer 3x from their first bet. 

House Edge in Chinese Blackjack

It should be very clear that the house or dealer holds a very significant benefit over the player.  That is why, when Chinese Blackjack is played at home, everyone will get a chance to be a dealer. Otherwise, the players will always bet at a disadvantage. 

Furthermore, the possibility of having to play the dealer either 2 or 3x from the fist bet, makes this blackjack variant a true gambling game. While there is a certain amount of skill involved in this game, and basic blackjack strategy comes into play, even the right strategy is not enough to lower the big edge retained by the house. 

Final Words

Now, you already know everything about Chinese Blackjack. If you want to become a master in this blackjack variation, but can’t wait for Chinese New Year to come, you can try it at home. Visit our best live casino Malaysia site recommendation, and you will find the right website to place a bet!


Garuda Casino is the Malaysian independent online gaming authority, providing trusted online casino news, guides, reviews and information.

Recent Posts

What is a Blind in Texas Holdem Poker and Advance Strategy

Poker is an exciting card game, and the blinds have a lot to do with…

6 mins ago

What is 3:2 Blackjack and How to Better Read Payouts

Are you curious about what is 3:2 blackjack? Of course, blackjack is hands down a…

2 weeks ago

What is a Soft 17 in Blackjack, Rules, and Count Card

Learning what is a Soft 17 in blackjack is important for all players who want…

2 weeks ago

How to Win Dancing Drums Slot Machine for Maximum Payouts

Are you looking for some tips on how to win Dancing Drums slot machine? This…

3 weeks ago

What is a Betting Octopus in Football with 3 Strategies

Do you know exactly what is a betting octopus? While you can simply be mistaken…

3 weeks ago

What is a Freezeout Poker Tournament and How to Adjust

Learning what is a freezeout poker tournament can help you to experience the best possible…

3 weeks ago