Original Dice Game Created by James Yates

Dice Blackjack      Dice Blackjack is a game I've invented and developed for ChessandPoker.com which is based on the game of 21. It is played by two competitors, one acting as the Player and the other as the Dealer. The competitors should have two dice each in order to play, but they may also share two dice if they so choose. The Dealer for the first round can be decided by agreement, highest roll or any other method the competitors decide on. Regardless, the Dealer position will rotate among the players based on who wins the round.

      The object of the game is quite similiar to the version of Blackjack played with cards. Using two dice the "Player" tries to reach a count of 21, or as close to it as possible, without going over. They can "Hit" (roll) on any count less than 21 as many times as they want until they either decide to "Stand" on their current count (keep the count they have) or they go over 21. If a player gets a count higher than 21 they are "Busted", which means they lose their bet immediately to the Dealer (who wins the bet without even having to make a play). The next round would then begin. If the Player stands on a total less than 21, the Dealer must then try to beat the Players total, known as their "Count". Now let's find out how the gameplay of Dice Blackjack differs from the card version of Blackjack.

The Player

      In this game, as in Card Blackjack, the Player always makes the initial wager. This should consist of one or more betting units (in this tutorial we'll use Poker chips). The bet is made and then the gameplay proceeds as follows:

  1. The Player rolls their two dice.
  2. They determine the Dice Count (the total of the two Dice rolled).
  3. They must then DOUBLE this count.
  4. Now they have their Playing Count.

      As an example, let's say the Player has made their bet and has rolled 3-4 (a three and a four). The Dice Count would be Seven (3+4=7) for this roll. They now must DOUBLE this count, which would give them a Playing Count of FOURTEEN. It is then time for the Player to make a decision. Will they Roll again, known as "Hitting" the Playing Count, to try and get closer to 21, or will they Stand on the current Playing Count (in this case FOURTEEN) and see if it holds up against whatever the Dealer may come up with. If they decide to Stand, then their turn is over and the Dealers turn begins. But if they do not wish to Stand, they can proceed based on the following rules of the second throw.

Hitting the Playing Count

      Once the Player has decided to Hit, they again roll BOTH of their Dice. On this second roll, however, there are new rules on how the Dice can be used to increase the players current count:

  1. The player may use the total of BOTH Dice to increase their current count closer to 21 without going over OR
  2. The player may use either ONE DICE or THE OTHER, instead of adding both Dice together, to increase their count.

      Using the round above, the Player currently has a Playing Count of Fourteen. They decide to Hit, so they Roll both of the Dice again. This time they roll 2-6. What this means is that they can, at their option, add the combined count of the two Dice (which is 8) to their current count of Fourteen (which would Bust them in this case with a 22 count), OR they can use just the TWO (making a 16 count) OR only the SIX (making it 20 count). The best option for the Player here is to use just the 6 and then Stand on the new 20 Playing Count. The Dealers turn would now begin.

      A player can choose to hit as many times as they want at their option, provided they are not forced to achieve a total that is over 21. For example, the player above hit their Fourteen count and rolled 2-6. If instead they chose to use just the Two, their new count would be Sixteen. They choose to again Hit this new Sixteen count and again Roll both of ther Dice, this time getting 3-5. They can't use the combined total of the Dice, which is Eight, because this would bust them with a 24 count. However, they can use either the 3 or 5, and in this case the 5 would make them the very strong 21 count. The Player then stands. The Dealers turn would now begin, and they would face the daunting task of matching the Players 21 total to tie (Push) with them based on the limitations of the Dealers play (described below).

      However, if all three of the Players options (both dice combined or one of the numbers by themselves) result in a total over 21, the Player is immediately busted and the Dealer wins the hand without even having to roll any Dice. This is one of the advantages of holding the Dealer's position. Let's read on to find out how they can make plays when it's their turn and the Player hasn't busted.

Dice Blackjack Strategy

The Dealer: Standing on 17
Rules for The Dealer's First Roll

      When it's the Dealers turn to play (assuming that the Player did not bust), the method they must use to complete their turn is somewhat different than how the Player was allowed to proceed.

      The Dealer begins their turn by also rolling both of their dice, determining the Dice count and then doubling it to arrive at their Playing count. However, whereas the Player has the option to hit any count at their own discretion in an attempt to get as close to 21 as possible, the Dealer is required to STAND ON ANY PLAYING COUNT OF 17 OR HIGHER that they may reach on their first roll. These would be rolls of 3-6, 4-5, 4-6 and 5-5. Again, if the Dealer gets a total of 17 or more on their first roll THEY MUST STAND.

      For example, let's say the Player has just completed their turn, standing on a 19 Playing Count. The Dealer must now start their turn. They roll their two dice and get 3-6. They then must double this Dice Count of 9 which gives them an EIGHTEEN Playing Count (3+6=9 and then 9 x 2=18). Even if they didn't want to, at this point the Dealer MUST STAND since their Playing count totals over 17. In this case, the Player would win the round and become the Dealer (see more about this below).

The Dealer: Standing on 17
Options When Either Dice Would Make a 17 Count or Higher

      But what happens if their initial roll happens to be less than a 17 count? The Dealer must then continue to Hit their hand until they reach a Playing Count of 17 or higher. Let's examine another hand. The Player has stood on a 15 Playing count and it's now the Dealers turn. They roll 1-4. Doubling this count gives them a TEN Playing count. Since they haven't yet reached a 17 count or higher as required by the rules, they must Hit the Ten count by rolling the two dice again. This time they get 6-6. Now they must either use the combined total of the two sixes, which in this case is not possible as it would bust them with a 22 count, or use one of the sixes (here both of the dice in the either/or option are the same so it doesn't matter which one the Dealer uses) to increase their count. Therefore the Dealer uses a six which brings their Playing Count to SIXTEEN.

      Technically, the Dealer is closer to 21 than the Player is. However, the rules state that THE DEALER MUST CONTINUE TO HIT THEIR COUNT UNTIL IT TOTALS 17 OR MORE. The Dealer, however reluctantly, must again roll their two dice. This time they roll 2-4. They can't use the combined total of 6 because it will bust them, but they can use one of the dice, the 4, to bring them to a TWENTY count. This is more than 17 so they must now stand, which in fact wins them the hand by being closer to (but not more than) 21. The 2 would have also worked but the 4 simply brought the Dealer that much closer to 21.

The Dealer: Standing on 17
Options When One Dice Makes 17+, But The Other Doesn't

      In the example directly above (with the 2-4 second roll), the Dealer had to choose between the 2 or the 4 to increase their count. Here either of the totals put the dealer over 17. But what happens when you are in this situation and one or more of your options put you at a count of 17 or higher, but one (or more) of your options leave you short? The following rule applies for the Dealer only:

If standing on any 17, from any combination of their second roll, would cause the Dealer to lose,
the Dealer may choose ANY OTHER LEGAL OPTION in order to avoid immediately losing.

      Here's a sample hand. The Player stands on a 19 Playing Count, and the Dealer rolls a 2-5 which doubles to a 14 count. The Dealer rolls again, as required, and this time gets 2-3. Their options for this hand are as follows.

  1. They can use the combined total of their roll (5) to arrive at a 19 count. This would tie the player and begin the next round with no wagers won or lost.
  2. They can use just the 3 to arrive at a 17 count. This total would lose to the player, and therefore since the Dealer has other legal options they WOULD NOT be forced to keep this total based on the second-roll rules above.
  3. The third option would be to use only the 2 which would give the Dealer a 16 Playing Count.

      Will the Dealer take the tie and move on, or will they take the 16 count and try to beat the Player on their third roll? That will certainly be an interesting decision! Remember, the Dealer holds this advantage of CHOICE when one or more options would cause them to lose AND they have other LEGAL OPTIONS that would not. If the Dealer had no options that would not save them from losing to the Player, it wouldn't matter what combination was chosen as they all would lose. But the Dealer would have to choose one of them!

The Dealer: Ties

      If it so happens that the Dealer arrives at a (or has the option of achieving) a total that would exactly equal the Players total, then the Dealer has the additional option of taking the "Tie". When the Dealer chooses to tie the Player, neither the Player or the Dealer win the current wager. Both opponents take back their wagers and a new hand then begins as usual.

Hitting a Blackjack Part 1: Rolling a Pair

      In Dice Blackjack, the Dealer hold several advantages over the player as reviewed above. A major one is that the Dealer can win without even having to make a play (the Player busts themselves). However, the Player has some things going for them as well. It is only The Player who can get a Blackjack in this game. Here's how they can do it.

      In the case that The Player, on their first roll, happens to roll Any Pair other than 6-6 (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 or 5-5), they will be eligible to win the Blackjack bonus provided they choose to CONTINUE PLAYING instead of Standing on this first Roll (obviously the roll of 6-6 isn't usable because when you double this count, which you must do to get the Playing count, the Player would have busted themselves out with a 24). The Player therefore would have to double their Pair total to arrive at their Playing count as usual. If they choose to stand on this count, then the possibility of a Blackjack is gone and the Dealers turn begins. However, if they choose to Hit this count they may also happen to get a Blackjack. Now to Part 2.

Hitting a Blackjack Part 2: Converting the Advantage

      Should the Player happen to roll ANOTHER PAIR on their SECOND ROLL as well, then the Player shall be awarded the Blackjack bonus. This bonus greatly benefits the Player as the Dealer is forced in this situation to PAY THE PLAYER DOUBLE WHAT THEY HAD ORIGINALLY BET. The round is also IMMEDIATELY OVER. The Dealer also DOES NOT get a chance to tie (Push) with the Player here, the Player simply wins the Blackjack Bonus and the round is over.

      For example, say the Player bet two chips and then proceeded to roll 2-2 on their first throw. They are now eligible to get a Blackjack should they get another pair on their next roll (if they choose to continue). The Player doubles the 4 Dice Count and arrives at the 8 Playing count. They will definitely roll again. Lo and Behold, on their next roll they throw 3-3. Their second CONSECUTIVE PAIR! The round is now immediately over, and the Dealer puts down 4 chips out of their own stack (double what the Player had bet) next to the Players original bet. Now the Player can rake in the 4 chips from the Dealer as well as their original bet of two chips for a total haul of 6 chips (two of their own and four of the Dealers)! This is very good for the Player, who now also becomes the dealer.

Changing Dealers

      The changing of the deal is simple to understand and keeps the game fresh by forcing the competitors to utilize both Player and Dealer Strategy. How it occurs is that no matter who is currently the Dealer, whoever wins the current hand then becomes the Dealer for the next hand. If the current Dealer wins the hand, then they remain the Dealer. If they lose, the Player becomes the Dealer and so on. This way the advantages of both sides must be understood and used by both the competitors, and are divided based on victory.

ChessandPoker.com Browsing Options

      Thank you for reading this featured game article! Please select one of the links below to continue navigating the Chess and Poker Dot Com website. Let us know if we can be of any further help. Good luck and happy gaming!

Game Strategy Guides More strategy guides and game solutions are waiting for you on our homepage!
Discuss this article Visit the game forums and chat with our knowledgeable community members.
Shop for games Browse our store and find some great savings on pretty cool merchandise.
Read our Blog for site updates and commentary on a variety of interesting subjects.
Contact us to make a suggestion, ask a question or comment on this article.
Make a Donation to the ChessandPoker.com website at your convenience.

Copyright 2003 James Yates All Rights Reserved. Article written by James Yates, founder and owner of the ChessandPoker.com website. Please review our Terms of Use page for information concerning the use of this website.

Rubik's Cube Solution
Solve the Rubik's cube in seven steps with our beginner-level guide.

Carcassonne Strategy
Rules and strategy for the most addictive game you've never heard of.

Sudoku Strategy
Covers beginner and advanced techniques for solving Sudoku puzzles.

Tic Tac Toe Solution
Reveals how to win or draw at the classic Pencil and Paper game.

Einstein's Problem
Solve Einstein's famous puzzle by dissecting his clever list of clues.

Peg Solitaire Strategy
Graphical notation shows how to optimally solve this perplexing puzzle.

Fifteen Puzzle Solution
Unravel the scrambled numbers of the famous fifteen puzzle.

Tower of Hanoi Solution
How to solve Tower of Hanoi puzzles with any number of starting disks.

Rock Paper Scissors
Prepare yourself for the hand-to-hand combat encounter Roshambo.

Dice Probabilities
Understand the probabilities at work when you throw the dice.

Domino Strategy
Groundbreaking work explores the strategy of All-Fives dominoes.

Solitaire Strategy
Learn how to efficiently clear your columns when solving Klondike Solitaire.

Vegas Solitaire
The dastardly Klondike variant which introduces three cards at a time.

Blackjack Basic Strategy
Details an effective strategy for all plays in the popular card game.

Video Poker Strategy
Covers optimal strategy for the video poker variant Jacks or Better.

Chess Strategy
Advanced tactics and strategy for the most popular board game ever.

Limit Hold em Strategy
Beginner-level guide designed to focus your play in Limit Hold'em.