California Blackjack

California Blackjack is a variation of blackjack played in California and uses a banking system. This game is not available online, and the rules will vary from one casino to the next.

How to Play California Blackjack

The rules for California Blackjack are the same as the standard 21 game with a few notable changes. The game uses six decks of 53 playing cards. The extra card in each deck for California Blackjack is a joker which has a point value of 2 or 12. A total of 6 joker cards are in play.

California Blackjack Rules

  • Jokers are wild and can be used to complete any combination in order to create 21.
  • One of the biggest differences in California Blackjack and regular blackjack is 21. When a player has an Ace and ten value card, the player's hand counts as 21 but doesn't outrank the other 21 point hands.
  • If the player receives two jokers he wins 2:1 only if the dealer doesn't hold two jokers.
  • If the dealer has a joker face up, the down card will be flipped over and the hand ends. Any player who has less than 21 points will lose their bets.
  • If the dealer's down card is a joker, the player will lose their initial bet. Bets made by doubling down or splitting are considered a push and will be returned to the player.
  • Natural hands are two aces, an ace and a joker, or two jokers.
  • The dealer always hits on a soft 17
  • The dealer can't peek at his hole card
  • Splitting is allowed and players can split up to three hands.
  • Players can double after splitting
  • Surrendering is allowed, and players can surrender on any two cards except when the dealer has a joker face up.
  • If the player and the dealer bust, the player will win their initial bet back only if their hand is lower than the dealer's. If the player's bust hand is higher than the dealer's, the player looses his bet.

California Blackjack Banker Rules

Unlike traditional blackjack, California blackjack includes a banking system. The casinos will rotate the banker around the table and the player who is designated banker can only win what the front as the banker. Any excess loses incurred by the other players at the table will be given to the corporation which is a third party company.

The company is there to assist with the lack of bankroll the designated banker may have when covering player wins/loses. As an example if the player acting as banker doesn't have the funds to cover the wins from the other players at the table, the "corporation will step in and cover the bets. The exact opposite happens when the player wins the bank back. The excess funds will go to the corporation.

Players can force the corporation to play a hand by asking them to "buy action". When this happens, the player will place a bet, forcing the corporation to wager 20x the amount of the buy action on any spot on the table that the player chooses.  The corporation will normally take their turn as the banker, however they don't often play in hands unless forced. Players can also opt to split the banker role with another player at the table. This rule is known as "kum kum" and will give the banker an opportunity to share the banker bankroll with another player at the table.