Many of us have a very set idea of what blackjack should look like. While variants make some minor adjustments, they rarely make massive changes. That is not the case with Italian Blackjack, or Sette e Mezzo. While this game plays very similarly to the blackjack we know, it feels completely different from it!
Italian blackjack is played with a single deck, comprised of forty cards. Eights, nines and tens have been removed from the deck, leaving us with four suits of ten cards. Even the suits are different in Sette e Mezzo. Instead of having spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds, we have coins, cups, clubs and swords. Each suit consists of an Ace, number cards from two to seven and the King, Cavalier and Jack.
The Ace is worth one point. Cards ranging from two to seven will always be worth their face value. That means a three will be worth three points when being added together to create your hand value. The King, cavalier and jack are all worth half a point. This may seem like a bad thing, but it is actually a huge plus!
One look at Italian Blackjack makes it obvious our basic blackjack strategy will not work here. After bets are placed, the dealer will draw two cards. One for themselves, and one for the player. If your hand is weaker than the dealer’s card, you have to keep drawing more cards. This continues until your hand value is higher than the dealer.
At this point, you can decide if you want to draw more cards or stand. The turn then swaps to the dealer. They also have to draw more cards if their hand value is less than five. At five, the dealer will not draw any additional cards.
Sette e Mezzo translates to seven and a half from Italian. This is the ideal hand value! If either side goes over that magical number, they automatically lose the round.
Unique to Italian Blackjack is the concept of a Wild card. That is the King of Coins! If the player draws it as their first card, they will immediately draw a second card. If you get an exact seven and a half value with the King of Coins, you get an increased payout compared to a standard win.
However, the King of Coins can also be used against the player. If the dealer draws this card, the unlucky punter has to keep drawing cards until they reach seven. This has a high chance of resulting in a bust.
Currently, only Playtech offers an Italian Blackjack game. As a result, you will want to pick an online casino that offers Playtech’s live casino releases! In it, players have access to two side bets.
Partita Perfetta is the first side bet, and it pays if the player and dealer’s first cards form a pair. The payouts increase with how well they match, awarding a maximum 55:1 reward for a pair of sevens.
Mano Di Poker tasks you with forming a valid three-card poker hand with the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s first card. The payout increases with the strength of the card, capping at 150:1 for a Royal Flush.