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What does Rummy mean in Blackjack?

What is Rummy in Blackjack?

Staff Writer 02/02/2021 Blog 6,863 views

It goes without saying that Blackjack is one of the most wide-spread card games in the world. This becomes a problem at a certain point. There are so many variations of rules alone that it becomes hard to keep track of it. In this article, however, we’ll be dealing with a related but different issue – naming.

Rummy in Blackjack can refer to one of two things:

  • The Costa Rican variant of blackjack.
  • The Rummy Side bet.

Because we often get questions about this, we’ll answer both in a quick and easy blackjack strategy guide.

Rummy Blackjack

As you may already be aware, Rummy is a completely separate card game popular worldwide. So how did this name get to be associated with a Costa Rican blackjack ruleset? Well, apparently, is that it has to do with gambling laws. According to casinos in Costa Rica, blackjack is illegal in the local jurisdiction. As a result, a barely-different game was created to give the customers what they want without (technically) breaking the law. Or it’s just a way to increase the house edge – who knows. Either way, Rummy in Costa Rica has nothing to do with other rummy games.

Rummy blackjack is a popular variant of the game used in most Costa Rican casinos. The gameplay itself is almost completely identical to most kinds of Blackjack online. It’s the good old game of 21, but some parts have been omitted.

Most notably, there is no actual “blackjack”. By that, we mean that an Ace and a 10-point card simply count as 21 points. There’s no 3:2 payout either. That’s the biggest change in the rules, but not the only one.

Most often, you play Rummy blackjack with 4 to 6 decks. The dealer stands on a soft 17, and you can double any two cards. Doubling up after a split is allowed, and you can re-split up to 4 hands.

Lastly, the ruleset offers certain bonuses – presumably to counteract the lack of blackjack. Getting a Three of a Kind or Straight Flush with the initial hand pays the player with no side bets, even if they bust. Suited Three of a Kind pays more, and both bonuses are bigger if you get a 21 total.

Overall, the Rummy blackjack RTP is around 99%. This makes the house edge worse than most other variants out there.

The Rummy Side Bet

Rare as it is, some online blackjack games offer the so-called Rummy side-bet. This one works like all other side bets – you need to put down a separate stake. It’s fairly similar to 21+3, which is one of the most common and popular blackjack side bets.

The Rummy side bet in blackjack works by combining the player’s initial two-card hand and the dealer’s up-card to make Rummy hands. Sounds familiar? As we said, it’s quite similar to 21+3, except poker hands are substituted by Rummy hands.

This gives you three options to win rummy side bet in total. You could get a three of a kind, a flush, or a straight. The side bet always pays 9:1, which sets the house edge at around 4.14%.

Strangely enough, it seems whoever thought of this side bet never played a lot of Rummy. A three-card straight flush is a possible card combination in Rummy, but not a simple straight or flush. It seems some liberties had to be taken to adapt the rules to blackjack.

The RTP alone should tell you enough to stay away from this side bet. It’s barely different than for 21+3 – but that’s not a good thing. Most blackjack side bets are horrible when it comes to managing RTP.

So there you have it. Two completely different things, both named Rummy, both connected to online blackjack. We hope you found these answers helpful.

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