Microgaming has come up with a lot of RNG blackjack variations over the years, and Big 5 Blackjack is one of the more famous ones. To be clear, this title is not particularly innovative or outlandish with fresh features. However, it comes with a few rules and tidbits that will be quite interesting to a serious online blackjack player.
If you ever had the chance to play Microgaming blackjack before, the interface and graphics will be instantly familiar. It’s an overall crisp and clear presentation, though not particularly good-looking. After all, Big 5 Blackjack by Microgaming has been around for quite a while and more modern releases probably look better. Still, placing bets is quick and easy, which is important for multi-hand blackjack games. Moreover, the experience is fairly authentic thanks to the traditional look and Microgaming’s attention to detail.
The rules in this release are relatively player-friendly, as seen in the solid RTP value. To start the game, you’ll need to place chips on the table to decide your stake. Big 5 Blackjack betting limits may depend on the casino operator you’re using, but they’re often capped at $200 per hand.
Big Five’s main selling point is the ability to play up to 5 hands at once, as the name implies. Simply drag the chips on any of the 5 positions to ensure that hand will be dealt cards. Once you click deal, two cards will be dealt to each bought-in hand, as well as to the dealer. From then onwards, you can make independent decisions for each of the 5 hands.
Beyond that, the rules are fairly standard. Your goal is to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. One interesting bit is that the dealer must hit on a soft 17. This is different from most online blackjack rules in which dealers stand on soft 17s. Beyond that, 5 decks are in play. This would typically make card counting easier than with most online blackjack titles. However, since this is an RNG-based game, the shoe is shuffled after each round. Thanks to 5 possible hands, however, you might still penetrate well into the shoe before the end.
You can double on any card total and even on split pairs. Speaking of which, splits are permitted for any pair and you can split up to 3 times.
As it stands, there are no side bets in Big Five Blackjack. However, the game features the excellent Early Surrender rule. This rule allows you to take half your stake and quit at any point unless the dealer is showing Ace.
The payouts in Big 5 Blackjack are as standard as they can be – and that’s a good thing for a game like blackjack. As always, regular wins pay even money. Natural blackjacks bump up your winnings to 3:2, while bet insurance offers the usual 2:1.
Thanks to handy rules like splitting two 10-value cards and Surrender, the RTP is a strong 99.50%.
The fact that Big Five Blackjack rules are fairly standard means that you can use all the usual blackjack strategies. Ideally, this means following the blackjack strategy charts as closely as possible. The fact that early surrender is allowed broadens your options considerably, too.
Beyond that, we recommend that advanced players play all 5 hands at once. First of all, that’s the main reason to play Microgaming Big 5 Blackjack for real money. Otherwise, you could easily find more interesting games with side bets and a better RTP. Secondly, 5 hands can actually achieve reasonable deck penetration. This makes card counting possible – though very difficult – even though 5 decks are used.
Big 5 Blackjack by Microgaming is overall well-designed and boasts some great rules that skilled players can use to their advantage. However, some may not like the fact that there are no side bets. That said, blackjack side bets usually have terrible RTP, so it’s not a big loss. Moreover, juggling 5 hands at a time is hard enough as it is.
In short, if you want to play as many blackjack hands at a time as possible, this is the game for you.