Live dealer blackjack seems to be where most innovations in the genre come from these days, and Playtech is right at the forefront. Their latest live casino 21 game introduces the Cashback feature. It’s a relatively fresh idea, though it obviously bears resemblance to earlier titles.
Similar to Surrender and similar options, Cashback Blackjack allows players to cash out of the blackjack game at any moment. This payout scales with the likelihood of winning the current round based on the cards in play. We’ll get into the details below.
For now, note that the Cashback Blackjack idea isn’t new. It’s been floating around Playtech's portfolio since the first RNG-based game in 2019. Since then, RNG Cashback Blackjack online got a new skin and a graphical update, but it’s still playable. Cashback Blackjack Live has also been released in 2021, adapting the format to a live casino format.
This review is specifically for the RNG version because the Cashback Blackjack demo allows you to play for free. However, the live version uses the same rules and mechanics, albeit limited to single-hand Common Draw rules.
All in all, Cashback Blackjack by Playtech comes with a player-friendly set of rules, ensuring strong returns. The goals are the same as in any other blackjack game – get as close to 21 as possible without going over. You can hit and stand normally, but re-splitting is not allowed. However, you can split any pair including Aces, though Aces only receive one card after a split.
Doubling is also allowed on any hand total but only once per hand. A shoe contains 6 decks, and the dealer must hit to 16 but stand on any 17. Also, you’ll receive back half your double stake if the dealer shows 10 and gets a Blackjack.
Cashback Blackjack also comes with 21+3 and Perfect Pairs side bets, which should be familiar to most of you.
Now we’ll get to this game’s defining feature – the Cashback. This option is always available and acts like a surrender. That means that opting to Cashback instantly ends the relevant hand’s round, preventing it from playing further. However, it will also pay out an amount that dynamically changes to fit the circumstances of the hand. For example, hands that favorably compare to the dealer’s upcard will get a payout higher than the stake. Weaker hands will only be able to cash out a fraction of the stake.
Barring the cashout option, Cashback Blackjack payouts are all industry-standard. This means that winning pays 1:1, blackjack pays 3:2, and Insurance pays 2:1. The same is true for the side bets. 21+3 pays out more for stronger hands, while Perfect Pairs awards extra funds for Colored and Perfect pairs.
As previously mentioned, Cashback payouts change dynamically. There are no fixed payout rates. However, when used according to optimal strategies, it mostly works like blackjack surrender. Combined with some of the other player-friendly rules, it bumps the game’s RTP up to 99.56%.
Learning how to play Cashback Blackjack might seem daunting at first, but the feature is not as complex as it seems. If you’re trying to play Cashback Blackjack online according to basic strategy, just use it as Surrender. Just use blackjack charts for 6-deck variants with surrender, and you’re good to go.
Beyond that, Cashback can be useful especially if you’re counting cards. For instance, you can cash out a strong hand if you have a negative running count and lock in a smaller reward to mitigate risk. Conversely, if your hand seems weak, you can cash out and get a part of your stake back instead of losing the whole thing.
Both live dealer Cashback Blackjack and the RNG version are excellent picks for experienced blackjack veterans. The Surrender-like option and player-friendly rules ensure consistent long-term rewards and a small house edge. Moreover, considering whether to take the Cashback option adds a whole new side to good old 21.