Blackjack is undoubtedly a game steeped in history. It's been played for centuries and has evolved over time into the casino game as we know it today. It was during this development that a popular variant in Europe emerged, Poker 21, otherwise known as Blackjack Parisian Style.
No Poker 21 without Blackjack
There are various theories about when and how blackjack began, but the most common one is that the game originated in 18th century France.
At the time, the popular game in the court of Louis XV was called Vingt-et-Un, or Twenty-One. There were some differences compared to the modern game of Blackjack: for example only the dealer was allowed to double, and bets were placed on each card dealt, but with the same goal of getting as close to 21 as possible without going over.
Not surprisingly, because players are always looking for new variations of their favorite games, new forms of Blackjack have emerged – Spanish21, Blackjack Switch, Blackjack Duel, etc. and the famous Poker 21, which combines classic Blackjack with a touch of poker. What better idea than to combine the game of poker with Blackjack?
Creation of Poker 21
Once again, Blackjack Parisian Style is a French game whose origins date back to the 19th century. An interesting historical fact is that Napoleon Bonaparte was a big fan of Twenty-One Poker. During his long period of captivity on the island of St Helena, and between passionate letters to Josephine, the deposed Emperor taught it to his English jailers to pass the time.
The game gradually spread to Great Britain and Europe, and, as the English don't do anything like everyone else does, Poker 21 is known there as Pontoon.
The specifics of Poker 21
The rules are similar to the traditional game of Blackjack: the player has to reach a total of 21 points ideally, or as close as possible, without ever exceeding the fateful number 21. As soon as the score exceeds 21, the player loses. Similarly, if the bank exceeds 21, it loses.
But what makes Blackjack Parisian Style unique is that there are two bets; a mandatory poker bet called "POK", based on the poker tricks performed with the dealer's hand, and the "21" bet, which is the Blackjack bet.
To play, each player first bets on the "POK" square, then on the "21" square. The game of Poker 21 starts out like a regular Blackjack game, with the players drawing their cards, then it's the dealer's turn. Depending on your result, the bank pays you or takes back your "21" bet. Then, and this is where the thrill of poker comes in, the dealer completes his hand to form a five-card poker hand and rewards, or not, the "POK" bets according to a scale of poker suits.
Card values and game skills
In Poker 21, the cards retain their full value, except for the face cards, which are worth 10 points (Jack, Queen, King). The Ace is worth either 1 or 11, just like in Blackjack. This table game, available in all the gaming clubs in Paris and at Club Pierre Charron, can accommodate up to seven players at the table and is played with six decks of 52 cards.
Although the distribution of cards is still a matter of luck, there are also elements of strategy in the game. By being able to count the hands of other players around the table, an experienced player can get a better idea of whether to ask for another card, fold or hold, although it isn't always as easy as it seems!
With simple rules, twice the thrill and a good dose of strategy, Poker 21 has everything to please fans of Casino Games in search of something new!