Microgaming Big Five Blackjack Gold Series

If you're tired of the run of the mill options when it comes to online blackjack games and you're looking for a little something different, then check out Microgaming's Big Five Blackjack which is part of the Blackjack Gold Series and is available at Betway Casino.

The name "Big Five" refers to the highly sought after big five wildlife that you may encounter when on safari in Africa if you're lucky enough. These include Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard, all of which are displayed on the logo of the table. Yet another connection to the big five in this game is that it is played with 5 decks of playing cards, which is both unique and unusual in a blackjack game. The game is available in both single and multi-hand formats with the multi-hand game allowing you to play a maximum of five hands against the dealer's hand.

Rather than following a single set of rules, Big Five Blackjack draws on rules from a number of blackjack game variations but is predominantly based on European Blackjack, so the dealer's hole card is not dealt and the dealer does not peek for blackjack. The dealer hits on soft 17 too, so both rules give the house a slight advantage, but the game makes up for this by offering some other player benefits which include:

  • Doubling down on any two cards (including unlike cards)
  • Doubling down after a split
  • Splitting up to three times to create four hands
  • Early surrender is allowed before the dealer checks.

Should you decide to exercise the Early Surrender option you will lose half of your wager, which is better than losing all of it if you are dealt cards that you really don't think will result in a win but should be used sparingly in order to be effective. In fact, according to best strategy practice for this game, early surrender should only be exercised if the dealers face up card is 9 and your hand value is 16 or the dealer’s card is a 10 value and your hand is 14, 15 or 16 – this includes pairs.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the rules (you can read them by clicking on the "Game Rules" icon within the screen) all you need to do to begin is place your bet. Bets range from 5 credits to 1000 credits, so you'll be able to play according to your budget. Once the bet is placed, you'll be dealt two cards and the dealer will receive one card, all facing upwards. You'll immediately be asked if you want to surrender or not and if you choose to continue with game play you'll hit, stand or double down as in a standard blackjack game and also be given the option to split if this is applicable to your hand.

If you play according to optimum game strategy you will be able to achieve the 99.5% average return offered on this variant. If you're new to Blackjack, you can used the Auto Play function in Expert mode to help you to familiarise yourself with this.