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Double Exposure blackjack

Double Exposure – sometimes called “Dealer Disclosure” or “Face Up 21” – is a quirky form of blackjack where we get to see both the dealer’s cards on the initial deal. This rule alone is extremely advantageous to the player, but beware – the game comes loaded with several more unique conditions to balance things out.

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Read on to find out which rules to look out for and what strategy adjustments you will need to make when playing the variant available at the top rated online casinos listed above.

Gameplay Rules for Dealer Disclosure

double exposure gold by microgaming
Play Double Exposure by Microgaming at Royal Vegas.

Double Exposure comes with a stack of rules you won’t find in many other blackjack games, so even experienced players may take a little time to get the hang of it. The name comes from the fact the dealer’s two initial cards are both turned face up – i.e. they are both exposed to the player.

These are the general rules for Microgaming’s Gold Series Double Exposure title:

  • Both dealer cards are dealt face up
  • Eight decks
  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Dealer wins all ties, except natural 21
  • Blackjack pays even money (1 to 1)
  • Player blackjack beats dealer blackjack
  • Can double down on hard 9, 10 and 11
  • Double after split allowed
  • Can split up to four hands
  • Aces can be resplit
  • Cannot hit split Aces
  • Split Ace + 10 counts as non-blackjack 21
  • Can split unlike 10-value cards (e.g. King and Queen can be split)

The short analysis is this: there are some really good rules, and some absolute stinkers. Besides the dealer upcards rule, the liberal conditions for splitting are very beneficial – even though the fact we can split any two cards with a rank of 10 is a bit of a teaser, as we would rarely split face-card pairs anyhow. On the other hand, the house winning all ties turns the odds way back in the casino’s advantage, as does the even money payout for a natural blackjack (as opposed to the traditional 3 to 2 return).

With these gameplay guidelines, we end up with an overall house edge of 0.69 per cent – which is high by blackjack standards. Compared to other casino games like roulette or three card poker, however, online Double Exposure is still player-friendly enough that we can make our Aussie dollar go a long way if we apply the correct strategy.

Double Exposure Basic Strategy

double exposure pro by netent
NetEnt Double Exposure variant.

Because we can see both dealer cards after the initial deal, Double Exposure blackjack requires a unique strategic approach in order to keep the house edge as low as possible. Below is the strategy developed by Michael Shackleford (aka the Wizard of Odds) for all hard hands, soft hands, and pairs, depending on what the dealer is showing.

Player hard hands:

5, 6, 7 – Double (or hit, if can’t double) against dealer’s hard 14, 15, or 16. Everything else, hit.
8 – Double/hit against hard 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. Everything else, hit.
9 – Double/hit against hard 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. Everything else, hit.
10 – Double/hit against any 14, 15, or 16, and hard 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, or 13. Everything else, hit.
11 – Same as above, except double against hard 9 and soft 13 if possible.
12 – Hit against hard 7 through 11 and 17 through 20, as well as soft 12, 13, or 17. Everything else, stand.
13 – Hit against hard 7 through 11, as well as any 17 through 20. Everything else, stand.
14 – Same as above, except stand against a hard 11.
15 – Same as above, except stand against both hard 10 and hard 11.
16 – Hit against hard 7, 17, 18, 19, or 20, as well as soft 17. Everything else, stand.
17 – Hit against any 17 through 20. Everything else, stand.
18 – Hit against 18, 19, or 20. Everything else, stand.
19 – Hit against 19 or 20. Everything else, stand.
20 – Hit against 20. Everything else, stand.
21 – Always stand.

Player soft hands:

A + 2 – Double/hit against dealer’s hard 12 through 16. Everything else, hit.
A + 3 – Double/hit against hard 6 and hard 12 through 16. Everything else, hit.
A + 4 – Same as above.
A + 5 – Double/hit against hard 5 and 6, as well as hard 12 through 16. Everything else, hit.
A + 6 – Same as above.
A + 7 – Double (or stand, if can’t double) against hard 6 and 12. Double/hit against hard 4, 5, and 13 through 16. Stand against hard 7 and any 17. Everything else, hit.
A + 8 – Double/stand against hard 12 through 16. Hit against 19 or 20. Everything else, stand.
A + 9 – Double/stand against hard 13 through 16. Hit against 20. Everything else, stand.
A + 10 – Always stand.

Player pairs:

netent double exposure pairs
What to do with Pairs in Double Exposure.

2 + 2 – Split against hard 4 or 5 if allowed to double afterwards; otherwise, hit. Split against hard 6, and 12 through 17. Everything else, hit.
3 + 3 – Same as above.
4 + 4 – Split/hit against hard 6, and always split against hard 12 through 16. Everything else, hit.
5 + 5 – Split against hard 16 if allowed to double afterwards; otherwise, double down. Double/hit against hard 4 through 8, hard 12 and 13, and any 14, 15 or 16. Everything else, hit.
6 + 6 – Split against hard 4, 5, 6, and 12 through 17. Stand against soft 14, 15, or 16. Everything else, hit.
7 + 7 – Split/stand against hard 4. Always split against hard 5, 6, and 12 through 17. Stand against hard 11 and soft 12 through 16. Everything else, hit.
8 + 8 – Hit against hard 18, 19, or 20. Stand against hard 9, 10, 11 and soft 12 through 16. Everything else, split.
9 + 9 – Hit against hard 19 or 20. Stand against hard 7, 9, 10, 11, or 17, and against soft 12, 13, 14, or 17. Everything else, split.
10 + 10 – Hit against 20. Split against hard 13 through 16. Everything else, stand.
A + A – Hit against hard 11 and 17 through 20. Everything else, split.

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