What is ‘California Aces’?
California Aces is a ‘player banked’ game that is a variant of Blackjack where the object is to get 22 as opposed to 21. A pair of Aces is the best hand you can get. A standard deck of 52 cards is used, with 4 Jokers added, which makes a total of 56 cards with a potential of 8 total Aces. The Jokers are known as ‘California Aces.’
You will immediately notice 3 big differences in how this game is played compared to the common form of Blackjack:
#1) Players take turns being the Banker/Dealer.
#2) The object is to come as close to 22, not 21.
#3) The presence of Jokers in the deck.
California Aces is also known under many other names, including California 21, 21st Century Blackjack, No Bust Blackjack, and 22.
‘California Aces’ Explained
Player banked games are forms of gambling in the state of California, provided as a means to offer forms of gambling which would otherwise be illegal.
The state of California has 4 primary forms of legalized gambling, which are Cardrooms, State Lottery, Native American Casinos, and Race Tracks. Each are governed by different rules and regulations.
Cardrooms in the state of California primarily offer Poker games, such as Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha. Many of these Cardrooms also offer other forms of card games, such as Pai Gow Poker , Super Pan 9, and California Aces, all of which are player banked games.
The object of California Aces is to have cards with a face value higher than your opponent, who shall be referred to hereinafter as ‘Banker.’ If you were playing traditional Blackjack, this would be the dealer.
You want to be holding a hand of cards with a value closer to the sum of 22 than the Banker. If this holds true for you, then you are the winner. If your hand and the Banker’s hand are the same value, there will be no winner of that hand.
Unlike traditional Blackjack, in California Aces you cannot ‘bust’ if you go over 22. It is still possible to win with hands valued at 23 or more.
If the face values of both your hand and the Banker‘s hand are equally distant from 22, let’s say your hand is valued at 20, and the Banker’s hand is valued at 24, the hand under the value of 22 wins, which would be yours in this example.
♠ Aces have value of 11
♠ Face cards value of 10
♠ All others cards have face value
♠ California Aces/Jokers (wild) have value of 11
How to Play
♠ Players place bets.
♠ Players are dealt 2 hole cards, 1 card at a time in a clockwise direction.
♠ Banker gets 2 cards, 1 face up and the other face down.
♠ In turn, players choose whether or not to draw additional cards to improve their existing hand, without exceeding 22.
♠ After all players have taken their turn for building their hands, the Banker plays out their hand with the same options as the other players.
♠ Starting with the player to the immediate left of the Banker, each player’s hand is compared to the Banker’s hand to determine the winner.
Other Rules: Any player who is dealt a ‘Natural 22’ (2 Aces, or 2 California Aces/Jokers, or 1 of each) wins over any other form of 22 points. If any 2 or more hands are equal in value, those hands are tied.
In player banked games, the house has no interest in the outcome of the games themselves, because the house does not pay or take bets from the players. Instead, the house charges a flat fee for hosting the game in their establishment, and the players are then left to play against one another.
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