Cryptologic, one of the leading designers of online casino content, was founded in 1995 by brothers Andrew and Mark Rivkin. While they initially worked from the basement of their parents' home, their efforts would yield major results within just one year. That's because 1996 saw the debut of InterCasino, a site exclusively powered by Cryptologic and also notable as the first virtual establishment to accept an online cash wager.
A major name in the industry by the end of the 1990s, Cryptologic was listed on stock exchanges in London, Toronto, and New York by 2003. The Amaya Gaming Group purchased the company in 2012, acquiring all assets for a reported $38.5 million. This sale resulted in a relocation to Canada, as well as an emphasis on Flash software over the previous downloadable version. In 2015, another purchase saw NYX Gaming Group Limited take control of both Amaya and Cryptologic.
Despite being acquired by different owners on multiple occasions, Cryptologic remains a stable company that can be found in a large number of online gaming establishments. Both casino games and slots are noted for their overall quality and rich graphics, and their progressive jackpots have created a number of instant multi-millionaires.
In the following article, we'll take a closer look at the company and what they have to offer blackjack fans. In addition to listing all the available variants of 21, I'll also provide a detailed strategy for the most profitable version of the game.
Since they're one of the biggest names in virtual casino design, you can be certain that the Cryptologic suite of games is more than adequate. They have over 200 titles to choose from, including classics such as roulette, craps, poker, and even solitaire. The only real complaint I have involves their slot machines, as they sometimes have a tendency to leave older games around long after they should've been put out to pasture.
On the blackjack front, Cryptologic offers eight games that would fall into this category. Most are straight-up versions of the game, while Pontoon is more of a variant. Here's a complete list, followed by a discussion of each:
- Single Deck
- Euro Double Deck
- Perfect Pairs
- Atlantic City
- Atlantic City Progressive
Dealer must hit on soft 17, and they also peek for blackjack. There's no surrender, and doubling after the split isn't allowed. The player can only split their cards once during a hand. The return for this game is 99.79%.
This two-deck version doesn't have a hole card for the dealer. The player can double after the split, although only one split per game is allowed. The dealer stands on a soft 17, but he doesn't peek for blackjack (since there's no hole card). The player doesn't have the option to surrender, and the overall return is 99.66%.
Played with five decks of cards, this game awards bonus payouts when the player receives a pair to start the game. The dealer peeks for blackjack, and they must stand on a soft 17. The player can only split once, but they can also double after the split. The return is 99.53%.
This version is played with four decks, and it offers a return of 99.66%. The dealer peeks for blackjack, and they must also stand on a soft 17. The player can double after the split, but they may only split the cards once. Surrender is available.
Played with a total of eight decks, this version of blackjack offers a 99.51% return. The dealer stands on a soft 17, and they also peek for blackjack. Only one split is allowed, but the player does have the option to double down after doing so. The surrender option is not available in this game.
Atlantic City Progressive
This game functions like the previous entry, but there's also a progressive jackpot available. At least two non-suited aces must be acquired in order to get a progressive payout, and the top jackpot becomes available with four colored aces. The overall return on the fixed progressive wins is 39.98%.
This version is played with six decks, and the dealer doesn't have a hole card. The dealer stands on a soft 17, but they don't peek for blackjack (since there's no hole card). The player can split up to three times, and doubling after the split is also allowed. The surrender rule is not in effect. The return on this game is 99.48%.
This is a blackjack variant found at casinos powered by Cryptologic, Real Time Gaming, and Playtech. Played with eight decks, the game requires the dealer to stand on a soft 17. If the player splits aces, they receive a 2:1 payment known as a "pontoon." The expected return on this game is 99.62%.
Cryptologic Blackjack Strategy
In order to lower the house edge on any blackjack game as much as possible, you need to employ what's known as "basic strategy." If you're new to the game of 21, then you might not have heard of this before. For a quick definition, let's confer with our buddy Google and see what turns up:
Basic strategy is the most basic system that all blackjack players must master in order to become a successful player. It provides the player with the optimal way to play based on the player's total versus the dealer's upcard.
In other words, look at your hand total and look at the dealer card that's showing. Then consult the basic strategy chart for your specific game of blackjack to find out whether you should hit, stand, split, or double down. It's just that simple.
One of the great things about playing online is that you can print out your strategy chart or open it in another widow for easy reference. You don't have to worry about memorizing anything, so you'll always be able to take away as much of the house edge as possible.
While it's tempting to try all of the blackjack games and variants from Cryptologic, I suggest sticking with the single-deck version of the game. It's simple to learn, and it offers the highest return percentage of 99.79%.
Just in case you decide to take my advice, here's the basic strategy for the single-deck blackjack game from Cryptologic:
Single Deck Blackjack Basic Strategy
A hard hand only has one possible value. A hand with an ace is usually soft, but even it can be considered hard if the player can only count the ace as 1. For the most part, these hands are among the easiest plays in a game of blackjack.
- Always hit when your hand is 4 through 7.
- On 8, double on 5 or 6 and hit on anything else.
- On 9, double on 2 through 6 and hit on anything else.
- On 10, double on 2 through 9 and hit on anything else.
- Always double when your total is 11.
- On 12, stand on a dealer 4 through 6. Hit on anything else.
- On 13 through 16, stand on a dealer 2 through 6. Hit on any other dealer card.
- Always stand on 17 through 21.
As you might have deduced from the previous entry, soft hands are blackjack hands that contain an ace and another card. These can be trickier to play, but the strategies below should help you navigate even the choppiest of waters.
- On a player hand of 13 through 16, double down on a dealer 4 through 6. Otherwise, you should hit.
- On 17, double on 2 through 6, and hit on any other dealer card.
- On 18, double on a dealer 3 through 6. Stand on 2, 7, and 8, and hit on anything else.
- On a total of 19, double on a dealer 6 and stand on anything else.
- Always stand if your total is 20 or more.
In this section, we'll look at the best tactics for splitting pairs. In the game of blackjack, a player who gets an initial two-card hand with pairs is able to split them into two separate hands and receive a new second card for each. You will, however, have to place an additional wager that's equal in size to the first one.
- On 2,2, split on dealer 3 through 7. Otherwise, you should hit.
- On 3,3, split on 4 through 7. Otherwise, you should hit.
- On 4,4, double down on 5 or 6 and hit on anything else.
- On 6,6, split on a dealer 2 through 6, and hit on anything else.
- On 7,7, hit on a dealer 8, 9, or ace. Stand on a dealer 10. Split on anything else.
- Always split on an 8,8 and A,A.
- On a 9,9, stand on a 7, 10, and ace. Otherwise, you should split.
Recommended Cryptologic Casinos
If you've decided that Crytologic sounds like the game designer for you, then the next step is to pick a casino that uses their software. In order to make your decision easier, I've selected a pair of online gaming establishments that I'm comfortable recommending. You can open an account at either of these without fear of being taken advantage of, and you'll find that their selection of games and payout times are competitive with other major competitors.William Hill Casino
William Hill started as a chain of brick-and-mortar betting shops, but they've grown into a gambling powerhouse that also reaches into the realm of virtual gaming. They specialize in clients from the UK and other parts of Europe, and they offer poker, bingo, casino games, live gambling, and sports betting. Each form of gaming comes with its own promotional offers, and I've always found their terms to be reasonable.888 Casino
This gaming giant has been around since 1997, and they provide non-US players with a wide range of games. Licensed and regulated in Gibraltar and the United Kingdom, they offer sports betting, regular and live casino gaming, poker, and bingo. They use software from some of the leading design firms, including Random Logic, NetEntertainment, and WagerWorks. Cashout times range from one to 28 days, and they offer different promotions for poker, casino, and bingo clients.
Crytologic does business with a large number of clients, so it's not feasible to list all of them here. I will, however, include a few of their more notable names.
- Betsafe Casino
- Betsson Casino
- Bwin Casino
- Grosvenor Casinos
- Sky Vegas
As you can see, anyone interested in Cryptologic has lots of reputable of options to choose from. There are also plenty of smaller brands, but I suggest caution when gaming at any site that you're unfamiliar with. Most should just fine, especially when you consider the fact that Cryptologic tries to deal with solid companies to maintain their high standards, but it's always wise to do your research before opening an account.
Cryptologic has eight versions of blackjack to choose from, with the best player option being the single-deck variety (99.79%). All other versions fall somewhere in this range, with the least being European blackjack (99.48%).
Most of the casinos that use Cryptologic are reputable, but I must admit a preference for William Hill and 888. U.S. players are out of luck, though, as Cryptologic caters to gaming companies that continue to avoid America following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.