Gamesys blackjack games are Web-capable versions of the casino classic produced by the UK online game design firm The Gamesys Group. Gamesys is a software developer, one of the largest and most-popular in the United Kingdom. They're also a gambling game operator in their own right, and they are responsible for a number of popular social gambling and real money slots and casino sites in England, Scotland, and Wales.
You may know Gamesys as the first company trusted by Facebook to launch real-money gambling applications on Facebook's social platform. Founded in 2001 by online design maven Noel Hayden, along with a small team of developers, the company has grown into a major force in online game design.
Gamesys produces a library of more than 250 games. The company was founded in 2001 by a small group of game developers and entrepreneurs. Gamesys now boasts 24 million players worldwide, and employs nearly 1,000 people working in seven offices around the world, with headquarters in Central London. Their success has been recognized many times over in the gaming press - eGaming Review ranked the company fifth in their "Power50" list of online gambling companies.
The Gamesys blackjack feature that stands out the most if the fact that all of their blackjack variants are available in either a traditional or a "zero house edge" version. As appealing as a zero house edge variant of blackjack might be, you more than make up for the difference in odds by paying a 10% commission on all net wins for a particular session. The catch is that very few of the games listed by the company as having no house edge actually have a 0% theoretical house edge. Even if they did, you'd still only profit if you bet a very specific way, with low-volatility bets and a narrow betting range.
With just four blackjack games in their library, Gamesys offers significantly fewer variants of the game than other online casino game designers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing – how many Deluxe or Bonus versions of blackjack do you really need? A feather in their cap is the fact that three of their blackjack variants have a house edge that's at least competitive with the rest of the industry. In fact, only one of their blackjack variants, a game they call Diamond Blackjack, offers the kind of odds that mean you should stay away from at all costs.
The rest of this page takes a look at the blackjack variations available, the house edge for each, and ideal strategy for Gamesys blackjack games.
Gamesys ManagementNoel Hayden, Founder
Mr. Hayden's first career was in Web design in the early years of the dot-com boom. Hayden built his company Internet Digital Media from the ground up, selling it Gameplay for just enough money to launch Gamesys. He founded the game design company because of his lifelong passion for gaming.Lee Fenton, CEO
Mr. Fenton joined the Gamesys team as COO in 2008 before being elected to the CEO position in the summer of 2015. Mr. Fenton made a name for himself in the executive world as COO of the mobile division of 20th Century Fox and Global Director at Vodafone. He is considered a global branding expert.Michael Mee, CFO
Mr. Mee has served Gamesys as its CFO since 2005. He qualified at Ernst & Young, and held his first executive position at Sporting Index. He is an avid sports fan.Robeson Reeves, COO
Mr. Reeves worked his way up, joining the company in 2005 as a low-level assistant. His dual background in mathematics and psychology no doubt contributes to his acumen as a sports bettor.Phill Graham, CTO
Mr. Graham joined Gamesys in 2006, becoming CTO in 2015. He has a passion for boating and gaming.
Here's a list of the four blackjack games available as part of Gamesys' game library:
American Blackjack is a standard version of the game based on Las Vegas rules. The house edge is 0.29%, a bit below average for standard online blackjack games.
Doublet Blackjack is a version of American blackjack with one unusual rule. In Doublet Blackjack, the player can perform what's called a Double Down Rescue. This move allows the player to surrender after any double. Combined with the European-style no peek rule that's in place, and the ultimate effect on the game's house edge is negligible. The house edge is 0.37%, about average for a Vegas-rules online blackjack game.
European Blackjack is a blackjack variant that follows traditional European rules. The house edge is 0.45%, or about average for a Euro-rules blackjack game.
Diamond Blackjack is Gamesys' version of the variant known as Super Fun 21. The only big difference between this and any other Euro-rules version of blackjack is that this game has no hole card. Hence, the rule that allows for surrender at any time is even more powerful. The rules here are a bit weird – all player blackjacks are automatic winners, but only a diamond blackjack pays 2 to 1. Doubles are allowed at any time, in any number. Player surrender is allowed at any time, even after a split. Still, the house edge is 1.24%, well above average even for a Super Fun 21 game.
Strategy Tips for Gamesys Blackjack
We recommend two basic tactics when preparing to play Gamesys blackjack games: following basic game strategy, and managing your bankroll. Following basic blackjack strategy ensures that you're making the most lucrative decision in every in-game situation. Managing your bankroll ensures that you enjoy yourself while gambling without worrying about spending too much or going into debt just to play online blackjack.
Let's address basic strategy first.
Because Gamesys blackjack games are all a bit different from one another, the proper strategy for playing them is a bit different, too. Your best bet when researching ideal blackjack strategy at Gamesys-powered online casinos is to look up a strategy chart for the specific game you want to play. These charts have been developed over the years to help blackjack players make the best possible decision, based on the cards in their hand and what they know about the dealer's hand.
Let's take a look at strategy advice for Gamesys' American Blackjack game. One of their simplest and most traditional variants, American Blackjack follows basic Las Vegas rules, with very few meaningful variations on that theme. That's good for us, as students of blackjack strategy, since it means we can follow basic multi-deck strategy when playing Gamesys' American Blackjack.
- Always hit any hard hand totaling 8 or less.
- With a hard 9, double down if the dealer has a 3 – 6. Otherwise, hit.
- With a hard 10, double down unless the dealer has a 10 or an ace. Otherwise, hit.
- With a hard 11, double down unless the dealer has an ace. In that case, hit.
- With a hard 12, stand if the dealer has a 4-6. Othewise, hit.
- With a hard 13 – 16, stand if the dealer has less than a 6 showing. Otherwise, hit.
- Always stand on any hard 17 or higher.
- With a soft 13 or 14, double down versus a dealer 5 or 6. Otherwise, hit.
- With a soft 15 or 16, double down versus a dealer 4, 5, or 6. Otherwise, hit.
- With a soft 17, double down versus a dealer 3 -6. Otherwise, hit.
- With a soft 18, hit if the dealer has a 9 or higher. Otherwise stand.
- Always stand on any soft 19 or higher.
- Split 2s, 3s, or 6s if the dealer has a 7 or less showing.
- Only split 4s versus a dealer 5 or 6. Otherwise, hit.
- Play a pair of 5s as a hard total of 10. Never split.
- With a pair of 7s, split if the dealer has a 7 or less. Otherwise, hit.
- Always split 8s and aces.
- Split 9s unless the dealer has a 7, 10, or ace showing. In that case, stand.
- Always stand with a pair of 10s.
You should memorize this strategy and use it every time you play at this casino. Or you can print up an appropriate strategy chart. By ignoring basic strategy, you're giving up 1% - 4% to the casino, which is tremendous.
Below is a short guide to three additional casinos that run Gamesys software. We chose these because they're popular and we think they do a good job of representing the larger pool of online gambling sites that do business with Gamesys.Virgin Games
Virgin Games was established in 2004. It's one of the largest and most-recognized brands in the UK online gambling industry. Gamesys has been providing Virgin Games with their software for more than a decade. The focus here is on Web-based casino games, though bingo and social gaming apps are also popular. Membership is open to several European nations, chiefly focusing on the United Kingdom.JackpotJoy
Jackpotjoy is the group's primary brand. It's a UK bingo site that offers free-to-play and real-money versions of almost all of their games. This is a browser-based site that puts games in front of millions of UK citizens, most of whom don't play for real money. A Spanish-language companion site, Botemania, is popular in that country.Sun Bingo
Sun Bingo is a subsidiary of the popular tabloid The Sun. It's a reputable brand, a household name in the UK, and host of every Gamesys game on the market. Three versions of bingo are the highlight of the site, though plenty of slot, table, and skill games produced by Gamesys are also available. Sun Bingo is limited to citizens of England, Scotland, and Wales only.
The Gamesys Group is not yet a major manufacturer of blackjack games for any market. Their lineup of four titles is impressive only in that it includes some rule variations that are new for the online gambling market. They're not a player at all in the US market, as even their Facebook branded products are restricted for US and Canada-based customers. In short, Gamesys is a big player in a niche market – it just happens to be a large and profitable niche.
It seems unlikely that Gamesys will try to move into the US market any time soon. Instead, they're shoring up the European side of the industry, creating free-to-play and real-money contests across a range of popular game styles. If you live in Europe, you already know Gamesys, a household name in a country with few gaming regulations and widespread acceptance of social gambling. For Gamesys to move into the US market, they'd have to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops, something a highly-profitable company is unlikely to do when they already have a dominant share of such a wide-open market.