Arrow's Edge Blackjack Software

Blackjack Software Arrow's Edge

The small software designer Arrow's Edge was founded in 2014, specializing in online casino gambling products like proprietary virtual slots and table games.

In three years since then, the company has grown slowly, contracting with three boutique online gambling platforms which serve the American market. These sites are minor players within the massive online casino industry, showing that Arrow's Edge is still working to establish itself.

This page will provide the web's most thorough review of the Arrow's Edge blackjack software, beginning with a company overview and list of affiliate casinos, followed by a detailed breakdown of all blackjack variants on the menu.

Company Overview

Unfortunately, little is known about the origins or ownership of Arrow's Edge.

The company lists a toll free number as its primary contact information, with no mailing address available on their website.

Furthermore, trademark and copyright searches revealed no official registration with the federal government.

At this point, all we know about Arrow's Edge is that the company's software engine is used to power three online casino platforms.

Affiliated Online Casinos

The following online casinos utilize Arrow's Edge software:

  • Drake Casino
  • Gossip Slots Casino
  • GT Bets Casino

Each one chooses to operate in the American marketplace, despite the federal ban known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.

Allowing customers in the U.S. to play isn't necessarily a warning sign, as dozens of small online gambling companies do so. On the other hand, serving US facing online casino brands does suggest that Arrow's Edge plays things a little loosely when it comes to legality.

List of Basic Blackjack Games

Many online casinos, the three above included, choose to partner with several software providers at once.

This allows the operator to grab great slot games from a company like Real Time Gaming (RTG), while adding a well-rounded table games menu from Playtech.

In the case of the three venues which partner with Arrow's Edge, the Betsoft Company is the third wheel. Betsoft is a well-established European online gambling software designer, and their portfolio of games is wider than Arrow's Edge.

We offer this preamble for one simple reason: when you sign on with any Arrow's Edge powered platform, you'll find upwards of a dozen blackjack versions and offshoots. But only one of those is actually designed and hosted by Arrow's Edge:

  • Multihand Blackjack

The title of this game refers to the ability to play three "spots" on the table, or separate hands, during each deal. We'll delve deeper into the rules as the page progresses though.

For now, just know that Arrow's Edge provides this solitary blackjack game to its client casinos, so other versions like European Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack, and 21 Burn are all provided by Betsoft.

Curiously enough, the title Multihand Blackjack is the one used by Arrow's Edge on its company website. But when you visit its client casinos to actually play the game, it's shown as "New American Blackjack" instead. You'll see a game screen logo with fluid cursive print reading New American Blackjack, so remember that when scrolling through the menu.

Finally, you'll also find a secondary version of the game titled "VIP New American Blackjack," but this is follows identical rules and gameplay, while simply increasing the minimum and maximum bets.

Graphics and Animations

One of the selling points of Arrow's Edge software seems to be its crisp, clean interface and visual display.

That's interesting, because prior reviews for Arrow's Edge have roundly criticized the company's graphics as subpar and underperforming. It appears as though a massive upgrade effort has been undertaken in the intervening years, because today the company's blackjack software looks and feels like that of its big brother Betsoft.

In fact, the resemblance between the two is uncanny.

Rather than the stark red felt used for the game table on the old Arrow's Edge software, the current version is played on casino style green layout. The oddly proportioned use of screen space that plagued Arrow's Edge in early attempts has also been remedied.

The dealer's area of the screen depicts a chip tray neatly organized according to casino custom, along with a multiple deck "shoe" containing the virtual cards.

And when the cards start flying around the felt, you'll see well designed and intricately detailed graphics and animations. The face cards feature the same ornate design you'd find on genuine Bicycle playing cards, and the black and red shades for the suits pop off the screen. The cards are also "flipped" from face down to face up, in the same style used by many experienced casino dealers to draw out the drama.

The almost clone like similarities between the Arrow's Edge blackjack software and Betsoft's products suggests that the companies are working in tandem.

We found no evidence of a merger or acquisition while searching online, so this is just a theory, but the fact that three client casinos use both Arrow's Edge and Betsoft - combined with the nearly identical visuals and gameplay - leads us to believe there's some sort of relationship behind the scenes.

Gameplay Interface

From the player's perspective, the blackjack interface is just about as good as it gets. You'll be sitting at a perfectly replicated casino gaming table, one which comes complete with a cushioned railing and even gold plated cup holders. These accoutrements don't come into play on a literal level, but they do manage to accentuate the overall vibe by recreating the casino setting to a tee.

In the lower right hand corner of the screen you'll see your arsenal for the blackjack battle to come, casino chips in the following colors and denominations:

  • $1 - Red and green striped
  • $5 - Red and orange striped
  • $25 - Green and orange striped
  • $100 - Black and yellow striped
  • $500 - Purple and yellow striped

These chip graphics are enabled to be clicked and dragged, or simply clicked, so select your chip of choice and scroll over to the lower portion of the felt with your cursor. There you'll find a circled outline with the words "Click to Bet" contained within - and you'll actually see three of these circles, one for each hand "spot" on the table.

One more click on any of these Click to Bet tabs will lay down the chip you selected, while a second click will double the bet, and so on. If you're playing multiple hands per deal, just click on the corresponding circle near each hand outline to complete a bet, before moving on to the next.

And if you ever misclick and add too many chips at one time, don't worry, as the "Clear Bets" tab underneath your chip rack graphic will remove all pending bets.

You can also head back to the chip rack to change denominations and tailor your bet sizing.

When you have put your bet(s) up, you'll notice two display counters in the lower left hand corner of the screen adjust in kind.

The first display reads "Total Bet" and this reflects the accumulated wagers you've put up for one, two, or all three hands.

The second display reads "Balance" in yellow print, and this reflects your total bankroll at the moment. It will increase or decrease immediately after the result of a hand is settled.

With your bets in place, the hand officially begins when you click on the "Deal" button. This is found in the center of the screen, to the far left alongside four other main game controls (Split, Double, Stand, and Hit).

By clicking deal, you'll signal the virtual dealer to begin pitching cards. Just like you'd see at a traditional live blackjack table, the first card comes your way face up, followed by a single card face up to the dealer. You get the next card face up to complete your two card starting hand, before the dealer's two card hand is completed with a face down "hole" card.

And if you're playing more than one hand, the cycle will simply expand to go Player > Player > Player > Dealer > Player > Player > Player > Dealer.

After all cards have been dealt out, you'll run through your decision making process as per usual.

In the Multihand mode, you'll always be playing the hand to far your right first, then the middle hand, and finally the hand to your far left. But to help keep things organized, look for the convenient "Current Hand" tab which appears with red arrows to signify which hand you're currently acting on.

We mentioned this already, and its common sense really, but the action controls available to you appear from left to right as follows:

  • 1Split
  • 2Double
  • 3Stand
  • 4Hit

Assuming you know the basic vernacular of blackjack gameplay, we'll spare you a remedial review, but if you are a beginner, we have a section where you can read up on the complete rules of blackjack.

Each action control does exactly what it says, and in a convenient design addition, only those actions which can legally be performed are highlighted and made clickable once the cards are dealt. In other words, if you don't have a paired hand which can be split, the Split button is simply deactivated and left "greyed" out.

This helps to de clutter the gameplay interface by allowing players to focus in on actions that can actually be used.

Once you've made your decisions and created a hand total (or you've gone bust), the dealer will do the same to complete the hand. If you've managed to beat the dealer, the winning hand will flash with a small red banner reading "You Win!," with the total payout amount listed in smaller print underneath.

Upon losing to the dealer, or pushing, a generic banner will appear reading "Lose" or "Push," respectively. And should you go over 21 to "bust," a garish gold banner appears near the hand reading "Busted."

From there, the cards in play will be swept away instantly and into the discard pile, resetting the game screen for a new hand.

When that occurs, notice that the "Deal" button you pressed initially is now replaced by one labeled "Re Bet." Clicking on the Re Bet button is a great time saver, as it allows you to skip the bet selection process in favor of keeping the previous wager in place.

Remember, a Re Bet doesn't mean you're "pressing" your winnings from the last hand.
So if you bet $100 on the first hand and turn a winner, clicking on Re Bet will put $100 up for the next hand - not the entire $200.

That about does it for the actual game play experience. And like we've mentioned already, this interface is smooth and on point. You won't see any hiccups, freezes, or skips in the animations - the bane of online casino players who still mistrust random number generators (RNGs) - and everything functions as it should.

One minor complaint we noticed concerned the audio components, which didn't seem to be working at all when we played. This could be an issue with our device though, and in any event, sound effects in virtual blackjack aren't all that relevant anyway.

Now, on to the specific House Rules used for Arrow's Edge blackjack.

Rules and Gameplay Conditions

As mentioned above, Arrow's Edge offers two identical versions of its blackjack game, the basic style for recreational players and a VIP version for high rollers.

When playing standard Multihand Blackjack (or New American Blackjack), the betting limits begin with a minimum of $1 and cap out at a maximum of $200.

If you hop over to the VIP tables, the stakes climb to a $25 minimum and a whopping $500 maximum.

Now that you know what you'll be betting, let's dive into the rules that define how you'll play the game:

Below you'll find a full listing of the House Rules on Dealer and Player actions for Multihand Blackjack, as found on Arrow's Edge software:

  • Dealer must hit and take another card when holding a soft 17 total
  • Dealer must "peek" at hole card and check for blackjack whenever their up card is an ace or face (J, Q, K)
  • Players can only double down on the first two cards of a hand
  • Players can double down on any two cards
  • Players can double down after splitting, except when the hand split was two aces
  • Players can only split an exact pair
  • Players can split two aces, but after the second cards are dealt to each, no hits or doubles are permitted
  • After splitting, and receiving another paired hand, no further "re splits" are permitted
  • Players are offered "Insurance" whenever dealer's up card is an ace
  • Insurance costs one half of the current bet for each live hand
  • When dealer turns over blackjack on an Insurance hand, player's side bet is paid out at 2 to 1
  • All blackjacks are paid out at 3 to 2

Next up are the House Rules for deck construction:

  • The game uses a six deck shoe
  • That shoe shall be re shuffled after every "round"

This represents a fairly standard blackjack rules setup, if not one that leans towards the house in terms of construction. For example, having the dealer hit on soft 17s, rather than stay, slightly benefits the house. Furthermore, restrictions on re splitting and actions following a split of aces further decrease the player's house edge.

House Edge Rate

Speaking of the house edge rate, the handy Wizard of Odds blackjack calculator allows us to plug in these specific rules to determine exactly how the Arrow's Edge version stacks up.

At 0.78 percent, this game is quite a bit higher than the 0.50 standard for the game

In fact, many of the top online casinos today spread tinkered with takes on blackjack that tend to favor the player even more.

The Amaya software engine, used to power the PokerStars online casino component, runs Vegas Blackjack with a 0.40 percent house edge. It may not seem like that big of a difference, what with percentage points serving as the difference, but that means Arrow's Edge blackjack is nearly twice as bad in terms of the odds offered to players.

Generally speaking, we would never recommend playing an online blackjack game with a house edge much higher than the baseline of 0.50. Sure, a few of the more creative variants offer enough excitement and entertainment value to merit a slightly higher rate. But this is nothing more than traditional blackjack played using strict, house friendly rules. Unless you have no other options on the table, it's always best to find the lowest house edge out there before bringing your bankroll into battle.

Blackjack Variants and Hybrids

Even though Arrow's Edge is limited to just the one basic blackjack game, the company's software suite does come equipped with an interesting alternative.

The game of PokerJack is exactly what it sounds like, and by fusing the classic card games of blackjack and poker, the Arrow's Edge design team created a new hybrid table game.

The structure of PokerJack is really just blackjack dressed up with a pair of poker based side bets. On each hand, you'll be putting up two separate bets - a main Blackjack bet, plus a Poker bet that doubles as a Jackpot bet.

From there, the blackjack portion of the hand is played out as per usual, with the following rules in place:

  • A single deck is used in lieu of the six deck shoe
  • Dealer must hit and take another card when holding a soft 17 total
  • Dealer must "peek" at hole card and check for blackjack whenever their up card is an ace or face (J, Q, K)
  • Players can only double down when holding a 9, 10, or 11 two card starting total
  • Players can only split an exact pair
  • Players can double down after splitting, except when the hand split was two aces
  • Players cannot "re split" after splitting and receiving another paired starting hand
  • Players cannot surrender

Using these rules, the main Blackjack wager is settled just like any other game of twenty one.

Also of note for savvy players, the house edge on the Blackjack aspect of the game stands at just 0.38 percent. That's significantly lower than the 0.78 house edge you'll be up against playing the standard Arrow's Edge blackjack offering.

What makes PokerJack special, however, is the inclusion of a poker hand element.

Both the Poker and Jackpot bets are based on the poker hand value of the first five cards you receive during the blackjack part of the hand. Obviously, not all blackjack hands get five cards - you may hit a two card 20 and stand, or go bust on three cards - so a special set of rules is used to settle wagers for the Poker portion of the game.

Those rules are listed as follows:

  • Players who stand or go bust holding fewer than five cards will receive additional cards to complete their five card Poker hand (two card hands get three more, four card hands get one, etc.)
  • These additional cards have no bearing on the Blackjack portion of the hand
  • Players who have drawn to hold six or more cards in their Blackjack hand will always use the first five cards as their Poker hand
  • Players who split a paired hand in the Blackjack game must then split their Poker and Jackpot bets as well
  • This splitting process works in the same way, so the Poker and Jackpot bets shall be doubled, and each hand's first card will be used as the start of their eventual five card Poker hand
  • When settling Poker bets, winners are paid out at a "to one" basis (2 to 1, 3 to 1, etc.)
  • When settling Jackpot bets, winners are paid out using a percentage of the progressive jackpot meter on a "for one" scale

The pay table used for Poker bets can be reviewed below:

PokerJack Poker Bet Pay Table

POKER HAND PAYS
Royal flush 500 to 1
Straight flush 100 to 1
Four of a kind 50 to 1
Full house 10 to 1
Flush 8 to 1
Straight 5 to 1
Three of a kind 3 to 1
Two pair 2 to 1
One pair (7s or better) 1 to 1
All other Loss

PokerJack Poker Bet Pay Table

POKER HAND PAYS
Royal flush 100 percent
Straight flush 10 percent
Four of a kind 5 percent
Full house 2 percent
Flush 1 percent
All other Loss

Unfortunately, as fun as the idea of chasing flushes and straights at the blackjack table sounds, PokerJack presents players with a double edged sword.

Take a look at the following table to review the odds and probabilities associated with this dual Poker and Jackpot bet:

POKER HAND PAYS COMBINATIONS PROBABILITY RETURN
Royal flush 500 to 1 4 0.00 percent 0.08 percent
Straight flush 100 to 1 36 0.00 percent 0.14 percent
Four of a kind 50 to 1 624 0.02 percent 1.20 percent
Full house 10 to 1 3,744 0.14 percent 1.44 percent
Flush 8 to 1 5,108 0.20 percent 1.57 percent
Straight 5 to 1 10,200 0.39 percent 1.96 percent
Three of a kind 3 to 1 54,912 2.11 percent 6.34 percent
Two pair 2 to 1 123,552 4.75 percent 9.51 percent
One pair (7s and up) 1 to1 675,840 26.00 percent 26.00 percent
All other Loss 1,724,940 66.37 percent 66.37 percent
Total N/A 2,598,960 100.00 percent 18.13 percent

You'll notice the bad news found in the lower right hand corner of the table, as the house edge on this Poker and Jackpot bet stands at an astronomical 18.13 percent. That's on par with some of the worst side bets in the industry, and simply put, this is a "sucker bet" plain and simple.

AAnd the worst part is, you can't play PokerJack's player friendly blackjack setup without also plunking a chip down on the Poker and Jackpot side bet too. So unless you like to gamble it up with reckless abandon, we'd suggest steering clear of this admittedly entertaining alternative.

Mobile Compatibility

The Arrow's Edge website pledges that Multihand Blackjack, standard and VIP, along with PokerJack, have been equipped for mobile play.

You can access mobile versions of your favorite Arrow's Edge online casino using iOS or Android powered tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

Conclusion

Overall, the Arrow's Edge online casino software engine presents players with a streamlined, but efficient, menu of old classics and new takes. That scope doesn't extend to the blackjack menu though, which is a big disappointment.

Perhaps the company's higher ups decided to devote resources to the higher house edge games that operators prefer to spread, but whatever the case, offering just one blackjack game is a major oversight.

The modern online blackjack player is accustomed to toggling between dozens of different rule setups and variants. Leaving their player base with no alternative, except for the carnival game known as PokerJack, the Arrow's Edge design team left a lot on the proverbial table.

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