GamesOS Blackjack

Blackjack Software GamesOS

Formerly known as CTXM, GamesOS has gained popularity as a social gaming developer. This includes Slots Farm, which is one of the most-heavily played games on Facebook.

Aside from their social gaming prowess, GamesOS also develops real money games for online casinos. Their blackjack selection is particularly notable because they offer several variations.

Does the quality of GamesOS' blackjack live up to what they've done with their Facebook games?

Find out as we cover the blackjack variants that GamesOS offers along with their graphics, table layout, betting, return to player, and strategy.

We'll also discuss where you can find these games, the company's reputability, including one scandal, and offer a recommendation on playing or avoiding GamesOS.

General Aspects of GamesOS Blackjack

7 Games

One definite plus to this provider is that they offer 7 blackjack variations. These include, (standard) blackjack, blackjack progressive, blackjack surrender, blackjack switch, Face Up 21, pontoon, and Spanish 21.

Considering that all of these games are quite different from each other, you won't be disappointed with the variety from GamesOS.

Graphics

One odd thing we found is that Spanish 21 features its own unique look and table style, while the other 6 games have a different appearance. Here are the notable aspects of both versions from a graphical perspective:

  • Spanish 21 Graphics

    This game features a realistic look that makes you feel more like you're sitting at a real casino table. The detail in the wooden table trim and cup holders is excellent, while the felt features life-like shading and color. Our only complaint is that the background and foreground are really dark. The latter is a problem because it's difficult to see your betting options.

  • Other Games

    The wood trim, felt, and background chips don't offer the same quality and detail as Spanish 21. But the good news is that these tables are better lit, meaning you won't struggle to see chip denominations and betting options.

Table Layout

The table layout between Spanish 21 and the other games is also very different. Below you can see these differences:

  • Spanish 21 Layout

    This table offers a clean layout, with chips and hand options side by side at the bottom of the screen. Above this, you'll see 5 betting circles where you can place bets and play hands. You'll also notice rules listed at the top, and special payouts written on the left and right sides. Our complaint here is that the writing is too small on the payouts, and you must zoom in to see everything.

  • Other Games Layout

    This layout isn't as clean because chips are strewn across the lower right-hand side. But the table is at least good enough that you won't have any trouble playing. Note that the games with this layout only offer 3 betting spaces, as opposed to the 5 offered with Spanish 21.

Betting

The minimum and maximum wagers for each game are listed below

  • Blackjack = $1 minimum, $300 max.
  • Blackjack Progressive = $1 minimum bet, $301 max.
  • Blackjack Surrender = $1 minimum bet, $300 max.
  • Blackjack Switch = $2 minimum bet, $200 max.
  • Face Up 21 = $1 minimum bet, $300 max.
  • Pontoon = $1 minimum bet, $300 max.
  • Spanish 21 = $1 minimum bet, $300 max.
Music & Sound Effects

These blackjack games don't have music, but they do have a female voice that announces scores and wins. You'll also hear a short jingle while the woman is announcing your win.

Other sound effects include your chips hitting the table, cards flipping while they're dealt, and people clapping when you beat the dealer.

The latter makes these games feel like a tennis match or golf tournament, but the clapping does add additional entertainment.

Gameplay Options

You'll find the following options surrounding the table:

  • Speaker button to turn sound on and off.
  • Button to maximum the screen, which is helpful for reading the Spanish 21 payouts.
  • A tab on the left-hand side to look at Events (tournaments, coupons, jackpots, rebates).
  • Help button (person icon) to look at the game rules, options, and game payouts.
Return to Player RTP

Here's the RTP for each GamesOS blackjack variation:

  • Blackjack = 99.60%
  • Blackjack Progressive = 99.30%
  • Blackjack Surrender = 99.66%
  • Blackjack Switch = 99.39%
  • Face Up 21 = 99.15%
  • Pontoon = 99.60%
  • Spanish 21 = 99.20%

As you can see, the RTPs for these blackjack games vary quite a bit when looking at other providers.

You don't often see a software company feature one game with 99.66% RTP, then offer another with 99.15%. In most cases, payback stays within a 0.3% range between the highest and lowest-paying blackjack variant.

In any case, GamesOS has three games that give you a realistic chance of winning in blackjack surrender, blackjack, and pontoon.

GamesOS Blackjack Games

Given that GamesOS has 7 blackjack variations, there's a lot to know in terms of rules if you want to play them all.

You can access the rules for each game through the person icon (Help) in the upper right-hand corner. The only annoying thing is that this brings out a pop-up window every time you use Help.

We've already taken the time to look at all these windows and list the rules below. You can also see how to play each game along with strategy guides too.

Blackjack

This game is appropriately named because it plays like many other blackjack variants across the industry. The fact that you can only split hands once is stingy, but everything else is fair.

Rules
  • Natural blackjack (21 on first two cards) pays 3:2.
  • Dealer stands on a soft 17.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • 4 decks.
  • Double down on any two cards.
  • Double down after splitting.
  • You can only split hands once.
  • Dealer peeks for blackjack with ace or 10 up card.
  • No surrender.
Return to Player RTP

RTP for blackjack is 99.60%, or a house edge of 0.40%.

This is tied with pontoon for the second-highest paying blackjack variation that GamesOS offers. It also features above-average payback when compared to the industry.

Player-friendly rules include doubling down on any two cards, and doubling down after splitting. What hurts your chances include only being able to split once.

How to Play

Each round begins with you selecting a chip denomination from the available tray in the lower right-hand side. The default is $5, so you must make a selection to bet lower or higher.

After clicking a chip, you need to place it in one of the open spaces. GamesOS blackjack gives you the chance to play up to three hands per turn.

When you're satisfied with your wager(s), click Deal to begin the hand. If you'd like to start over with your bets, click Clear to remove all of the chips.

Once cards are dealt, you have the option to hit, stand, double down, or split (pairs).

Provided you have a natural blackjack, you automatically win and your bet is paid at 3:2. If you and the dealer both have a natural 21, the hand is a push and your wager is returned.

If the dealer has a natural and you don't, your bet is automatically lost.

Strategy

Specific strategy charts for GamesOS' blackjack variants don't exist. But the guide listed below, which covers a standard blackjack game with no double-down restriction, should get you close to the 99.60% RTP:

  • Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
  • Your total is 9: double down when dealer's up card is 3 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 10: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • Your total is 11: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 10. Hit when their card is A.
  • Your total is 12: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A. Stand when dealer's card is 4 to 6.
  • Your total is 13 to 16: hit when dealer's up card is 2 and 7 to A. Stand when their card is 3 to 6.
  • Your total is 17+: always stand.
  • Your cards are A2 to A3: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A. Double down when their card is 5 to 6.
  • Your cards are A4 to A5: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A. Double down when their card is 4 to 6.
  • Your cards are A6: hit when dealer's up card is 2 and 7 to A. Double down when their card is 3 to 6.
  • Your cards are A7: stand when dealer's up card is 2 and 7 to 8. Double down when their card is 3 to 6. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • Your cards are A8+: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 2's or 3's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 4's: split when the dealer's up card is 5 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A.
  • You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 6's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 7 to A.
  • You have a pair of 7's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 8's: always split.
  • You have a pair of 9's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 6; 8 to 9; and A. Stand when their card is 7 and 10.
  • You have a pair of 10's: always stand.
  • You have a pair of aces: always split.
Blackjack Progressive

This game plays much like the standard blackjack game above, with the key difference being that you can make a progressive side bet. This qualifies you for the progressive jackpot and a few side payouts.

Rules
  • Natural blackjack pays 3:2.
  • Dealer hits a soft 17.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • 6 decks.
  • Double down on any two cards.
  • Double down after splitting.
  • You can only split hands once.
  • Dealer peeks for blackjack.
  • No surrender.
Jackpot & Side Payouts

The side payouts are based on consecutively dealt cards in your initial hand.

In other words, extra cards that you receive from splitting hands don't count towards earning the jackpot and side payouts.

Here's an example: you receive two aces, then split these and receive an ace in each hand. The result is a normal 12 for both hands, rather than the jackpot.

Here are the jackpot and side payouts:

  • 4 red, or 4 blackjack aces = Jackpot
  • 4 different aces = 2000x your bet
  • 3 aces of the same suit = 1000x
  • 3 aces of different suites = 200x
  • 2 aces of the same suit = 50x
  • 2 aces of different suits = 15x
  • 1 ace of any suit = 3x
Return to Player RTP

RTP for blackjack progressive is 99.30%, or a house edge of 0.70%.

The RTP is low by industry standards, meaning you only want to play this game if you're interested in the progressive jackpot and side payouts.

What drags the house edge down in comparison to the regular blackjack game is that the dealer hits a soft 17, and there are 6 decks.

We don't know why GamesOS threw in two more house-friendly rules since progressive side bets already feature a high house advantage. But there are better progressive blackjack games from a house edge perspective.

How to Play

For the most part, you can use the same playing instructions that we covered in the first blackjack game. But the one difference is that you have the option to make a progressive jackpot bet.

To do so, click the slot next to any of the three betting spaces. Afterward, you'll see a $1 chip in the slot and two green lights at the top.

While you can place a $1 in any of the progressive betting slots, note that you must also make a regular wager in the corresponding betting square. If you fail to do so, the game will warn that your side bet can't be processed.

Strategy

The strategy for blackjack progressive is the same as the standard blackjack game. But the differences come when you make the progressive side bet.

Normally when you're dealt two aces, you split them because it gives you two strong starting cards. But given that you can only form side payouts with a non-split hand, you should avoid splitting aces if you make the progressive bet.

Blackjack Surrender

As the name implies, the notable thing about blackjack surrender is that you have the option to surrender your hands. Below you can see this along with other notable rules.

Rules
  • Natural blackjack pays 3:2.
  • Dealer stands on a soft 17.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • 4 decks.
  • Late surrender (after dealer checks for blackjack).
  • Double down on any two cards.
  • Double down after splitting.
  • You can only split hands once.
  • Dealer peeks for blackjack.
Return to Player RTP

RTP for blackjack surrender is 99.66%, or a house edge of 0.34%. This represents the top-paying blackjack game in GamesOS' library.

The reason why this game pays more than the standard blackjack variation is the addition of surrender. When you surrender half your bet in the right situations (covered in strategy), you gain an extra edge on the house.

How to Play

The one added dimension to blackjack surrender's playing process is that you get a surrender icon after the first two cards are dealt.

This won't come into play much because there are only a few spots strategy-wise where you should surrender.

When you hit, split, or double down, the surrender option is unavailable until the next hand.

Strategy

Most of the strategy for blackjack surrender is the same as the standard version. But given that there are a few spots where you gain an edge by surrendering, it's worth going over blackjack surrender strategy.

The following chart is based on an online surrender variant where you can double down on any hand:

  • Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
  • Your total is 9: double down when dealer's up card is 3 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 10: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • Your total is 11: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 10. Hit when their card is A.
  • Your total is 12: stand when dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 13 to 14: stand when dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 7 to A.
  • Your total is 15: stand when dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 7 to 9 and A. Surrender when their card is 10.
  • Your total is 16: stand when dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 7 to 8. Surrender when their card is 9 to A.
  • Your total is 17+: always stand.
  • Your cards are A2 to A3: double down when dealer's up card is 5 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A.
  • Your cards are A4: double down when dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • Your cards are A5: double down when dealer's up card is 3 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 and 7 to A.
  • Your cards are A6 to A7: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 9 to A. Stand when their card is 7 to 8.
  • Your cards are A8: stand when dealer's up card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A. Double down when their card is 6.
  • Your cards are A9: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 2's or 3's: split when dealer's up card is 4 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 4's: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A. Split when their card is 5 to 6.
  • You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 6's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 7 to A.
  • You have a pair of 7's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 8's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 10. Surrender when their card is A.
  • You have a pair of 9's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 6 and 8 to 9. Stand when their card is 7 and 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 10's: always stand.
  • You have a pair of aces: always split.
Blackjack Switch

If you're looking for a fresh take on blackjack, then blackjack switch is a great variation to try. This game sees you play two hands, and you can trade cards between them to beat the dealer.

But the downside is that a dealer pushes on 22, instead of busting. This game also reduces the standard blackjack payout from 3:2 to 1:1.

One more unique twist is that you can make a Super Match side bet. Keep reading to find out more on the Super Match wager and rules.

Rules
  • Natural blackjack pays 1:1.
  • Dealer hits on a soft 17.
  • Dealer 22 results in a push.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • 8 decks.
  • Double down on any two cards.
  • Double down after splitting.
  • You can split each of your two starting hands once.
  • Dealer peeks for a blackjack.
  • No surrender.
Super Match Bet & Payouts

Super Match is an optional side bet on your two main hands (splits don't count). You can bet up to the table maximum on Super Match as long as you have the two required bets in play.

You need at least a pair among your initial four cards to win Super match. Here's the full list of payouts:

  • 1 pair (2 of a kind) = 1:1 payout
  • 3 of a kind = 5:1 payout
  • 2 pairs = 7:1 payout
  • 4 of a kind = 50:1 payout
Return to Player RTP

RTP for blackjack switch is 99.39%, or a 0.61% house edge. While this is below average for industry standards, it ranks in the middle among GamesOS variations.

If you're willing to deal with the 99.39% RTP, then blackjack switch is a fun variation to try.

The Super Match side bet has a house edge of 2.60%, which is the lowest for any blackjack side bet. This still isn't to say that it's a good long-term proposition, but Super Match also won't devastate your bankroll like other side bets.

How to Play

Blackjack switch requires two equal bets so that you can play two hands. As soon as you place chips in one of the two available betting spaces, chips will automatically appear in the other area too.

You can also place a wager in the Super Match space too.

When you're satisfied with your bets, click Deal to receive your cards. If you'd like to redo your wagers, choose Clear to start over.

After your cards are dealt, you'll have the following options: switch, hit, stand, double down, and split (w/ a pair).

When you choose switch, the top cards in each hand (second dealt) are swapped. Here's an example:

  • You're dealt 3-9(top) in one hand, and 9-8(top) in another.
  • You choose switch, which makes your new hands 3-8 and 9-9.
  • You can now play both of these hands like normal, or you can switch back before making your first hand action.

After playing out your two hands, you'll have the option to repeat your bet. If you don't want to do this, select the appropriate chip denomination and put your wager in a betting space.

Basic Strategy

Blackjack switch presents strategy on two fronts because you not only need to know basic strategy, but also when the best times to switch are.

Basic strategy is different from what's used in most blackjack versions because the dealer pushes on 22. The following guide reflects this and takes into account the other rule nuances:

  • Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
  • Your total is 9: double down when dealer's up card is 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 10: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 8. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • Your total is 11: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • Your total is 12: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A. Stand when dealer's card is 5 to 6.
  • Your total is 13: hit when dealer's up card is 2 and 7 to A. Stand when their card is 3 to 6.
  • Your total is 14 to 16: hit when dealer's up card is 7 to A. Stand when their card is 2 to 6.
  • Your total is 17+: always stand.
  • Your cards are A2 to A4: always hit.
  • Your cards are A5: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A. Double down when their card is 4 to 6.
  • Your cards are A6: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A. Double down when their card is 5 to 6.
  • Your cards are A7: hit when dealer's up card is 9 to A. Stand when their card is 2 to 4 and 7 to 8. Double down when their card is 5 to 6.
  • Your cards are A8+: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 2's or 3's: split when dealer's up card is 5 to 7. Hit when their card is 2 to 4 and 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 4's: always split.
  • You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 8. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • You have a pair of 6's: split when the dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • You have a pair of 7's: split when the dealer's up card is 3 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A. Stand when their card is 2.
  • You have a pair of 8's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 9's: split when the dealer's up card is 4 to 6 and 8 to 9. Stand when their card is 2 to 3; 7; and 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 10's: always stand.
  • You have a pair of aces: always split.
Switch Strategy

While there are more-advanced methods for blackjack switch strategy, Cindy Liu's Simple Switching Strategy is an easy method that will get you close to the optimal house edge.

To begin with Simple Switching, you must first consider the hand strengths:

  • 121
  • 220
  • 319
  • 4AA
  • 511
  • 610
  • 79
  • 818 or 8
  • 988 with 2-8+

Here's how casino actuary Michael Shackleford (a.k.a. Wizard of Odds) explains using these hand strengths in Liu's Simple Switching:

  • Dealer has 7-8 - Using the list above, balance your hands and make the lowest hand as strong as possible.
  • Any other dealer up card - Make your best hand even higher if possible.
  • If you can't make a hand from the list - Make the best-possible hand you can in the following order:
    • 7 or 17
    • Any hand should be split.
    • 12
  • Exceptions to the above list:
    • If you have AA and 38, keep the aces intact.
    • If you have AA and 29, keep the aces intact if the dealer has 2-6.
    • If you have AA and 28, keep the aces intact.
Face Up 21 (Double Exposure)

Face Up 21 is another term for double exposure blackjack, where you see the dealer's first two cards, instead of just one.

This is unique game that gives you more information when deciding what moves to make. But you also deal with some house-friendly rules to make up for the advantage of seeing both dealer cards.

The most-notable of these rules is that natural blackjacks only pay 1:1. By reducing blackjack payouts from the standard of 3:2 to 1:1, the house edge is increased by 2.27%.

Rules
  • Natural blackjack pays 1:1.
  • Dealer hits on a soft 17.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • 8 decks.
  • Double down only on 9 to 11.
  • No double down after splitting.
  • You can re-split up to three times.
  • No re-splitting aces.
  • No surrender.
Return to Player RTP

RTP for Face Up 21 is 99.15%, or a house edge of 0.85%.

This is not only GamesOS' lowest-paying blackjack variation, but it's one of the worst-paying online blackjack games we've ever seen.

While online double exposure games have a tendency to pay low, 99.15% is ridiculous.

It's standard for double exposure to pay 1:1 for natural blackjacks and let the dealer hit on a soft 17. But there are too many other house-friendly rules, like double-down restrictions, no double down after splitting, and no re-splitting aces.

Long story short, avoid this game at all costs.

How to Play

Face Up 21 has an interesting feature that automatically hits for you when the dealer is forced to stand on a hard 17+, or soft 18+. Assuming your score is lower, the game continues hitting until you either win or bust.

This makes for strange gameplay when you see cards floating into your hand when all you did was click the Deal button.

We're not big fans of this feature because it's more fun to make all of the decisions yourself. But given that you already know the dealer's hand, this feature does save time by hitting for you.

Strategy

The fact that you can see both dealers' cards has a big impact on the strategy. Furthermore, it creates more-extensive strategy when considering the extra dealer point totals you must account for.

Below you can see common double exposure strategy for an online game with double-down restrictions:

  • Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
  • Your total is 9: double down when dealer's score is 4 to 6 and 12 to 6. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; and AA to A6.
  • Your total is 10: double down when dealer's score is 4 to 9; 12 to 16; and A2 to A5. Hit when their score is 10 to 11; 17+; AA; and A6.
  • Your total is 11: double down when dealer's score is 4 to 9; 12 to 16; and AA to A5. Hit when their score is 10 to 11; 17+; and A6.
  • Your total is 12: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6 and 12 to 16. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; and AA to A6.
  • Your total is 13: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 16; and A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; AA to A4; and A6.
  • Your total is 14: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 16; and A3 to A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; AA to A2; and A6.
  • Your total is 15: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 16; and A2 to A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 17+; AA; and A6.
  • Your total is 16: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 11 to 16; and AA to A5. Hit when their score is 7 to 10; 17+; and A6.
  • Your total is 17: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 17 and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 18+.
  • Your total is 18: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 18 and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 19+.
  • Your total is 19: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 19 and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 20.
  • Your total is 20: always stand (natural 21 is automatic stand).
  • Your cards are A2 to A6: always hit.
  • Your cards are A7: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 8; 11 to 17; and AA to A6.
  • Your cards are A8: stand when dealer's score is 4 to 19 and AA to A6.
  • Your cards are A9 to A10: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 2's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 18; and A5 to A6. Hit when their score is 8 to 11; 19+; and A5 to A6.
  • You have a pair of 3's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 18; and A6. Hit when their score is 8 to 11; 19+; and A6.
  • You have a pair of 4's: hit when dealer's score is 4; 7 to 11; 17+; and AA to A6. Stand when their score is 5 to 6 and 12 to 16.
  • You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's score is 2 to 9; 12 to 16; and A2 to A6. Hit when their score is 10 to 11; 17+; AA; and A6.
  • You have a pair of 6's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 12 to 17; and A5 to A6. Hit when their score is 7 to 11; 18+; and AA to A4.
  • You have a pair of 7's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 17; and A3 to A6. Hit when their score is 11; 19+; and AA to A2.
  • You have a pair of 8's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 7; 12 to 18; and AA to A6. Hit when their score is 10 and 19+. Stand when their score is 11.
  • You have a pair of 9's: split when dealer's score is 4 to 6; 7 to 8; 12 to 16; 18 to 19; and A4 to A5. Stand when their score is 7; 10 to 11; 17; AA to A3; and A6. Hit when their score is 20.
  • You have a pair of 10's stand when dealer's score is 4 to 12; 17+; and AA to A6.
  • You have a pair of aces: split when dealer's score is 4-16 and AA-A5. Hit when their score is 17+ and A6.
Pontoon

Rather than calling a 21 on your first two cards a natural blackjack, this game calls it a pontoon.

Notable rules in pontoon include a 5-card trick (5 dealt cards w/o busting), and the dealer's first two cards being dealt face-down.

Rules
  • A pontoon (21 on first two cards) pays 2:1.
  • A 5-card trick beats a standard 21 and pays 2:1.
  • Dealer receives two face-down cards and checks for blackjack every time.
  • Dealer hits a soft 17.
  • Dealer wins all ties.
  • 8 decks.
  • Double down on any two cards.
  • You can double down after splitting.
  • You can re-split up to 3 times.
Spanish Decks

The rules claim that 8 regular decks are used. But after playing for a while, we conclude that this game uses Spanish decks, which don't contain 10s and have 48 cards (instead of 52).

This version is popular in Australian casinos, as well as other parts of the world.

Return to Player RTP

RTP for pontoon is 99.60%, or a 0.40% house edge. This is tied with the standard blackjack game for GamesOS' second-highest payback.

It's hard to compare pontoon's rules with other blackjack games to gain perspective on the RTP. But the fact that you can't see any of the dealer's cards before making a decision definitely hurts you.

Another house-friendly rule is that the dealer wins all pushes. It also doesn't help that the dealer hits a soft 17, and 8 decks are used.

The big advantage you have is that a pontoon pays 2:1, rather than the more-common 3:2 or 6:5. The 5-card trick (a.k.a. 5-card Charlie) payout of 2:1 also helps, but to a lesser extent since it only happens an average of every 50 hands.

How to Play

You start by placing your bet(s) in 1 to 3 of the available betting circles.

Upon clicking Deal, you'll receive two face-up cards, and the dealer receives two face-down cards. They check for a pontoon before the action continues.

If you get a pontoon, you automatically win and receive a 2:1 payout. If you don't have a pontoon, you can either hit, stand, double down, or split (w/ pairs).

Note that if you ever hit to 5 cards without busting, you win with a 5-card trick (even against dealer's 21) and are awarded a 2:1 payout.

When the round is over, you can either click Repeat to make the same wager(s), or start over with new chip denominations.

Basic Pontoon Strategy

Some pontoon variations across the world feature various bonuses and exotic rules. Luckily, GamesOS' version doesn't do this, and the only special payout is the 5-card trick.

Even still, the 5-card trick rule does affect strategy to some degree. This is why we've listed a basic below, and strategy deviations in the next section:

  • Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
  • Your total is 9: double down when dealer's up card is 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 10: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 8. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • Your total is 11: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • Your total is 12: always hit.
  • Your total is 13: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A. Stand when their card is 6.
  • Your total is 14: hit when dealer's up card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A. Stand when their card is 4 to 6.
  • Your total is 15 to 16: hit when dealer's up card is 7 to A. Stand when their card is 2 to 6.
  • Your total is 17+: always stand.
  • Your cards are A2 to A6: always hit.
  • Your cards are A7: hit when dealer's up card is 9 to A. Stand when their card is 2 to 8.
  • Your cards are A8+: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 2's or 3's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 4's: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 8. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • You have a pair of 6's: split when dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • You have a pair of 7's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 8's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 10. Hit when their card is A.
  • You have a pair of 9's: split when dealer's up card is 3 to 6 and 8 to 9. Stand when their card is 2, 7, and 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 10's: always stand.
  • You have a pair of aces: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 10. Hit when their card is ace.
Strategy Nuances based on 5 Card Trick

You can get close to optimal pontoon RTP by sticking with the basic guide listed above.

But if you want to take things a step further, then you can use the deviations listed below. These are based on Shackleford's analysis of the 5 to card trick (Charlie) rule:

  • Your total is 13: hit 6 (instead of standing) when one card away from a 5 to card trick.
  • Your total is 14: hit 4 to 6 (instead of standing) when one card away.
  • Your total is 15 to 16: hit 2 to 6 (instead of standing) when one card away.
  • Your total is 17: hit 2 to 3 and 9 to A (instead of standing) when one card away.
  • Your cards are A8+: always hit (instead of standing) when one card away.
Spanish 21

Like pontoon, Spanish 21 is another different take on basic blackjack. This game removes all 10s from the deck, making for a 48-card deck.

Other unique aspects of this game include bonus payouts for certain combinations, and late surrender after doubling down (a.k.a. double-down rescue).

Rules
  • 10s removed from deck, which makes for a 48-card deck (instead of 52).
  • Natural blackjack pays 3:2.
  • Dealer hits a soft 17.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • 8 decks.
  • Late surrender, and double-down rescue allowed.
  • Double down on any two cards.
  • Double down after splitting.
  • You can split up to 3 hands.
  • Dealer peeks for blackjack.
Bonus Payouts

Spanish 21 doesn't require a side bet to qualify for bonus payouts. Instead, you're eligible for these just for playing the game.

Here's a look at the bonus payouts, which are based on various card combinations:

  • 50:1 payout = 7-7-7 of the same suit, if the dealer has a 7 face-up.
  • 3:1 payout = Any 7+ card 21; 6-7-8 spaces; 7-7-7 spades.
  • 2:1 payout = Any 6-card 21; 6-7-8 same suit; 7-7-7 same suit.
  • 3:2 payout = Any 5-card 21; 6-7-8 mixed suit; 7-7-7- mixed suit.

Please note that these bonuses are void if you double down or split hands.

Return to Player RTP

RTP for Spanish 21 is 99.20%, or a 0.80% house edge. This is GamesOS' second-worst paying blackjack variation.

While it's nice that you can surrender hands - including after doubling down - there are other rules that hurt your chances of winning. These include: no 10s in the deck; dealer hitting a soft 17; and 8 decks.

Unless you're excited about trying Spanish 21, this is another game that we recommend skipping, or at least avoiding real money play.

How to Play

This is the only GamesOS blackjack variant that allows you to play up to 5 hands, instead of 3.

You start each round by placing your chips in 1-5 of the betting circles. When you're satisfied with your wager(s), click Deal to receive your cards.

If you get 21 on your first two cards, you automatically win and receive a 3:2 payout. If you don't have a blackjack, then you have a few different options.

Hand options include: hit, stand, double down, split (pairs), and surrender. The latter sees you surrender your hand and lose half your bet.

Once a hand is over, you can either choose Rebet/Redeal, Rebet, or New Game.

Strategy

Below is the basic strategy for online Spanish 21:

  • Your total is 5 to 8: always hit.
  • Your total is 9: double down when dealer's up card is 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 10: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 8. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • Your total is 11: always double down.
  • Your total is 12: always hit.
  • Your total is 13: stand when dealer's up card is 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A.
  • Your totals is 14: stand when dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • Your total is 15 to 16: stand when dealer's up card is 2 to 6. Hit when their card is 7 to A.
  • Your total is 17+: always stand.
  • Your cards are A2 to A3: always hit.
  • Your cards are A4: double down when dealer's up card is 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 5 and 7 to A.
  • Your cards are A5: double down when dealer's up card is 5 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 4 and 7 to A.
  • Your cards are A6: double down when dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • Your cards are A7: double down when dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 9 to A. Stand when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to 8.
  • Your cards are A8+: always stand.
  • You have a pair of 2's or 3's: split when dealer's up card is 2 to 8. Hit when their card is 9 to A.
  • You have a pair of 4's: always hit.
  • You have a pair of 5's: double down when dealer's up card is 2 to 9. Hit when their card is 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 6's: split when the dealer's up card is 4 to 6. Hit when their card is 2 to 3 and 7 to A.
  • You have a pair of 7's: split when the dealer's up card is 2 to 7. Hit when their card is 8 to A.
  • You have a pair of 8's: always split.
  • You have a pair of 9's: split when the dealer's up card is 3 to 6 and 8 to 9. Stand when their card is 2, 7, and 10 to A.
  • You have a pair of 10 to value cards: always stand.
  • You have a pair of aces: always split.

Where is GamesOS Blackjack Found?

We initially had a tough time finding where we could play GamesOS blackjack.

First off, we visited their website, and the blackjack games wouldn't load. Then we visited several online casinos that use their software, only to find that none offered GamesOS blackjack.

Upon revisiting the company website, the games suddenly all worked and we were able to test them out.

After playing and reviewing all the blackjack games, we again looked for casinos where you can play GamesOS blackjack for real money. Here's what our search turned up:

  • Adam Eve Casino
  • GrandWild Casino
  • MyWin24 Casino
  • ParadiseWin Casino
  • VIP Stakes Casino

Some of the casinos that we checked out restricted our area and wouldn't even let us on the homepage. This means there are probably a few other casinos offering GamesOS blackjack.

GamesOS History & Reputability

History

We can't find mention of when CTXM opened, but there's news about them dating back to 2006, when they developed virtual sports games for Xgames Ltd.

2011 was a big year for CTXM because they launched Slots Farm on Facebook, and began providing games to Bodog888 (Asia).

Within the past few years, they also changed their name to GamesOS. Now you can see the GamesOS seal at the bottom of dozens of online casinos.

Licensing & Testing Certification

GamesOS is licensed by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. As part of their licensing requirements, they must have their games tested and approved by eCOGRA.

Alderney is an average gaming jurisdiction when it comes to enforcing fair gaming and overseeing licensees. eCOGRA is a highly respected testing facility, which inspires confidence in GamesOS' products.

Blackjack Switch Issue

As described by ThePogg - an industry watchdog - GamesOS had a couple of issues with their blackjack switch game.

First off, dealer 22s were making players lose, instead of push. Next, they listed the RTP at 99.39%, when it was actually below 85% based on the aforementioned rule change.

ThePogg and the game designer approached GamesOS, who, without responding back, fixed the matter.

ThePogg concludes that the mistake probably wasn't malicious, especially since their blackjack switch was a low-traffic game at the time. Furthermore, it's doubtful that a large gaming provider would risk their operation on such a petty move.

But it's still worth noting that they were offering an unfair/uncommon rule variation.

Conclusion

Overall, we found more to like about GamesOS blackjack than to dislike.

The first thing that stands out is the game variety because you'll have seven available options. And unlike some companies that offer this many variations, each GamesOS blackjack variant is very different from the next.

Another good aspect is that you can find three blackjack games with 99.60% RTP or higher, including blackjack, blackjack surrender, and pontoon.

One more thing we appreciate is the detailed rules for each game. While we don't like that they appear in pop-up windows, it's still nice that GamesOS has gone to such great lengths to state their rules and RTP.

On the downside, Face Up a21 (99.15%) and Spanish 21 (99.20%) offer terrible RTP, making them unplayable if you're focused on winning above all.

We also found the graphics on most tables to be below average. One more drawback is the blackjack switch issue, although this seems like an honest mistake.

But again, the positives outweigh the negatives for GamesOS, meaning you should give their blackjack games a try.

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Disclaimer | Sitemap | Get Help

Copyright © 2018 GamblingSites.org. All Right Reserved.