Habanero Systems Blackjack Software

Blackjack Software Habanero Gaming

The online casino software development firm Habanero Systems B.V. was founded in 2010, focusing on virtual slot machine design for the Asian marketplace.

But the Habanero Systems we know today officially took shape in 2012, when the company was purchased by a mysterious "group of investors." We say mysterious for a reason; as the only mentions found online consistently refer to the new owners by that generic term.

In any case, the revamped Habanero Systems immediately set its sights on global expansion, inking lucrative partnerships with worldwide operators like iSoftBet, GWIN, SKS365, and others. These deals were designed to widen the company's reach, especially within the thriving European market.

Today, the company maintains headquarters in four international capitals:

  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Sofia, Bulgaria

By creating such a cosmopolitan platform, Habanero Systems has ensured that users enjoying their favorite online casino games can choose between 21 different languages, including the following:

European Languages

  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
Asian Languages

  • Chinese
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese

Although the new look company is still developing a foothold within the crowded global iGaming industry, Habanero Systems is already well established within the Asian market. In fact, the company is compared to industry leaders such as Playtech and the like when it comes to serving Asian online gambling operators.

Since the 2012 acquisition, however, the company's new ownership group has moved quickly to grow beyond the Asian continent. As a result, industry insiders have compared it rate of growth to major software designers like Net Entertainment and Microgaming.

In a recent interview, Habanero Systems' head of corporate communications Toni Karapetrov, explained the company's position on the industry totem pole relative to those titans:

"It is very nice to be compared to game studios like that, given how quickly we've developed in such a short space of time. But, yes, you're right - it is hard to succeed. Competition is very fierce and there's a real survival of the fittest out there.

Players won't play poor quality games - and neither should they have to - so you can't dine out on a good game that you created a few years ago. It's about moving the needle forward each and every time.

It is important to tailor games to players, but it is also important that they have wide spread popularity too. Our games have very rich graphics, interesting maths, and high quality sounds, which are very important."

As more deals continue to make headlines, and Habanero Systems expands its operations into new markets, more and more players are discovering the company's products.

That group includes fans of blackjack. And even though the Table Games menu pales in comparison to the Habanero Systems virtual slot lineup, it does offer a decent take on traditional twenty one, along with a Double Exposure variant.

All in all, you'll only have two blackjack titles to choose from with Habanero Systems, but like an ace and a face, the company makes that pair count.

The point of this page is to provide a one stop shop for everything players need to know about those two titles. You'll find a full listing of client casinos currently utilizing the company's software engine, along with a complete breakdown of each game's appearance, interface, and rules.

Affiliated Online Casinos

The listing below highlights online casinos which are known to utilize Habanero Systems software:

  • 188Bet Casino
  • Bet Chain Casino
  • Bet Chan Casino
  • Buck & Butler Casino
  • Club Gold Casino
  • FantasinoCasino
  • Lady Lucks Casino
  • mBit Casino
  • Megawins Casino
  • Oshi Casino
  • Playamo Casino
  • Vegas Crest Casino

Note the inclusion of a few Bitcoin oriented platforms, such as Bet Chain Casino and mBit Casino.

These venues operate just like any other online casino, aside from allowing players to place their wagers in the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin rather than traditional fiat currencies like dollars or pounds sterling.

Also of note is the fact that those two sites, along with Vegas Crest Casino, count themselves among the ranks of US facing platforms. That means American players are free to register and begin playing for real money, which is a relative rarity nowadays following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.

The fact that Habanero Systems provides its software services to US facing sites can be interpreted in one of two ways. On the positive side, this expands the company's reach to include millions of potential users. On the other hand, partnering with client casinos which choose to flout standing federal law can be viewed as a red flag of sorts.

We'll leave that determination up to you though.

List of Basic Blackjack Games

Currently, the Habanero Systems portfolio of online casino products stands at 93 titles, with the vast majority (73) represented by virtual slot machines.

The other 20 games are split evenly between Table Games and Video Poker selections, but within that first category, you'll find only two basic blackjack games:

  • Blackjack (3 Hand)
  • Blackjack (5 Hand)

These games are essentially clones, however, with the only difference being the ability to play either three or five hands - or "spots" - on any given deal. Other than that though, these two titles follow an identical set of House Rules, while featuring the exact same look, layout, and gameplay structure.

Our peers within the reviewer ranks have praised Habanero Systems for slimming their blackjack menu down to a single offering, and we tend to agree. The reasoning behind this appraisal is quite simple, as the modern trend of crowding a software suite with dozens of slightly different versions of a classic game can be overwhelming.

Sure, we do appreciate the flexibility provided by larger blackjack menus, as the opportunity to switch seamlessly between Las Vegas Strip rules and those found in Atlantic City appeals to grizzled veterans of the game. But for most recreational players out there, the tiny percentage points of expected return gained or lost by these subtle minutiae in the rules just aren't all that relevant.

So while we would definitely appreciate a few more variations on the theme, we can also see why a growing company like Habanero Systems decided not to devote an inordinate amount of design resources to creating several slightly different versions.

Those who prefer to mix it up will be happy to note that Habanero Systems does offer one more twist on traditional twenty one, but that game will be covered in the Blackjack Variants and Hybrids section later on.

Graphics and Animations

Immediately after pulling up a blackjack game on Habanero Systems software, you'll be treated to a feast for the eyes.

The game screen is designed to turn your computer or mobile device into a personal portal straight onto the casino floor. The background is slightly dimmed and darkened, with the result being a tighter focus on the actual table. This is a subtle but highly effective touch, as most live casinos alternate between the flashy colors of the gaming floor and subdued tones overhead.

To complete the ambience, you'll be seated on a plush black leather chair, which again looks just like the furniture you'd expect to find at a real casino.

The table itself is adorned with bright green felt, on which key game rules like the blackjack payout and dealer approach to soft 17 are splashed.

Speaking of the table, one of the main differences we noticed between Habanero Systems' approach and other companies is the concept of compactness. Simply put, you'll be sitting closer to the dealer, which avoids the usual "dead" space that dominates most online casino tables.

The dealer's side of the game is similarly well designed, featuring a chip tray stacked neatly with multicolored chips, and the ubiquitous "shoe" used to dispense cards from multiple decks.

You'll also notice a small placard in the upper left hand corner of the game screen, which read "MIN $5.00 / MAX $5,000" when we played. But as we understand it, these table limits are set by the client casinos and not Habanero Systems, so you may find a venue with a more traditional $1 minimum bet with a little luck.

When the cards start flying - and they will fly, what with a rather fast paced dealing script - you'll notice nicely designed graphics that manage to look and "feel" like genuine playing cards. We can't put our finger on it, but these card graphics just do the trick, and they almost seem to mimic the classic icons used during the famous ESPN broadcasts of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event back in 2003.

That's a bit of an esoteric reference, we'll admit, so let's just say these cards are crisply colored, extremely readable, and elegant in their own way.

We especially enjoyed how the Habanero Systems designers integrated the real royalty images used for face cards (J, Q, K) on the classic Bicycle brand playing cards. You'll see the legendary "suicide king" - better known as the king of hearts - in all his glory, complete with the mirrored image on the bottom half of the card.

We can't stress this enough, but Habanero Systems made sure to think of every little detail they could when designing their blackjack games - and it shows.

As for the animations used to move the game along, like we mentioned already, this software is built for speed. The cards flash out of the shoe at high speed before finding their place on the felt. In yet another nice addition to the game, your chip(s) will slide back toward you from the betting area when the cards are dealt, as if being nudged along by a well-targeted deal.

One complaint about the game speed concerns the drama inherent to a hand of blackjack. For us anyway, and we suspect most recreational players, the game's fun stems from scanning the cards as they come and calculating your running total. A deuce hits and you have 14, another hit brings a 7 and boom - you've got the 21 total you were searching for.

But on the Habanero Systems software, this drama is erased entirely by the presence of a Total display, one which appears immediately as your new card arrives. This can be useful of course, and we get what the company was going for when it comes to efficiency, but seeing the total on screen before you can even count to one removes that crucial element of suspense.

Other than that minor grievance, however, this software nails blackjack gameplay in every way.

On screen animations will let you know when you have blackjack, if you've gone bust, and what the payout is on your winning hands.

You've just learned all about how Habanero Systems blackjack meets the eye, so let's dive into the nuts and bolts of actual gameplay.

Gameplay Interface

When you open up a new table your eyes will immediately be drawn to the various circle graphics, labeled "PLACE BET," lined out on the felt. That's because each one features a small golden arrow which is animated to "hop" up and down over the space.

You'll find either three of five of these betting circles, depending on the format, but they all work the same way.

After selecting a chip to bet with (more on this in a minute), you'll slide your cursor to your chosen betting circle and click one more time to put that chip at risk. A second click will add another chip, doubling the bet in effect, while a third click adds another, and so on.

Bucking industry convention just a bit, Habanero Systems has placed its array of clickable chip graphics in the lower left hand corner of the game table. Normally, you'll find your chip stack sitting in the lower right hand corner, so if you're like us, this reversal may take a minute to get used to.

The various chip denominations, and associated color schemes, available to you have been listed below:

  • $1 - Unknown
  • $5 - White and blue striped
  • $10 - White and green striped
  • $50 - White and orange striped
  • $100 - White and orange striped

Once you've cycled through these chips and put a few up as a bet(s), your next stop will be the lower left hand corner of the game screen. There, a triad of displays will tally the game's key numbers: Bet, Win, and Balance.

The "BET" counter tallies up your accumulated bets across all hand spots you're playing.

The "WIN" counter shows off your total profit after each deal.

The "BAL" counter is used to track your current bankroll at a particular table.

After watching your finances shift in relation to your wagering, the real game begins in earnest.

Next, your gaze will be refocused to the direct center of the bottom of the screen. There you'll find three main controls, which are labeled as follows:

  • Undo
  • Clear Bets
  • Deal

The first button is on the far left of the array, and it works just like the Back button on your web browser. If you add one too many chips to a given bet, simply click on Undo to bring it back where it came.

The second button goes one step further, removing every chip you've pushed forward in one fell swoop. This Clear Bets feature is a handy way to avoid big mistakes, such as betting a $100 chip when you meant to add a $10 instead.

The third button is self-explanatory, as clicking Deal will direct the virtual dealer to get the game underway.

After you click Deal and see the cards show up on screen, the main game controls will switch out to show the following player actions:

  • Split
  • Double
  • Hit
  • Stand

If you're reading a page about online blackjack, chances are high you already know what these player actions refer to, so we'll skip the study session. But each button does exactly what it says, allowing you to cycle through your decisions quickly and efficiently.

The controls appear from left to right in the order shown above, but in a nice addition to the gameplay, any control that's not applicable at the moment will be removed. Thus, if you don't hold a paired two card starting hand, the Split control will disappear, as will the Double control when you hold more than two cards.

This feature helps you avoid unfortunate "misclicks," which is always nice considering the frenetic pace of the game's graphics.

When you've reached the last player action for your hand(s), the action will shift directly to the dealer. Once again, Habanero Systems opted for speed during this stage of the game, allowing for little drama as the dealer instantly cycles through their choices.

This is great for advanced players who exploit their edge by putting in as many hands per hour as possible, so we get what the company's design team was going for. But for the casual player who just likes sweating the action on each card, this immediate settling of the hand can be off putting.

As the dealer's final card arrives the game settles your wagers with similar speed. In a flash, you'll see on screen graphics reading "WON," "PUSH," "LOSS," appear over your hand(s), or in the best case scenario, "BLACKJACK."

At this point, the main game controls will transform for a final time, offering these two choices:

  • New Game
  • Re bet

Clicking the New Game button will erase your previous bets and start the next hand from scratch.

And choosing Re bet instead will leave your last wagers up, essentially starting the next hand over using the same spots and stakes as the last.

This is the best way to put in volume over a session, because once you've found a nice wagering zone, the Re bet button allows you to skip over the often tedious process of moving virtual chips around the felt.

Rules and Gameplay Conditions

With only one blackjack title on tap, Habanero Systems needed to make it count, and they succeeded on that front by combining a liberal set of rules to create a familiar gameplay experience.

If you've ever played blackjack in a Las Vegas casino, or even at the tribal card room in your area, the House Rules used for the company's game should be right up your alley. Everything is standardized to match the traditional format known to most twenty one fans, and the result is a seamless transition from the live casino floor to the online arena.

Take a look below to review the House Rules for Habanero Systems main Blackjack game, including information on deck construction:

Blackjack House Rules

  • Dealer must stand and draw no further cards when holding a soft 17 total
  • Dealer doesn't receive a "hole" card until all player actions are completed
  • Players have no Surrender option available
  • 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
  • Players can only split an exact pair
  • Players can split two aces, but subsequent hands receive only one card each
  • After splitting, and receiving another paired hand, no additional "re splits" are permitted
  • Any split 10 value or ace that produces a blackjack shall be deemed a normal 21, not blackjack
  • 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
Blackjack Deck Construction

  • The game uses a five deck shoe
  • That shoe shall be re shuffled after each hand and each round

As you can see, these rules follow an established template used by casinos all over the world. In our opinion, this is a wise choice by the Habanero Systems design team. Diversity is a great asset in a games menu, don't get us wrong there. We simply believe that diverging too far from the norm can scare off recreational players, who are usually searching for something they recognize amidst the swirling sea of online casino products.

You can use Free Play games to explore the Habanero Systems blackjack software and interface for yourself. Most game starts you out with a $5,000 bankroll in "virtual bucks," and from there you can wager $40 chips at minimum, or $1,000 chips to take things to the max.

This is a great way to get the hang of this software setup free of charge, before deciding whether or not to pony up for a real money deposit.

House Edge Rate

The combination of liberal rules and a mid-size shoe of five decks - rather than the standard six or eight - ensures that Habanero Systems blackjack players face a fair fight.

The house edge on the company's standard blackjack offering, either 3 Hands or 5 Hands, is identical at 0.40 percent. Naturally, that's assuming you play according to the tenets of basic strategy, but who wouldn't... right?

When you play your cards correctly, the house edge on this game is actually a tick lower than the 0.50 house edge offered by the average blackjack table. That's due to the downsizing in shoe density more than anything else, as more decks in the shoe benefit the house.

Overall, you'll be hard pressed to find traditional blackjack games - that is, basic games and not weird new variants - that offer a house edge this low. For online blackjack grinders who could care less about graphics or in game features, and prize their bottom line above all else, signing up for a Habanero Systems client casino specifically to put in work at the blackjack tables is a great idea.

And as an aside, if you've been using the metric known as expected return to evaluate casino games and bets, you're probably wondering what this "house edge" talk is all about in the first place.

For casino game players, the term house edge pertains to the expected return enjoyed by the house. In other words, this is simply the expected return rate, as viewed from the casino's perspective.

From your point of view, just imagine risking $100 a hand, over and over again into infinity. A house edge of 0.40 equates to the amount you'd expect to lose - $0.40 in this case - on each $100 wager. That might not seem like a significant amount, and it's really not - compared to a game like American (double zero) roulette and its 5.26 percent house edge.

When faced with the choice between losing more than five dollar bills per $100 wagered, or just four dimes, the house edge metric makes it quite clear which game is more favorable.

And if you're the stubborn kind of student who prefers to stick with expected return, just remember to subtract any house edge figure you see from 100 to arrive at the corresponding expected return rate. In the case of Habanero Systems' primary blackjack game, the expected return is 99.60 percent (or 100 - 0.40 = 99.60).

Blackjack Variants and Hybrids

The software suite maintained by Habanero Systems is usually combined with more well established companies like Betsoft, which helps online casinos supplement the former's lack of table game diversity.

And while the selection of games designed by Habanero Systems is quite slim, they did manage to make room for a single blackjack offshoot known as Double Exposure.

Blackjack aficionados will note that Double Exposure is one of the original blackjack hybrids, with roots dating back 50 years. When acclaimed game theory expert Richard Arnold Epstein - better known to casino game strategy readers by his pen name E.P. Stein - wrote "The Theory of Gambling and Statistical Logic," he unwittingly created the classic blackjack variant called Double Exposure.

Epstein devoted a passage within his dense statistical analysis to studying the effect of revealing both dealer cards in blackjack. This was simply a thought experiment for Epstein, and it remained just that for several decades. After all, why would any self-respecting casino operator allow its blackjack dealers to reveal both cards to the player anyway?

But eventually, renowned casino operator and natural promoter Bob Stupak debuted a new table game called Double Exposure Blackjack at his outer space styled Vegas World Casino. By modifying a few rules to return the precious edge back to the house, this reimagined blackjack game became an immediate hit with recreational players.

Even though the house edge under the new rule setup stood at roughly triple that of basic blackjack, casual players couldn't resist the urge to take on a dealer forced to reveal both of their starting cards.

No trademark protections were filed to protect the concept, however, so Double Exposure Blackjack entered the gambling world's public domain. Hence, an emerging online casino software provider like Habanero Systems adapting the concept to round out its own Table Games menu.

The version of Double Exposure found on Habanero Systems' client casinos is fairly standard, and the main rules beginners need to know are rather simple: both dealer cards are exposed, blackjack pays even money (not 3 to 2), and all ties go to the dealer.

Other than that, the player action provisions lean toward the conservative side of the spectrum (for obvious reasons), let's run through the House Rules and Deck Construction below:

Double Exposure House Rules

  • Dealer must hit and take an additional card when holding a soft 17 total
  • Dealer wins all tied hands at showdown, except for tied blackjacks (which pays even money)
  • Players have no Insurance or Surrender options available
  • Players can only double down on the first two cards of a hand
  • Players can only double down when holding any 9, 10, or 11 total
  • Players can double down after splitting
  • Players can only split an exact pair
  • Players can split two aces, but subsequent hands receive only one card each
  • After splitting, and receiving another paired hand, no additional "re splits" are permitted
  • Any split 10 value or ace that produces a blackjack shall be deemed a normal 21, not blackjack
  • All blackjacks are paid out at even money
Double Exposure Deck Construction

  • The game uses a five deck shoe
  • That shoe shall be re shuffled after each hand and each round

Using this particular arrangement of dealer and player actions, along with modified payouts and other rules, Double Exposure by Habanero Systems offers a house edge of 1.61 percent.

This is a tad higher than the industry standard for Double Exposure, and it's just over quadruple the 0.40 percent house edge you're up against on the standard Habanero Systems blackjack title.

The following links can be clicked to try out a Free Play version of each Double Exposure format, as provided by Habanero Systems on their website:

Mobile Compatibility

The fact that Habanero Systems specializes in HTML 5 software design makes the company's online casino suite perfect for mobile adaptability.

The HTML 5 model is designed to be equipped for any updated web browser, so you won't need to download any data consuming apps. Of course, you can use the app format if you wish, but HTML 5 ensures that you can enjoy your favorite Habanero Systems blackjack games using your mobile device's browser app alone.

On March 2, Habanero Systems also struck a major deal to expand the company's mobile reach, partnering with leading online gaming mobile provider GWIN.

Daniel Long, who serves as head of sales for Habanero Systems, explained the mobile expansion strategy thusly:

"Our goal for the year is expand our reach in key markets around the world. This deal with GWIN puts our games in front of more players than ever before, and is a major win for us.

GWIN is one of the largest and best established mobile platform providers, so it is a great opportunity for us to be working with such a power player. We believe our games will be a big hit with their operator partners and their players."

GWIN managing director James Wang pointed to Habanero Systems as one of the industry's emerging stars:

"Habanero has built a reputation as one of the most exciting and innovative game developers in the market. Its content strikes the right balance between design and math, and delivers on fun, entertainment, and most importantly quality.

"We are delighted to be able to offer their content via our mobile platform, and believe they will be a major draw for partners old and new looking to bolster their portfolios with great games."

No matter how you choose to enjoy mobile gaming, the Habanero Systems suite of online casino games can be played through any iOS, Android, or internet connectivity capable mobile device.

Conclusion

Overall, the progression demonstrated by Habanero Systems since its European acquisition in 2012 has been admirable. The company is not a giant by any means, as evidenced by offering just a pair of blackjack titles, but it seems to be growing at a decent pace.

If you're an all-around casino game fan who simply dabbles in blackjack when the mood strikes, this platform's basic game and Double Exposure alternative are perfectly capable of getting the job done.

You'll enjoy eye catching graphics, a smooth visual interface, and liberal house rules which keep the house edge nice and low. And as time goes on, Habanero Systems is a prime candidate to build out and expand its current table games menu.

For now, however, players who prefer switching between several blackjack variants and formats are best served looking to the bigger software providers for the variety they crave.

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