Habanero Systems Blackjack Software

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

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

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

  • 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

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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • 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.

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.


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.