How to play Most Liberal 21 Pontoon variant?


Most Liberal 21

Most Liberal 21 is a game owned by PlayLV. That company operates the casino at Plaza in Downtown Las Vegas. It is the only property under the PlayLV corporate umbrella. According to gambling site this blackjack variant used to include “World’s” at the beginning of the title. The game originated at the now-defunct Las Vegas Club. That casino was a fixture on Fremont Street for 75 years before closing in 2015. The rules during the early days of Most Liberal 21 were far more generous than the ones today. Earlier, players could surrender after hitting, blackjack paid 3-2, and the dealer stood on all 17s. None of those rules exist today, making Most Liberal 21 one of the worst blackjack variants spread.

This game permits players to double down on any number of cards. Surrender is permitted, even after a card is drawn. Aces may be split, re-split and hit. Double down after splitting aces is also permitted. A five-card or higher 21 wins automatically. Blackjack only pays even money, unless it is suited. It then pays 2-1.

What is Most Liberal 21?

Most Liberal 21 is the Blackjack/Pontoon game variant where Blackjack pays even money, except if it is suited. That pays 2-1. This rule helps offset the friendly ones Most Liberal 21 offers. Players may double down on 2, 3, or 4 cards. This changes some of the double-down strategies, especially on soft hands and 9. Pairs may be split an infinite number of times. Split aces may be hit, doubled, or split again. When a player makes a six-card hand that does not bust automatically wins.

How to play Most Liberal 21 Pontoon variant?

The first step in playing Most Liberal 21 is finding the game. The only casino that spreads it is Plaza in Vegas. It is on Main Street in Downtown Las Vegas across from the Fremont Street Experience. There is one table. It has a classic sign with the title attached to the table.

Once at the table with chips, place a bet into the circle in front of you. The dealer will give each player two cards face up in clockwise order out of a continuous shuffling machine. Six decks are used. The dealer receives two cards. One is face up. The other is down.

If the dealer’s door card is an ace, insurance is offered. This pays 2-1 if the dealer ends up with a blackjack. Even money is not offered if the player also has a blackjack because the game does not pay 3-2 on a natural. The dealer will check for blackjack after insurance is offered.

If the dealer is showing a 10-value card, the dealer will also check for blackjack. If the dealer has blackjack, the hand ends. Any player without blackjack loses. Blackjack hands push. Insurance bets win 2-1.

If the dealer does not have blackjack, the hand continues as normal. A player blackjack is paid now. A suited blackjack pays 2-1. All others pay even money.

Players have the following options when playing their hand.

  • Hit
  • Stand
  • Double down
  • Surrender
  • Split (if dealt a pair)

To hit, tap the table by your cards. This tells the dealer to give you a card. You may hit until the hand is 21 or over. You stand by waving over the hand. This tells the dealer that you would not like any cards.

To double down, place chips equal to the original bet. This will get the hand one card. Double down is permitted after hitting. You must stand after this action.

To surrender, run your finger across the table in front of your bet. This folds the hand. Half of the bet is returned.

If dealt a pair, split is offered. Place an equal wager next to the original bet. The dealer will split the pair. A new card is placed on each pair, and the hands play out as normal.

The player automatically loses if the count of the hand goes above 21. This is called a bust. The player wins automatically if the hand contains six cards that total 21 or less. This is called a six-card charlie.

Once all players have acted, the dealer exposes the hole card. The following rules apply.

  • If the dealer has 18 or higher, or a hard 17, the dealer stands
  • If the dealer has 16 or lower, or soft 17, the hand hits until it has a hard 17 or 18 and higher
  • If the dealer makes a count of 22 or higher, the house busts

All players still in the hand win if the dealer busts.

If the dealer does not bust, the house hand is compared to the ones held by each player. If the player has a higher count than the dealer, the player wins even money on all bets.

If the dealer has a higher count than the player, the house wins the bets. If the house and the player have the same point total, the hand pushes, and bets are returned.

Split hands are graded separately. It is possible to win one and lose others or vice versa.

The basic rule of the game

  • Players that get a blackjack are paid even money, however, if the blackjack is suited, they are paid 2-1. Dealer and player blackjacks are pushed, regardless of suit.
  • Players may double on their first 2, 3, or 4 cards. This will lead to a different strategy when doubling a 9; hitting and then doubling in case they get a 2.
  • Players can split their hands an unlimited amount of times, including splitting Aces.
  • Late surrender is allowed.
  • If a player receives 6 cards, they automatically win.
  • Dealer’s must hit on Soft 17.

The best strategy to play Liberal 21

Always hit on hard hands up to 8. After that, follow the list below.

  • 9:Double down against 3 through 6; otherwise, hit
  • 10:Double down, except hit against 10
  • 11:Always double down
  • 12:Stand against 3 through 6; otherwise, hit
  • 13 and 14: Stand against 2 through 6; otherwise, hit
  • 15: Stand against 2 through six; surrender against 10 or ace; otherwise, hit
  • 16: Stand against 2 through 6; surrender against 9, 10, and ace; otherwise, hit
  • 17: Surrender against ace; otherwise, stand
  • 18 and higher: Always stand

For Soft Hands

  • Soft 13:Always hit
  • Soft 14:Double down against 6; otherwise, hit
  • Soft 15:Double down against 5 and 6; otherwise, hit
  • Soft 16:Double down against 4 through 6; otherwise, hit
  • Soft 17:Double down against 3 through 6; otherwise, hit
  • Soft 18:Double down against 2 through 6; stand against 7 and 8; otherwise, stand
  • Soft 19:Double down against 6; otherwise, stand
  • Soft 20:Always stand

There are a few hands where the strategy changes once a card has been hit.

  • Hit 9 against a 3 on two cards
  • Hit 10 against an ace on two cards
  • The only correct doubles after hitting 2 cards are 10 against a 4, 5, or 6 and soft 19 against a 6
  • On 5 cards, always hit 15 and lower and 16 against anything but a 5 or 6

For Pairs

  • 2s: Split against 2 through 7; otherwise, hit
  • 3s: Split against 3 through 7; otherwise, hit
  • 4s: Split against 5 and 6; otherwise, hit
  • 5s: Double down, except hit against 10
  • 6s: Split against 2 through 6; otherwise, hit
  • 7s: Split against 2 through 7; otherwise, hit
  • 8s: Split, except surrender against an ace
  • 9s: Split, except stand against a 7, 10, or ace
  • 10s: Always stand
  • Aces: Always split

Even though the game rules seem to favor the player, the house still gets a nice advantage, as they pay even money on blackjacks. The house edge is 1.33%, which is very similar to other 6 deck blackjack games, and is better than other blackjack game variants.