Treasury 21 is a version of the Australian casino game Pontoon played in Treasury Casino, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Fashioned out of an old government building in central Brisbane, this is probably the coolest place to play land-based blackjack games in Australia.
Let’s take a look at what The Treasury has to offer fans of 21, and how their game selection compares to the multitude of options available online. Treasury Casino offers a solid spread of options for both low-limit bettors and high rollers across more than 25 tables.
What is Treasury 21
This is a version of Australian pontoon found only in Brisbane, although it plays almost exactly the same as Jupiters 21. It uses six standard decks with all face-value Tens removed, and offers bonus payouts for hands of 7 7 7 or 6 7 8 – including a Super Bonus up to $5000 for three suited Sevens.
The lower limit pontoon tables on the main casino floor use continuous shuffling machines, while the high stakes Treasury 21 tables in the VIP room are dealt from a shoe – as per the regular blackjack games.
The aim of the game of 21 is to draw cards totalling closer to 21 than those in the Dealer’s hand – without exceeding that 21. Card values are the same as Blackjack– “picture” cards (Jack, Queen, King) each count as 10. An Ace can count as 1 or11. Tens (not picture cards) are removed from the deck prior to play. All other cards have their face value.
The 21 Table Layout
The 21 table seats seven Players on one side, and the Dealer on the other. Its layout is marked out with boxes in which the Players place their bets before the cards are dealt. All cards in 21 are dealt face up so that you can see the point value of the Players’ and Dealer’s hands. A first card is dealt to each of the Players, and then finally to the Dealer. A second card is then dealt to the Players only. The Dealer will call out the value of all hands.
Playing the cards
You may “stand” on the two original cards in your hand, or “draw” additional cards to improve your total. If you “bust” – that is, go over 21 – you lose. When all Players have completed their hands, the Dealer draws a second card. The Dealer has no optional drawing and must stand on hard 17 or more and soft 18 or more.
If the cards in your hand total closer to 21 than the Dealer’s, you win. If the Dealer busts, all remaining hands win.
ACE + PICTURE = 21
“21” is when the Player or the Dealer draws a picture card and an Ace in their first two cards. If you get 21 or the total of your hand is 21, you win (see splitting), even if the Dealer goes on to get 21. Depending on the way you make 21, you may be paid at odds of up to 3 to 1 (see TABLE OF PAYOUT ODDS).
In instances where the Dealer gets 21, the Dealer takes original bets only. That is, if a Player has split pairs or doubled down, the Dealer would only take the original wager, the double down bet and second bet on a split pair would be void.
If the Dealer has an Ace or a picture card as their first card, then you may “surrender” half of your original stake. However, if the Dealer gets 21, the surrender is void and the Player loses the entire wager.
A Player must indicate their intention to surrender immediately after the original deal and before any other cards are dealt. No further cards are dealt to surrendered hand
When the Dealer’s first card in is an Ace you may insure your bet against the Dealer getting 21. Your insurance bet, up to half your original bet, should be placed on the “insurance line” immediately after the initial deal and before any further cards are dealt. If the Dealer draws 21, your insurance bet will be paid 2 to 1.
You may ‘double down’ on your original bet at any time on any total except 21. To double down, place an additional bet up to the value of your original bet and receive only one more card. Winning double down wagers are paid at odds of (1 to 1).
Any aces dealt to the Player’s hand that the Player elects to double down have a value of 1 not 11. If the Dealer draws 21, your original bet will lose but the double down portion of the wager is not taken by the Dealer.
After doubling down and receiving only one card, if the point count of the Player’s hand is not more than 20, the Player may elect to forfeit the original bet and withdraw the double down part of the bet.
- If your first two cards have the same value you may ask the Dealer to “split” them to create two separate hands. You must then place an additional bet, equal to your original bet, on the second hand. Cards will be dealt to the first hand until play is completed on the hand. Cards will then be dealt to the second hand in the same manner.
- If you split Aces or picture cards then you cannot get 21 on either hand. Split Aces will receive only one card to each Ace.
- If you split suited sevens then the super bonus is not available to either hand, however all other bonus payouts apply.
- You may double down on either of the hands after receiving a second or additional cards, please refer to DOUBLING.
If the Player has three suited sevens and the Dealer has a seven (any suit) as their first cards, the Player receives a super bonus payout (see WINNING SUPER BONUS HAND) of $1000 or $5000 depending upon the amount of the Player’s original wager. All other Players who have made a wager on that round of play receive an “envy” bonus of $50.
How to Signal The Dealer for more Cards
21 Players use hand signals to communicate with the Dealer. If you wish to draw a card, tap on or scratch the table behind your betting box. If you wish to stand, move your hand, palm down, in a horizontal cut off motion behind your betting box.
The range of Bets in 21
All 21 tables have a sign displaying the minimum and maximum bets allowed on that table. Please check the sign before you sit down at the table.
- Players may have an additional perfect pairs wager on a 21 table that provides boxes for perfect pairs.
- To place an additional wager simply place an amount between the minimum and maximum limits on a perfect pairs box.
- The additional wager wins when you receive a pair (two cards identical in type and value) as your first two cards.
- The odds paid for winning wagers are:
- PERFECT PAIR 25 to 1
(same value, same suit)
- COLOURED PAIR 10 to 1
(same value, same colour, different suit)
- MIXED PAIR 5 to 1
(same value, different colour)
- Winning bets will be paid and handed off to the Player immediately after the initial deal.
The Odds Of Winning
21 is a variation of Blackjack and is commonly referred to as Spanish Blackjack. The main difference between 21 and Blackjack is the tens (not face cards) have been removed. Other differences are higher payouts for set hands – for example, for three sevens, the Player automatically wins on 21 and Players have the option to surrender half of their wager. The House margin for 21 is generally 1.25%.
For the best odds on real money 21, you will find Internet casinos. These secure gambling sites offer dozens of virtual blackjack releases, including multi-hand games, live dealer 21, and real cash blackjack for iOS and Android devices. Each of these Web casinos runs advanced SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryptions to protect all banking transactions, so there is no risk when making AUD deposits and withdrawals. Collect up to $1200 free bonus money by signing up at Royal Vegas Casino top-ranked blackjack website for Australians.
Below are the standard rules for Queensland blackjack, as also found at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast and The Reef in Townsville. Minimum bets with these conditions usually start at $5. The house edge for QLD blackjack is around 0.55 per cent when basic strategy is applied.
- Six decks
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Doubles after splits (DAS)
- Double down on 9, 10, or 11
- Split only once
- No surrender
- No hole card (NHC) – dealer blackjack wins original bets only (OBO)
High Stakes Blackjack
If you aren’t afraid to bet upwards of $50 minimum per hand, The Treasury also runs a number of high limit blackjack tables. These are especially prevalent on the weekends, and often come with a few favourable adjustments to the conditions of play – such as being able to split up to four hands. Serious players and card counters will also like that many of these high-stakes 21 games are dealt by hand from a traditional shoe, rather than using a continuous shuffling machine (CSM). The expected return on The Treasury’s high-bet blackjack tables can be as high as 99.49 per cent.
The Treasury has been known to offer the Super Sevens side bet on many of its Australian blackjack tables. With this wager, you can win a bonus payout if your hand shows one or more Sevens in specific combinations:
- A single Seven pays 3 to 1
- Two Sevens in different suits pays 50 to 1
- Two Sevens in the same suit pays 100 to 1
- Three Sevens in mixed suits pays 500 to 1
- Three Sevens all in the same suit pays 5000 to 1
Fans of high volatility gambling may well enjoy the big payouts available in Super Sevens.
Busted Bets at Treasury Casino
Instead of the OBO rule to compensate for the dealer taking no hole card, Treasury 21 uses busted bets plus one (BB+1). Here, instead of only losing the initial wager when the croupier turns up a natural, the player also forfeits one additional bet from any doubles and/or splits played.
It doesn’t matter if you have doubled on a split hand – you only lose one of those extra wagers. Unlike the pontoon variants found at some other Australian gaming establishments – Adelaide Casino, for instance – here you can double on any number of cards. This is called not-last-chance doubling (NLC).
Treasury 21 carries a house edge of just 0.41 per cent – 0.10 per cent lower than Queensland’s VIP blackjack games. So whether you want to stick to the low bets or splurge on the high limit pontoon tables, Treasury 21 is statistically the best way to go.
Queensland Blackjack v Online 21 Games
If you want to play traditional blackjack tables in B & M casinos in Australia, then The Treasury in Brisbane is one of the better bets out there. Nevertheless, the odds available at Queensland gambling venues cannot compare with those at trusted blackjack casinos.
Even the online pontoon games are more player-friendly than their land-based counterparts, with a house edge of just 0.39 per cent. And that is to say nothing of Microgaming’s Classic Blackjack title, which boasts a theoretical return rate of 99.87 per cent – nearly half a buck better than your average Aussie 21 table these days.
Give your betting hand at this Pontoon variation at Treasury Casino!