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Ban-luck

How to play Chinese Blackjack (Ban-luck)

Is Chinese New Year even complete without a little Ban-luck with family and friends?

Written by
Jude Elliot Tan
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Here at Time Out Singapore, we think no one should be left out of the Chinese New Year festivities. We made a bunch of "how-to" guides of the most popular games to play at your reunion dinner or when you visit your relatives during these 15 days.

With Ban-luck, your New Year luck is really put to the test. With a possibility of winning twice, triple or even seven-times the amount you bet, this card game makes for a thrilling time around the table.

RECOMMENDED: The best Chinese New Year takeaways and the best places to buy Chinese New Year decorations

Ban-luck

Ban-luck

WHAT YOU NEED

A deck of cards

Money

STEP 1

Every player puts out a bet of any amount on the table to signify their participation for that round.

STEP 2

Once every player is ready, the Dealer proceeds to deal two cards faced down from a shuffled deck, and then him/herself.

STEP 3

The players’ aim is to attain a total value as close to 21, but not over, with the cards in their hands. For a player to win, they only need to beat the Dealer. The cards 2-10 have a value respective to their number; the aces have a value of 1,10, or 11 – whichever is most beneficial; and the picture cards have a value of 10.

The Dealer will ask the players if they want more cards, dealing until they are satisfied with their hand – or until they have a total value of at least 16 (the minimum required value to continue playing).

STEP 4

Once every player has had their turn, the Dealer can either draw cards for him/herself or begin challenging. To challenge, the Dealer will ask a player to reveal their hand, whoever has a value closer to 21 between the two, wins.

If the Dealer wins, the bet will be taken. If the Dealer loses, then the player will be paid the amount he/she bet. If it’s a draw, then both parties get to keep their money.

LUCKY STARTING HANDS

Certain starting hands are considered lucky, rewarding the player more than what they had initially bet.

If a player were to get an [Ace + 10] or [Ace + Picture Card] (Ban-luck) as a starting hand, they receive double their bet.

If they were to get an [Ace + Ace] (Ban-ban), they get triple the amount.

A  player may immediately reveal their hand as soon as it is dealt to receive their reward from the Dealer.

LUCKY DRAWN HANDS

If a player were to draw a total of five cards without going over the 21, they will be rewarded with double their bet – even if it is under a total value of 16. If this happens, the player is to reveal their four cards in-hand first before receiving the fifth card.

Another possible hand that permits a bonus reward is if a player were to have a hand of [7+7+7]. If this were to happen, the player is rewarded with seven times their bet.

The same rules – specifically rewarding system – apply to the Dealer as well. Meaning, if the Dealer were to get a Ban-luck or a Ban-ban, all players have to pay double or triple, respectively, the amount they had bet.

Other Chinese New Year games to try

How to play Taiti (Big Two)
  • Things to do

We've all been there. Looking for an easy card game to play in school in between classes? Taiti it is. This game of Big Two is also a popular game to play during Chinese New Year, post reunion dinner feasting. With Taiti, any group of four can become a powerhouse of excitement with players constantly trying to one-up each other. Ah... what better way to celebrate the festive season? RECOMMENDED: The best Chinese New Year takeaways and the best places to buy Chinese New Year decorations

How to play In-between
  • Things to do

Whether you're looking for a new way to bond with your cousins during Chinese New Year, or bored at a birthday party, turn to these easy-to-learn card games to keep you and your friends entertained. With In-between, the party size does not matter as this fast-paced card game is just as fun in both big and small groups. A word of advice: don't let greed get to you – it's as easy to lose as it is to win in this game. RECOMMENDED: The best Chinese New Year takeaways and the best places to buy Chinese New Year decorations

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