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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

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



A deck of cards



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


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


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).


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.


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.


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
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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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