Introduction to Caribbean 21

Blackjack is a simple card gambling game that has plenty of variations. One of those variations is called Caribbean 21 and it’s a favourite among many gamblers. The rules of this game diverge slightly from the standard blackjack, and one of the things that stand out is that the Aces are always valued 1 and that they can’t be valued 11 as well.

In this how to play guide, we will go over the ins and outs of Caribbean 21 and teach you how to play this exciting card game. Let’s begin!

How to Play Caribbean 21

We’ll guide you through the general rules of Caribbean 21, as well as the ones more complicated, to help you get the hang of the game in no time. Stay tuned!

General Rules

If you’re already familiar with the rules of blackjack, you should only know about the differences between the standard version and Caribbean 21. But because some of you who are reading this may have never played any blackjack variation, we will explain the rules from scratch.

Caribbean 21 is played with a single 52-card deck and can involve several players. The goal is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a card total with the value as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.

The cards 2 through 10 are valued as their numbered ranks. “Face cards” or Jacks, Queens, and Kings are each valued 10, and Ace is always 1 (in regular blackjack it can be valued as 1 or 11).

To start, each player must put in a nominal bet called the ante. After the bets are completed, the dealer will deal two cards to each of the players and only one card to themselves. All dealt cards are face-up for everyone to see.

After each player decides what to do, the dealer will reveal their second card and compare that hand to all the other hands on the table. Remember, you need to have a hand that’s closer to 21 than the dealer.

Before this happens, players can choose several types of action.


You can decide to stand and take your chances if you’re satisfied with the two cards which have been already dealt to you. This usually happens when a player has high cards (e.g. an 8 and a 9), while the dealer draws a lower valued card.


If you wish to improve their hand, you can choose to hit, after which the dealer will give you an additional card. This is usually the case when a player has a low starting hand (e.g. a 4 and a 5) and knows that the next card won’t exceed the hand’s total of 21. Of course, you can choose to hit anytime.


In Caribbean 21, you will have an option to split your cards into two separate hands. This will cost you another bet, of course. Unlike standard blackjack where players can only split two identical cards, in Caribbean 21 you will have the freedom to split any two cards.

Double Down

If you’re feeling lucky, you can double your bets and even redouble them at any point of the game. Unlike regular blackjack that has strict doubling down rules, players of Caribbean 21 can double down without any restrictions. You can even double down when you split your hand, which is forbidden in the standard version of the game.


If you feel that the dealer’s hand will turn out to be stronger than your own, you can choose to give up on that round and surrender your cards. This will cost you half of your current wager and you can do it at any time during the round.


Insurance is a way for a player to bet on the dealer’s hand but only under specific circumstances. The dealer must draw an Ace, and only if the next two cards have a value of 10 and the dealer creates a Caribbean 21 blackjack will the player win. The transaction, however, will cost you half your bet.

Other Rules

One thing that we haven’t mentioned so far is the situation where your hand and the dealer’s hand are tied. Unlike most blackjack variations where this will be called a push, meaning that no one wins, ties in Caribbean 21 are won by the dealer.

Also, there is no natural blackjack in Caribbean 21 since all Aces are valued at 1. However, the hand where you have two 10-point cards and an Ace will beat any other combination with a total of 21.


While the game was somewhat of a novelty back at the beginning of the 21st century, there are plenty of Caribbean 21 players today. In general, you can say that this version is a little bit more advantageous to the player than some other variations of blackjack, although some rules like the tie being won by the dealer compensate for those advantages slightly.

Caribbean blackjack can be found in casinos all over the world, and the game is also quite popular on online gambling platforms. So, what are you waiting for? Count your chips and find a place where you can play Caribbean 21 blackjack now. Good luck!