Backhand is the first in a series of three card games derived from the classic game of blackjack. The player is dealt two cards (as in blackjack) but in backhand, the object of the game is not based on how close you can get to 21 without busting.
In this game, the player must completely resolve their hand in one of three ways:
There are a few similarities to Blackjack in this game, so let’s review:
As in blackjack, backhand is normally played with a single deck of playing cards, although multiple decks can be used when dealing to more than three players at a time. No custom cards or additional game pieces required to play.
“Hitting” and “busting” are used the same way in backhand as they are in the traditional game of blackjack.
Use a standard deck of 52 playing cards with the jokers removed.
As in the classic game of blackjack, suites do not matter in this game.
Also, face cards are valued at 10, but in backhand the card game, all aces are valued a 1.
Let’s look at some other differences between blackjack and backhand:
All the cards in this game are dealt face up.
There is no “loitering” in backhand, which means that there is no “stay” or “hold” and the player must play the hand all the way through.
Also unlike in blackjack, there is no splitting, doubling or insurance options in backhand.
There is no dealer hand for the player to compete against. The player must compete against the deck.
All aces are valued at one.
“Push” - Is when the player decides to push their hand away in return for a new hand.
Now before we begin, let’s cover a few additional rules:
The player shall never be dealt more than five cards in a hand.
THE ACE RULE - If a player’s initial player hand contains and ace, that ace must be discarded and replaced with the next card in the deck. If the player’s initial player hand contains two aces, both of them must be discarded and replaced. The player must keep the next cards in the deck no matter the value or suit. A five card hand cannot include a backhand card.
So how do we play?
DEAL two cards face up.
REMOVE any aces and replace them with the next card in the deck. Next card must be kept (regardless of number/suit). This will be your initial player hand.
DETERMINE INITIAL HAND VALUE.
DETERMINE HAND TYPES: Low hand (initial hand value between 2 and 11), Play hand (initial hand value between 12 and 16) or Push hand (initial hand value between 17 and 20).
HAND OPTIONS: Player chooses options based on hand type.
When a player calls backhand, they are guessing that the next card in the deck is going to bust their hand. Once backhand is called, the player is dealt the next card in the deck. If that card causes their hand to bust, the player wins the hand. If it doesn’t, the player loses the hand. KEEP IN MIND that calling backhand is not available on push hands. Calling backhand should be avoided when the player’s total hand value is less than 12. Except in a push hand, the player will have the option to call backhand at any other point in the game.
To push a hand simply means that the player can choose to push their initial player hand away in return for a new hand from the deck. After the first hand is replaced, a new initial hand value and hand type is determined and play will resume.
If the new hand contains an ace, the Ace Rule must be satisfied. If the new hand is another push hand, the player can again elect to push that hand or take a hit card. As long as the player’s initial hand value is between 17 and 20, the option to push a hand away will always remain available to the player, no matter how many push hands are dealt to them consecutively.
Pushing is only available to the player when the player’s initial hand value is between 17 and 20.
A player cannot request to push the hand after being dealt their third card.
A player cannot request to push on a low or play hand type.
When a player’s initial hand value is between 17 and 20, the player’s hand type is called a Push Hand. The player has the option to push the hand away in exchange for a new hand or accept one hit card. If the player chooses to take the hit card, this is called “playing the push.” The player is only required to take one hit card. If that hit card doesn’t bust the player’s hand, the player wins the push hand. If the hit card does bust the player’s hand, they have lost the push hand. KEEP IN MIND that calling backhand is NOT an option on push hands.
Hitting in backhand is the same as it is in the traditional game of blackjack and the player can take a hit card at any point in the hand. If a player successfully hits to a five card hand, the player wins the hand. KEEP IN MIND that a five card have cannot include a backhand card.