Among blackjack variations that are rising in popularity in online casinos, Super Fun 21 Extreme has intrigue written in its very name.

What's Super Fun about it? What's extreme?

Super Fun 21 Extreme is a variation on Super Fun 21, a blackjack-based game that has been available since the beginning of the 2000s. The "super fun" part comes in offering players extra chances to double down and incorporating the late surrender rule.

In standard blackjack, you may double only on the first two cards. In Super Fun, you may double after any number of cards. Surrender isn't common in standard 21, but when offered, you may surrender half your bet after the first two cards instead of playing the hand and risking it all. In Super Fun, you may surrender after any number of cards.

The tradeoff is that most blackjacks pay only even money instead of the standard 3-2. The exception comes if both blackjack cards are diamonds. Then it pays 2-1. 

Super Fun 21 has made its mark mostly in live casinos. The game, distributed by slot machine giant Light & Wonder, is finding its niche as an online blackjack option. 


Blackjack is at the base of Super Fun 21 Extreme, with players starting with two cards and the dealer with one face up and one face down.

After the initial deal, you may hit, stand, split pairs or double down. Late surrender is offered, which means that after a check to see if the dealer has blackjack, you may give up half your bet instead of playing out a weak hand.

Beyond that is a set of special rules that make up the "extreme" part of the game.

  • Blackjacks pay 5-2. That's more generous than the 3-2 on standard blackjack or the 6-5 on that gives the house an extra edge on some games. It's far more generous than the even-money payoffs on most blackjacks in Super Fun 21, and even better than the 2-1 on Super Fun diamond blackjacks. If you bet $10 and are dealt a blackjack, you win $25. With 3-2 pays, you'd win $15.
  • You may split any pair up to three times to make a total of four hands – and that includes Aces. Including Aces makes this extreme. In standard blackjack, you may split Aces only once, and you receive only one more card to go with each Ace. Super Fun 21 allows you to split again if you're dealt another Ace to make a new pair, and split a third time if yet another Ace gives you another pair.

Not only that. After splitting Aces, you may continue to hit the hands. In standard blackjack, if you draw a 4 to go with a split Ace, you're stuck with a soft 15.  In Extreme, you can hit again to try to improve the hand. You can even double down after splitting Aces when the situation favors it.

  • You may double down on any number of cards, even if you've already doubled. That means you're allowed to double multiple times on the same hand. If you bet $10 and are dealt 5-4 against a dealer 6, you might double down by making a second bet equal to the first. Now you have $20 on the line.

In standard blackjack, you'd receive just one more card on your double, so if you were dealt a 2, you'd have an 11 that could win only if the dealer busted. In Extreme, you could double again by betting an additional $20, so you'd have $40 at risk but a favorable situation with 11 vs. 6.

You can double up to three times, so your $10 wager could grow to a total of $80 if the situation and your bankroll can handle it.

  • Late surrender is offered after any number of cards. If you're in a tough situation such as holding hard 16 when the dealer has a 10 face up, you may surrender half your bet instead of playing out the hand. Bet $10 and surrender, and you lose only $5.

The "late" part refers to the dealer checking for blackjack. With an Ace or 10 up, the dealer must check for blackjack before players take action. A dealer blackjack stops play, and you may not surrender. 

However, the Extreme version allows you to surrender with any number of cards. At standard tables that offer surrender, you may surrender only after your first two cards. You may surrender a hard 16 consisting of 9-7, but not one consisting of 8-5-3. At Extreme, you may surrender that 8-5-3,  or even a four-card hand such as 6-2-4-4.

Blackjack variations


There are three types of hands in which you win instantly, before the dealer plays out the hand, unless the dealer has blackjack.

  • You win the 5-2 payoff on blackjacks unless the dealer also has a blackjack in the first two cards. Then you push, although promotional material from Light & Wonder says each individual casino has the option of paying those hands.
  • You win even money on any non-doubled hand with six cards totaling 20 or less.
  • You win a 2-1 payoff on non-doubled hands totaling 21 with five or more cards.

The latter two rules, sometimes called "Charlies," are not standard in blackjack and make this game even more extreme.


All the above rules are so favorable to players the house would lose money without an adjustment. In Super Fun 21 Extreme, that adjustment is that if the dealer busts with 22, all player hands still in action push instead of winning.

Imagine you stand on hard 18 and the dealer must hit 15. If the dealer draws a 7 for a total of 22, you'd win when playing standard blackjack, but just push and get your bet back in Extreme. 

Pushing on dealer 22s adds 6.9 percent to the house edge. In blackjack, where the entire edge against a basic strategy player is measured in tenths of a percent, that's enormous. It's enough for a standoff against all the positive Extremes.

With all that taken into account, a basic strategy player faces an edge of 0.95 percent in a six-deck game, compared to 0.62 percent in a standard six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17.


The main rules blackjack basic strategy players must consider when adapting to Extreme are doubling multiple times and the six cards of 20 or less and five-card 21 rules.

Never make bets you can't afford, but when doubling down, let basic strategy be your guide. If doubling down would be the best play after two cards, it's also the best play after three cards. Should you have a rare 11 after five cards, though, such as 2-3-2-2-2, don't double. Take the sixth card and you're guaranteed even money with 20 or less and get 9 or lower, or you'd win 2-1 on the six-card 21 if you draw a 10.

Taking advantage of the Charlie rules sometimes means taking hits when you'd normally stand.

Here are some situations for extra hits when six cards totaling 20 or less brings an automatic payback:

Player hand Hit vs. these dealer up cards

Hard 12 in 4 or 5 cards

5; 6

Hard 13 in 4 or 5 cards

2; 3
Hard 13 in 5 cards 4; 5; 6

Hard 14 or 15 in 5 cards

2; 3; 4; 5; 6
Hard 16 in 5 cards 2; 3

Hard 17 in 5 cards

9; 10; Ace
Soft 18 in 4 or 5 cards 2; 7 through Ace

 Soft 19 in 4 or 5 cards

Soft 19, 20 or 21 in 5 cards All dealer up cards

For hands not listed, stick with basic blackjack strategy. 


When you make your initial wager, you also have the opportunity to make a Precious Diamonds side bet. It's a wager that your first two cards will be a blackjack with the Ace and a 10-value card both in diamonds.

It pays 250-1, but there are no other payoffs. The house edge in a six-deck game is 25.5 percent, making this a wager strictly for jackpot hunters. 

You get a far better deal on the basic game of Super Fun 21 Extreme, with its house edge of less than 1 percent for those who play an adapted basic strategy. You can find standard blackjack games with lower edges, but whether you find super fun in the special rules is your call

For nearly 25 years, John Grochowski has been one of the most prolific gaming writers in the United States. He’s been ranked ninth by GamblingSites among the top 11 gambling experts at Gambling Sites and his Video Poker Answer Book was ranked eighth among the best gambling books of all time.