The sound of shuffling cards is one of the traditional celebrations of Chinese New Year (CNY), and it has become almost as well-known as the merrymaking and music that fill the room. It has been a tradition in Singapore for many years to play the card game Ban Luck to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Ban Luck, also known as Chinese Blackjack, is more than just a card game. For many, it is a cultural tradition and a way to mark the end of a certain life stage. Many Singaporean kids learn about the sport by watching their parents, grandparents, and other older family members play it. The game table—often just a simple mat on the floor with family members of all ages gathered around it—becomes the center of attention during the gatherings.

But why is Ban Luck online so crucial to the Chinese New Year? Ban luck meaning suggests what it is. Ban means “half” in English, and Luck is a phonetic rendition of the Chinese character for “six,” both allusions to the game’s objective of achieving a hand value closest to 21. The game is played for entertainment and to gauge one’s fortune in the coming year. A winning streak in Ban Luck is frequently interpreted as a sign of good fortune and contentment in the coming months.

Chinese New Year is about reflection, new beginnings, and planning for the year ahead, not just partying. What better way to measure fortune than with a skill-and-luck game? Winning at the Ban Luck card game is often seen as a divine favor, a blessing from the dead, or a lucky omen. Losing is not a sign of bad luck but rather a wake-up call to maintain perspective and seek equilibrium. Online casinos in Singapore have the best kind of games that you can enjoy.

Ban Luck is not just a card game. It celebrates family, tradition, and Singapore’s diverse culture and looks forward. Each new deck of cards tells a story about our past, present, and future. If you want to try your hands on ban luck make sure to follow ASAA88.

How to play ban luck?

ban luck rules

Whether or not to draw another card is central to Ban Luck, and this is true whether or not the player is an amateur. In many cases, the outcome of a game hinges on this split-second difference. Everyone concentrates 100% on the task and is waiting with bated breath.  

The decision of whether or not to draw more cards is a common one for players. Ban Luck’s appeal lies in its simplicity, making it ideal for casual play. This seemingly effortless execution, however, conceals a great deal of planning and tact. The goal of blackjack is to get as close to 21 with your first two cards without going over. But there is a catch: while a 16 may seem like a safe hand, it is the lowest qualifying hand. Do you want to take a chance and draw another card with 16 points to get a 5 or lower? Or, they could hold their ground and keep their fingers crossed that the ban luck dealer or other players make a mistake.

This dilemma becomes especially apparent when the stakes are high, or a player’s hand is dangerously close to 21. For instance, when drawing a card on 20 points, the possibility of getting a “Ban Luck” (an Ace with a 10, J, Q, or K) may be too high for some players to pass up.

The Role of Probability in Improving Chances of Winning

ban luck online

Although Ban Luck is ultimately a game of chance, you can improve your chances by familiarizing yourself with the odds. When deciding whether or not to draw, a player may consider the odds of drawing a “Ban Ban” (a pair of ban luck Ace) or bursting based on their current hand value.

Probability cannot ensure victory but can help players prepare for the worst-case scenario. An individual with a hand value of 16 has a 62 percent chance of busting on the next draw. A player with this information who thinks the dealer might bust might stand rather than draw.

Ban Luck can be described as a complex dance between luck and skill. Learning the odds and playing strategically can help a player succeed even if lady luck is not on their side. Ban Luck’s unique blend of chance and skill has been a traditional part of Chinese New Year celebrations for countless years.

Understanding the Odds – The Strategy Behind Ban Luck

ban luck ace

Ban Luck relies heavily on chance and custom but has an undeniable mathematical element. Players can improve their chances of winning by learning about the odds and probabilities involved. Let us analyze the statistics that led to some of the game’s most important moments.

Probabilities of Starting with an Ace Pair (Ban Ban) and Ban Luck

There are four aces in a standard deck of 52 cards. Four out of 52, or 7.69%, of the time, the first card drawn is an Ace. The odds of getting a ‘Ban Ban’ (two Aces in a row) are three out of fifty-one, or 5.88%, if the first card drawn is an Ace. When these probabilities are multiplied, the odds of having a Ban Ban in the opening hand are approximately 0.56%.

However, the odds of getting “Ban Luck” (an Ace plus a 10, J, Q, or K) are better. There are 16 cards in the deck with a value of 10 after drawing an Ace (a 7.69% chance). Therefore, 16 out of 51, or 31.37% of the time, you will remove one of these cards. Multiplying these probabilities yields a first-hand likelihood of 2.41% for a Ban Luck.

The Probability of Players and Dealers Bursting at Different Hand Values

The constant danger in Ban Luck is ‘bursting,’ or exceeding a total hand value of 21. For different hand values, the probabilities of bursting are as follows:

  • There is a 62% chance of bursting with a hand value of 16 if the next card drawn has a value of 6 or higher.
  • When your hand’s value is 17, you have a greater chance of busting (69%) if you draw another card.
  • With a hand value of 18, the chances are 77%.
  • With a hand value of 19, the danger increases to 85%.
  • There is a 92% chance of bursting if you draw another card with a hand value of 20.

When dealers enter the fray, the ban luck rules of the game change marginally. Since a score of 16 is required for qualification, most dealers will draw a card if they have that many points. They could, however, stand on 17, hoping the other players have a hand value of 16. Players can use the above odds to estimate the dealer’s potential hand and make strategic decisions.

Although Ban Luck is ultimately a game of chance, a player who takes the time to learn the odds stands a much better chance of success. You can use logic and statistics to help you decide whether to draw another card or hold firm.

How the Dealer’s Strategy Differs from Players?

how to play ban luck

In a game of Ban Luck, the dealer is responsible for some unique tasks. The dealer must consider all players’ hands while each player tries to improve his or her own. Because of this complication, the dealer’s strategy will usually differ from the players. Let us put ourselves in the store owner’s shoes and determine how they concluded.

While each player at the table competes against the dealer and their hand, the dealer is up against everyone. Therefore, the dealer needs to take a more conservative approach to reduce the likelihood of bursting and losing to multiple players.

The “16 Dilemma” occurs when players hesitate to draw on a hand value of 16, but dealers are willing to take the risk. The dealer is at risk if they stand on any hand with a value lower than 16, the lowest qualifying hand. Even though it is risky, the dealer might be able to beat more players if they draw another card.  

It is common for dealers to use the “standing on 17.” This is because, according to studies, the likelihood of bursting increases dramatically after seventeen. The dealer can win against players with a hand value of 16 if he stands on 17, online betting in Singapore that some players will bust in pursuing a higher hand value.

If you are visiting any online Singapore casinos you should be well aware of the card strategies.

Probability Breakdown of the Dealer’s Final Hand

  • Ban Ban (Ace pair): The dealer’s odds of getting a Ban Ban remain at 0.56%, leading to an immediate win unless a player also has a Ban or a special hand.
  • Blackjack (Ace plus 10, J, Q, or K): The dealer has a 4.83% chance of getting this hand, and if they do, they win right away unless a player counters with a special hand.
  • Hand Value of 21 (with more than 2 cards): The probability is 7.36%.
  • Hand Value of 20: The dealer’s chance of ending the hand with this value is 17.58%.
  • Hand Value of 19: The odds are 13.48%.
  • Hand Value of 18: The likelihood is 13.81%.
  • Hand Value 17: The dealer has a 14.58% chance of winning.
  • Non-burst (below 21 points): Overall, there is a 72.2% chance that the dealer will have a hand below 21 points without bursting.
  • Burst (more than 21 points): There is a 27.8% chance that the dealer will burst.

The dealer’s role in Ban Luck is strategic and difficult at the same time. They have to weigh their position’s risks and potential rewards despite sharing the same level of uncertainty as the players. If you want to improve your game or one day take on the role of dealer, it is important to get a feel for things from their perspective.

Basic Ban Luck Rules

ban luck card game

Ban Luck, also known as Chinese Blackjack, is a quick and easy card game to pick up, but it rewards skilled players with a wealth of strategic options. Let us examine the fundamental ban luck guide that control this well-known game for those unfamiliar with it or who need a refresher.

  1. Dealing Cards: How It Happens and Why “Cutting” the Deck Is Important 
  2. Cutting and Shuffle: The dealer deals firsthand and shuffles the deck of cards. A player (often not the dealer) is asked to “cut” the deck after mixing it. This ensures fairness and unpredictability by splitting the deck in two.
  3. Distribution: After the cut, the dealer gives each player two cards, including themselves. These cards are typically dealt face-down, adding an element of suspense to the game.
  4. Cutting: Cutting the deck is a traditional way to prevent cheating and unfair advantage. It ensures the game’s outcome is random and unaffected by the dealer’s shuffle.

Point Counting: How Cards Affect Hand Value?

ban luck dragon

Number cards (2-9) are valued at face value. For example, a 3 of hearts counts as three points. This is what you need to know about online betting in Singapore.

  1. 10, Jack, Queen, and King: These cards are all valued at 10 points.
  2. Ace Dynamics: The Ace card’s value depends on a player’s hand size:
  3. With 2 cards: Ace can be 10 or 11 points.
  4. With 3 cards: Ace can be 10 or 1 point.
  5. With 4 or more cards: Ace is always 1 point.

Ban Luck Special Combinations

  1. Ban Luck (Ace with J, Q, K, or 10): The player or dealer wins double the bet unless Ban Ban or a dealer’s 15 points counter it. With a pair of aces in Ban Ban (Ace Pair), you get your money back plus three times that amount. You will collect seven times your original wager if you are lucky enough to get a “Triple 7” (7-7-7) on your bet slip.
  2. Ban luck Dragon: Gathering five cards with a combined value of less than or equal to 21 results in this special hand. After receiving your fourth card, you must show all four to be eligible for another draw. The player’s bet is doubled if the sum of their five cards does not exceed 21. The rules of Ban Luck are simple, but the game’s special combinations and the changing value of the Ace make for plenty of twists and turns. To enjoy the game, you must know the rules, regardless of your experience. 

These are very special combinations that are followed at online casinos in Singapore.


Ban Luck beautifully captures the duality of life—luck’s unpredictability and strategy’s calculated moves. Every shuffle, every card drawn, and every decision made is a testament to this delicate balance. While the game’s thrill often lies in fate’s hands, a player’s understanding, intuition, and ban luck strategy can tilt the scales in their favor, even if just by a fraction.

Yet, Ban Luck celebrates culture and tradition beyond the numbers, probabilities, and tactics. It connects old and new generations through a game. It brings back Lunar New Year’s rich traditions. The game is defined by laughter, camaraderie, and playful banter. ASAA88 is one of the popular online Singapore casinos where you can learn about the best card game strategies.

As we enjoy Ban Luck, we must remember its spirit. It is not about who wins or loses so much as it is about who shows up, tells stories, and makes memories with one another. Play responsibly, regardless of whether you are on a winning streak or a losing streak. Treasure the time spent together, honor the game’s traditions, and revel in the joy Ban Luck brings you and your loved ones.


1. Why is it called ban luck?

Most of Singapore’s Chinese population speaks Hokkien, the language from which the name “Ban Luck” is derived. It is a nice coincidence that Ban in English means “half,” and Luck sounds like the Chinese character for “six.” They both refer to the objective of the game, which is to get your hand total as close to 21 as you can. Additionally, the word “luck” alludes to the game’s element of chance testing, particularly during the Chinese New Year festivities.

2. What is the ban luck rule?

Ban Luck’s main rule is to get your hand value as close to 21 without going over it. At first, each player is given two cards. They can “hit” to get more cards or “stand” to keep the cards they already have. There are special ways to win more money, such as Ban Luck (an Ace with a 10, J, Q, or K) and Ban Ban (a pair of Aces). The dealer competes with all the players, and the goal for each player is to have a higher hand value than the dealer without going over 21.

3. What is the difference between ban luck and ban?

When you receive an Ace along with a 10, Jack, Queen, or King, this is known as “Ban Luck,” and it increases the value of your hand to 21. When a player has Ban Luck, they have a chance to win two times what they staked. The “Ban Ban” hand, on the other hand, is when a player or the dealer gets two Aces. This combination offers you an immediate win of three times your bet, making it one of the game’s most prized hands.

4. What are the rules for Ace in ban luck?

The Ace card in Ban Luck functions as follows:

Its value varies according to a player’s total number of cards:

1. An ace can be worth 10 or 11 points with only two cards.
2. The value of an ace when you only have three cards is either 10 or 1. 
3. No matter how many cards are in a hand, an ace has a value of 1.

Due to the Ace’s flexibility, players must use strategy to decide the best value for the Ace based on their current hand and the desired result.

Cathrine Tan

Cathrine is a professional content writer and has more than 5 years of experience in this industry. Her works have been published in a few magazines in China and she has partnered with multiple businesses with content writing .

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