As more and more people discover the internet, the world becomes increasingly global.
Everyone has the ability to learn about almost anything with just a few button presses. There have been obvious advantages to this, especially for live casino games. No longer were players stuck with inferior versions of existing titles. Now, the competitive nature of online casinos meant everyone had the best possible versions!
Eventually, live dealer software providers also began to create cool variants of existing games. Either by bringing in existing different versions, or making their own. Both saw plenty of success among punters, which led companies to make their own hit variant in a hurry. Playtech decided to look to Italy to find a recipe for success. Where better to look than the home of the enlightenment, after all?
What they found was Sette e Mezzo, translating to “seven and a half” from Italian. It is a very interesting game, which functions as a cross between blackjack and baccarat. It is a unique title that many players have never had a chance to experience. Join us as we take a deep dive into Italian blackjack and uncover its mysteries!
Decks and Card Values
One thing that immediately becomes obvious is that the cards used to look a lot different. They use a distinctive style, which will take some getting used to. Sette e Mezzo is played with a single deck comprising of 40 cards. Eights, nines and tens are removed from the deck to accommodate for the rule changes. This leaves four suits of ten cards.
The card suits have also been changed from the ones we are used to. In this release, we have Coins, Cups, Clubs and Swords. Each suite has an Ace, cards valued two to seven and the King, Cavalier and Jack. The ace is worth one point while cards two to seven are worth their face value. The three human cards are all worth half a point. The King of Coins is a Wild card and is able to substitute for other whole number cards.
Similar to blackjack and baccarat, the cards combine to give you a set value. You want to get as close to seven and a half as possible without going over. Your control over the cards is limited, due to the rules forcing you to draw at certain points. This is where the baccarat comparisons will appear, and why existing live blackjack basic strategy does not work for this title.
For you to be able to play Sette e Mezzo, you need to learn its rules. They sound more complicated than they actually are. A few rounds will help you get used to them! However, you may need to check the user interface frequently to keep track of card values!
First up, the King of Coins! This Wild card has special interactions when it appears as the first card. If it is the first card you draw as the punter, you are dealt a second card immediately. Meanwhile, if the dealer draws the King of Coins, the player has to keep drawing cards until they reach seven or more. If the total goes over seven and a half, the hand busts.
In fact, this happens any time the dealer’s first card has a higher value than the punter’s hand. You will have to keep drawing more cards until your hand’s value is higher than what the dealer has. Only then can you decide if you want to draw additional cards or stand. Above each option, you can see what other players are deciding to do.
The dealer also has to draw additional cards if their hand value is less than five. Once it reaches five, they will not draw any more cards. If both punter and dealer get five as their first card, the player is given another card automatically. If both hands tie on five points, you lose the round. Either side going over seven and a half points means losing that round.
Playing a Round
While the previous two sections were important in establishing the rules, they may leave you somewhat confused as to how this Playtech release actually plays. As a result, we will walk you through a standard round of Sette e Mezzo.
Before any cards are dealt, punters have to make an initial wager. You can place the main bet and two of the available side bets. After that is complete, the dealer starts the round by dealing two cards. They deal one card for the player and one for themselves. If the punter’s hand is a lower value than the dealer's hand, they will draw more cards automatically.
Assuming the player does not bust, they will be prompted to choose to draw an additional card or to stand. If the punter had a stronger hand immediately, they will be presented with this choice from the start. Once the player finishes making their moves, the dealer draws more cards until their hand value reaches five.
Wins and Payouts
If you want an easy way to beat the dealer, cross your fingers and hope they bust! This happens when they go over the seven and a half hand value. The same thing can happen to punters, too! If neither side busts, then the hand closest to the seven and a half value wins the round. The RTP for Sette e Mezzo is 99.31%.
Player hands beating the dealer hand results in a 1:1 even money win. The only way to win more is to score a 7 e Mezzo Royal, which pays 3:2. This is a two-card combination that forms a seven and a half with the King of Coins card. If you tie on five and a half points or more, you will get your money back. However, if you tie on just five points, you lose the round.
On top of having the main bet, this Playtech release offers two side bets. They are called Partita Perfetta and Mano Di Poker. Partita Perfetta pays if the first player and dealer card form a pair. Numbered pairs pay 5:1, face card pairs pay 10:1, and a pair of sevens rewards a stunning 55:1 when won! The RTP for this side bet is 96.15%.
Mano Di Poker is a side bet similar to 21+3 we see on standard blackjack tables. It tasks you to form a valid poker hand with the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s first card. How much you are paid varies on the strength of the poker hand.
- Straight – 5:1
- Flush – 6:1
- Three of a kind – 50:1
- Straight Flush – 75:1
- Royal Flush – 150:1
Sette e Mezzo Summary
Many of us are used to variants that change very little. They adjust one rule or another, and it does make the game feel a little bit different. However, it retains the same mechanics. It does not feel like something incredibly separate from the original. While we call it Italian blackjack, this is not a different version of an existing release. This is a title with its own storied history that just so happens to share some similarities.
Still, we have no doubts that fans of blackjack will be the primary audience of this Playtech game. This is far from a bad thing, as long as you understand what you are getting into. It will take you a while to get used to the different cards and how they are counted. The King of Coins card alone adds an element of chaos we do not usually see in standard blackjack.
Even with so many differences, the high RTP and strategic gameplay remain. If what you have read in this article sounds interesting, we urge you to try this release out! It is a fantastic game that is well worth your time and money.