Bottom Line Games

Variants of the banking games Baccarat and Blackjack by Jeff Cross in which red cards have a negative value.

Bottom Line Baccarat

The difference between Bottom Line Baccarat and ordinary Baccarat is that the red cards (diamond and heart) have negative values instead of positive, and so they count backwards instead of forwards. As usual a hand is its total modulo 10 - in other words a multiple of 10 is added or subtracted to give a value from 0 to 9 - and the aim is to be as close to 9 as possible. Examples of a natural 8 under this rule variation would be spade6-club2 (6+2=8), diamond10-diamond2 (10+0-2=8), or heart8-spade6 (10-8+6=8).

Editor's note. The chances of winning are unchanged - only the meanings of the red cards are inverted. A red 3 is equivalent to a a black 7, a red ace is equivalent to a black 9 and so on. JMM.

Bottom Line Blackjack

Bottom Line Blackjack differs from regular Blackjack in that red cards (diamond and heart) have negative values, while the black cards (club and spade) remain positive. Face cards are worth ±10, and aces are worth ±1 or ±11. The object of the game now is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over, but also to avoid going under 1 ("bankruptcy", since you're in the red). To have a blackjack, both cards must be black.

OPTIONAL RULE: If you're playing for money/chips/whatever, anybody who goes bankrupt must pay twice their original bet to the bank.

Editor's note.
Compared to normal Blackjack this game is extremely unfavourable to the player. Almost 50% of two-card hands dealt are immediately bankrupt - any hand with two red cards, and any hand with a black and a red card where the red card is at least as large as the black card. On the other hand, a player who does not go bankrupt or bust has almost a 50% chance of winning when the dealer is immediately bankrupt.
Perhaps a fairer game would be one in which the player can choose on the basis of the first two cards which colour will be positive and which negative. Then only pairs other than aces will result in immediate bankruptcy. JMM