Poker Face Paul's Blackjack

From Sega Retro


PokerFacePaulsBlackjack title.png

Poker Face Paul's Blackjack
System(s): Sega Game Gear
Publisher: Adrenalin Entertainment
Genre: Table

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Game Gear
$24.9924.99[2] 2326
Videogame Rating Council: MA-13

Poker Face Paul's Blackjack is a blackjack game for the Sega Game Gear. It was only released in North America.


Poker Faced Paul's Blackjack GG, Bet.png

Poker Faced Paul's Blackjack GG, Hand.png


The game simulates playing the card game blackjack in a casino for money. It uses a cursor interface where the D-Pad moves the hand-shaped cursor between selections and 1 or 2 confirms the selection.

The player starts with a bankroll of $50 and can choose from four casinos, each with slightly different house rules: Las Vegas "The Strip," London, Atlantic City, and Downtown Las Vegas. Games can be played using multiple decks (1, 2, 4, or 6), with more decks increasing the house advantage. Before each hand, the player decides how much to stake. The game starts with a betting unit of $2, which is the factor by which the bet is incremented as well as the minimum allowed bet. The maximum bet varies depending on the betting unit ($10 for $2 and ten times the betting unit for higher betting units). As the player's bankroll increases, the player invited to higher-stakes tables, increasing the betting unit (to $10, $100, $1,000, and eventually $10,000, with the denomination changed to pounds for the London casino), though the player can still elect to go back to a smaller betting unit.

The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer by holding higher-value cards without going over 21. Either the player or the dealer can lose by "busting" (exceeding 21). Both the player and the dealer start a hand with two cards, with one of the dealer's hands turned down so the player cannot see it. The value of the hand is the sum of all of the cards that the player is holding. Numbered cards are worth their face value, while face cards are worth 10 points. Aces are worth 1 or 11 points (whichever is higher without forcing the player to bust). The player can decide whether to Hit (draw another card) or Stand (accept the current value of the hand). The player can continue drawing cards until busting. Dealers always play using specific rules deciding when they must draw or stand; they draw on any hand totaling 16 or less and stand on any hand totaling 17 or more, sometimes with other rules specific to the venue.

The player receives a "blackjack" and wins the hand automatically if dealt an Ace and a 10 or any face card, which add up to 21 exactly. If both the player and the dealer tie, the hand is a "push" and the player's bet pays off at even money. If the dealer's hand shows an Ace, the player can choose to Insure, which is a side bet (separate from the player's original bet) for half the amount of the player's bet that the dealer gets a blackjack. Some hands (with criteria differing depending on the house rules) have the additional option to Double Down; this doubles the player's bet, draws one more card, and stands on it. When the player is dealt two cards of equal value, the player has the additional option to Split; this splits the cards into two hands, which are each dealt one additional card and places another bet of the same value on the second hand. Some casinos allow the player to split a second time if another pair is dealt.

The game continues for as long as the player remains solvent. During a hand, the player can access an in-game help screen explaining the options by pressing  START . The player can also change the gameplay menu with Left or Right to show a menu with additional options, including a Count option that has the game count the cards that have been drawn so far to estimate the odds that an Ace or a 10 will be drawn next. The Expert count mode weighs all of the cards by their value to give the odds that a higher-value card will be drawn.

Casino rules

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Each of the four casinos has slightly different rules (with the exception of the Las Vegas Strip, which has no variations on the standard rules).


  • Games are played using only 4 or 6 decks.
  • The player can only Double Down on two-card hands with a value from 9 and 11.
  • When the player is holding an Ace and an 8, doubles down, and draws a 2, the total is counted as 11 and not 21.
  • The player can only Split on pairs of 4s, 5s, or 10s.
  • The player can only Split a hand one time (no resplits).
  • The player can only Insure against a dealer having a blackjack if the player also has a blackjack.
  • The dealer does not declare a blackjack until the hand ends.

Atlantic City

  • Games are played using only 4 or 6 decks.
  • The player can only Split a hand one time (no resplits).
  • The dealer does not declare a blackjack until the hand ends.
  • If the dealer pulls a blackjack, the dealer does not take any additional bets made by a Double Down or a Split.

Downtown Las Vegas

  • The dealer must draw on a hand totaling 17 when an Ace has been counted as 1.
  • The player can Double Down on any pair of cards.

Production credits

  • Executive Producer: Jay Smith
  • Producer: Steve Marsden
  • Programming: Dave De Pauw, Matt Taylor, Steve Marsden
  • Graphics: Robert Lever, Roddy McMillan
  • Music and Effects: Mark Cooksey, Fletcher Beasley
  • Thanks to: Paul Kohler
In-game credits
Poker Faced Paul's Blackjack GG credits.pdf

Magazine articles

Main article: Poker Face Paul's Blackjack/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #59: "June 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
also published in:

Physical scans

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Poker Face Paul's Blackjack

Game Gear, US
PFPB GG US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngPFPB GG US Box Front.jpg
PFPB GG US Cart.jpg
PFPBJ gg us manual.pdf

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Game Gear
CRC32 89d34067
MD5 1148f0cbddb95b61a9e3366649ceccd0
SHA-1 010560dee1eafae3266eb9720e2f802c0deccf40
128kB Cartridge (US)


Poker Face Paul's Blackjack

PokerFacePaulsBlackjack title.png

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Poker Face Paul games for Sega systems
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