In recent years, Swedish operator Yggdrasil Gaming has worked hard to build its solid, well-deserved reputation for slots offerings, especially in terms of top-notch design, intriguing themes and engaging gameplay.
However, in 2018 the Scandi geniuses turned their attention to revolutionising the world of table games, developing in-house motion-capture technology to create a casino experience that was as realistic as possible.
Yggdrasil is also known for its gaming characters and worked to create different dealer personalities while incorporating varied themes and options for customisation, plus promotional tools for casinos including cash races and tournaments.
Sonya Blackjack, released in June 2018 and set in a snazzy Las Vegas casino, is the first in its series of table games creating a 3D environment with virtual dealers. As the attractive and gracious host Sonya waits to deal your cards, background lounge music sets the tone for the game, a classic American variant of the much-loved card offering.
How to play
Especially if you’ve played a version of this game before, you should get to grips with Sonya Blackjack pretty speedily, and the gameplay’s mechanics will immediately feel familiar.
The game uses six 52-card decks, while a certified Random Number Generator (RNG) reshuffles hands at the end of each round. And you’ll be at the same table as other players, up to three per table, competing both against them and the RNG.
As ever, the aim is to have a hand that’s closer to 21 than the dealer’s, without going bust.
Once you’ve got your place at the table, you need to decide how much you want to bet, as chips of different denominations display in the centre of the screen. Using the menu in the top left-hand corner of your screen, you can adjust the sound, change to full-screen mode and study the game’s rules.
At the bottom of the screen, betting controls mean you can undo or double your bet, or rebet.
Sonya deals the first two cards after you’ve made your bets. Then you need to decide whether to stand, hit or double. After that, Sonya Blackjack continues in a fairly standard way with the dealer standing on soft 17. You can also split if you have been dealt a pair of cards of the same value.
Sonya Blackjack special features
Insurance is on offer if an Ace is revealed. This will cost you half of your original stake and mean you can save half of it if an opponent achieves a blackjack.
If you’ve got a 21 while Sonya has an Ace, you’ll be offered Even Money to give up your 3:2 payment and be in line for a standard 1x prize instead.
There are two of these in Sonya Blackjack:
- Perfect Pairs means you need to find the best possible couple of cards. If you have a pair of the same suits and values, you’re in line for a 25:1 payday.
- 21+3 tasks you with creating the best three-card poker hand via your own pair of cards plus dealer’s face-up card, with the top payout here standing at 100:1.
There’s no progressive jackpot up for grabs in Sonya Blackjack. The game pays out at 3:2.
Return to Player (RTP)
In common with most table games, there’s a very high RTP or Return to Player here of 99.54%, although if you have insurance this drops to 92.86%.
Yggdrasil has done a decent job of recreating every aspect of the traditional casino outing in this fun, fully immersive game. And the visuals are every bit as stunning as they are with this operator’s slot offerings.
Sonya does everything a real-life dealer would do, even almost making eye contact. While there’s no chat yet, maybe this will be possible in future. And, since it’s a developing product, more dealers are being added.
Try out Sonya Blackjack for free and tell us what you thought.