Blackjack & Poker

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Blackjack & Poker is a video game created by Milton Bradley for the TI-99/4 and TI-99/4A home computer system. It was released during the first quarter of 1981 and was distributed on Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module cartridge. It originally retailed for $24.95 (USD).

Blackjack & Poker
Blackjack & Poker Manual Front Cover
Blackjack & Poker Manual (Front Cover) [1] [2]
Publisher(s) Milton Bradley
Original Retail Price $24.95 (USD)
Part# PHM 3033
Format(s) Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module
Release 1981 (1st Quarter)
Genre(s) Card Game


As the name of the software title implies, Blackjack & Poker allow the player(s) the opportunity to play Blackjack or Stud Poker against the computer, or up to 3 other players (for a total of 4 players in total). The Blackjack game contains most features of a real Blackjack game with the exception of the "split" option. The stud poker Poker game places you against 3 other players, other people, or computerized opponents. It follows the normal rules for 5-Card Stud. Players have the option to bet (computer assets of course), and risk everything in their quest to become card shark masters.

Fun Facts[3]

Blackjack & Poker was originally scheduled for release in 1979 as part of Milton Bradley's Gamevision series. The original title was to have been Card Sharp. For unknown reasons it wasn't released until 1981 under the name of Blackjack and Poker and distributed with the help of Texas Instruments (TI).

The title screen doesn't hint that the game was made by Milton Bradley at all, as it only lists Texas Instruments (TI) on the copyright. Rumor says it's because there was a bug on the program that Milton Bradley was unable to resolve. It wasn't until sometime in 1980 that programmers from Texas Instruments (TI) were eventually able to locate and correct the bug, and inserted Texas Instruments on the title page for their part in the program.

Advertising Blurbs

Front Cover of Manual

Play a game of blackjack or stud poker against the computer or with friends! The computer deals the cards and keeps track of the betting for you.

Back Cover of Manual

Experience the fun of a simulated game of Blackjack of Stud Poker. Whether you're by yourself or with friends, you can enjoy either of these card games.

Blackjack & Poker activities are:

  1. Blackjack: Play against the dealer (the Home Computer) . . . and the odds. You compete with the dealer to try to get the hand closest to 21 without going over.
  2. Sud Poker: Bet on each of four cards as they are dealt face up. Nobody knows your fifth card except you. Maybe you have a winning hand with an ace in the hole, or maybe not. Can you bluff your opponents?

Both games allow you to select the number of players and the size of your bankroll. The computer deals the cards an keeps track of the betting for you.

Triton Catalog - Fall 1984

Computer simulation of the most popular card games includes betting with a bankroll you wish you really had! Up to 4 players at a time realistically learn Blackjack odds . . . and the perils of drawing to an inside straight. (Joysticks recommended.)



If you enjoy an occasional game of Blackjack or Stud Poker, you'll appreciate the Blackjack & Poker Solid State Software™ Command Module. Sit back and relax while the computer shuffles, deals, and handles all the details of play. With the Blackjack & Poker Command Module plugged into the console, your Home Computer:

  • Allows you to play either game with up to four players.
  • Lets you choose the size of your beginning bankroll.
  • Shuffles the cards, deals the hands, and keeps track of the bets.
  • Determines the winning hand(s) and pays off the bets.


This game is also called "21" because the object of the game is to get a hand of cards which totals 21 or as close to 21 as possible without going over. In Blackjack, each person plays against the dealer (the Home Computer).

Stud Poker

Stud Poker is a form of poker in which each player is dealt five cards, one at a time. The first one is dealt face down, while the next four are dealt face up. After each round of face-up cards is dealt, the players place their bets. A player may bet or drop out of a hand (fold) whenever it is his or her turn. After all players receive their final cards and the betting sequence is completed, the computer automatically determines the winning hand and awards the pot to the winner.


After you select the module, the game selection list is automatically displayed. To select Blackjack, press 1. The following screen appears, giving you information on the keys used to play the game and asking you to enter the number of players.

Stud Poker Information Screen

You can select the number of players by entering a number from 1 to 4. Then you are asked to enter your bankroll, which is the amount of money you want each player to have at the beginning of the game. Type a number between 100 and 15,000. If you type an incorrect number, you can change the bankroll amount by holding down the SHIFT key and pressing ← (LEFT}. This erases the entry and allows you to retype the number. When you are finished, press ENTER, and the game begins.

Game Rules

Each player tries to beat the dealer, the Home Computer, by getting a hand of cards that has a total value closer to 21 than the dealer's hand. If you get a face card jack, queen, or king} and an ace, you score "Blackjack" (21 points} and automatically win, unless the dealer also has Blackjack. If, in drawing additional cards, you get a hand with a total that exceeds 21, you "bust" and you lose your bet. A tie (including a Blackjack tie} between the dealer and any player results in a standoff, and no money is exchanged.

The game is played with a deck of 52 cards. The cards have numeric value only and are not ranked according to suit. Aces are worth 1 or 11 points, while face cards are worth 10. All other cards are worth the number shown on the card.


Before the cards are dealt, each player has an opportunity to make a bet. When you enter the bankroll, the computer displays the following screen. For each player, the number on the left indicates the player's bet and the number on the right is the player's bankroll.

Blackjacj & Poker Screenshot - Betting

The computer automatically sets each player's bet to $10. If you wish to bet $10, press ENTER. To change the bet, type a number from 1 to 99 and then press ENTER. (Note: You are never allowed to bet more than the amount remaining in your bankroll.) As soon as all players have entered their bets, the computer deals the cards.


The computer gives one card face up to every player, including itself as the dealer. The second card is dealt face up to each player in order and face down to the dealer. If the dealer has a Blackjack at this point, the second card is turned over immediately. The player(s) automatically lose and the bet is subtracted from each player's bankroll. If a player has a Blackjack, the dealer immediately pays 1 ½ times that player's bet, and the player is finished for the round. Two Blackjacks, the dealer and a player, are considered a standoff, and no money is exchanged.

Playing the Hand

When all players, including the dealer, have two cards, each player in turn has the option to draw additional cards. These are called "hits." An arrow on the display points to each player's hand and to that player's bet and bankroll. At this time, you have two choices - you can stand or take a hit.


To keep the hand as it is, press S (for "Stand"), and play advances to the next player or to the dealer. The ENTER key can be pressed instead of the S key.


To take another card, press H (for "Hit"), and a third card is dealt face up. If the total value of your hand is equal to or below 21, you still have the choice of taking a hit or standing. This choice continues until you go over 21 or take three hits. If you are still below 21 after three hits, you win with a "five stand" (your first two cards plus three hits), and the amount of your bet is paid back double.

Double Down

A variation on the hit is called a double or double down. When you press D, the displayed bet is doubled. This is indicated on the screen by a "#" sign next to the bet. The double option is only available on the first hit (additional hits are not allowed). Note: The double option is not available to a player whose remaining bankroll is less than twice the original bet.

Winning and Losing

If you take a hit or double and the value of your hand goes over 21, you immediately bust and lose your bet. If you stand with a hand of 21 or less, you could win, lose, or tie, depending on the dealer's hand. The dealer always stands with 1 7 or more points and always takes a hit with 16 or less. The dealer pays any player with a higher hand and collects from any player with a lower hand. A tie between the dealer and any player is considered a standoff, and no money is exchanged.


Because the dealer plays last, the computer has a big advantage - the odds of winning are in its favor. However, if your card memory is good, you can beat the odds. Remember, the dealer must take a hit if the cards' total is 16 or less. Also keep in mind that the dealer reshuffles the cards after approximately 40 cards have been dealt.

As you play, try to remember the cards with a value of 10 or close to 10. If, towards the end of the deck, few high cards have been played, the odds are in your favor that the dealer will bust. When the odds are in your favor, take fewer hits, bet more, and you'll stand a better chance of winning.

End of Game

The game is over when only one player has money left or when all players have lost all of their bankrolls. To select a diff erent number of players or change the bankroll, press SHIFT Z (BACK). If you wish to select a different game, press SHIFT W (BEGIN) to return to the game selection list. To end a session with the module, press SHIFT Q (QUIT) to return to the master title screen.

Stud Poker

To select Stud Poker, press 2 when the game selection list is displayed. The following screen appears, explaining the keys used in the game and asking for the number of players.

Blackjack & Poker - Stud Poker Info Screen

You can select the number of players by entering a number from 1 to 4. Then you are asked to enter the bankroll amount for all the players. This must be at least $100 but no more than $15,000. If you make a mistake when you're typing in the bankroll, press SHIFT ← (LEFT) before you press ENTER. This erases the error, and you may retype the correct number. Then press ENTER, and the game begins.

Stud Poker Rules

In this type of poker, each player receives only one card face down. This is called a "hole" card. Then four more cards are dealt face up to each of the players in order. After each round of cards is dealt, the players bet on what they have or what they hope to get in their hand. In this game there are always four players - the computer plays the hands for all "missing" players. For example, if you have selected two players, the computer plays the other two hands.

In Stud Poker a deck of 52 cards is used. The cards are ranked as follows: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The four suits - spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs - are equal in value. In this computer version of the game, there are no wild cards and no jokers. Each player tries to get a better poker hand than any other player. The poker hands that you can get are listed below, in order from lowest to highest rank.

No Pair - five assorted cards. If all players have this lowest ranking hand, the hand with the highest card(s) wins.

One Pair - two of the five cards have the same rank. Example: J, 10, 10, 4, 3.

Two Pairs - two cards of the same rank, two cards of another rank, and a fifth card. Example: 10, 10, 4, 4, 3.

Three of a Kind - any three cards of the same rank plus two other cards. Example: J, 10, 10, 10, 4.

A Straight - any five cards ranked in sequence and made up of two or more suits. Example: J, 10, 9, 8, 7 in clubs and hearts.

A Flush - five cards of the same suit with any ranking. Example: J, 10, 8, 4, 3 all in hearts.

A Full House - three of a kind plus any pair of another rank. Example: 10, 10, 10, 4, 4.

Four of a Kind - four cards of the same rank. Example: 10, 10, 10, 10, 4.

Straight Flush - five cards ranked in sequence and all in the same suit. Example: A, K, Q, J, 10 of spades; this is the highest possible hand when there are no wild cards.

Game Play

Before the cards are dealt, it is a good idea to assign a hand to each player. The hands of cards displayed on the screen are labeled PLAYER 1, "PLAYER 2," "PLAYER 3," and "PLAYER 4." If, for example, you have selected three players, you would make assignments from the first three hands, and the computer plays the fourth hand.

When you enter the bankroll, the computer automatically deducts $10 from each player's bankroll, puts it into the pot, and deals two cards to each player, one card face down and one face up. The computer then determines which face-up card is the highest and marks that player as being first. An arrow on the screen indicates that it is this player's turn to make a bet or pass. This is true whether you or the computer is playing the hand. After the first player has bet or passed, the arrow moves to the player whose turn is next. This player may make a bet, raise the bet, or fold. Then the arrow moves to the next player and play continues until all players have made their bets or folded.

Showing the Face-Down Card

Before you place a bet, however, you will probably want to see your face-down card. There are two methods for this: show and secret show.


Pressing S when the arrow is pointing to a player's hand shows the face-down card. This method works fine for one-player games and games in which players co-operate in looking away from the screen. (However, if you prefer, the "secret show" can be used.) To hide the first card again, press H.

Secret Show

Pressing X when the arrow is pointing to your hand displays the following numerical ordering at the top of the display:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Press a number from O to 9 to indicate where the face-down card is to be displayed. When you press the number (in some secret fashion), ten cards appear corresponding to the ten displayed numbers. The cards are shown for about two seconds with your face-down card displayed under the number pressed. If two seconds is not long enough, you can repeat secret show, using the same or any other number.

Betting the Hand

After each player is dealt a face-down card and a face-up card, the players take turns betting. To make a bet, type in the amount you wish to bet and press ENTER when the arrow is pointing to your hand. To correct an entry error or change a bet before pressing ENTER, retype the amount you wish to bet and then press ENTER.

In the first round of betting, the first player may bet a maximum of $10 or may check by entering $0 as a bet. If the first player makes a bet, the other players must bet the same amount or more to stay in the game. A player who bets the same amount, is said to "see" the bet. When a player bets more, this is called "raising" the bet. If a player raises the bet, each of the other players is given an opportunity to see the raise or raise the bet even more. This continues until the highest bet has been matched by the other players. A player can also press F to "fold" or drop out of the hand.

As the betting sequence continues, the players are actually betting that the hand they have (or will have) is better than any other player's hand. All bets are placed together to form a pot. After each round of face-up cards is dealt, there is a round of betting. The object of betting is to stay in the game and to build up the pot. The object of the game is to win the pot by having the best hand after the last round of dealing and betting.

You need to observe two rules when betting a poker hand:

  1. A bet or raise may be from $1 to $10.
  2. After each face-up card is dealt, the total amount that each player can bet is $40.

The computer automatically determines what each player must bet in order to stay in the game and displays this amount on the screen in the position where a player normally enters a bet. To raise a bet, follow the procedure explained above. If you enter an incorrect bet, the module does not accept it, and the pointer remains to the left of your hand. To correct your entry, simply type in an appropriate bet and press ENTER.


After the last round of dealing and betting, the computer determines the winning hand and adds the amount of the pot to that player's bankroll. In some cases, the winner is the only one remaining because all other players have folded.

Ending the Game

The game continues until one player has won all the money (all other players have lost their entire bankroll) or until the computer has won all your money. Any player who runs out of money while playing a hand must fold. To select a different number of players or change the bankroll, press SHIFT Z (BACK). If you wish to select a different game, press SHIFT W (BEGIN) to return to the game selection list. To return to the master title screen, press SHIFT Q (QUIT).



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