Black Jack (Bally, 1978)

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Quickie Version

 Right side saucer all day when lit, otherwise UTAD through the left side spinner.
 
 Go-To Flipper:  Left whenever “Player Wins” is lit, mild bias to Right otherwise.


Full Detail

Skill Shot: It depends. If the saucer is lit, i.e. “Player Wins,” try to plunge just hard enough to have the ball hit the left side black rubber pad and rebound into the top of the lane above the saucer, to then fall into it. If the saucer is not lit, plunge for the heart lane at the right if you don’t already have it. This might rebound off the bumper below it into the saucer, too. If the saucer is not lit and you already have the heart, plunge for any other top lane you still need to finish the set of four suits.


Collecting all four top lanes lights the spinner; scoring the diamond and the heart lanes lights the bumper.


This game is totally about saucer wins shots. As in the card game of Blackjack, your hand needs to beat the dealer’s hand. Each of your hands ranges in value from 17 to 21, and those values changes as shots are made. Hitting either of the two red standup targets increases the player’s hand by one, except that when your hand is at 21, it next drops back down to 17. The yellow targets do the same to the dealer’s hand. The top suit lanes also change the player’s hand. If you currently have a winning hand, you want to do whatever you can to score the saucer. The saucer gives you bonus multiplier advance to 2X, 3X then 5X for the first three wins, then extra ball and special. EBs are obviously good, and usually worth 50,000 if EBs are off, and specials are normally set to be worth 50K, too. Once the saucer value is at special, it stays there for the remainder of the ball, so you can clean up with a lot of 50K shots to it. Bonus base goes up to 29K, so your maximum collect at 5X is 145,000, nice to have, too. [The machine flyer incorrectly says that the bonus goes up to only 20K.]


If you currently have a losing hand, you need to change that by shooting either a player or dealer target or going up top to get a player advance through a suit lane. If the dealer is on 21, you obviously need to shoot just for a dealer change, just as if the player is on 17, you need to change yours to get to any winning pairing.


Don’t worry about building your base bonus, shots through the spinner and the top suit lanes all do that for you. Just keep getting the saucer when you win, the lit spinner when you’d lose, and a change via target or spinner is any other situation.


Finishing your suits also lights the outlanes for 50,000, which if collected each ball is another 150K that can make the difference between winning and losing.


Ball control and transfers become critical on this machine. If you have the ball on the right flipper and player wins lit, finding a way to get the ball to the left flipper for a saucer shot is paramount. Tap pass, shatz, whatever you can, get it across and make the shot. Post passes can be hard on this game because the slingshot post is so close to the flipper; it’s hard to get the normal rattle-across movement.


Saucer shot rim-outs are common and can become very frustrating. Hard shots often lip out, and even softer ones and fall-intos from above can spin out. Don’t let that get to you! Be patient, keep trying, eventually they’ll go in.



This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews