Blackjack is a popular casino game with more than 100 variations thanks to which you can experience it in a completely different way and enjoy it like never before. It is no wonder that this card game has so many variants, taking into account the fact that it has been the favourite game of a number of people worldwide for years on end. If you were to trace back its origins, you would find out that it is related to three countries – Spain, France and Italy.
Ever since its emergence in the 17th century, the game has been played in various other countries where the players had different personal preferences and culture. As a result, throughout the years many versions have emerged as blackjack was adapted to suit the needs of the locals. Nowadays, you can enjoy some of the most popular variations in almost every brick and mortar casino as well as online. Moreover, some blackjack variants have become so popular that they are played even more than the classic game.
When it comes to blackjack, there are several variations which are especially common. In the past, some of them could be found in only particular land-based casinos as they were exclusive to certain locations. For instance, Vegas Strip Blackjack was predominantly played in Las Vegas. However, thanks to the many available online casinos, this inconvenience is no longer present since you can easily play online your favourite variation without going all the way to a brick and mortar casino. What is more, you can choose the most comfortable spot for you and access the blackjack variation of your choice directly by using your smartphone or tablet.
Some variations are pretty much the same as the classic game but with the difference that they offer a special side bet. Others have been especially designed to be unique and as a result, you are allowed to make moves which are forbidden otherwise. For instance, in some variations such as Blackjack Switch, you can exchange cards between your two hands. Changes of this type give the game an interesting twist thanks to which you can significantly diversify your gambling experience.
Bear in mind that since every variation has additional rules and specifications such as the number of decks in use, the house edge is different and so are your odds of winning. In order to determine whether one variation is beneficial or not, you should simply consider the rules it features. For this purpose, if you want to be able to easily distinguish the advantageous games from disadvantageous ones, you need to get familiar with the beneficial rules beforehand. For instance, the rule which enforces the dealer to peek for blackjack works in your favour. The same goes for the games in which the dealer hits on soft 17.
Before you try a particular variation, it is also essential to alter your strategy accordingly. Otherwise you won’t be able to implement your plan with the same success and make the most of the game. Blackjack is a casino game which gives you the chance to influence the outcome of every hand by using your skills and knowledge. Such an opportunity shouldn’t be missed as there are plenty other casino games in which you can only test your luck.
Vegas Strip is one of the most popular versions of blackjack which attracts hundreds of players with its exciting game play and interesting rules. Initially, it was possible to play this version only in the renowned resort – Las Vegas which is the reason why it was partly named after it. However, times change and today this is no longer the case as you can enjoy the game from any part of the world where online gambling is allowed.
Typically, you are given the opportunity to play this version in a single-hand or a multi-hand mode and it is entirely up to you to decide the number of hands involved in the gaming process. Even though the game was initially played with one pack of cards, nowadays it uses four standard decks. One of the reasons why the number of decks was increased was to prevent card counters from gaining the upper hand by keeping track of the cards on the table. Your objective and the way in which the cards are valued remain the same as in the classic game.
In Vegas Strip Blackjack, you are allowed to double down on any two cards from the initial deal and you are also permitted to split a maximum of four hands. It is possible to split 10-valued cards which are unlike. For instance, if you have a king or a queen, you can take advantage of this option. Doubling down after splitting is another move which you are given the opportunity to make.
The payout for blackjack is the standard one – 3/2, however bear in mind that there are some casinos which offer 6/5. The latter is much more disadvantageous for you in the long term and thus, it is best to avoid the games that feature such a payout. As for the dealer’s play, he/she is required to stand on soft 17 and to peek for blackjack.
Atlantic City Blackjack
Atlantic City Blackjack is another well-known variation which also got its name from a top gambling destination – Atlantic City as it initially emerged in this resort city. The basic rules in this variation are identical to the ones in the classic blackjack game, meaning that your main goal and the assigned value of the cards remain the same. One distinguishable feature of this version is the fact that it uses eight decks of cards which make it rather disadvantageous for card counters.
Another thing that is worth mentioning is that the late surrender option is allowed. This means that if you happen to find yourself in a highly unfavourable situation, you can choose to give up half of your bet without playing your hand and in return keep the other half. This way, you can withdraw from the game with some money when you were bound to lose everything. Late surrender allows you to abandon your hand, providing that the dealer has peeked for blackjack and he/she doesn’t have this winning combination.
In this variation, you are given the chance to split pairs up to three times and to double down on any two initial cards. Since the ace is the most powerful card in the deck, if you have such a pair, it can be split only once. Furthermore, if you decide to do so, your split aces will receive only one card. The payout for blackjack is usually the standard one – 3 to 2. However, it is also possible to find a variation that pays out 6 to 5 which is the reason why it is best to check this aspect beforehand. The dealer is enforced by the rules to peek for blackjack and to stand on soft 17.
European Blackjack is played by hundreds of players in both brick and mortar casinos as well as online. In the past, this version was most commonly played in casinos across Europe and as a result, it was named after this fact. Its basics are pretty much the same as in the standard blackjack game. You and the rest of the participants in the game compete against a dealer and your ultimate goal is to form a total that doesn’t exceed 21 but at the same time is as close as possible to it.
The number of decks involved in the gaming process can vary, depending on the casino. In most cases, it is played with two packs of cards, however you can also bump into a game that features four or six decks. In general, it is always a good idea to seek the variations which use less decks of cards as they are more beneficial, especially if you are a card counter.
In this variation, the dealer has to stand on soft 17 but he/she is not required to peek for blackjack as this is not a Hole card game. What sets this version apart from the classic game is that in it, if the dealer has a blackjack and you have a card combination whose total is 21 but it is not a blackjack, you lose. In such cases, if you happen to also have a blackjack, the result is a tie, meaning that neither the dealer nor you win. It should be noted that you are allowed to split a pair only once and you can double down only on the hands whose total is nine, ten or eleven.
Double Exposure is an extraordinary variation of blackjack which is recommended for players who want to experience the game in a slightly different way. It was invented by the famous casino consultant Richard A. Epstein and it is also commonly referred to as Dealer Disclosure. What makes this variation so appealing and interesting is the fact that the dealer gets two cards, both of which are placed face up.
This means that you are able to see both cards of the dealer which works entirely in your favour. However, this is the reason why the casinos have imposed some additional rules in an attempt to gain the upper hand again. One of the biggest drawbacks is that the payout for blackjack is 1/1 and that the dealer wins automatically all ties, except for the cases when you have a natural blackjack in your hand. Furthermore, you are allowed to split a pair only once.
Insurance and surrender are two moves which are entirely forbidden in this version as you are aware of the cards of the dealer. This variation is usually played with either six or eight packs of cards. The rules regarding the dealer’s play can greatly vary, depending on the casino of your choice. In most cases, the dealer hits on soft 17.
Blackjack Switch is undoubtedly one of the favourite versions of many players as it has a very extraordinary game play. A man called Geoff Hall patented this variation in 2009 and ever since, it has been gaining popularity. It is a multi-hand game in which you always play with two hands whose original bets have to be the same. However, what sets this variation apart from the rest of the multi-hand versions is the fact that you can switch cards between the two hands. This gives you the opportunity to improve the total in your hands or to avoid busting.
Typically, the dealer is required to hit on soft 17 and the game is played with either six or eight decks. Doubling down is allowed after splitting and also, you can make this move on any two initial cards. In this version, you are given the opportunity to take advantage of the Super Match side bet which is optional. The rule thanks to which you can switch cards give you an incredible advantage over the casino. However, this is the reason why there are some other rules which are not so beneficial.
Perhaps, the most disadvantageous one is the fact that blackjack pays out even money. Another major drawback for you is the fact that whenever the dealer has a hard twenty-two, the result is a tie, except for the cases in which you have a blackjack. Nevertheless, this variation has a fairly low house edge which ranges between 0.16% and 0.58%, depending on the exact rules.
In the past, slots were the only game that offered you the opportunity to win a life-changing sum. Fortunately, times change and nowadays you can play many other casino classics, including blackjack and compete for a huge jackpot. Progressive Blackjack is very similar to the classic game in terms of basic rules and main objective. In most cases, six decks of cards are used but the number of packs depends on the casino of your choice as well.
Thanks to these types of games, you can put your skills to the test and enjoy blackjack and at the same time, compete for a colossal prize. Its amount increases constantly because every time a player places a bet, a small part of it contributes to this sum. However, bear in mind that by simply joining the game, you don’t qualify for the jackpot automatically. In order to do so, you need to place a special side bet that is optional. The amount of the side bet is predetermined and every player who wish to compete for the jackpot is required to place it.
In Progressive Blackjack, there are also some additional winning combinations which can fetch you a nice profit. Most of them feature an ace and the payout for a particular winning hand depends on the casino of your choice and the number of aces you have managed to collect. For instance, if you get three aces, even if their suit is different, the payout is 250/1. However, if you get dealt the same number of aces but this time they have the same suit, the payout is 5000/1 which is far more impressive. In most games, in order to win the progressive jackpot, you are required to collect four aces that has the same suit.
The variation Spanish 21 is one of the most widespread blackjack games as most of its rules are much more liberal than the ones in the classic game. Since this game gives players even greater chances of making a profit in the long term, it is no wonder why in some places it is more played than the traditional blackjack. What sets this version apart from most blackjack variations is the fact that it uses six or eight decks from which all 10’s are removed. Therefore, the game is no longer played with a standard pack of 52 cards as in this case, a pack of 48 cards is used.
Since no ten cards are involved in the game, the casinos have imposed some additional rules which work in favour of the players in an attempt to balance the game and make it attractive again. For instance, if you have a total of twenty one in your hand, the result is an instant win for you and it doesn’t matter what cards the dealer has. It is possible to double down on any two cards from the initial deal and you can also make this move or hit after splitting a pair.
The surrender option is also available, even after doubling down. If you decide to take advantage of this move, you voluntarily give up half of your bet but you get to keep the double down wager. In case that you and the dealer have a blackjack, you automatically win as this is not considered a tie. Also, if you manage to get this winning combination, you will be rewarded differently each time, depending on the cards that compose the blackjack. As for the dealer’s options, he/she must peek for blackjack and also, to hit on soft 17.
Multi-Hand Blackjack is a variation which is played mainly online due to the fact that in order to enjoy it in a land-based casino, you have to find a table which has several free seats. This goal might be hard to be achieved, especially during weekends and holidays. Most of the online casinos that offer this variation are available 24/7 which is very convenient for the players. In general, Multi-Hand Blackjack is basically the same as the classic game, with the difference that in this variation you can play with up to five hands simultaneously.
It should be noted that each hand is independent and thus, you need to apply a different strategy and approach. Your moves should be based on the up card of the dealer and the total of the respective hand. Since you are required to place a separate bet on each hand, in most cases the table limits are much lower in comparison to the classic game. If you are more of a risk-taker who likes challenges, this game might be a good option for you. This version is usually played with two packs of cards and at the beginning, you have to decide the number of hands you wish to operate at once.
Bonus Blackjack is also a very exciting variation which gives you the chance to win an exclusive bonus. In order to do so, you need to put a side bet and form any of the required winning hands. One such a winning combination which rewards players with a generous payout of 50 to 1 is when you have an ace of spades and a jack in your hand. It should be noted that there is also a special payout for the times when you have only two suited cards – 5 to 2. The side bet should be placed before the dealing of the cards starts.
Other than the optional side bet and the additional winning hands, this version is entirely the same as the classic blackjack. It uses two decks of cards and in it, the dealer peeks for blackjack. Prior to playing this variation, it is a good idea to get familiar with all winning combinations and the requirements for them so that you know what to look for.