Blackjack is a popular card game that can be played across a variety of online and brick-and-mortar casinos. In most cases, the rules for blackjack are similar; however, there are slight differences in how each casino incorporates them into its game. These differences make each blackjack variant more appealing to fans who want to spice up their experience.
The blackjack aficionado who seeks to diversify his or her game options will often choose to play online, as there are many more variations of blackjack games than landbased ones. The reason for this is that since online gambling became a thing two decades ago, players have seen an unprecedented explosion of new blackjack games–each with its own quirks and peculiarities.
In today’s article, we take a look at some of the most interesting blackjack variations, including some new ones that have been developed recently to keep pace with changing strategies. Take a look if you’re looking to diversify your blackjack sessions a tiny notch.
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There are several different blackjack variants that have been developed over time. These games are based on the classic game of blackjack, which offers some of the best odds a player can possibly find on casino floors. Additionally, the game is fairly easy to learn as opposed to more complicated card mainstays like poker, for example.
A typical hand at blackjack involves one or more decks of cards. The number of decks in play will vary depending on the software being used, but a typical game may have one to eight decks depending on the venue. Before each hand is dealt, all of the decks are shuffled together. The object of the game is to get a higher hand value than the dealer without exceeding 21 points.
The game of classic blackjack has players draw cards from a deck and compare them to their hand to determine whether they win or lose. Each hand is made up of five cards. Face cards are worth 10 points, 10s are worth 10 points, Aces can be 1 or 11 points, and all other cards have a pip value of one for each suit. After the dealer deals each player their starting hand, he or she may choose to hit (RNG = 1), stand (RNG = 2), split pairs (RNG = 3), or double down (RNG = 4). The surrender rule applies in some versions of the game; it allows players who have been dealt a poor hand to give up if they feel that they cannot win with that particular card combination. In these variations, the dealer must draw an additional card before standing on 17 or soft 17 if the player has drawn one card above 17 on their initial draw.
Most online casinos offer the following payouts for a natural: 3 to 2 (standard), 2 to 1 (insurance) and 1 to 1 in a few cases. In classic blackjack games, the dealer receives one face-up card and one card that is faced down on initial deal. The player receives two cards facing up while the virtual croupier has one card facing up on initial deal. This also means that in Microgaming’s take on classic blackjack, the dealer does not check for naturals because there is no hole card to peek at.
The best way to win in blackjack is to get a higher total than 21. If both players have an equal amount of money, neither should win or lose. If one of them has a total of 21 while the other has a higher total, they both bust. These are the rules that have been followed since the game was created.
Differences between Blackjack Variations
While all blackjack variants follow roughly the same basic rules, differences in payouts, splitting rules and doubling down are observed between the different versions of blackjack.
For those who play online, there are many variations of blackjack that pay different amounts for blackjacks. Some pay 3-2-6-5; others pay 3, 2 and 6; and still others pay 6, 5 and 4. In some games both cards of the dealer are exposed; then again, in some variants where both cards of the dealer are exposed, the payouts for naturals are further reduced to compensate for this. There may be discrepancies in the rules concerning pushes as well.
Dealers in blackjack will sometimes take a peek for naturals when showing an Ace, although there are exceptions. One of these variations is by Playtech, where the dealer takes a peek for naturals when showing Aces as well as ten-value cards.
Variations in the rules of blackjack can make it more challenging to play. For example, some variations allow you to double down on two-card totals only, like 9 and 10, or 11 and 12. Also, some variants do not allow you to re-split pairs of face cards if they are not identical like for instance a King and a Queen.
When it comes to the available side bets in blackjack, there are no limits. Players can choose from a variety of side bets, including ones that pay out extra money if they get a set or four of a kind on the initial deal.
Playing blackjack online, players can notice different styles of graphics in different games. Some game developers use more authentic visuals, animations and sound effects than others. The features vary as well–some have more options than others (such as Playtech’s variants where you can choose from several colors of felt).
Popular Blackjack Variations
Blackjack has become very popular in recent years. Many casinos have come up with different versions of the game, which enable them to attract a large number of players who want to play games that are different from the ones offered by traditional online casinos. Some of these variants are unique to specific software providers and can only be found at online casinos running on their platforms. We have outlined some of the most appealing variants below. Check them out yourself and see which one offers you the most fun.
Blackjack Switch is a fun new variation on blackjack. It features a range of side bets that give players more ways to improve their hands and bespoke rules which allow them to switch cards so as to improve their chances of winning. The game was invented by Geoff Hall in 2009 and quickly gained popularity among online casino fans.
Blackjack Switch is a variation of Blackjack that allows players to switch the top cards from one hand to another. Because it is played with two hands, players must bet on both hands equally and make two separate bets each round. Usually eight decks are used for play.
To compensate for the advantage that switching offers players, several modifications have been made to the game. First off, all naturals in Blackjack Switch offer even-money payouts instead of the usual 3-to-2 return. Dealers will also bust less often than they do in standard versions of the game. For example, one should play their hand more aggressively whenever the dealer shows a 2 since he or she is less likely to bust with this card.
When a blackjack is dealt following a switch, it is not considered a natural, but rather a regular 21. In such situations, the player who holds this hand is then vulnerable to taking a loss from the dealer.
Four optional side bets are available. These include a bet that you will be dealt a pair, two pairs, a set or 4 of a kind. Each pays at the rate of 8 to 1 if successful.
Double Exposure Blackjack
In 1979, Richard Epstein created Double Exposure, a game that’s still played widely today. He originally called it “Zweikartenspiel,” but later changed it to Double Exposure because customers liked the name better.
Double Exposure Blackjack is a blackjack variant that includes two cards of the dealer up for grabs. It was developed to counterbalance the house edge created by exposing both cards of the dealer in traditional blackjack, which naturally works to the advantage of players. To maintain their edge over players, several adjustments were made to standard rules and payouts. The most important modification concerns payouts for blackjacks, which have been reduced from even money to half-pay. Another adjustment is related to ties on pushes; dealers in Double Exposure take all ties except for those resulting from tied naturals (natural hands).
Moreover, no re-splits are allowed and dealers will usually either stand or hit on soft 17 in standard blackjack games. When playing online, however, you might encounter more favorable rules where dealers draw to 16 and stand on 17 like in the NetEnt variation of Double Exposure. This is because there are differences between standard blackjack games and online versions of the game due to major discrepancies between the rules of both types of games. It was Julian Braun who first developed and introduced a modified basic strategy for single-deck blackjack games that differs from that used in standard blackjack games due to discrepancies in the rules between them.
European Blackjack is a version of blackjack that has been adapted to European gambling venues. It follows the rules of classic blackjack, except that players can also double down after splitting pairs.
One of the peculiarities of this game is that there are no hole cards. The dealer receives a single face-up card on the initial deal, so there is no way for him to peek at your hand. In comparison, standard blackjack variations often involve the dealer checking for naturals when they’re dealt Aces and sometimes even on ten-value cards. If you have a natural when the dealer hits after you’ve acted on your hand, then you’ll be spared from putting more money out through splitting or doubling down on your already losing hands. However, with European Blackjack the dealer can obtain a natural on the next hit after you’ve acted on your hand–even if it’s an Ace!
European Blackjack has a lower house advantage than single-deck games because it is played with two decks of cards only. Because multiple-deck games render it more difficult for advantage players to count cards, they tend to have higher house edges.
In addition to the rules for splitting, there are slight differences in the rules concerning doubling down. In European Blackjack, players can double down only when they are dealt two cards with a total of 9, 10 or 11; however, standard blackjack allows for doubling down on all two-card totals. There may be discrepancies in the rules depending on which gambling venue you visit.
The rules of European Blackjack, as well as any other game played in a casino, are set by the casino. The dealer is dealt two cards, and then you get to split those two cards into two separate hands if you want. You can split high pairs into two separate hands only if the two cards are identical for example: two 10s or two Kings. This prevents players from exploiting the dealer’s weak starting hands and increasing their winnings through splits.
Pontoon is a card game similar to blackjack, but it’s more exciting because the cards have different values. Pontoon is played with a single deck of cards but multiple decks may be used to accommodate a greater number of players.
A pontoon is a two-valued card in blackjack. The dealer receives two hole cards instead of one and has no face-up card. This actually gives players an advantage because they don’t know if the dealer has a natural until they have played out their hand first. If you succeed in drawing to 21 on a pontoon hand, then your hand will prevail over that of the dealer’s. A payout for a pontoon is 2 to 1, just like in single or double-deck blackjack.
Once players receive their starting hands, they can choose from several actions. These include requesting additional cards from the dealer (called “twisting”), as well as standing if you are already content with your two-card total (called “sticking”).
The third option is a variation on the double down in blackjack. In Pontoon, players are allowed to buy additional cards as long as their total does not exceed 21 points. For example, if the player had wagered $10 on an initial hand and drew two cards, then their total was 7 points or less before buying a card (which would be at least $7). They could choose to buy several cards for a total of up to $30 or more rather than only one additional card. The upper limit for buying additional cards is twice the size of the initial bet.
One big difference between Pontoon and other card games is that Pontoon offers different payouts depending on the number of cards in your hand. The best hand, called a five-card trick, consists of five cards for a total of 21 or less. A five-card trick returns at a rate of 2 to 1. The third-best hand consists of three or four cards that total 21 and returns even money. All other hands–hands with totals less than 21 and consisting of less than five cards–are ranked in order of their total value. The closer the total is to 21, the better.”
Atlantic City Blackjack
This version of blackjack is played on an eight-deck table, in part because of the Atlantic City rules. The objective remains the same – beat the dealer with a higher hand total.
A blackjack player can win by standing on soft 17, which is worth three to two, or by hitting and getting an ace kicker. When you play blackjack online, you may find that some casinos choose to stand on all totals of 17, soft or not. In this case, the dealer will always stand on hard 19; however, if this rule variation is not offered by your casino, then you can expect a standard payout of 2 to 1 for your hand against dealer blackjacks.
One of the greatest advantages of Atlantic City blackjack is that dealers must peek for naturals not only when they have Aces but on ten-value cards as well. Players are allowed double downs on any two-card totals they may hold, and pairs can be split up to three times. What makes this variation even better is that splits are allowed on pairs of ten-value cards that are not identical – for example, it would be possible to split a King and a Queen into two separate hands. Surrendering weak hands is also an option.
Players looking for some extra action can play in a multi-hand blackjack variant through an online casino. The game allows players to play up to five hands at once and provides them with more chances to turn profits than they would get if they played one hand at a time. Of course, they can also do this in land-based casinos, but online multi-hand variants have some great features that make them particularly appealing to players.
Multi-hand blackjack games are more lifelike than ever before. They’re designed to give players the most realistic gaming experience possible and enable them to play from their homes. The games vary in terms of chip denominations, however limits usually start at around $20. You can play with as many hands as you like and increase your bet size accordingly.
Microgaming offers several multi-hand versions of the game, including three card styles. Playtech also offers a range of color options for its multi-hand games; players can choose from green, purple, black, orange, red and white felt colors.
Please note that rules for multi-hand blackjack tables differ from those for online blackjack. You must be aware of the differences between them so you can make informed decisions when playing at a site with which you are not familiar.
Spanish 21 is one of the most exciting variations of blackjack. It differs from standard blackjack in a number of ways, including rules and payouts. Spanish 21 is perfect for fans of traditional blackjack who are bored with playing that game and looking for more excitement and thrills. In some places around the world, Spanish 21 is called “Pontoon.”
Some players consider Spanish 21 a profitable game to play because of its beneficial rules. One difference between Spanish 21 and Pontoon is that Spanish 21 is played with six to eight Spanish decks–each deck contains only 48 cards instead of the standard 52 since the 10s of all four suits are removed. At first glance, this tilts the odds in favor of the house but several favorable rules are at hand to compensate for the missing 10s.
There are many different rules concerning the dealer at a casino and it depends on the casino and software provider. Some casinos require that there be a soft total of 17 before playing blackjacks and winning insurance bets. Other casinos do not allow dealers to peek for naturals when they expose ten-value cards. Blackjacks pay out as normal — 3 to 2 and 2 to 1.
In Spanish 21, players who have a specific number of cards in their hand earn a bonus payout. Five-card hands reward players with an average of 3 to 2 per card, six-card totals return at a rate of 2 to 1 and seven-card totals pay 3 to 1. If the dealer is also showing a 7 but all spades are held by the player, a higher payout is given–3 to 2 if spades are held and 2 to 1 if hearts are held. If all spades are held and a 6 is played as well as any other card, then this hand pays 3 for two spades, 4 for two hearts and 5 for either two diamonds or three clubs.
One of the most profitable rules in Spanish 21 is the double down. Players can also double down on any two-card combination, but they are allowed to split any pair including Aces. Collecting three-to-two on all totals of 21 will only happen if you have a flush or straight draw when you get dealt that hand!
Choosing a Blackjack Variation
Many players struggle with choosing blackjack because so many options are presented. In order to choose the best game for your style of play, you need to study the rules and oddities of standard classic blackjack. However, before undertaking more unusual varieties like Blackjack Switch, make sure that you master the basics of standard classic blackjack.
Once you’ve mastered the game, you’ll want to find a real-money blackjack variant that has the highest value per bet. Most online versions have adopted this standard payout and often have a 3 to 2 advantage on naturals.
Some blackjack variations allow players to split up to three times and re-split Aces. This is a good strategy when the dealer is in a particularly vulnerable position. The optimal variant will be to find a table with more liberal rules where you are allowed to split up to three times, which improves your chances of winning big during those situations.
Therefore, you should go for the tables where doubling down is allowed on all starting two-card totals and not only on 9, 10, and 11. This will save you money on hands that were doomed to begin with and also gives you another option when you are dealt a hand that is not so good. Surrendering can be very valuable in these games as well so it is best to attack blackjack variants where folding your hand is allowed. Sure, surrendering may cost you half of your original bet but collecting the other half on hands that are ordained to lose is still better than losing it all
Online casinos publish their theoretical Return to Player percentages (RTPs) in order to help players make informed decisions about the games they want to play. The RTP is the average return on a given game over time, and it can be used to determine the house edge of a game by subtracting the listed RTP from 100%. An example would be Microgaming’s Classic Blackjack Gold, which has an RTP of 99.90% and thus has a house edge of 0.10%. It makes sense that you can expect higher returns on average over the long run than if you go for a variant where the theoretical return percentage has dropped below 95%.
Of course, you should never play blackjack for money if it takes away from the fun of the game. If you are looking for added excitement and variety, consider variations with more extraordinary rules and a range of side bets. But remember that when playing online, you should be mindful about how much time and money you use for your gambling activities.