One thing I’ve noticed – and I’m sure you will have too – is that Blackjack is available in a number of different formats. Perhaps you’re wondering which is best, or which you should play first?
Game developers like to offer something new to players; they realize new concepts and often develop creative, never-before-seen mechanisms. Below, I’m going to run you through some of the most common variations of Blackjack you’ll probably come across when you play on blackjack apps, or online.
Classic Blackjack is one of the most commonly-found Blackjack variations played at land-based casinos around the world. (However, it’s not usually found in European casinos – see European Blackjack later in this section.)
The game can be played with between 1 to 8 decks, and the player and dealer are both dealt 2 cards each once the betting round has commenced.
Classic Blackjack plays out in a near-identical manner to all other Blackjack variations. Important aspects such as whether the dealer hits a soft 17, however, depend on the game rules being played.
Live Dealer Blackjack
Live dealer blackjack isn’t a specific version of the game as such, but it is a very interesting option for anyone looking to play blackjack online.
In these games, you play through the casino website as normal, but the game isn’t computer generated. Instead, at the other end is a real live dealer, carrying out your instructions with real cards on an actual blackjack table.
Not all blackjack variations can be played as live dealer games. Usually it’ll be a multiple deck game of European or Classic blackjack. However, it’s a very different experience and adds an extra feeling of realism. It’s well worth trying out if you’re a keen online blackjack player.
European Blackjack is very similar to Classic Blackjack – again, played with between 1 and 8 decks. Once the game begins, the player is dealt two cards face up; the dealer is dealt one card face up and one card face down.
You are then faced with making your decisions while his card is still face down. Once you’ve chosen to stick with your hand, have doubled – or have busted out – the dealer will then reveal his or her face-down card.
Atlantic City Blackjack
You’ll find Atlantic City Blackjack played at quite a few non-Vegas land-based casinos throughout the United States. It’s played with a fixed 8 decks, and both the player and dealer are both dealt two cards initially.
The dealer will then “peek” at his or her hole card to check for Blackjack. The dealer also hits on soft 17s. Players can re-split their hands up to 3 times, and surrender and insurance options are also available.
Blackjack Switch is a popular variation of the game, and it became quite successful 10 years ago. In this game, you play two hands at a time.
During the game, you’re allowed to switch between two pairs of cards; to play, you put up a bet for two hands. Then when you see the dealer’s up card, you’re allowed to change the cards between hands to increase your chances of winning and securing a win.
To compensate for this, Blackjack pays even money (1/1) instead of the usual 3/2. The dealer also wins if he or she has Blackjack – even if you do, you don’t “tie” the hand.
Single Deck Blackjack
As the name suggests, single deck blackjack is played with only one deck of cards.
This makes it ideal for using basic strategy, and when played correctly, it can provide the lowest house edge in blackjack, and the best RTP for a player.
Usually the dealer will stand on soft 17, although this may sometimes vary between different casinos.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack is one of the most popular online game variations you’ll come across. It follows a fairly standardized American Blackjack structure, and as the name suggests, is the type most commonly found in the Las Vegas strip casinos.
The dealer peeks at his or her hole card, and stands on soft 17. You can re-split your hand up to a maximum of 4 times.
Pontoon is one of the older variations of the game – and it was traditionally played for fun, not for real money. It’s very similar to Spanish 21. Instead of “hitting” and “standing” you “twist” or “stick’.
The aim is still to make a hand as close to 21 as possible – but if you manage to draw 5 or more cards without going bust, you’ll make a “5-card trick” which will result in an instant win, regardless of the hand the dealer holds.
Super Fun 21
Super Fun 21 Blackjack is quite unusual – and I didn’t manage to find it at many online casinos. However, it’s good fun – and it’s played with just one deck of cards.
The game usually follows conventional traditional Blackjack rules but the payout structure is different. For example, a player’s Blackjack will always beat the dealer’s Blackjack – meaning there are no ties. You also receive payouts for matching up certain card suits.
Blackjack Games FAQ
Still wondering which blackjack variation to play first, or have any other questions? Happy to help…
Which Blackjack Variations Are Best For The Player?
It all depends on your priorities. Most people play blackjack to have fun, in which case the “best” version of the game is whichever one you actually enjoy playing the most. Since online real money blackjack games can be played with very small stakes, it’s well worth having a few hands of each different blackjack variation to see which one you prefer.
If your sole focus is on RTP and you’re playing blackjack to make money, then single deck blackjack is the version that will be most profitable for you in the long term – providing you use and stick to basic strategy rules.
Variations are a lot of fun and keep things interesting. But when you get games where Blackjack is only paid out at even money, it’s bound to have an effect on the house edge long term.
How Do I Play Online Blackjack? What Are The Rules?
We have a complete guide on how to play blackjack online or on mobile. Have a read of that and it’ll guide you through the process, step by step. It’s easy to learn so you’ll soon pick it up.
Why Don’t All Casinos Have My Favourite Blackjack Game?
Some mobile casinos have more types of blackjack than others. This is because some sites prefer to focus on other things such as slots, whereas others have a more broad appeal. Our guide on the best mobile blackjack sites will show you the best choices.
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Last Updated on September 8, 2022