European Blackjack is one of the many popular blackjack variations offered by online casinos in 2023.
Although at first glance it looks very similar to other Blackjack versions, there are in fact some subtle differences in the rules of European Blackjack. These change the way the game works, and you will need to use a different strategy to hammer down the house edge.
In this guide, you’ll learn the rules, how to play and exactly what makes European Blackjack different. I’ll also show you the best places to play online or on your mobile, and how to adapt your basic strategy to get the best returns.
Where to Play European Blackjack Online
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Most of the recommended blackjack apps listed here also offer free European Blackjack games. You can play first in demo mode, with a virtual chip stack.
This lets you test the game out on your laptop or mobile device, and practice implementing the strategy I’ll show you later before you play with real money.
European Blackjack Rules
European Blackjack uses a minimum of 2 decks, but usually between 6 and 8, depending on the casino.
The game follows standard Classic Blackjack rules, but with the following exceptions:
- Dealer draws only one card at the start of the hand, and does not draw more until all player hands are complete.
- Player may not re-split.
- Player can double after splitting.
- Double Down on 9, 10 and 11 only.
- No late surrender.
- Player loses if dealer has blackjack.
- Blackjack Pays 3/2, Insurance Pays 2/1
You will find both single and multi hand European Blackjack tables available at the best mobile blackjack sites. The rules and gameplay apply to both the single and multi hand versions.
How To Play European Blackjack
As you’ll see from the rules above, the major difference between European Blackjack and other variations is that the dealer only gets one initial card.
This means the dealer cannot peek (check for Blackjack) if his/her first card is an Ace or Ten.
If the player is dealt a blackjack then it is a winning hand straight away. Otherwise, the player gets the option to Hit or Stand as normal. The option to Split, Double or Surrender is also available as normal, depending on the cards dealt.
After the players’ hands have been completed, the dealer draws his/her second card. Only then do you know for sure if the dealer has Blackjack.
European Blackjack Strategy Charts
Because of the rule differences, you will need to make a few adjustments to the basic strategy that is used for most other versions of Blackjack.
The key point is this: You need to be more much careful when splitting or doubling against an Ace or Ten.
This is because the dealer could get a blackjack on drawing the second card, after you’ve increased your stakes. But unlike in Classic Blackjack, you won’t know this until it is too late because the peek is not available.
For this reason, we’ve produced a custom set of tables for you to use. If you’re looking to memorize the charts, the most important differences are as follows:
- Only Double Down on 9, 10 or 11
- Do not Double Down on 11 against a 10
Follow the following strategy charts for European Blackjack games when playing on mobile, online, or at a land-based casino. Using this strategy reduces the house edge and gives the player a very attractive 99.58% RTP.
|5 – 8||H||H||H||H||H||H||H||H||H||H|
- H: Hit
- S: Stand
- D: Double if permitted, else Hit
- P: Split
Who Should Play European Blackjack
Many gambling historians (yes there is such a thing) consider European Blackjack to be the “original” version from which US blackjack evolved. So traditionalists would want to play this version to see how it all started.
From a more practical point of view though, this game suits players with a more conservative style. You will find it to be less volatile, mainly because you will split and double less frequently.
This, combined with the very high RTP which is achievable when using the Blackjack charts above, means that your money will last much longer and you’ll get more “bang for your buck” than in most other casino games.
You just need the patience and discipline to stick to the rules.
So while thrill seekers may find the pace of the game too slow, if you prefer to look after the bottom line then you may well have found your perfect game here.
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Last Updated on December 13, 2022