Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games with good reason. Novices and avid casino players alike are drawn to this game because of its low house edge and straightforward rules.
Once they’ve learned the basics of blackjack, aspiring players should also familiarize themselves with the main types of blackjack. This article will cover nine common kinds of blackjack, and explain how these variations differ from the standard version. Let’s dive in!
1. Classic Blackjack
Once you’ve chosen one of the most rewarding Bitcoin blackjack casinos, it’s game time. The most popular casino blackjack type is classic blackjack, also known as American blackjack or standard blackjack.
Cards with numbers 2 to 10 count as their face value. Jacks, queens, and kings are worth 10 points. Aces can be worth 1 or 11, depending on what is more beneficial for the player.
When you’re dealt an ace that can be worth 11 points without surpassing 21 in total, your hand is referred to as a ‘soft’ hand. In all other cases, the player has a ‘hard’ hand.
How to Play
Understanding blackjack gameplay isn’t difficult. Classic blackjack is played with eight decks of cards. As with any blackjack variant, the game’s objective is to beat the dealer by being closer to the number 21.
The player always goes first, and the dealer gets one hole card during the first turn. This means that one of the two of the dealer’s cards is face-down. In some casinos, the dealer can peek (look at the face-down card) after receiving it, while in others, that can only happen if their face-up card is an ace, picture card, or 10.
The player may ‘stand’ after receiving two cards, or ‘hit’ and get another. The dealer must stand after getting a soft 17.
When it comes to the types of blackjack bets, initially, you have to make a minimum bet to play American blackjack, but more options come up as the game goes on. Here are some additional betting rules:
The player is eligible for a split when they have two cards of identical value. The player can split the cards and play them in two hands instead of one. Afterward, they will get one additional card for each turn.
The player needs to make another bet, equal to the bet they placed at the beginning of the game. Remember that the rules vary according to the casino you opt for.
Doubling-down is another side bet that allows players to earn more money. The player can decide to double their first wager mid-hand if they choose not to ‘hit.’ This risky move can pay off, and it’s recommended to double down if your total is a hard 11.
An insurance bet is a side bet that can help you win even if the dealer gets a blackjack. You may only use the insurance if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. You usually bet half of your initial bet as insurance.
If the dealer hits the blackjack, you get both your original wager and the half you have just bet. On the other hand, if the dealer doesn’t get a blackjack, you can proceed to play and have a chance to win, in which case you only get your original bet.
While not technically a side bet, as you don’t add chips, surrendering is a way to avoid losing all your money. After the first two hands are dealt, you may forfeit the game if you sense that you’re going to lose. In that case, you get to keep half of what you originally bet.
There are two ways to surrender: Early surrender and late surrender. Some of the best blackjack players surrender when their total is 15 or more, and the dealer has a 10.
How to Win
To win, the cumulative value of your cards needs to be close to or equal to 21. If you go over 21, you lose the game. A ‘push’ means the player and dealer are tied, so the player needs to play another round.
Another way to win is to get a “natural blackjack,” i.e., if your first two cards are an ace and a 10 or a face card. The payout, in that case, is 150% in some of the best blackjack casinos. Here is a chart illustrating good strategies when playing classic blackjack:
2. Vegas Strip Blackjack
As its name suggests, Vegas Strip blackjack is played in Vegas casinos. The gameplay is almost identical to American blackjack, with a few distinctions:
- Four decks are used to play.
- The player can’t surrender.
- The dealer can peek exclusively at aces.
3. European Blackjack
European blackjack is another one of the fan-favorite blackjack variations. Unlike the American version, European blackjack is played with just two decks. This makes it more predictable, thus giving some advantage to the player.
Nevertheless, there are some additional rules in this blackjack casino game to raise the house edge. Some of the rules are as follows:
- There is no surrendering.
- ‘Splitting’ is allowed only once.
- Splitting ten-value cards can only be done with two identical cards; for example, you can’t split if you have a jack and queen, despite them having the same value.
- The player isn’t permitted to double down after splitting.
- The player may double down only if their hand total equals 9, 10, or 11.
- The dealer isn’t allowed to peek.
Pontoon, also termed British blackjack, and often referred to as “blackjack’s cousin,” is a variant of the blackjack game Spanish 21. While Pontoon shares some similarities with standard blackjack, some key differences include:
- 10s are taken out of the deck.
- Initially, the dealer is dealt only one card, which is face up.
- All of the side bets from the classic blackjack are incorporated in this game, as well, but the terminology is somewhat different; if you want to ‘double down,’ you say ‘buy.’
- ‘Hit’ is referred to as ‘twist, and ‘stand’ is ‘stick.’
- Players can split multiple times, but double aces can be split only once.
- The ‘Five-Card Trick’ in Pontoon doesn’t exist in regular blackjack: A player with a five-card hand whose sum is 21 or less beats the dealer who has a total of 21.
5. Blackjack Switch
Blackjack Switch is another popular variant. It was invented by Geoff Hall, who developed a fascination with blackjack. Like other blackjack variations on the list, it has special rules that set it apart:
- Players need to place two bets to begin the game; therefore, the game is played with two hands.
- The dealer must hit on soft 17.
- For the dealer to bust, they have to reach 23 or higher.
- The players can switch the two cards on top of their two hands.
- If the player switches a hand consisting of an ace and 10, this is not considered a blackjack, but a 21.
This game has an additional side bet called Super Match. The bet is made before the game begins, and involves the first four cards drawn. The player wins the bet if they have one or two pairs, three of a kind, or four cards of identical value.
6. Perfect Pairs Blackjack
Perfect pairs blackjack is one of the blackjack variants with an additional bet. It has an eponymous side bet allowing players to bet their first two cards will be a pair. The rules of the perfect pairs side bet include:
- The bet should be placed before the game begins.
- The player has a pair if they have two cards of the same value.
There are different kinds of pairs, with varying odds:
- Perfect Pair: Two identical cards – that is, they are of the same value, color, and suit
- Mixed Pair: Two cards of the same value, but different colors and suit
- Colored Pair: Two cards of the same color, same value, but different suit
7. Atlantic City Blackjack
As you may have guessed, Atlantic City blackjack originated in Atlantic City. Just like classic blackjack, this casino-style blackjack is played with eight decks, and has the following rules:
- If you get a 10 after splitting an ace, it counts as 21, and not a blackjack.
- Splitting can be done up to three times.
- The player can follow up with a double down after a split.
- Late surrender is allowed.
- Any two same-value cards can be split; for example, a king and queen.
8. Chinese Blackjack
A distinguishing feature of Chinese blackjack is its special winning combinations, which aren’t found in other types of casino blackjack. Here they are:
- 5-dragon: If the player has five cards whose value is equal to or less than 21, they have a 5-Dragon. If the total is exactly 21, the payout is 3:1, and if it’s under 21, the player gets 2:1.
- Escape hand: If the player has a total of 15, they have an escape hand (also known as a free hand), which gives them a choice to stop the game and collect their original bet, or resume playing. The same applies to the dealer.
- Ban-ban: If the player has two aces, they win the game, unless the dealer has the same, in which case it’s a push.
- Ban-nag: A player has a ban-nag if they get an ace along with a 10-value card. This is worth less than a ban-ban.
9. Face-Up 21
The main distinguishing feature of Face-Up 21, or double exposure blackjack, is that both dealer cards are dealt face up. Other differences are:
- The number of decks varies by casino, but the maximum amount is eight.
- Surrender and insurance are not permitted.
- The dealer stands on a hard 17 and hits on a soft 17.
- The player may split on any two same-value cards.
As you’ve seen, there is a multitude of blackjack variations, which can be confusing for novices. However, regardless of the type, anyone can learn to play this game, and have a blast clashing with the dealer.
What type of blackjack is the best?
The best blackjack game varies depending on whom you ask. Different blackjack games offer different gambling experiences, thus catering to various individuals.
What kind of blackjack is played in casinos?
Many different kinds of blackjack are played in casinos. These include classic blackjack, European blackjack, Pontoon, blackjack switch, Atlantic City blackjack, perfect pairs blackjack, Vegas Strip blackjack, and so on.
Is 21 different from blackjack?
No, 21 is not different from blackjack. Blackjack is also referred to as 21, due to the objective of the game, which is to have a hand total closest to the number 21.
How does blackjack work?
All types of blackjack involve the players betting against the dealer. The goal is to be the one whose sum of card values is the closest to the number 21. For a detailed description of different types of blackjack, you can refer to this article.
How can I find a reputable blackjack casino online?
To find the best blackjack casino online, you can do some internet research and read reviews. Different casinos offer various types of blackjack, so you should also visit their websites to see if the variation you would like to play is available.