The Most Played Variations of Blackjack



Blackjack is one of the most famous casino games the world over. The rules are simple – players aim to get their hand as close to 21 as they can without going over while also having a number that is higher than the dealers. The basic version of the game can be found in most land-based and online casinos, with potentially small differences in rules. However, blackjack has many variations that have also found their place in the world of gambling. Over the last couple of decades, these variations have brought a breath of fresh air to the game of blackjack and made it more popular than ever. Keep on reading to learn more about these alternatives and see whether you would be tempted to try something a little different the next time you feel like making a punt.

American/Classic Blackjack

American blackjack is sometimes referred to simply as classic blackjack. This form of the game is the most played variety and it resembles the standard the most. As is usually the case, the goal is to not go over 21 and be closer to it than the dealer. Face cards are worth 10, aces either 1 or 11, and all others are worth their pip value. It’s also important to keep in mind that the number of decks might differ in various casinos and that a late surrender may or may not be allowed, as well as that dealers can peek for blackjack at different times. Basically, you need to check a specific casino’s rules before you start playing.

European Blackjack

European blackjack is not too different from the American variety but there are slight differences. For instance, the American rules are more user-friendly and come with more opportunities to increase your winnings. The biggest difference is that in European blackjack the dealer doesn’t get their hole card until after you’ve made your decision about the move you will make. In the American version, the dealer gets the hole card in the beginning before you’ve made any decisions. What is more, splitting and doubling down are also aspects where these two varieties differ.

British Blackjack – Pontoon

There is British blackjack as well, also known as pontoon. When compared to the American version, it differs in that the terms are slightly different, so you will hear “twist” instead of “hit”. Then, you can increase your bet during the hand and if you have five cards that equal 21 or less, your winnings will be doubled.

California Blackjack

You can see a pattern in the naming of these variations – they are mostly named after the place where they originated. Developed in Southern California, this variation actually differs from the standard quite a bit. Some notable differences include that the player has to reach 22 and not 21, that the jokers are used and count for 2 or 12, and that you will not lose automatically when you bust. Plus, there is a different banker for each hand.

Chinese Blackjack

Found in many casinos all across Asia, Chinese blackjack starts off like standard blackjack by giving every player and the dealer two cards but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. If you have two aces, you automatically win. Aces are counted differently depending on the number of cards you have. Dealers can choose if they will hit or stand. While it might seem complicated, after a couple of hours of playing, you’ll become a pro.

Multi-hand Blackjack

Once online casinos realized that people like playing multiple hands at once, they allowed players to do just that with blackjack as well. Of course, you can do the same thing when playing in a traditional casino but only if there is room at the table. The rules of multi-hand blackjack are the same as in a standard game; the only difference is that online you can play up to eight hands at once.

Blackjack Switch

Since being patented in 2009, blackjack switch has become very popular. While similar to the standard game, each player gets two hands and has the opportunity to switch them after the initial deal. Instead of having an A/5 and 10/6, a player can turn them into a blackjack (A/10) and an 11 (6/5). There are some disadvantages, however, so familiarize yourself with them before you start playing.

Double Exposure Blackjack

If you’re ever given the chance to play double exposure blackjack, give it a go. Seeing as how you can see the dealer’s cards in this variation, your odds are increased. However, there are some other rules to lower your advantage. For example, surrender, insurance, and multiple splits are not allowed here. But, the house advantage is still near zero.

These eight are just some of the most played blackjack variations. However, there are so many more – from pitch blackjack and double attack blackjack to bonus and buster blackjack. With such a wide variety on offer, punters can get the chance to try out all the different approaches and find the one that fits best and is most fun.

Nakoa Davis