Blackjack Variations

So you've been to the casinos, seen the many different variations of blackjack from classic to multi-hand games, Vegas, Atlantic City, and European versions but don't really know what the difference is apart from the names?

Well, in short it comes down to the rules. Below we give you an overview of the most popular blackjack variations you may find online as well as how they differ from one another:

Classic

Classic Blackjack is the simplest form of the game upon which all other variants are based. The Classic version is played with one standard 52 card deck as detailed in our Rules Section as it is the starting point for playing all other games and once you’ve mastered this version you will find it very easy to pick up on the rest out there.

European

This variation carries a house edge of 0.39% and has the following rules:

  • Played with two standard 52 card decks
  • There is one bet position at the table
  • The dealer will stand on soft 17
  • One may only Double on Nine (9) and Eleven (11)
  • No doubling after splitting is permitted
  • Player may draw to split aces
  • No re-splitting is allowed
  • No surrender exists within this game
  • There is no hole card, this means that you lose your total bet if the dealer holds blackjack

Spanish 21

This variation is similar to the basic game in many ways, but gets its name from the deck of cards it is played with. It features some quite favourable rules but a variable house edge of between 0.40% to 0.76% depending on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17.

  • Played with 6-8, 48 card "Spanish" decks
  • Face cards count as 10 but no numerical 10 cards are present
  • Dealer may hit or stand on soft 17
  • You may Double on any number of cards
  • You may hit or double after splitting aces
  • Player blackjack beats dealer blackjack
  • Late surrender is permitted on the initial two cards

Click here to learn advanced Spanish 21 Blackjack game play strategies.

Vegas Strip

This game gets its name from its origin and the house edge is on average around 0.34% it is preferable to play Vegas Strip blackjack rather than its counterpart Vegas Downtown blackjack due to the fact that it carries a lower house edge in comparison to Downtown having a 0.38% advantage. The rules in Vegas Strip Blackjack are as follows:

  • Played with 4 standard 52 card decks
  • There is one bet position at the table
  • The dealer will stand on soft 17
  • The dealer peeks for blackjack
  • You may Double on any of first two cards
  • Doubling after splitting is allowed
  • Re-splitting into three hands is permitted

Atlantic City

Named after the city of its birth, Atlantic City Blackjack differs slightly from the Vegas Strip version in that it offers the late surrender option and has a slightly higher house edge of 0.35%. It is played as follows:

  • Played with 8 decks of standard cards
  • There is one bet position on the table
  • The dealer will stand on soft 17
  • The dealer peeks for blackjack
  • You may Double on the first two cards
  • Doubling after a split is permitted
  • Re-splitting into three hands is possible
  • Late surrender is allowed

Blackjack Switch

Fancy cheating a bit? Well, blackjack switch offers you a few moves that would usually be classified as cheating in a standard game by trading cards between two hands, hence the name. The rules of this game will vary from casino to casino so it is advisable to check them out first before playing, but here is a general outline of what to expect:

  • 6-8 decks of standard playing cards
  • Player has 2 bets of equal size
  • Cards are dealt facing upwards
  • Player may switch cards dealt to each hand
  • Dealer hits on soft 17
  • Dealer peeks for blackjack on Ace or ten
  • You may Double on any 2 cards
  • Splitting after Doubling is permitted
  • Re-splitting into a maximum of 4 hands is allowed

Double Exposure

Double Exposure Blackjack carries one of the highest house edges (0.69%) and so it's not really advisable to play this game when there are so many others to choose from, but if you just can't help yourself, here's how it goes:

  • Played with 8 decks of standard cards
  • Both of the dealers cards are dealt face upwards
  • The Dealer will hit on soft 17
  • The player may re-split cards into a maximum of four hands
  • You may only Double on hard Nine (9) to Eleven (11)
  • One card is dealt to split aces
  • A Double after splitting is permitted
  • The dealer wins all ties except on blackjack
  • Blackjack tie pays 1 to 1
  • All player wins, including blackjack pay 1 to 1.

Multi-Hand

Multi-hand Blackjack is most often featured at Microgaming powered casinos online and has proved to be quite popular for those who are looking for a quicker pace and more excitement (although it does get expensive and a few bad hands will eat into your bankroll quite quickly). It also has a strong house advantage of 0.63% or so, so it's not as wise to play this as it is the standard games.

  • Played with 5 decks of standard cards
  • Features 5 bet positions on the table(Hence the name)
  • The dealer will stand on soft 17
  • You may only Double on nine (9) to eleven (11)
  • No doubling after splitting is allowed
  • No re-splitting is permitted
  • A Player may draw a card to split aces
  • No surrender option is available
  • No hole card exists, this means that you lose your total bet if the dealer has blackjack

Blackjack Surrender

Blackjack Surrender is featured at both Microgaming and Playtech powered onle casinos. Depending on the variant you play you may be able to choose the early or late surrender options. Early Surrender games allow you to surrender for a return of 50 percent of your stake once the cards have been dealt and before the dealer checks his/her cards. Late Surrender games allow players to surrender for a return of half their bet once the dealer has checked for blackjack. Determining whether to use these options in the game will depend on your strategy and the casino's rules in the game.

Find out what you need to know about mastering blackjack Surrender strategy in Playtech powered games.

Always bear in mind that blackjack is a game that requires a great deal of practice, and the more you play the better you will get!

So play at William Hill Casino Club regularly to improve your game!