Blackjack And Its Many Variations

blackjack table with jack and ace of spades showing

It might be hard to believe but the beloved casino game you play regularly, might not be the same variation played across the world. Depending on where you usually play, you might come across a different variation when entering another casino. If you play online blackjack, here are some of the different variations you should look for in a new casino.

Classic Blackjack

No doubt you will be familiar with this type of Blackjack more than others. In this version, the dealer uses between one and eight shuffled decks to deal with. You receive two cards initially, one face down (also known as the hole card) and one face up. The dealer receives the same card combination.

Once your face-down card is revealed you have a decision to make, stand or hit. If you decide to stand, you cannot boost your total any closer to the number 21 (which is what wins you the game). You might have turned over a total of 21 which will win you the game. This is known as a ‘natural’ Blackjack. The other option is to receive a ‘hit’. This is when you ask for another card to boost your total, be careful though if you go over the limit of 21 you bust and lose the game.

The dealer must then reveal their hand and make the same decisions. If your total is higher than the dealer, you win the game.

European Blackjack

The set-up of this game is similar to the classic version but it’s only played with two decks of cards. Unlike classic Blackjack, you will receive both of your cards face up, meaning you have the chance to split as well as stand or hit. By splitting your hand, you can change a bad hand into two good ones, with a greater chance to beat the dealer. It is possible to go bust on both of these hands though so hit with caution.

Once the player’s turn is over, the dealer can reveal his face-down card. The dealer has the option to double down on his hand only when the total is 9, 10 or 11.

Atlantic City Blackjack

In Atlantic City, they like to add a few of their own rules. The game must be played with eight decks, and the dealer is allowed to sneak-a-peek at his hole card and stand on a soft 17. A player can late surrender, which means they will only forfeit half of their bet after the dealer checks for Blackjack. There is also an insurance option, where you can place a side bet that the dealer has a Blackjack, although you can only place this bet if the card on show in the dealer’s hand is an Ace.

Spanish 21

Spanish Blackjack is always played with either six or eight decks. In Spanish decks, the number 10 of each suit is removed, leaving 48 cards instead of 52 in a deck (also increasing the house edge). In this game, the dealer can look at his hole card. The dealer will win if he has a Blackjack, although if the player also has a Blackjack, it will end in a draw.

Insurance options are available, as well as late surrender. Late surrender is also available after doubling down to increase the player’s chances of winning.

Blackjack Switch

In Blackjack switch, you are dealt two different hands, both face-up. At this point, you can switch two cards between pairs to create a stronger hand. Unfortunately, the dealer will always win if he has a Blackjack, even if you create a Blackjack from switching cards.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

This American form of Blackjack is more commonly found online. This version allows the dealer to look at his hole card and stand on a soft 17. This version is always played with four decks. A player can double down after splitting aces and can re-split cards up to three times.


A light-hearted version of the game, and no doubt one which you will have been taught in your early years of playing card games. Pontoon changes the terms hit or stand and to twist or stick, respectively. It shares an element with Spanish 21, where all the number 10 cards are removed from the deck.

Super Fun 21

Played with one deck, Super Fun 21 is similar to classic Blackjack. One big difference is that a player’s natural Blackjack will always beat a dealer’s natural Blackjack. This form of Blackjack also includes a Diamond Blackjack, where if the Jack of Diamonds is in the hand, a greater payout rate of 2:1 will occur. Players can hit, stand, double or split any number of cards.

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