Blackjack Variations

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Blackjack Variations


Blackjack is an intriguing card game, one that seems simple on the surface, yet it hides a complex set of intricacies hidden within its core. This is something every seasoned Blackjack player will know, and of course – we’re looking at the main reason of its popularity.

We’re talking about a game that is centuries old, and because of that it hardly comes as a surprise that over the years, numerous game variations have been spawned. This is especially true when it comes to online casinos, as there are cases of table games a beginner wouldn’t even know were actually based off Blackjack.

We’ll take a look at some of the most popular blackjack variants available today.

European Blackjack

European Blackjack is the most commonly available variant today, it can be found in online and land casinos alike. Its main characteristics are that the dealer must stand on all 17, players can only double down on 9, 10 and 11 and only split cards once. Perhaps the most notable attribute of European Blackjack is that the dealer is not allowed to peak at their face-down card to check for 21.

In general, this is the most standard type of blackjack you can play, and it is especially recommended if you are a beginner.

Spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a Blackjack variation that given the right set of rules, can offer even higher odds of winning than regular Blackjack.

The ruleset varies depending on the casino, but there is one never-changing attribute of Spanish 21, it is that all the 10’s have been removed from the deck, meaning the game is played with 48 cards per deck. This bumps the house edge a bit more in favor of the dealer e.g. the house, because of which Spanish 21 compensates with a number of player-favored rules. Typically, late surrender, doubling after splitting and re-splitting aces is allowed – among other things.

In Asia and Australia, Spanish 21 is called Pontoon, albeit there may be slight differences between the two.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a relatively new game variant that grew in popularity among casinos – offline and online alike. Blackjack Switch brings the rules of the game to a game layout that heavily reminisces of video poker, thus blending two very popular casino games in one. The basic attributes of Switch are that instead of one hand, each player is dealt two separate hands, requiring two separate bets. Players can also switch the top-most card of each hand. This puts the edge in favor of the player, or in the least it’s an even playing field. However, the game has added a number of house-favored rules to compensate for this, making Blackjack Switch more of a high risk to high reward game.

Double Exposure Blackjack

In Double Exposure Blackjack, the dealer’s two initial cards are dealt face-up, which is the main reason for this game’s massive popularity across casinos. This is a heavily player-favored rule, and even though the game features a number of house-favored rules to compensate, a player with understanding of basic blackjack strategy can still go a long way in Double Exposure.

The game is played with 4-8 decks, but most of the time you’ll see it with at least 6 decks in play. Anything less is a rarity, in order to prevent card counters. In fact, the game itself is not easily found – even online. When you do, however, it’s definitely worth a shot as its one of the most lucrative Blackjack variants out there.


The aforementioned Blackjack variants are but a few of what’s available out there, albeit they are the most popular. The more you master the game, the more you will understand the benefits and pitfalls of each rule. However, under no circumstance are you advised to play at a Blackjack table that pays 2 to 1. Instead, always look for “Blackjack pays 3 to 2”.

For a beginner who’s using basic strategy, it’s worthy to know that one of the most player-favored online Blackjack variants is Vegas Single Deck Blackjack, and it can be found at many Microgaming casinos. It features a single deck, 3:2 payments on Blackjack and a host of other player-favored rules.


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