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The 3 most popular blackjack variants

December 13, 2022

Blackjack has been one of the most popular games in traditional brick-and-mortar and digital casinos. Surprisingly, blackjack is not played the same way in every casino.

There are some subtle changes from version to version. You may find yourself asking which are the most popular versions of blackjack. Ask no further. The answers you seek lay ahead.

Classic Blackjack

Classic Blackjack has also been referred to as American Blackjack. The dealer gets two cards, one face up and one face down. The face-down card is known as the hole card and cannot be seen by the dealer unless the dealer has a chance for a natural blackjack, or the player has an ace dealt to them in the opening hand.

In classic blackjack, you are also allowed to “double down”, double the amount you betted at the beginning of the hand, on your hand, even if you have split your hand.

Speaking of splitting your hand in American Blackjack, you can split your hand a total of 3 times, meaning you can have up to 4 active hands playing regardless of the total that your cards add up to.

European Blackjack

One of the biggest differences between European and classic Blackjack is the hole card. In European Blackjack, the dealer does not receive a hole card, they only receive a card that is placed face up and can only draw a second card once the player has made their playing decisions.

The dealer isn’t the only one limited in the European form of Blackjack. The player can only double down on their hand if their hand equals 9,10, or 11.

The player's ability to split is also limited in European Blackjack, as a player can only split their hand if they have a 10, J, Q or K and may only split their hand once, meaning a player may only have 2 active hands at play.

A further interesting difference in European Blackjack is that dealers use between 2 and 6 regular card decks during play, whereas in classic Blackjack, dealers utilise between 6 to 8 decks.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

The Vegas strip variant of Blackjack is one of the most popular versions of the beloved Blackjack game, especially online. The differences are far more subtle between classic Blackjack and Vegas Strip Blackjack.

The dealer still receives their hole card at the start of the hand as they would in the classic version of Blackjack. However, here the dealer may only peek at their hole card if their face-up card is an ace.

Another notable difference between Vegas Strip Blackjack and classic blackjack is that players are not allowed to surrender during a hand which is similar to European Blackjack, whereas, in classic blackjack, players may surrender at any time.

Furthermore, decks are limited to only 4 to draw from, which leans the odds ever so slightly more towards the player.

Other Common Rules Differences

There are some other common rule differences to look out for when trying out various kinds of blackjack, one of which is the Soft 17 rule. This rule is what determines whether a dealer hits or stands on a Soft 17, which is a hand that totals 17, with an ace being one of the cards.

In some versions of blackjack, dealers will be forced to stand. This means they cannot take any further cards when on a soft 17. In other versions, dealers will be forced to hit. That is, to take another card into their hand. However, in all versions of blackjack, dealers must hit on any hand that is equal to 16 or lower.

It is also possible to play blackjack where both the dealer's cards are face up from the very beginning of the game or where some cards, such as the numbered 10 card, have been removed from the playable decks.

Conclusion

Do not let the various amounts of blackjack scare you. The games are easy to learn and tons of fun, and you should try each version to see which suits your tastes best.

There are sub-versions of the three most popular blackjack games discussed earlier, such as Double Exposure Blackjack, Spanish 21, Super Fun 21 and many more.

So, if you are keen to try, a whole world of blackjack games awaits.

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