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Blackjack Variants

Online blackjack is a player favorite for its great winning chances, dynamic gameplay, and interactive nature. Some blackjack variants break away from these features, build upon them, or disrupt the gameplay as a whole.

Since any blackjack player will eventually get bored of the classic 21 card game, it won’t hurt to have a few alternatives in mind. This page covers the most popular blackjack variations, how they are played, and how they differ from the original American Blackjack.

Best Blackjack Variants

 House EdgeDecksSoft 17DoublingSurrenderResplitting
American Blackjack0.5%8StandYesYesYes
European Blackjack0.39%6StandYesNoNo
Vegas Strip Blackjack0.35%8StandOn any same cardsNoYes
Perfect Pairs
ProgressiveVaries6Stand9, 10, or 11NoNo
Multihand0.38%6 – 8Varies9, 10, or 11DependsVaries
Buster Blackjack6.21%6VariesYesNoNo

There are 100+ online blackjack variants, with a new one devised every now and then. Covering every blackjack game available at US online casinos would be too much for anyone, so we instead selected the games you will most frequently encounter at real money blackjack sites.

American Blackjack

The terms classic and standard always refer to the American Blackjack variant, the traditional form of the card game. The deal begins with two cards for the dealer, one face-up and one face-down. Players must get 21 or get closer to it than the dealer without busting to win.

If the blackjack has a natural blackjack, 21 from the initial two cards, there is the option to avoid further than the initial wager. This is when peeking is allowed.

European Blackjack

You would be wrong if you think you won’t find European Blackjack at new USA online casinos. It carries the best edge across all blackjack variants, making it extremely popular with the US as with EU players. There are slightly more limitations for the players here, but the overall edge is better at 0.39%.


Although players cannot peek or surrender, as they would on American Blackjack, the dealer gets a single card face-up card at the beginning.

The second card comes after players have played their hands, bringing everyone to the same level.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

The theme of this blackjack variation is inspired by the Las Vegas Strip, where it was created. You can even find similar games called Sin City Blackjack that came about in the same way.


Vegas Strip Blackjack is identical to American Blackjack except for the peeking rule. Here, peeking is allowed for Aces, face cards, or 10s, in contrast to just Ace for the American variant.

Perfect Pairs Blackjack

Not a blackjack variant per se, the Perfect Pairs is a very popular side bet that has resulted in its distinctive name. The side bet pays out if a player makes a pair with their two initial cards and much larger jackpots for a 3rd and 4th pair.


Pairs can occur with any cards between 2 and 10 and are activated when a stake is placed on the respective side bet before the beginning of the round. The payout can reach millions based on the pair, variant, and bet.

Multihand Blackjack

The idea behind Multihand Blackjack might sound confusing to some, but it shouldn’t be. Here, a single player can play several blackjack hands simultaneously, calling the action for each hand in turn.


This blackjack variation allows for card counting by learning more about the remaining cards through the initial hands dealt.


By betting the highest amount on the last hand to be played, you can massively increase your winning chances. Different variants can incorporate the Multihand Blackjack gameplay.

Progressive Blackjack

Progressive Blackjack variants are harder to find than Blackjack Jackpot variants. The latter does not require a side bet to activate and can randomly pay out a reasonably high prize ($100 – $1,000).


On the other hand, players must opt-in for the side bet to stand a chance of winning the progressive jackpot.


The value increases until it is won by a percentage of each round’s bets. When a casino player wins, it resets and builds up again from zero.


Aside from the progressive jackpot, the surrender, shuffling, decks, and other rules remain the same with American Blackjack. However, the edge is significantly lower due to the percentage that is taken to build up the progressive prize.

Buster Blackjack

This is a fun blackjack variant, where players can place a side bet on whether the dealer will go bust. The house edge is lower due to this happening scarcely, but it can pay out up to 250x the stake if a dealer goes bust with 8 cards. When the dealer goes bust with 3 cards, the payout is 2:1.


There can also be a fun twist to Buster Blackjack, where the dealer draws cards even if the player gets blackjack. Over 8 cards to go bust without a draw on soft 17 pays out 2000x the stake.

Variations of Blackjack Rules

It should be evident from the above that real money online blackjack games are based on the same principles and simply differentiate on one or two little things. Here is where they most commonly deviate:

Dealers Rules

When the dealer’s hand reaches 17 with an Ace, it is called soft 17. Why does this matter? Well, depending on the blackjack variant, the dealer might be required to stand at a soft 17 or be allowed to take another card. Knowing this in advance is crucial.


Card counting is a popular blackjack strategy where players make assumptions based on the cards that have been dealt. Unless you know the number of decks and cards in each blackjack variant, these would be just guesses. This number usually ranges from 2 to 8, with fewer decks being better for strategic gameplay.

Cards Resplitting

Closely linked to the above, it is imperative to know if a blackjack variant allows for resplitting of the cards and decks.


The split move allows players to split the same cards and double their bet. Some variants might not allow this action, while others permit splitting for specific cards. While doubling is generally allowed, some variants might restrict it if the player has already split their cards.


Forfeiting half of your bet during a bad round is a perk enjoyed at specific variants but not allowed in others. Even when allowed, surrendering in blackjack might be restricted after a few hits or at certain totals.


The most common payout in blackjack is 3:2, but you can play a game variant operating on a 6:5 basis or 1:1. This massively affects the blackjack house edge. Typically, the same blackjack variants follow the same payout patterns across casino sites, but it is better to double-check this.


This is when the dealer can peek at his face-down card in cases where the face-up card is an Ace or 10. This rule favors players since the game can end instantly without allowing for additional bets.

House Edge

All the above rules that change based on the blackjack variant you play will affect the house edge. This value stands at 0.5% for American Blackjack, which is the best deal across all casino games, but it can be as high as 2.55% in variants like Blackjack Switch.

Blackjack Variants FAQs:

How many blackjack variations are there to play?

With side bets often acting as blackjack variants, there are over 100 games to try out. The most popular include American, European, Free Bet, Switch, Pontoon, Spanish, and more. Each blackjack variant has different winning odds and rules for players and dealers, so you must practice for free before playing for real money.

Is Double Exposure Blackjack better than American?

The edge of Double Exposure Blackjack is slightly lower than Classic Blackjack, at 0.67%. The main difference between the two blackjack games is that both dealers’ cards are open from the start. Another name for this variant is Face-up Blackjack.

What is perfect pair in blackjack games?

The perfect pairs side bet pays out when the players’ first two cards are of the same value. Some twists to the original game pay out larger amounts for a third or fourth pairing card. Due to the side bet’s popularity, many players call games featuring it Perfect Pair Blackjack.

Are side bets worth in online blackjack?

Blackjack is a relatively straightforward game that can be played in a video or live format. The action might often make players get bored, which is where side bets come in. Such bets are separate from the round buy-in, significantly increasing the game’s low edge. In contrast, they can pay out very high sums if certain conditions are met. Some popular blackjack side bets are progressives, buster, blazing 7s, and perfect pairs. Whether you should use them depends on your budget and expectations, but overall, American Blackjack in a standard form provides the best long-term winning chances.

Herbert Hanson
Author Herb has spent years working in the gambling industry, helping to provide gambling entertainment. He started from the land-based casino and then moved to the iGaming industry and joined our team as an author with great knowledge of the Las Vegas casino industry. His unique approach is the key to our content creation strategy. Do you need the latest bonuses and promotions; Herbert Hanson is your man with great knowledge.