Blackjack Variations

Blackjack is a variance of the world-famous banking game called Twenty-One. The exact origins of the game are unknown, but it is speculated that the predecessor of all blackjack variations games dates back to early 1600s. When the game was first introduced in the United States, in order to help popularize it, the gambling houses offered rewards if the player’s consisted of a black jack or the ace of spades, and it is how the game got its name.

In a game of blackjack, players are usually dealt two cards. Each card has its own value that is represented by the number on the card. Aces are worth either 1 or 11, while every face card is worth 10. The main objective of the game is to reach 21 or at least be closer to 21 than the dealer is without exceeding the number.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that these are just the general and very basic rules of blackjack. There are many more different blackjack variations out there, all of which come with their different rules and strategies. If you’re curious to find out more and potentially learn how to play blackjack along the way, this page will talk about different blackjack variations and the biggest differences between them.


Most Popular Variations

Among the many blackjack variations, there are several variances that stand out because of their popularity and also the fun aspect that comes with them. Naturally, they are also the ones that will see most often in online casinos.

  • Classic Blackjack

Among the various blackjack variations, Classic Blackjack is one of the first variances of this popular banking game. We’ve already covered the basic rules — have a hand value that’s 21 or closest to it without exceeding it, and that’s it. Naturally, there are more rules to it, and one thing to keep an eye on is that, depending on the venue or the online casino’s software, a game of Classic Blackjack will be played with one or more decks of 52 cards.

  • Blackjack Switch

When it comes to blackjack variations, Blackjack Switch is undoubtedly the most interesting one. Instead of playing with just one hand, the players will have an opportunity to bet on two cards simultaneously. Moreover, what makes Blackjack Switch truly exciting is that you can swap the top cards of each hand you were dealt at the start. The house edge in Blackjack Switch is higher than the one in traditional blackjack.

  • Spanish 21

Spanish 21 was first introduced in 1995 and, unlike many blackjack variations, it is played with a 48-card Spanish deck or by excluding four 10’s in the standard 52-card decks. Cards have the same value as in standard, but since the house is heavily favoured by removing the 10’s, Spanish 21 often comes with many tweaks that depend on the casino you’re playing at.


Other Variations of Blackjack

Apart from the three most popular ones we’ve included, there are dozens of other blackjack variances out there. If you are still on the lookout for the most exciting one that also has a low house edge, here are some other blackjack variations that you can try.

Super Fun 21 is perhaps the most fun variance of all blackjack variations, and it offers the players a chance to win in multiple ways. For example, one of the ways is by having six cards with a total value of 20 or less or by always beating the dealer’s blackjack with your blackjack.

Double blackjack is said to be a mixture of classic blackjack and pai gow poker. This is because, instead of one, a player needs to form and play two hands just like in pai gow, but we will get to this part in a bit.

Three Card Blackjack allows you to have three cards in your hand, which is somewhat rare among the different blackjack variations. You will then have the chance to pick whether you wish to keep all three or just two of them.

European Blackjack is a predecessor of standard blackjack, which is often used against professional card counters since the decks are reshuffled after each round, and there is no splitting of 4’s, 5’s, or even 10’s.

Chinese Blackjack, as we stated briefly, is similar to your standard Blackjack, where each player is dealt two face-down cards, including the dealer.

Caribbean 21 features most deviations from the regular blackjack variations. Most notably, Ace always has a value of one.

Pontoon is fairly similar to Spanish 21, but it also comes with many twists and turns, depending on the casino you’re playing at.

Double Attack Blackjack is a variance of a variance; Spanish 21, to be more precise. It allows the players to double their wager after seeing the dealer’s face-up card, and it also includes multiple side bets.


Fairness of the Games

Virtually every brick-and-mortar casino is reputable. They are regulated by the strict laws in the jurisdictions they operate in, and they only employ licensed personnel who are experienced with multiple blackjack variations and their rules. Therefore, you can rest assured that they will treat you fairly.

When it comes to online casinos, they often employ different rules to prevent the players from cheating, and the players should also know how to distinguish between reputable and shady online casinos.

Online Casino Testing Houses

© eCOGRA, © GLI, © TST, © iTech Labs | Online Casino Testing Houses

MGA & UKGC logos

© MGA & UKGC logos

You can find multiple blackjack variations in almost every online casino. However, before you start playing, you should make sure that the casino you’re playing in is licensed. This guarantees that all the disputes go through gaming authorities and that your money is safe. Some of the most reputable licence issuers are the MGA and the UKGC.

In addition, you should check if the fairness of the casino’s games was tested by an independent auditor, such as iTech Labs, eCOGRA, and Gaming Laboratories International, to name a few. They certify games to ensure that every outcome of the game is truly random so that the players have fair chances of winning.


Where to Play?

One of the first questions that players tend to ask before deciding between different blackjack variations and which one they should play is asking whether they should opt for the live dealer or RNG games.

RNG games are almost always played online. If the game is licensed and certified, the mathematical model of the software guarantees that the house edge in a RNG game is always the same. However, the same can be said for live dealer games, since the dealers are trained to follow the strategy that always ensures the best outcome for the house. In other words, the only difference in playing online or offline is your personal preference.

One thing to keep in mind is that playing online will let you have easier access to more different blackjack variations.