Introduction to European Blackjack
European Blackjack is one of the most played variations of the standard and well-beloved game of 21 in both land-based and online casinos alike. Like in other blackjack variations, European Blackjack is played against the dealer, and the players’ objective is to have a better hand than the dealer without going over 21.
The European Blackjack shares plenty of characteristics with the classic American variety but with some minor changes. The biggest discrepancy lies in the ‘hole’ card. In European Blackjack, the dealer can only take a single face-up card, and there is no ‘hole’ or a face-down card in the initial dealing, and consequently, there is no chance of the dealer’s immediate Blackjack.
Stick with us as we tell you more about how to play European Blackjack and the game’s characteristics.
How To Play European Blackjack
Check out this concise guide that will tell you more about both the general and some specific rules of European Blackjack you need to be aware of before playing this great game. Read on!
As stated before, the goal of European Blackjack is to beat the dealer getting a total of 21 points, a Blackjack, or the closest overall score to 21. It is played against the croupier, and, usually, two decks of cards without jokers are used. There are also versions where up to 8 decks can be used, but these are pretty rare.
The card points are awarded as follows: the cards from 2 to 9 are valued at their face value, whereas the cards from 10 to Ace have a value of 10 points each. The Ace is the card that has a value of both 11 and 1.
The primary characteristic of European Blackjack that separates it from the rest is the ‘no hole card’ rule where the dealer does not get a hole card on the initial dealing, so the dealer can’t peek for Blackjack straight from the start. The second card is dealt to the croupier only after all other players have received their two cards.
This rule has the greatest effect on the house edge. With this rule, the players stand to lose their total bets made against the casino, including any splits and doubles they might have made, contrary to the other games where only the initial bets can be lost.
There are some fixed European Blackjack rules you need to be acquainted with before making any solid European Blackjack strategy.
Splitting 4s, 5s, or any 10-point cards that are not alike isn’t allowed. Only Aces and identical 10-point cards can be divided, and you can add only one card to each. Also, you can double their bets after a split and thus win more significantly.
The dealer always draws another card on the 16 but stands on soft 17.
Furthermore, no surrender is allowed in European Blackjack, as the dealer can’t check for Blackjack.
Now that you have become familiar with the general rules, we should turn to the course of the game itself.
The cards are now dealt, and if you get a 10-point card and an Ace, they immediately win the hand with a blackjack. If their hand goes over 21, you or the dealer loses the bet in what is called a bust. If the hand is lower than 21, you will have these options to choose from before the dealer gets their second card.
If you choose to get as near as possible to 21, you can opt for the ‘hit’ button and get another card and hopefully improve the value of the hand.
If you get two identical 10-point cards or at least one Ace, you can split your hand into two separate hands, and an extra bet will be made. Basically, you can now receive more cards for each split card with the ‘Hit’ button and maximize your chances. The cards can be split only once per hand, and Aces can’t be re-split.
Double down is an option in European Blackjack that allows you to double your bet on a hard hand of 9, 10, or 11-point card. You may not double down if you split your hand, so bear that in mind when devising your European Blackjack strategy.
When the dealer’s up card is an Ace, you can use the ‘Insurance’ option and place a side bet. The idea behind this side bet is that you can get some of your money back if you think the dealer will get a 10-point card next and thus a blackjack. The payout ratio for insurance bet in case you win is 2 to 1, and you usually bet half of your original wager as the insurance bet.
The European Blackjack is an exciting version of Blackjack that is available in both online and brick-and-mortar casinos. It is easy to learn and has excellent playing features that slightly differ from the classic version of the game. You can indeed lose more with the ‘no-hole card’ rule, but with the double down option, for example, you can lower the house edge significantly and win even more. With the combination of luck and the right strategy and with a little extra help from our guide on how to play European Blackjack, this game will surely become your go-to casino game. Good luck!