Online blackjack games
Like most gambling games, blackjack has changed a lot over the years. As it spread to different countries, it took on new identities, with new rule changes coming into effect. Then came the internet. The internet gambling scene spread blackjack even further across the globe, and made it accessible to everyone. Naturally, as casinos and software providers competed against each other, they adjusted the rules even further, in a bid to create more and more original blackjack games. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular “variants” they have developed.
What are blackjack variants?
A blackjack variant can best be described as a type of blackjack game, which features alterations in how it is played. In some cases these may be tiny rule changes, a different set of decks may be used, or even the structure of how the game is played may be altered. In short, the differences between a blackjack variant and the original game could be miniscule or gigantic. In fact, the original blackjack game is scarcely even played anymore.
The original blackjack game
In the original blackjack game, players only had a blackjack if they had an Ace of Spades, and a black jack (Jack of Clubs, or Jack of Spades). It was a rule which was added to the original 21 game, when it first made its appearance at casinos in the United States, as a way of offering larger wins for less probably hands, to lure in the crowds.
The game we know as classic blackjack actually stemmed from the original game. It is closely related to the original 21 game which preceded blackjack. Today, classic blackjack is the default blackjack game, upon which all the other variants are based. Players no longer need the Ace of Spades and a black jack to win. Any ace and face (or 10-card) is considered worthy enough to be called blackjack.
Double Exposure is one of the most popular blackjack variants. As its name suggests, both of the dealer’s card are exposed (on show). You may think that you therefore have a slight advantage over the dealer. Well, not really. Because of this rule, blackjack only pays at 1:1, instead of the normal 3:2 rate, and the dealer wins all ties save for blackjack itself. In some casinos, this game may be known as Face Up 21, instead.
Match Play 21
This is one of the more challenging blackjack variants out on the market. This is simply because all of the 10s in a deck have been removed. The deck only consists of 48 cards in this variant, although additional bonus pay-outs are available for having 777, 678 and other combinations of cards, which can really make this variant worthwhile.
Most blackjack games have the splitting rule in them, but that rule is simply not really needed in Multi-Hand blackjack. This blackjack variant allows the player to bet on multiple blackjack hands at once. It doesn’t really serve a purpose, since you must wager on each individual hand anyway. It is ideal if you are in the mood for playing blackjack quickly, though.
Multiplayer blackjack is quite different from Multi-hand blackjack. In Multiplayer blackjack, you will not be the only player sitting at the table, taking on the dealer. Other players will also be at the table, hence the Multiplayer part of its title. This game is ideal if you fancy a more realistic blackjack online gaming session.
Pontoon is quite similar to blackjack, although it is more popular in Britain. In Pontoon, you cannot see any of the dealers’ cards – unlike in blackjack were you normally get to see at least one. The dealer wins all ties in Pontoon, but the dealer must twist (take another card) on 16s and soft 17s, which is different than blackjack, where the dealer usually stands.
Single deck, and specific deck number blackjack games
You can’t really get much simpler to understand than Single Deck blackjack. Naturally, this blackjack variant is played with just a single deck of cards. Many other variants exist based on the number of decks they feature, such as 8-Deck blackjack, and so on. Rules and house edges vary greatly between each different blackjack variant, depending on how many decks they feature.
Spanish 21 features either 6 or 8 decks, depending on the variant. Like Match Play 21, all 10s are removed from the decks, although more lenient rules are present in favour of the player. Such rules include re-splitting aces, late surrender, a player’s blackjack beating a dealer’s, and the ability to double down on any number of cards.
Blackjack Surrender is a variant which will allow players to surrender (fold), if they have two very bad cards in their first hand. You can do this to forfeit just half your original stake. This is known as early surrendering. Other blackjack variants feature late surrender options.
And finally, we must mention Switch. This blackjack variant is hugely popular, and has a low house edge. It permits players to play two hands at once, and two switch cards between the two hands. Many side-bets are available in Switch, such as a pair, two pairs, three of a kind, or four of a kind. This makes the blackjack game hugely enjoyable.