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Online Blackjack Game Selection

Tuesday, 15 December 2022 12:56

Although there is some disagreement regarding the origins of the immensely popular game of Blackjack, most evidence points towards early 18th century French casinos to be the root of the game’s existence, where it was known as Vingt-et-Un, which is French for twenty-one. Throughout the centuries the game has developed into one of the most beloved casino games in existence (together with roulette and baccarat), which led to a large amount of varieties in which the game is now played. It comes as no surprise that playing Blackjack has some interesting analogies to investing strategies and risk-taking in general. Even though the main goal is always to get 21 points, each form has its own intricacies that require strategic adjustments by the player.


blackjack board


For the blackjack laymen; let’s briefly discuss the different rules and options one can employ when playing a game of Blackjack. The two main actions are to stand or to hit; the former meaning sticking to the combined score your current holding gives you and hoping the dealer will not beat you. The latter means getting another card hoping to get a score of 21 or close to it. If your cumulative score goes over 21, you bust and the dealer will win. There are also the more advanced blackjack strategic options of splitting, surrendering, taking insurance, and doubling down to consider before you sit down to play a hand.


Let’s start with the mother of all Blackjack variants; Classic Blackjack. Here, only one deck of 52 cards is used (no Jokers). In the Classic form, players are allowed to double down on any hand, after which they will be forced to stand after hitting one card on each of their hands. Splitting is allowed three times, making four hands (as in many forms of Blackjack, the only exception is splitting aces, which is not allowed). Surrendering is not allowed in the Classic form, but taking insurance is.


Classic Blackjack:

One deck of 52 cards

Maximum of three splits, with the exception of aces

No surrendering

Taking insurance is allowed


One of the most played variants is Double Deck Blackjack, which, as its name implies, is played with two decks of cards. Another difference compared to Classic Blackjack is that dealers do not receive a hole card and they must stand on a soft 17 (a 17 with an ace). Just like in the Classic form, surrendering is not allowed, but taking insurance is, in which case one would be paid 2:1 on your bet in case the dealer hits blackjack.


Double Deck Blackjack:

Two decks of 52 cards

Dealer does not receive a hole card and will stand on a soft 17

No surrendering

Taking insurance allowed


Another popular form of the game is the European variant, which is played with six decks all shuffled together. Some other subtle differences include the dealer being forced to hit on a soft 17, while also not receiving a hole card. Additionally, one is able to double down on any hand, even after a non-ace split. Aces can only be split once and they must stand after hitting one more card.


European Blackjack:

Six decks of 52 cards

Maximum of two splits, except when dealt aces (can only be split once)

Dealer does not get a hole card

Any hand can be doubled down

Surrendering allowed


As in all forms of blackjack, in the Atlantic City variant (named after the New Jersey gambling capital) the goal is to beat the dealer, however this time the dealer will instantly check if he has blackjack when he has either a ten or an ace as the up card. It is played with eight decks shuffled up (unless played in its Double Deck form, which logically is played with only two). The dealers will also stand on a soft 17 and players are able to double down on any hand while allowed to split just once. There is no surrendering but taking insurance is allowed in the Atlantic City form.


Atlantic City Blackjack:

Dealer checks for blackjack with an ace or 10-value card showing

Played with eight decks

Dealer stands on soft 17

No surrendering, taking insurance allowed.


atlantic city


One especially interesting form of the game is Spanish 21. Apart from being able to double down on any number of cards, there are usually payout bonuses for five-or-more card 21s. This form even guarantees that a player’s blackjack always wins but the 10s are removed from the deck beforehand. Splitting is allowed for a maximum of four times and players can surrender after doubling down.


Spanish 21:

Usually played with either six or eight decks

Payout bonuses for five-or-more card 21s

10s removes from the deck (Broadway cards will remain in the deck)

Surrendering allowed


While there are still many other forms of Blackjack, the aforementioned ones are the most popular ones worldwide. Since the rules can differ quite a bit, a novice is probably best off starting with the classic form and once familiarized, can move on to the more advanced forms. Being aware of the differences between the various forms is essential to maximizing your value in the game. Whichever form you choose, may the cards fall your way!   


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