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The Different Variations of Blackjack Explained

The Different Variations of Blackjack Explained

The history of blackjack is debated, though it origins appear to derive from France/Spain. The game of 21 in these countries predate blackjack and have a similar basis to the standard from of blackjack.

The games come from two cards being dealt and each player looking to get closest to a set value, 21 or 31 in these cases.

In France, 21 had been played since the 1700s and Blackjack continues the rule of reaching or being the closest to 21 to win.

In the 20th century, blackjack was still called 21 in Nevada, but it was during this period it changed its name to what it is now known across the world.

A bonus pay out was often given if a blackjack (spade or club) was dealt with an ace of spades. This has since become less common, but the game keeps its name which he adopted.

The game has adapted and changed over the years of its existence and new rules and variations have been introduced.

For those keen to explore the different types of blackjack go to for further guidance and advice.

Some of the variations on offer are explained below:

American Blackjack

This, also referred to as Classic Blackjack, is the most common and widely played form of the game.

Players must try to get to 21 without going over the total, should this happen you immediately lose.

Once the initial cards have been dealt, two per player, you can then elect to draw more cards or decide to stick with what you have. There is no limit to how many you can take.

You can still win with less than 21, this will be based upon who is closest to the 21 total.

When a dealer turns their cards, they must draw another if the total is below 16. When they reach 17 or above, they must stay with what they have.

European Blackjack

This form of blackjack imposes more limitations on players decision making than the American version.

The dealer in European blackjack deals their first card face up but doesn’t deal or consult their second card until after the player or players have finished their hands.

In America, the dealer will deal with both cards, though his second card will be face down.

There are fewer options to double down or split in European blackjack in comparison with American.

European Blackjack is also played using two 52-card decks, which does increase the edge towards the house. Making it more difficult to beat the odds, though the dealers are required to stay on a soft 17 which does favour other players.

Chinese Blackjack

Another variation with multiple names which change based on the region it is being played.

Your goal, like in the others is to get closer to 21 than the dealer, though it varies with the addition of special hands.

An example of a special hand in Chinese Blackjack is the “free hand”. This is any two cards which total 15 points. If you are dealt this hand, then you can stop the round immediately and force a reshuffle.

Double Attack

This version of blackjack is especially popular in Atlantic City.

It has multiple variations to the standard game and uses a Spanish deck, which means that there are 48 cards in the deck; the tens are all removed though the jacks, queens and kings remain.

Each player has the option to double their bets once they see the dealers up card, which is where this version gets its name.

Another key variation is the Bustit wager, which is a side bet that is based on a dealer going over 21 with exactly three cards. There pay-outs vary based on the three cards draws, but an example would be that if they draw three eights, the bet is 200 to 1.


Here we have the Australian version of the game, which mostly resembles the Spanish 21 game.

It uses a Spanish Deck like the Double Attack version and bonus payouts are made depending on specific hands.

Some of these bonus hands include:

  • Five card hands totalling 21 – offering 3/2
  • Six card hands totalling 21 – offering 2/1
  • Any hand of 678 or 777 – this has variations of payouts depending on the suits.
  • Any hand of 777 of the same suit pays out extra if the dealer also has a 7.

If a big bonus is paid out, even the other players on the table receive a $50 envy bonus regardless of how they do.

The bonuses are though not eligible if you double down on your original hand.

Super Fun 21

This is a popular game in Las Vegas, Nevada. One that is not the biggest in payouts but has rules which are favourable to the players.

A total of 20 with six cards or more always wins, a total of 21 with five or more cards always wins as well; no matter what the dealer or other players have.

Player blackjacks always win as well, which makes the game more fun for the beginner especially, even if the payouts are lower.

There is a wide range of variations of the game and different rules which come with it.

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