Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games today. Its popularity is due, in large part, to the fact that it is one of the casino games with the lowest house edge. On top of that, it is one of the few games where player decisions actually matter.
It’s far more interactive than most other games, making it a favourite game for an entire category of players – even some professionals.
“Blackjack” is, in turn, a collective term, covering several variants of the base game. As you might expect, many of them have different rule sets and different odds. Let’s take a look at the most widely used ones.
Double Exposure Blackjack
Double-exposure blackjack is an interesting variant. When the hands are dealt, the dealer gets their two cards and both of them are visible.
This offers players a significant advantage. But there’s also a disadvantage in it for them: instead of paying the usual 3 to 2, blackjacks pay even money, reducing the odds for players.
Evolved from the same ancestor as blackjack, Spanish 21 is a game where 10s are removed from the deck. This reduces the odds of the players hitting a blackjack significantly because only face cards (no tens) and aces can form them.
On the other hand, there are several high-paying card combinations in the game, from a payout of 3 to 2 for a five-card 21 to a payout of 3 to 1 for a hand consisting of three 7s.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
One of the most common variants you’ll stumble upon at land-based and mobile casinos. It is one of the games where the house has a slightly higher advantage because of the rules that apply.
The game is played with four decks of cards. The Vegas Strip Blackjack is pretty permissive with splitting and doubling down: you can split up to four hands per game, and double down on any initial hand, as well as after splitting.
The disadvantage of the Vegas Strip Blackjack for the player is that a ten-value card and an Ace don’t count as a blackjack after a split.
Another interesting game with both an advantage and a disadvantage for the player. Played with up to eight 52-card decks, the game sees two hands dealt to each player, with the option to play with the first one or to switch to the second one.
On the other hand, natural blackjacks pay even money instead of the traditional 3 to 2, and if the dealer has a hard 22 (a hand worth 22 points with no ace involved), every hand is pushed.
Single-deck blackjack with 6 to 5 payout
The single-deck blackjack variant where natural blackjacks pay 6 to 5 has the worst odds of all variants. Here, all the rules are the same as in the standard game variant, only the payouts are altered to increase the house advantage.
This is the only blackjack game that all experts advise players to avoid. Luckily, due to the lack of interest, it is only played in certain Las Vegas casinos.
Blackjack can be one of the most entertaining casino games, even if you play it with no real money involved. The fact that you can outwit the house and defeat them against all odds makes it a fun and rewarding game – if you choose the right variant, of course.