Blackjack Variations

Blackjack is one of the most, if not the most common casino game in the world. You can find it in almost every casino, land based or online. It is played in a similar way across the world. However it is treated differently in some aspects and some rules have been known to vary between continents, countries, cities, and some times even between neighboring casinos. These rules and the way they differ are know as the rules variations.

Knowing the rules variations is very important for two reasons. First, in some hands they will have an impact of the moves that you make. (See our basic Strategy Chart). And second, they have an impact on your chances to win the game.

These are rules variations:

1. Number of decks: you want to play in a table with the smallest number of decks, as it will increase your chances to win.

2. Soft 17: soft 17 is a 17 hand, which contains an ACE. In all tables, dealer must STAND on a hard 17. A table where the dealer has to HIT on soft 17, lowers your chances to win.

3. Double Down: some tables let players double down on all initial hands, others will only allow it in initial hands worth 9, 10, or 9-11 etc. Playing in a table with all Doubling Down options is of course favorable for the players.

4. Splits more than once: some casinos will let you split your identical cards only once while others will let you split twice or even more. The more splitting options you get the higher your odds for winning.

5. Double Down after Split: Some casinos will let you Double Down after you Split. This option is favorable for the player.

7. Surrender: Some casinos will let you surrender and pay only half you bet.

8. Insurance: some casinos will let you buy insurance against the dealer’s Blackjack if the dealer’s up card is an ACE. If the dealer eventually gets a Blackjack, you win 2:1.

9. Dealer’s Blackjack: You may lose all your bets or only original bet on a dealer’s Blackjack.

Although rules variations may differ from one casino to another. Most casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or across Europe tend to have similar rules variation. Here is their list (It is advisable, however, to check the rules variations of the casino before you start playing):

Las Vegas Blackjack (Strip)

1. Number of decks: 4

2. Soft 17: dealer STANDS on all 17s

3. Double Down: on all initial hands

4. Split more than once: not allowed

5. Double Down after Split: allowed

6. All bets are lost on a dealer’s Blackjack

Atlantic City Casinos

1. Number of decks: 8

2. Soft 17: dealer STANDS on all 17s

3. Double Down: on all initial hands

4. Split more than once: allowed

5. Double Down after Split: allowed

6. Only original bets are lost on a dealer’s Blackjack

European Blackjack

1. Number of decks: 2

2. Soft 17: dealer STANDS on all 17s

3. Double Down: only on 9, 10, 11

4. Split more than once: allowed

5. Double Down after Split: not allowed

6. All bets are lost on a dealer’s Blackjack

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