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A Guide to Blackjack – All the Variants Explained

A Brief History of Blackjack 

The origins of Blackjack can be traced back hundreds of years. Prior to Blackjack, there was an English version of the game Vingt-Un, or Twenty-One. Vingt-Un probably originated in Spain and references to it can be found in literature from as early as 1601, such as the tale  Rinconete y Cortadillo by Miguel de Cervantes.  

Vingt-Un had certainly reached France by the late 1760s and then Britain by the 1770s. It took a little longer to reach the United States, and the first rules printed there were in 1825. The English game of Vingt-Un gradually evolved into an American variant and this was renamed Blackjack around 1899.  

There is some controversy about how the name Blackjack came about. Many believed that when Vingt-Un first arrived in the United States, gambling houses would offer bonus payouts to try to attract more players. One of these bonuses was a 10:1 payout if the player’s hand contained the Ace of Spades and a black Jack (Clubs or Spades). However, this theory has recently been disproved. Now it is believed that the name Blackjack was first used by prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush (the final few years of the nineteenth century).  The bonus payout was the same as in the modern game, for an Ace and any card worth 10. In those days, the term “blackjack” was used to refer to the mineral zinc blende, which was often associated with gold or silver deposits, and it is believed that prospectors started using it for the game’s most valuable hand. 

Regardless of the true origins of the name, Blackjack continued to grow in popularity throughout the twentieth century and today it is the most popular casino card game in the world.  

The Evolution of Blackjack 

While Blackjack’s popularity continued to grow, more and more variants began to emerge, both in American casinos and in those across the world. Today, there are a huge number of different Blackjack variants. Many of them have just small changes to the basic rules, such as using a different number of decks of cards, or allowing players to Double Down in different circumstances. However, there are also a number of variants that are strikingly different.  

Here at Casino Las Vegas, you are able to enjoy around twenty different versions of Blackjack, and that is not including the Live Dealer games. Each offers a slightly different experience and players are sure to find one that offers the rule variations that they are looking for. In this guide, we shall explain the difference between the various Blackjack games on offer, to help players find the perfect one for them.  

Standard Blackjack Variants 

In this section, you will find a brief explanation of all the standard Blackjack variants. These are games found at land and online casinos across the world, and very often, the difference between them is subtle. However, these differences are highly important to advanced players who make use of Blackjack strategy.  

 Vegas Blackjack 

As the name suggests, this is a version of Blackjack that is very popular in Las Vegas. It offers a huge number of features that are sure to appeal to players. The game itself is played with six decks of cards that are shuffled between each round. The specific rules are as follows: 

  • Hands may be split once 
  • One only card will be drawn to split Aces 
  • Double Down is allowed after splitting 
  • After splitting, Ace and a 10 card is considered 21, not Blackjack 
  • The dealer will not check for Blackjack 
  • Blackjack pays at 6:5 
  • The dealer draws to 16 and will stand on all 17s, both hard and soft 
  • If the dealer’s up card is worth 10, the player doubles, and then the dealer has Blackjack, the double bet is returned to the player. 
  • A 10 card Charlie will defeat all hands except for Blackjack  

In addition to these specific rules, the game allows players to play up to five hands simultaneously. It also offers Insurance, and the 21+3 and the perfect pairs side bets.  

 Blackjack Surrender  

This version of Blackjack features the Surrender rule. This rule allows players to abandon a hand and receive half of their bet back as long as they do so immediately after the first two cards have been dealt. The specifics of the game are as follows: 

  • Played with six decks that are shuffled between each round 
  • Hands can be split just once 
  • Only one card drawn to split Aces 
  • Double Down is available after Splitting 
  • The dealer checks for Blackjack if the up card is an Ace or 10 card. If the up card is an Ace then insurance is offered before checking for Blackjack 
  • The dealer stands on all 17s, both hard and soft.  
  • A 7 card Charlie beats all hands except for Blackjack  

The game allows players to play up to five hands at the same time, and it also offers the Player’s Pair, Dealer’s Pair and 21+3 side bets.  

 Premium Blackjack 

As the name suggests, this is a deluxe version of Blackjack. It has been adopted for both high and low rollers giving players the choice of betting limits when they start playing. It is possible to opt for minimum and maximum bets of €0.50 and €25 or €1 and €100. It uses the following rules: 

  • Played with 6 decks of cards that are shuffled between each round 
  • Hands may be split once 
  • Only one card is drawn to split Aces 
  • Double Down is allowed after splitting 
  • The dealer will not check for Blackjack, regardless of the up card. 
  • After a split, an Ace and a 10 card is considered 21, not Blackjack 
  • The dealer stands on all 17s, both hard and soft 
  • If the dealer’s up card is worth 10, the player then doubles, and the dealer has Blackjack, then the double bet is returned to the player. 
  • A 10 card Charlie defeats all hands except for Blackjack  

The game offers the Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side bets, and when played with perfect strategy, it has a theoretical RTP of 99.58%.  

 Blackjack Pro (Single-Deck Blackjack) 

This version of Blackjack is designed to appeal to experienced players. Upon starting the game, players are asked to choose the table limits, either €1 to €100 or €0.50 to €25, so it can be played regardless of the size of bankroll. As the name suggests, it is played with just a single deck of cards, which is relatively unusual for online games. The specific rules are as follows: 

  • The deck is shuffled between each round. 
  • The dealer will hit on soft 17s, meaning that the hand contains an Ace that is counted as 1. 
  • Double Down is only available on hands worth 10 or 11. 
  • Hands can be split only once. 
  • Only one card is drawn to split Aces. 
  • Double Down is not available after splitting 
  • The dealer will check for Blackjack if the up card is an Ace or worth 10. Insurance will be offered first if the up card is an Ace 
  • A 7 card Charlie will beat all hands except for Blackjack  

The game does not offer any side bets or multi-hand play. However, it provides a fast-paced Blackjack experience and with just one deck, it is sure to be attractive to serious players.  

Premium Blackjack Single Hand 

This is very similar to the Premium Blackjack game described above. The most obvious difference is that it allows players to play just one hand at a time. The game offers a choice of table limits, either €0.50 up to €25 or €1 up to €100.  

  • 6 decks of cards are used and they are shuffled between each round 
  • A split hand cannot be split 
  • Just one card may be drawn to split Aces 
  • Players can Double Down on one or both split hands 
  • Regardless of the up card, the dealer will not check for Blackjack 
  • In a split hand, Ace and a 10 card counts as 21, not Blackjack 
  • The dealer stands on all 17s, both soft and hard 
  • If the dealer’s up card is worth 10, the player then doubles, and the dealer has Blackjack, then the double bet is returned to the player. 
  • A 10 card Charlie defeats all hands except for Blackjack  

Players can make use of the Perfect Pairs and 21+3 side bets. The game’s theoretical RTP is 99.58%, the theoretical RTP for the 21+3 side bet is 95.38% and for the Player’s Pair/Dealer’s Pair side bet is 93.89%.  

 Blackjack UK 

As the name suggests, this variant of Blackjack is common in UK casinos. As with many Blackjack games here at Casino Las Vegas, it gives players the choice of table limits; either €1 to €100 or €0.50 to €25. It is played with the following rules: 

  • 6 decks of cards are used and after each round used cards are returned and the cards are shuffled. 
  • It is possible to split up to four hands. 
  • Only one card is drawn to split Aces. 
  • It is not possible to split a pair of 4s, 5s or cards worth 10. 
  • Double Down is only available for hands worth 9, 10 or 11. 
  • Double Down is available after splitting. 
  • Insurance is only available if the player has Blackjack. 
  • The dealer draws to 16 and stands on all 17s 

It is a multi-hand game that allows players to play up to five hand positions simultaneously. There are no side bets on offer. 

 American Blackjack 

This Blackjack variant is common in casinos across the United States. It uses the following rules: 

  • Played with six decks of cards that are shuffled between each round.  
  • Hands can be split just once 
  • A split Ace receives just one more card 
  • Double Down is available on all hands 
  • Double Down is available after a split 
  • A 10 card Charlie will beat all hands except for Blackjack 
  • If the player doubles against a dealer Ace and the dealer has Blackjack, the player loses everything. 
  • If the player doubles against a dealer 10 and the dealer has Blackjack, the player loses just the initial bet. 
  • The dealer will not check for Blackjack. 
  • Early surrender is available, meaning a hand can be surrendered after the initial deal. 
  • The dealer will stand on all 17s, hard and soft. 

This version of Blackjack has a theoretical RTP of 99.57%.  

 Blackjack Super 21 

This Blackjack variant offers boosted payouts for specific hands, giving players the chance to win even more. It is played with the following rules: 

  • Played with six decks of cards that are shuffled after each round 
  • The dealer will draw to 16 and stand on all 17s 
  • Blackjack pays at 1:1 not 3:2 
  • A player Blackjack will beat a dealer Blackjack, rather than push it 
  • Up to four hands can be split 
  • Double Down is available on all hands 
  • Double Down is available after a split 
  • Late surrender is available  
  • A 5 or 6 card hand equalling 21 pays a boosted 2:1 
  • A 6 card hand worth 20 will beat all other hands 
  • Blackjack consisting of Ace of Diamonds and a Diamonds 10 card pays boosted 2:1 

Even with the reduced payout for Blackjack, the game has a theoretical RTP of 99.22%, making it an interesting an exciting choice for all players.  

Blackjack Variants with Exciting Side Bets 

Many of the standard Blackjack variants discussed above offer a couple of side bets. However, there are a number of variants that take this much further and offer some truly interesting and exciting side bets. Here you can learn about all of these and the opportunities they present.  

Perfect Blackjack  

This version of Blackjack follows the standard rules. This means that six decks of cards are used, hands can be split once, double down is always available, and so on. However, it places a special emphasis on the Player’s Perfect Pair and Dealer’s Perfect Pair side bets, which give players the chance of winning big. 

The Player’s Perfect Pair bet wins if the first two player’s cards in a hand form a Perfect Pair, Coloured Pair, or a Red/Black Pair. The Dealer’s Perfect Pair side bet wins if the dealer’s first two cards forms one of these pairs.  

A Perfect Pair is two identical cards, such as two 4 of Clubs, at it pays at 25:1. A Coloured Pair is two cards of the same value and colour, but different suits, such as 5 Hearts and 5 Diamonds, and it pays at 12:1. A Red/Black pair is two cards of the same value but different colours and suits, such as 6 Spades and 6 Hearts, and it pays at 6:1. 

This is a multi-hand game, meaning players can play up to five hands simultaneously, and it has a theoretical RTP of 99.58%. 

Buster Blackjack 

This version of Blackjack introduces players to the Buster side bet. It follows the standard rules as found in many of the other variants here. Six decks are used, hands may be split once, Double Down is available, and so on.  

The Buster side bet is on the dealer going bust and the more cards that are in the dealer’s hand, the more it pays. It is worth remembering that in this version, the dealer stands on all 17s, including soft 17s. The bet pays 2:1 if the dealer has three or four cards, 4:1 for five cards, 18:1 for six cards, 50:1 for seven cards, and 250:1 with eight or more cards. If the player has Blackjack and the dealer goes bust with seven cards it pays 800:1 and if the player has Blackjack and the dealer goes bust with eight or more cards, it pays an enormous 2000:1.  

The game has a theoretical RTP of 99.58% and the Buster side bet has a theoretical RTP of 93.79%.  

Lucky Lucky Blackjack 

This Blackjack variant takes its name from the Lucky Lucky side bet. It uses the standard Blackjack rules and the gameplay will be familiar to all players. The side bet is on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card forming one of several different combinations. 

It wins if the three cards form a Suited 777, a Suited 678, an Unsuited 777, an Unsuited 678, a Suited 21, an Unsuited 21, Any 20 and Any 19. The Suited 777 pays at 200:1, the Suited 678 pays at 100:1, the Unsuited 777 pays at 50:1, the Unsuited 678 pays at 25:1, the Suited 21 pays at 15:1, the Unsuited 21 pays at 3:1, the Any 20 and the Any 19 both pay at 2:1. 

It is a multi-hand game, so up to five hands can be played simultaneously. It has a theoretical RTP of 99.58% and the side bet has a theoretical RTP of 96.05%.  

All Bets Blackjack 

Those who enjoy side bets will find this to be the most exciting version of the game. In addition to regular multi-hand Blackjack play, it offers all of the different Blackjack side bets. It includes those discussed above (Buster, Lucky Lucky, Perfect Pairs), and a number of additional bets, the 21+3, the Top 3, and a progressive bet. 

The 21+3 side bet is on the two cards player cards combining with the dealer’s up card to form a poker hand. It pays out as follows: a Suited Three of a Kind pays out at 100:1, a Straight Flush pays out at 40:1, Three of a Kind pays out at 30:1, a Straight pays out at 10:1 and a Flush pays out at 5:1.  

The Top 3 side bet is a bet on the dealer’s up card and the player’s first two cards forming a Suited Three of a Kind, a Straight Flush of a Three of a Kind combination. A Suited Three of a Kind pays at 270:1, a Straight Flush pays at 180:1 and Three of a Kind pays at 90:1.  

The Progressive side bet gives you the chance to win a progressive jackpot. You will win the jackpot if you are dealt four consecutive aces of the same suit. Three consecutive suited aces pays 5000:1, four unsuited aces pays 2500:1, three unsuited aces pays 25:1, two suited aces pays 100:!, two unsuited aces pays 50:1, and once ace pays 5:1.  

 Unusual Blackjack Variants 

There are a few Blackjack variants that more unusual and divert quite a long way from the standard rules. They are hugely enjoyable and often bring something new to the game.  

 Blackjack Switch 

In this version of Blackjack, players will always be playing two hands in each round. It takes its name from the fact that after the cards have been dealt, players have the ability to switch the top card between the two hands before going on to play them. In most other ways, it follows the standard Blackjack rules. It uses six decks and allows for splitting and Doubling Down. However, to compensate for the ability to switch cards, Blackjack pays at 1:1 rather than 3:2. On the other hand, the dealer will hit on soft 17. Other important rules are the fact that the dealer can peek on Ace and 10-point up cards, and that the dealer will push on a total of 22.  

The game also offers a Super Match side bet. It wins if the initial four cards dealt to a player contain two or more matching cards. It pays 1:1 for a pair, 5:1 for three of a kind, 8:1 for two pairs, and 40:1 for four of a kind. 

 Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven Blackjack 

This version of Blackjack pays homage to the legendary jockey who famously won all races at Ascot in one day. It is actually a standard game of Blackjack, but it includes a side bet that you will not find anywhere else, the Magic Seven Side Bet. 

The aim of the game is to collect trophies, and these are collected from random Trophy cards that are dealt from the shoe. You need to collect two or more trophies in a single round or from multiple consecutive rounds in order to win a payout. If you collect at least one trophy, then the Magic Seven side bet is kept on for the next round, with no extra bet required. When the dealer is dealt a Trophy card, every hand on the table with the Magic Seven side bet is allocated a trophy.  

Collecting three Trophies in a row pays 1:1, four pays 7:1, five pays 14:1, six pays 24:1, seven pays 70:1, and if you collect seven trophies or more in two consecutive rounds then you win a massive 7777:1.  

To Conclude 

These are the main Blackjack variants available to play here at Casino Las Vegas and you should now understand the important differences between them. If you are uncertain at any point, you will find a full explanation in each game’s rules. While the games may seem very similar, once you start delving in to Blackjack strategies, then the differences become highly important. However, they are all easy to learn and there is no doubt that you will have hours of fun playing them.  



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