Blackjack – or 21 as it’s also known – has been a popular game since the beginning of the 1600s, and still to this day it dominates both casino floors around the globe and online casino pages. It’s a fairly simplistic game with the aim to get your cards to equal 21 (or as close to as possible.) But, like the ever-popular brick-and-mortar game of Roulette – which has different wheels given your location – Blackjack’s rules vary depending on what side of the Atlantic you are on.
It used to be that if you were in Europe, you could only play the classic casino game with European rules, whilst if you were in the United States, you would be forced to follow their rules. However, thanks to live Blackjack in the casino website, you can now play either version of the game. But, before you play, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences in the rules!
Whilst there are a lot more differences to the two versions of the game, it’s still worth having a look at a couple of similarities;
- The payout for Blackjack. One of the main things that the European and American variants share. Should you land Blackjack in either version you will be paid out 3:2. However, when playing the American version, you should check the rules beforehand, as some games payout a shorter 6:5.
- The dealer must stand on soft 17. This is the case in both versions of the game, increasing the house edge and consequently lowering your chance of winning the hand. Soft 17 is a hand that equals 17 with an ace included, for example, Ace-six or Ace-three-three.
- The way the cards are dealt. In American Blackjack, two cards are dealt at a time – one’s face up and the second is face-up. However, in the European variant the dealer receives his first card – face up – and then deals the players cards before receiving his second card. This completely changes how the game plays out.
- The result of the dealer having an upward facing ace. In the American version, if the dealer’s upward facing card is an ace, he is allowed to check and see if he has Blackjack, and if he does the round is effectively over before it even started. This isn’t the case in European Blackjack. The dealer doesn’t reveal his hand until everyone else has played.
- The number of decks. European Blackjack tends to be played with only two decks, whilst the American variant is usually played with six to eight decks. This makes counting cards more difficult, and also gives the house a higher edge.
- The insurance bet. In American Blackjack, if the dealers up card is an ace the players get the opportunity to add insurance to their hand – this means that if the dealer does have Blackjack, the players hand loses but he wins the insurance bet. This isn’t needed in European Roulette as the dealer doesn’t have a hole card.
- Doubling down. In Blackjack, doubling down means you double your initial wager, after your hand has been dealt, because you think you have a good chance of winning the round. Usually, in European Blackjack, you can only double down if you have a card with the value of nine, 10 or 11. However, in American Blackjack, players are allowed to double down on any hand.
- Splitting. Splitting is separating your initial two cards into separate hands and, thus, doubling your bet. In European Blackjack, you can only split your hand once, and you must have two cards with the same value, for example, a pair of kings or queens. In the American version, you can split your hand up to three times and with any cards.
- A late surrender. In American Blackjack, the player has the option to surrender and accept defeat, after their initial hand is dealt. If they choose this option, half of their wager is returned. This rule is not featured in the European version.
There you have it folks. So, why not choose your game and start beating the dealer?