A Quick Guide to Blackjack Variations and How to Play!

A Quick Guide to Blackjack Variations and How to Play!

An Introduction to Blackjack

While it’s true that poker and all the different poker variations are the most commonly played card games around the world, there is yet another that’s a pretty strong contender for that title, too. Blackjack (as well as the numerous blackjack variations, too!) is just as common and popular, especially when it comes to landed and online casinos. 

Though more commonly known as Blackjack, it is also referred to as 21, Pontoon, or Vingt-et-Un in other areas of the world. However, the goal of the game is essentially the same regardless of which blackjack variations you’re playing, there may just be some differences in gameplay across them. Before we even begin to get into the various blackjack variations, however, it’s essential to first understand how to play the most basic form of blackjack.

Basic Blackjack Rules

Classic blackjack is arguably one of the easiest games to learn and play. The first thing to remember, however, is that blackjack is a game played against the DEALER, not each other. This means that every bet lost or won is against the house, not from the other players even when there are others sitting at the table at the same time.

The goal of classic blackjack and most other blackjack variations is to have a hand that is higher in total value than the dealer’s but not exceeding 21. The 2 to 10 number cards are valued by their number while the face cards are valued at 10. The Ace, however, can take the value of either 1 or 11 depending on the player (and what would work best to improve the value of their hand).

A round begins with each player placing their bets in the designated area on the card table. The dealer then distributes one to each player seated at the table, face up, and then one card to themself. A second card is given to the players, also face up, and a second hard to the dealer but face down – this is known as the hole card. Using their best judgment based on their hand’s current total and the dealer’s single card, they can make one of five choices:

  • Hit: to take another card, ideally to bring the hand value closer to 21
  • Stand: to not take any more cards; also called to sit or to stay
  • Split: to create two separate hands, which is only possible if the starting hand has two card of exactly the same value; each card then gets its own additional card, its own bet, and plays out as separate hands
  • Double Down: to increase your bet by 100% (sometimes by less depending on which blackjack variations are being played), and taking only ONE additional card
  • Surrender: to end your hand immediately and give up half of your bet

Once all hands are completed (i.e. as close to 21 as the player is comfortable with being, or if they bust by going over 21 on any hit), the dealer can then reveal the hole card and continue drawing as rules state. Hand values are totalled and corresponding wins or losses are settled.

See, blackjack is so simple and easy to learn! It’s definitely a good place to start for anyone interested in trying out the live casino options in an online casino like Oppa888. Now, even if it is quite easy, it would still be prudent for players to have a blackjack strategy in mind before going all in! So now that you have a great idea of strategies and rules, let’s take a look at the different blackjack variations and how they may differ from classic blackjack!

Blackjack Variations

When touring big casinos around the world, you’re bound to find classic blackjack at each one. Major online casinos will have several options for blackjack as well, varying between video blackjack (where gameplay is controlled by AI and randomizers), and live casino tables (where you will see actual live dealers like you’re sitting in a brick and mortar casino!). 

While you may also see some of these blackjack variations in landed casinos as well, they will definitely be available on fewer tables. However, they’ll be more often and easily found on online casinos like Oppa888! It’s important to know that even the smallest changes in rules and gameplay in blackjack can already drastically change a player’s chances of winning. That’s why knowing these blackjack variations will help greatly in determining which increases the house edge and which benefits the player more.

Let’s take a look at these blackjack variations below.

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs is one of the blackjack variations that centers on the possibility of a side bet (and there are many possible side bets). This covers the possibility that the first two cards dealt is one of three types of pairs:

  • Perfect Pair: same value and same suit
  • Colored Pair: same value and color, but different suit
  • Mixed Pair: same value but different color

Players are allowed to place an additional bet on top of the regular blackjack bet.

Lucky Sevens

Lucky Sevens is yet another of the blackjack variations that evolved out of a side bet. However, you’ll see that most blackjack tips will tell you NOT to make this side bet simply because the odds do not work well in your favor and the house edge can be in the 40% range – which is much too high to gamble on. Regardless, the Lucky Sevens variant is basically a wager that a player will receive one, two, or three 7 cards in a row! Of course, receiving a 7 as the first card is the most likely and pays 3:1; receiving consecutive 7s as the second and third cards will reward higher payouts but the odds are much, MUCH lower.

American Blackjack

In American blackjack, rules are very similar to classic blackjack. The first two cards are dealt immediately, the first being face up while the second (‘hole’ card) is face down. However, if the face up card is an Ace, the dealer may take a peek at the second hard; if it will result in a natural blackjack (i.e. immediately equalling 21), then the hand is immediately over and the players lose. Additionally, American blackjack plays with between 6 to 8 decks while European blackjack plays with just 2.

European Blackjack

Most people aren’t aware that there are two major types of blackjack variations: American and European. Some may even think that the difference between these two is so miniscule that it’s almost insignificant. However, European blackjack differs in the way the dealer looks at their second card. Here, the dealer only RECEIVES their second card after all the players’ hands are complete! This could be a disadvantage for the player as they could lose higher bets if the dealer happens to have a natural blackjack after they’ve already wagered higher amounts on their own hands.

21 Burn Blackjack

Like American blackjack, 21 Burn is one of the blackjack variations that uses multiple decks – 6, to be precise – and the dealer receives one face up and one face down card. However, it differs in that players are immediately dealt with 3 cards instead of 2, where the first two are face up as per usual but the third is face down. At this point, the player may then opt to play the Burn. In this case, they place an additional bet that’s half of the original wager, and the second card is replaced by the face down third card! This COULD result in a lower hand, but it is still a smart move if the original hand has a very low value to begin with.

Infinite Blackjack

In Infinite blackjack, all rules that you learnt in classic blackjack remain. However, this is one of the blackjack variations that you will ONLY see in an online live casino! This is because the nature of this variation is only possible on a large scale like it is online. Basically, it’s called infinite because an infinite number of players can sit at any table! From your perspective, it looks like it’s just you and the live dealer. However, any number of players from around the world could be sitting at the same table, and you all receive the same cards to play out as you wish. The digital aspect of the game then also allows all players to either receive their winnings or lose their bet.

Blackjack Double Exposure

In Double Exposure, both of the dealer’s initial two cards are dealt face up, as opposed to just the first card. This will shift the players’ strategies significantly as they can now see the total value straight away. However, certain rules are changed as well so as not to completely nullify the house edge. For example, some casinos may place restrictions on splitting or doubling down, and placing insurance bets. Additionally, the payout on a blackjack is reduced to 2:2 from 3:2, and ties now result in a loss of the bet.

As you can see, there really are several different blackjack variations that any player will be able to find in both landed and online casinos. All of those mentioned above are available to play on Oppa888, so make sure you register for an account right away!

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