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The 5 Most Common Blackjack Variations

The 5 Most Common Blackjack Variations

Published by Programme B

Blackjack is a straightforward card game. You compete against a casino through an employee known as the dealer. At online casinos, you can play blackjack against computer software. You could also play against a human dealer at live casinos.

All the same, the goal of blackjack is simple. Beat the dealer at producing a hand of 21 and you win. Tie the dealer and it’s a push—a draw. Exceed 21 points and it’s a bust—a loss. There are several more rules, though, but it depends on which of the following variants of blackjack you choose.

Classic Blackjack

Classic blackjack describes the original version of the game. It’s the most popular variant. It is simple to play and available at the most recommended sites for online blackjack in Canada. The goal is to beat the dealer by producing a hand closest to or 21.

At the start of a game, the dealer shuffles a deck of 52 cards. He or she deals you two cards whose value you can see. The dealer gets two cards as well. You can see one of their cards. Based on the information you have, you can:

  • Stand
  • Hit
  • Double Down
  • Take Insurance
  • Split
  • Surrender

Every card in blackjack holds a certain value. Face cards like jack and queen have a value of 10. The Ace card can be 1 or 11. The remaining cards hold the values on their faces. Knowing that, you can stand if you believe hitting another card will lead to a bust.

You can double down—by making a second bet— if you think you have great cards. You can also take insurance to win some more money (2:1) if the dealer’s first two cards form a blackjack. Also, you can split cards like 8’s and 6’s. And you can surrender to lose half your bet if you think the dealer is about to win.

Blackjack Switch

Picture this. Instead of receiving to blackjack cards, you get four cards at the start of a game. On the one end, you have an ace card and a four. On the other, you have a face card and a two. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could partner the ace card with the face card and form a natural blackjack? This is what blackjack switch is all about. You receive four cards and the chance to wager on two different hands.

Although blackjack switch lets you switch your cards, there are some rules you need to understand. For example, you can only switch the cards dealt last. In our case, you can switch the four for the two and not the face card.

Second, a hand of 21 pays 1 to 1 and not 3 to 2 like in classic blackjack. You can split and double down cards. But if you have a hand of 21 (formed by switching cards) and the dealer has a 22, it’s a push and not a win for you. 

Perfect Pairs Blackjack

While blackjack switch spices up things by allowing you to switch cards, Perfect Pairs aims to increase your profits. It is easier said than done. Think about it. You need to land two cards with the same numeric value (4, 4) or same face value (two queens) to win.

To be clear, you can play Perfect Pairs with the same rules of classic blackjack. And if you get a hand of 21, you’re paid 3:2 or 6:5 depending on the casino. You can also place a side bet to take a chance on perfect fairs:

  • Perfect Pair—Same face value or number, same color, same suit
  • Colored Pair—Safe face value, same color but varying suit
  • Mixed Pair—Same face value, different colors and suit.

Wondering how much you earn for producing perfect pairs? The answer may surprise you: 30 to 1 for a perfect pair. For the colored pair, the pay stand at 10 to 1. On the flip side, a mixed color pair earns you 5 to 1.

The odds of landing perfect pairs are pretty long, about 1 in 60 hands. On the other hand, a color pair might appear once in 51 chances. A mixed pair has the best odds at 1 in 26. Still, these odds are incredibly low. 

That’s because the game has a high house edge of 2% to 11%. By comparison, classic blackjack has odds of 1%.

Spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a blackjack variant that doesn’t sound appealing at first. The reason: it eliminates 10-value cards to lower your chances of winning. But it has some enticing benefits. For example, a player’s 21 wins against a dealer’s 21. Usually, a tie between the dealer and the player is a push.

Another beneficial rule is that you can double down up to three times. You can even double down after a split and make a late surrender with your first two cards. Interestingly, you can make bonus money with hands like 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 or 6-7-8.

Should you play Spanish 21? The game is fun to play but keep in mind it has double the house edge of classic blackjack? That means your chances of winning in the game are lower. As such, don’t make moves that will lower your chances further, say surrendering and taking insurance bets.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

Like the name suggests, Vegas Strip Blackjack is named after the part of Las Vegas known as the strip. For the uninitiated, the Strip is a six-kilometer stretch in Las Vegas where some of the most famous casinos in the city are located:

  • Bellagio 
  • MGM Grand
  • The Strat Hotel
  • The Venetian Resort
  • Stratosphere Hotel

Needless to say, you can play Vegas Strip Blackjack at many casinos in Las Vegas. You can also play the game online. It works like classic blackjack albeit with some differences. For example, you can split two different face cards (queen and king).

If the dealer’s up card is an ace, they can peak for a natural blackjack. Otherwise, you make the first move to hit, stand or take an insurance bet. 

Photo by Vo Thuy Tien from Pexels