Blackjack Variations

In our series on how to play blackjack, we have explored different elements that make up the game, including strategy, tips, and more. In this guide, we will explore all of the different blackjack variations, explain how they differ from the standard version of the game, and whether or not you should play them.

Most Popular Blackjack Variations

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, so it should be no surprise that there are many variations on its original gameplay. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular blackjack variations you can play both online and at physical casino venues. The two main variations of blackjack are American Blackjack and European Blackjack. We will discuss other variations later below.

Blackjack Soft and Hard Hands

European Blackjack

European Blackjack is the most played variation of the game. This follows the standard rules of blackjack, with the dealer standing on soft 17, and a blackjack beats any other 21-value hand. Players can only split once, and they can only double down on hands with a value of nine, 10, or 11. Crucially, the dealer does not deal their second card until all players have played their hand. 

Blackjack Dealt Card

American Blackjack

American Blackjack is largely similar to European Blackjack, with a few exceptions. The most notable of these is the Hole Card. In American Blackjack, the dealer gets their second card at the same time as their first, and they are able to peak at it if they have a ten or an Ace to check for blackjack. There are also many variations of American Blackjack. The game also presents more splitting options, with players able to split up to three times. 

Other Blackjack Game Variations

All other Blackjack game variations are some kind of derivative of the European or American way of playing blackjack, with the main difference being if the dealer plays their second card after all players play their hands or if the dealer has a hole card. Then there are a few games that use different terminology, such as Pontoon, but all of these games have the same thing in common, essentially the aim of the game is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over and you need to beat the dealer’s hand. Below we will cover the most popular Blackjack game variations that you can find at the best Blackjack sites.


Blackjack and Pontoon are extremely similar, but there are a few key differences. Firstly, hit and stand are replaced with stick and twist in Pontoon, and landing a blackjack is having a Pontoon, instead. The biggest difference, though, is that in Pontoon, players do not see either of the dealer’s cards, which puts them at a disadvantage.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a popular variation of the game commonly played online. In Blackjack Switch, players play two hands at once and are able to swap the top card between the two hands. This unique spin on the game can help reduce the house edge and give players a little more control over the action. 

Perfect Pairs Blackjack

Perfect Pairs Blackjack is a version of the game that features the ‘Perfect Pairs’ side bet. This is a bet that players will have a pair when they are dealt their first two cards. This will pay 5:1, but there are variations on this, with you being paid more if your cards are the same colour or suit. 

Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City Blackjack is a version of US Blackjack that is defined by a few different rules. For example, you are able to double down regardless of your hand value, and the surrender option is always available. 

Multi-Hand Blackjack

Multi-hand blackjack, as its name suggests, allows players to play multiple hands simultaneously. In most games, the limit is five. This increases the excitement of the game, but it also increases the risk and requires a bigger budget. 

Double Exposure Blackjack

Double Exposure Blackjack is an extremely popular variation of the game. In the game, players can see both of the dealer’s cards, which makes their decision-making process a lot easier. However, in most versions of the game, the dealer wins all ties, which does swing the house edge. 

Spanish 21 Blackjack

Spanish 21 is a popular variation due to the number of different winning possibilities. In the game, there are a number of Super Bonuses that will pay out if you land certain combinations. It is also notable for only using a 48-card deck, with all of the tens removed from the game. 

California Blackjack

California Blackjack is not typically available online and is very hard to find in physical casinos. The biggest difference in the game is the inclusion of a Joker in the deck. This can impact the game, with the Joker potentially counting as 2/12, depending on how the game is played. It can also win the Dealer's hand if he has one and you do not have a blackjack. 

Vegas Strip Blackjack

Named after the famous Las Vegas Strip, Vegas Strip Blackjack is a popular variation of the game that is commonly played in land-based and online casinos. The rules of Vegas Strip Blackjack are similar to those of classic blackjack but with a few minor differences, including the ability to split up to four hands and the dealer standing on soft 17.

Progressive Blackjack

Progressive blackjack is a popular variation that offers players the chance to win a large progressive jackpot. A small portion of each player's bet is added to a jackpot pool, and the jackpot continues to grow until it is won. The rules of progressive blackjack are similar to those of classic blackjack but with the added bonus of the progressive jackpot.

Double Attack Blackjack

Double Attack Blackjack is a variation of Spanish 21. All 10s are removed from the game, and players are given the chance to double their initial wager when they have seen the dealer’s upcard. There is also a side bet on whether the dealer will bust on their third card. 

Pitch Blackjack

Pitch Blackjack is only played in physical casinos. The key difference with this game is that players use their hands to turn over their cards, and they must also use their cards to indicate whether they intend to stand or hit. 

Chinese Blackjack

Chinese Blackjack card values can differ from traditional blackjack. In the game, if a player holds two cards, an Ace is 10 or 11, whereas if they hold three, it is 1 or 10. If they hold four or more, it will always count as one. The game is typically played in Chinese casinos at Chinese New Year but can be found at some online casinos.

Players Edge 21

Player’s Edge 21 is played like normal blackjack, but it removes all tens from the deck, like Spanish Blackjack. There are also some additional bonus payouts depending on the hand that players are dealt, as well as a bonus-progressive feature. 

Super Fun 21

Super Fun 21 is very similar to standard blackjack, but there are some differences in the way blackjack works. If a player has a blackjack, it beats the dealer’s hand, even if they have a blackjack. However, blackjack does pay lower in the game. There are also some differences with splitting rules, with players able to split up to four times. The game also has a unique feature where players can surrender after doubling down if they are dealt a bad card. 

21 Burn Blackjack

21 Burn Blackjack is a modern variation developed by Betsoft. In this variation, players are given the chance to burn their second card. However, this is not as attractive as it sounds and can require some serious strategy to ensure you are making the right decisions. 

How the Blackjack variation can affect your strategy

When you are playing different variations of blackjack, your blackjack strategy might change. In some games, the house edge is lower, which provides you with the chance to use some of the blackjack tips we have provided in our guide. Learning basic blackjack strategy will help you minimise losses in most variations. 

However, players should be aware that some variations, like Spanish Blackjack, change the deck, and this can impact the decisions players make. Using different decks can make life extremely difficult for blackjack card counters. Of course, you can never fully reduce the house edge and should always gamble responsibly, regardless of which strategy is being deployed.

Final Thoughts

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, and players can have a lot of fun testing out different variations. Fun is the keyword here, and players should stop playing if it is no longer enjoyable. You must remember to gamble responsibly when playing blackjack or any other casino game and seek help if you feel you need it.

Blackjack Variations FAQs

Here are the most common questions we get asked about Blackjack variations.

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