Blackjack is perhaps the most popular card-based table game in America. It is loved by players from the USA and all around the world. This is because it is easy to play, simple to follow, and a player’s skill can improve their chances of winning. When people refer to playing the traditional form of Blackjack, there are two main variants that this normally describes. These are American Blackjack and European Blackjack. Unlike the two Roulette versions of the same name, when it comes to Blackjack, American is the way to go. Let’s find out more about these versions of the game and what makes them different.
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The Main Goal in American and European Blackjack
As with any version of Blackjack, also commonly known as 21, the main goal of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand. The player’s hand needs to be valued at 21, or as close as possible without exceeding that number. If they’re closer to 21 than the dealer, they win. Both American and European Blackjack use the standard card values which means that:
- 2-10 have their face value.
- Jack, Queen, and King are all valued at 10.
- An Ace can be valued at either 11 or 1.
American Blackjack versus European Blackjack
So, what makes these two versions of the game different? In truth, there is only one main difference and it actually makes quite a big difference to the player. When playing American Blackjack, the dealer is dealt two cards immediately, with one face up and the other face down. If the face-up card is an Ace, the dealer immediately checks to see if they have Blackjack. If they do, the round ends immediately and all the players lose their wagers.
When playing European Blackjack, the dealer is just dealt one card, which is face up. The dealer’s second card will not be dealt until all the players have finished playing and decided to stand or have gone bust. On some levels, this may sound better.
However, the disadvantage of this is that players have been able to continue playing, which could have seen them doubling down or splitting, only to have the dealer get Blackjack at the end and losing an even larger wager. When playing American Blackjack, players can be slightly more aggressive.
American Blackjack Rules
When we refer to American Blackjack, there are actually several versions of the game that can fall under this name. Some of these include Atlantic City Blackjack, Spanish 21, Vegas Strip Blackjack, and more. It is sometimes possible to find an online or land-based casino that offers plain American Blackjack, but this is fairly rare. Typically, most games will add their own flair and tweak the rules ever so slightly.
While there is some variation between version, typically an American blackjack game will follow the following basic rules:
- The game will normally use between 6 and eight decks of cards.
- Dealer can peak at their hole card when their up card is a 10 or an Ace.
- Dealers must always stand on a soft-17.
- The payout for Blackjack is typically 3 to 2, however, it can sometimes be 6 to 5.
- If a player splits Aces, they cannot achieve Blackjack.
- Players can always double down on any hand total.
- After splitting, doubling down is still allowed.
- Splitting is allowed up to three times.
- Aces can only be split once.
- Late surrender is normally permitted.
European Blackjack Rules
There’s a little less variation when we use the term European Roulette. Typically, players will find that any Blackjack game that uses this name will have set rules. The rules are as follows:
- Players can expect the game to use two decks of cards.
- The dealer does not have a hole card, so cannot check for Blackjack.
- The payout for Blackjack is the standard 3 to 2.
- If the player and dealer get Blackjack, it is a push.
- If the dealer gets Blackjack, it beats any other hand valued at 21.
- As with American Blackjack, the dealer must stand on a soft 17.
- Players are only permitted to double down on a hard 9, 10, or 11.
- Players will not be allowed to double down if they split their hand.
- Players are only allowed to split once.
- Players may only split identical valued cards. A pair of Queens may be split, but not a Queen and Jack.
- Players can take out insurance if the dealer’s card is an Ace.
- Surrender is not allowed.