What are the Different Kinds of Blackjack?

Blackjack is one of the oldest card games in the world. Its rules are simple and straightforward. Yet, this doesn’t stop people from innovating new variations of the game. Many blackjack variants are strikingly similar to the original: they differ in rules, payout rates and the number of cards used.

Although you don’t need to play all the different types of blackjack out there, it’s essential to know a few of them. That’s because some blackjack variants have better payout policies, and rules that increase your chances of winning.

Classic Blackjack

This is the original blackjack game. It’s the variation most people play while learning the game. What’s more, it’s the most popular and most recommended blackjack type out there. It’s a simple card game to play.

You play against a dealer and not a fellow player. At the start of a game, you receive two cards facing up. The dealer gets one two cards too, but one of them faces up. That way, you can see your two cards and the dealer’s up-card.

Based on your observation of the cards, you can take any of the following actions:

  • Double Down
  • Take an Insurance Bet
  • Hit
  • Stand

Doubling down means doubling your betting amount in exchange for an extra card. If this card helps you win, you win more money in the process. If it doesn’t, you lose both your original and side bet.

You take an insurance bet if you believe the dealer’s second card will lead to a natural blackjack. If you’re correct, you receive half of your bet back. If you’re wrong, you lose your insurance bet and the game continues.

Single Deck Blackjack

For a long time, Single Deck Blackjack was the most popular blackjack game in Las Vegas. People loved its extremely low house edge (0.15%). Others loved that it’s easy to count cards in the game.

Sadly, Las Vegas casinos realized they were losing money to this game and stopped offering it. Online casinos have since then brought it back. Like its name suggests, Single Deck blackjack uses one deck of cards. It also comes with these rules:

  • A hand of blackjack pays 3:2
  • An insurance bet wins 2 to 1
  • Other hands pay 1 to 1

That said, you can also use certain strategies to increase your chances of winning. In fact, you can download or printout a single deck blackjack chart. And you could reference it every time you want to play this variation of blackjack.

As a tip, always check out the rules of single blackjack at different casinos. Some websites have rules that increase the game’s house edge from 0.15% to 1.45%. An example is paying at 6:5 as opposed to 3:2.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is one of the most exciting variants of the game. Here’s why. At the start of a game, you receive four cards. You can switch around the cards to form one strong hand and one weak hand.

The dealer receives two cards, though, and you can view one of them. You can also place a side bet. And interestingly, you can also choose not to switch your cards. All the same, you still have to play your hands at the same time.

Blackjack Switch has a house edge of 0.25% although some variations of this game lowers it to 0.15%. With that in mind, blackjack switch has a set of unique rules you should keep in mind:

  • A dealer’s hand of 22 is a push
  • A player’s blackjack wins 1:1
  • Insurance bets pay 2 to 1
  • You can double down after splitting cards

Perfect Pairs Blackjack

To the untrained eye, Perfect Pairs is similar to classic blackjack. The rules are alike—the goal is to beat the dealer in a hand of 21. However, Perfect Pairs pay you at a higher rate if your winning hand consists of a pair of similar cards:

  • Same card colors, same suits—30 to 1
  • Same colors but different suits—10 to 1
  • Different suits, different card colors—5 to 1

In an example, let’s say you receive an ace card belonging in the diamonds suit. Then you get a 10-value diamonds card. This is a natural blackjack consisting of similar colors (red) and similar suits (diamonds).

By comparison, you could get a spade J-card and a club Q-card. Both cards are black in color but come from different suits. The last category would feature cards like, a diamond 7-card (red) and a spade K-card (black).

While Perfect Pairs can help magnify your potential profits, it has a pretty low house edge. The exact house advantage depends on the number of cards used and ranges from 5.79% for a six-deck game to 6.76% for a four-deck game.

Spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a straightforward game. It removes all 10-value card from its decks, reducing the number of cards from 52 to 48. Logically, this increases the house advantage and results in a lower number of natural blackjack hands.

To be clear, Spanish 21 has a house edge of 2%. By comparison, Classic blackjack has a 1% house edge while Single Deck blackjack has a much lower house advantage at 0.15%. So, why play Spanish 21?

  • A player’s natural blackjack beats a dealer’s blackjack
  • A dealer’s blackjack beats a player’s 21 made up to three cards or more
  • You can split cars three times
  • Insurance pays 2 to 1

Vegas Strip Blackjack

Vegas Strip Blackjack originated in—guess this—Las Vegas. It’s based on a popular variation of blackjack offered by many casinos in the strip. It uses four decks and the main objective is to produce a hand of 21.

You can hit, stand, double down or surrender in Vegas Strip. And if you win, you get paid at a rate of 3 to 2. Like many variants, insurance bets pay 2 to 1. The game has a pretty low house edge of 0.35%, making it one of the best variants of blackjack to play.

However, check out the game’s rules before you play. You can’t split aces more than once although you can split other cards a maximum of four times.