As soon as you get to grips with how to play blackjack, you’ll be able to branch out and see how these basics are applied to different variants of the game. As twenty-one is one of the most well-known casino games the world over, it’s no surprise that numerous versions of blackjack have emerged over the years. While variations to the game with actual distinctions to the rules, odds and payouts are more prominent in land-based casinos, innovative versions have found their way to live casino too.
Almost all the live dealer blackjack games found online follow the conventional format. What sets each one apart is usually some atypical concept or table theme that doesn’t actually change how the game is played. You’ll find that it’s mostly the overall gaming experience that differs between one table and another. Let’s take a look at the prevalent ones and see which one suits your style.
Common Draw Blackjack is a unique take on the classic game of twenty-one. It’s played with a universal (i.e. common) hand instead of the standard seven. In other words, every player at the table (there are unlimited seats in this game, by the way) receives identical cards but can choose to react to the hand independently of how others play.
Live blackjack party tables are best if you love a bit of chatter as you choose how to act on your cards. These games are led by at least two live dealers who talk about news, gossip and the latest happenings between themselves and the players. It’s an ordinary, seven-seat table with a party atmosphere and constant interaction.
Live sports blackjack is all about expanding the reach of the game of twenty-one by cross-selling it to sports punters. It’s similar to the party tables mentioned earlier, however the topic of discussion here is anything related to current sporting events. What really sets it apart is the live streaming of matches from the Champions League and Premier League among others. It’s a great one to try if you like sports just as much as you do blackjack!
This is probably the simplest blackjack variant to grasp as the only thing that varies gameplay-wise are the minimum and maximum bet levels. Almost all live casino providers offer at least one high-roller version of their blackjack game. It’s usually set in a chicer studio set-up but other than that the game is played in the same way.
Where to play?
Evolution Gaming are the leaders in this variant category with at least ten types of VIP tables, each with their own stake limits. But if you’re serious about betting big the Salon Privé is the place for you. This private area also powered by Evolution lets you play alone and at your own pace, without any other players around. That’s VIP service!
Now let’s move on and take a look at land-based blackjack variants. You’ve more than likely heard of some of these versions as they’ve been around far longer than their online counterparts mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, live casino adaptations of the games listed below are seldom found online however you may come across RNG versions. Regardless, a few of the famous ones are detailed below with an explanation of their own rules, payouts and more. You never know when a provider may choose to release a live version of one of these games or when your next trip to your local casino might be so keep them handy!
Have you ever been dealt a weak hand and wished you had the opportunity to swap one of your cards to gain an edge? Well, you’re not alone. Doing so would normally get your name on a casino’s black book, so that’s why one British advantage player by the name of Geoff Hall came up with Blackjack Switch. The game took off at land-based casinos and its inventor patented the game in 2009.
If you choose to play Blackjack Switch, you’ll be dealt two hands instead of one. You’ll then have the opportunity to review your cards and swap the second card dealt to each hand. To be able to do so, you’ll need to make two equal bets first. Consider the example below to see this in practice:
Say you have a 4-Ace hand and a Queen-7 hand. These total to 15 and 17 respectively which are mediocre hand totals. In this variant, you’re given the opportunity to swap the Ace and 7 cards with one another. You’ll end up with a blackjack (result!) and a hard eleven on which you have an increased chance of winning too. Keep in mind that switching is optional. If you’re lucky enough to receive two good hands in the first two rounds, there’s no pressure to trade cards.
The rules of Blackjack Switch will vary from casino to casino but you’ll find the main ones listed below. Do check which of these apply to your chosen game before you play.
This blackjack variant can also come with an optional side bet. Super Match rewards players on receiving two or more matching pairs in their hands, say two 4s of Diamonds and two Ace of Spades. Remember that most side bets favour the casino and payouts will vary according to each one’s rules.
Classic blackjack bets and rules apply for the most part, however, the ones cited below also apply.
Played with a 52-card deck.
Dealer hits on soft 17.
A player blackjack beats a dealer blackjack.
Player blackjack in diamonds pays 2:1.
A 5-card Charlie that totals 21 pays 2:1 except after doubling down.
A 6-card Charlie that totals 20 or less results in a win except after doubling down.
It’s rare but in some land-based casinos this variant comes with a side bet that pays 300:1 on a suited blackjack in diamonds. This bet is only available on the first hand after a shuffle. It comes with slim odds of winning of 0.3% while the house edge is 9.2%.
Remember Geoff Hall from earlier on? Well, he invented another blackjack variant in 2012 named Free Bet Blackjack. The concept is all in the name. After you place your initial wager, you needn’t risk any money to split or double down – you can do so for free.
Some of the usual rules of blackjack remain unchanged in Free Bet Blackjack. It’s played with a standard English deck and you can still double-down and split on hands other than the ones mentioned below. You simply won’t be able to do so for free. Let’s look at the basic rules first.
Now onto your two options – free doubles and free splits – in more detail. You’ll receive a free double on two-card hands of 9s, 10 and 11s by being dealt an additional card. If you win on a free double wager, you’ll receive your original bet as well as winnings equal to double your wager. On the other hand, if the dealer wins, you’ll only lose your original wager whereas if the hand results in a push, your original wager will be returned.
Free splits are available on all pairs excluding 10s and 4s. Your initial bet is placed on one of the split hands while the other receives a free bet button. Each one then qualifies for a free double or a free split. Should your free split hand win, you’ll be paid an amount equal to your original wager. However, if the round results in a push or loss, the dealer simply reclaims the free bet marker.
Stadium Blackjack combines live dealer twenty-one with an RNG feel. A live dealer stands in front of up to 44 players who sit in electronic playing terminals, spread out like seats in a football arena. This variant actually has some similarities to Common Draw Blackjack in that each player makes a bet from their own monitor on a community hand. Each individual is then allowed to hit, stand, double down or split as they please, irrespective of how others choose to play.
You’ll recognise all the bets and the majority of the rules of this variant. A few differences do exist though. Players can only split up to three hands due to the screen size and a dealer blackjack will result in a standard player loss plus one unit. It’s also worth noting that blackjack doesn’t always pay 3:2, it varies between casinos. You’ll notice that there aren’t any game rules listed here. This is because casinos have the liberty to choose certain rules as they please. Make sure you check them before you take your seat.
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