Blackjack Variants

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.

Check out all our blackjack guides and strategy pages

Popular live dealer blackjack variants

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

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.

Common Draw Blackjack Pros and Cons
Where to play? This variant is a NetEnt Live original so take your pick from any one of the NetEnt casinos with a bonus and give it a go.

Live Blackjack Party

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 Blackjack Party Pros and Cons
Where to play? There are a few blackjack party-style games to choose from Evolution Gaming Blackjack Party keeps the festive feel alive 24/7 so you can play anytime you please. Otherwise, try LeoVegas Celebrity Blackjack Party situated in the operator’s very own Chambre Séparée.

Live Sports Blackjack

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!

Where to play? This concept is currently exclusive to Evolution Gaming’s partnership with LeoVegas, one of our top-rated casinos. The table is open weekdays from 16:00 to 00.00 and between 12.00 and 00.00 on weekends. With a low minimum bet of €5, it’s worth a try.

VIP Live 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.

VIP Live Blackjack Pros and Cons

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!

Popular land-based blackjack variants

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!

Spanish 21

Spanish 21 (sometimes referred to as Spanish Blackjack), as it’s known today, dates back to the mid-90s but some online sources claim it can be traced further back. This is because Miguel de Cervantes makes reference to a Spanish baraja deck in his fifteenth-century novel Don Quixote. Legend has it that the modern version of the game was brought to Nevada by a casino employee and current ownership of this variant is held by Masque Publishing Inc.

Types of bets, rules and odds

First things first, Spanish 21 is played with decks of 48-playing cards or standard decks with the four 10 cards removed. The main principles of a traditional blackjack game still apply in that the game objective remains the same, the cards themselves are valued in the usual way (check out the How to play page if you need a refresher) and players compete against the dealer.There are some significant rule differences between the Spanish 21 variant and regular blackjack. While these will differ from casino to casino, you can become familiar with the main ones below. Just be sure to check which ones apply before you play.Game rules:
  • Played with 6 and 8 decks.
  • Dealer can hit or stand on soft 17.
  • Blackjack pays 3:2.
  • Insurance pays 2:1.
  • Some hands, such as a five, six, and seven-card 21 may pay a bonus.
  • Player blackjack wins even when the dealer has a blackjack.
  • Player 21 wins even when the dealer has a 21.
  • Can double down on any number of cards and double after pair splitting.
  • Late surrender is always allowed.
  • Players can also surrender after doubling, pair splitting and hitting.
  • Players can resplit pairs up to four hands including aces.
Spanish 21 Blackjack Pros and Cons

Blackjack Switch

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.

Types of bets, rules and odds

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.

Game rules:

  • Two equal sized initial bets must be placed.
  • The top cards of each initial hand may be swapped to your other hand.
  • If the dealer has a blackjack, there is no option to switch.
  • Played with 4, 6 and 8 52-card decks.
  • Dealer usually hits on a soft 17.
  • Blackjack only pays 1:1.
  • Players can double down on any two cards even after switching.
  • Players can double down after pair splitting and switching.
  • Players may not resplit.
  • A dealer hard 22 pushes against all current player hands excluding naturals. (This rule was introduced a few years after the game’s inception).

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.

Blackjack Switch Pros and Cons

Super Fun 21

Variants created by blackjack strategists keep finding their way onto the list! Super Fun 21 was created by card counter (more on this to come on the blackjack strategies page) Howard Grossman who was sure to include many player-lenient rules in the game.

Types of bets, rules and odds

Classic blackjack bets and rules apply for the most part, however, the ones cited below also apply.

Game rules:

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%.

Super Fun 21 Pros and Cons

Free Bet Blackjack

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.

Types of bets, rules and odds

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.

Game rules:

  • Played with either single, double, six or eight decks.
  • Dealer hits on soft 17.
    Surrender is not available.
  • Free double down on hard 9, 10, or 11.
  • Free splits on all pairs excluding tens and 4′s.
  • Can resplit up to four hands including aces.
    Free double down after free split is available.
  • Normal (i.e. paid) double available on any two cards even after the free split.
  • A dealer 22 pushes against all current player hands.
  • A player hand of 21 or less results in a push if the dealer busts with 22.

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.

Free Bet Blackjack Pros and Cons

Stadium Blackjack

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.

Types of bets, rules and odds

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.

Stadium Blackjack Pros and Cons

Continue your journey to blackjack pro status!

What goes perfectly with your new-found understanding of blackjack variants? Knowledge on the ways to play them and win of course! So, if you’re curious about how to alter the house edge and odds to your advantage, then go to the complete guide to blackjack strategies now.

lIKE IT? SHARE IT!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Top live casinos

BGO

LiveCasino.com Exclusive: 50% Cashback up to £50

New UK customers only. Use code: LIVECASINO. Min. cashback £1. Max. cashback £50 on net losses on  live games only. Not available using Neteller or Skrill.. Cashback credited next day by 18:00 GMT. Cashback must be accepted within 3 days. 2.5% deposit fee. £2.50 withdrawal fee.

LeoVegas

Up to €700 Welcome Bonus

New Players Only. Up to €700 welcome bonus over your first four deposits. Minimum deposit: €10. Opt-in required: No. Bonus code required: No. Wagering requirement: 35X. Table restrictions: No. Free spins: No. Neteller or Skrill deposits not eligible.

PlayOJO

LiveCasino.com Exclusive: PlayOJO 50% Cashback up to £50

New Players Only. Cashback offer up to £50 on net losses playing live games only on first deposits of £20+. Claim cashback from Support. Only available to specific players registering until 31st July 2019 via the link below. If you have arrived on this page not via the designated offer via PlayOJO you will not be eligible for the offer. Rewards and game play policy applies.

Claim our UK exclusive bgo cashback bonus

18+ T&C Apply – BeGambleAware.org

New UK Players Only; Live casino specific: yes; Minimum deposit: £10; Opt-in required: yes; Bonus code required: yes; Table restrictions: no; Free spins: no; Validity: 3 days; New customers only. Use code: LIVECASINO. Min. cashback £1. Max. cashback £50 on net losses on Live Casino games only. Not available using Neteller or Skrill.. Cashback credited next day by 18:00 GMT. Cashback must be accepted within 3 days. 2.5% deposit fee. £2.50 withdrawal fee. Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org.

Recommended Live Blackjack Game

lucky streak review logo

Live Blackjack

Lucky Streak Live Blackjack

If you think you know all there is about a twenty-one table then you haven’t experienced the feel of the felt in Lucky Streak Live Blackjack.

Where can I play Live Blackjack?

LiveCasino.com

As a collective of industry veterans, avid casino-heads and casual players, it’s our mission to raise the game and provide you with the complete live casino experience.

© 2019 Bromar Publications LTD