The most popular variations of Blackjack

Blackjack is one the most popular games played at casinos and also at home were its also known as 21. As most other games when playing blackjack especially at online casinos you will notice some game variations that might apply in some casinos but not all. Generally speaking if you follow the basic strategy and rules which we have explained in our “blackjack strategy” section here you could join and play at any casinos, however there are some rules you need to look out for that could help you improve your chances of winning. For that reason we have decided to do a post on the rule variations of blackjack you might come across when playing online or at brick & mortar casinos.

Classic rules

This is the classic version of blackjack were each player is given 2 cards and is playing against the dealer. The main objective is to get as close as possible to 21 by adding the value of each card, if you get 21 you win however if the sum of the values of your cards is more than 21 then you lose.

The basic rules are explained in more detail in our “how to play” section on our homepage.

American blackjack

With this blackjack variation the rules are bit more flexible than the European version however many players prefer the European game. The dealer is handed one card facing up and one card facing down compared to the European version were the dealer only has one card facing up. Also players are given the option to use the “surrender” rule anytime throught the game. Players are also allowed to double down on any hand and are not restricted to double down only for specific cards like the European version(9, 10 &11).

European Blackjack

European blackjack in one of the most popular versions that’s slightly different due to the following reasons. The game is always played with two decks of cards and the dealer must “hit” if the value of his cards equals to 16 or less. With this variation you can “split” however you can only do it once.  You can also double down only when you have 9, 10 or 11. The dealer is dealt only one card facing up and the surrender rule is not allowed in this version.

Single Hand Versus Multi Hand Blackjack

Single hand is played with one deck of cards and only one hand is played each time. If you are starting out in blackjack we recommend you play single hand as it’s easier than the multi hand version.

The Multi hand version of blackjack is aimed to more advanced players that are comfortable  and experienced at playing the classic version of blackjack. The main difference with this variation is that you are mutlitasking  and playing five hands at the same time, you are given 10 cards in total.  By playing this game you have more chances of winning money unless the dealer has a blackjack which will result in you losing everything. The game is confusing enough as it is and therefore in order to make it less confusing certain rules are applied that don’t apply to single hand blackjack. You can’t re-split at any time, you cant double up aftre splitting or double up when you have 9-10-11, you cant surrender and as for the dealer, he needs to stand on a soft 17. If you are a begginer you could give this a shot however we suggest you play a demo version of the game instead of depositing money as it’s quite a confusing game that requires experience and a lot of concentration.

Blackjack Switch

This is quite an interesting variation of blackjack that’s been popular recently.

When playing blackjack switch you are dealt two hands instead of one or five for the multihand version and you are allowed to switch cards from one hand to another which results in a very low house edge. Specifically players are allowed to swap the second card in order to get a better result. One of the main differences is that if a dealers hand is equal to 22 then this counts as a pushed hand and therefore you don’t win or lose unless you have a blackjack which means you win that hand. It’s dealt face up and its usually played with 6 or 8 decks of cards.


Pontoon is a british version of blackjack, the main objective is the same as the players hand needs to be 21 in order to win or as close as possible to 21 and not over. The main difference when playing pontoon is the number of cards you have, obviosuly if you exceed 21 then you get burned however if the value of your cards is 21 then you win and this is called a pontoon instead of a blackjack. The number of cards in  a single hand overides the overall card value. A hand of 5 cards that equals 21 of less will beat a blackjack, A hand of 3-4 cards that’s is equal to 21 will also beat a blackjack. So in other words the more cards you have the better as long as you don’t exceed 21.  Also another imprortant difference is that a player has the option of buying a card to increase the stake if the value of the cards is less than 21.