If you’re looking for a fast-paced casino game packed with fun, entertainment and challenges then Blackjack is the game to play. Once you’ve grown fully comfortable with the rules, managed to get familiar with the basic strategy and want to test your skills against the dealer you’ll want to jump right into playing.
The problem is that because blackjack is such a popular and beloved card game many variants have been created over the years to give players a range of games to choose from. The game remains the same in all variants apart from some minor rule changes and additional side bets added. It might seem like a good idea to play the first one you see but the variants have been created to fulfil the needs of all types of players. It might be a good idea just to brush up on some interesting difference between the games and take your pick from the Top Blackjack games on the market.
From Zero to Casino Hero
With other popular gambling games such as real money slots it’s quite easy to take a trip down memory lane and find its origin. With Blackjack however it isn’t quite that simple. Even historians have come to an agreement that the true origins of blackjack cannot be confirmed.
The main reason for this is the lack of information and the reputation of the movers and shakers of the early gambling world. These individuals were known for being egomaniacs, liars and cheats. Thus, while there is plenty of information to go on there is no real accuracy in it. The most popular belief is that the game originated in France with the French version of the game known as Vingt-en-un translating to 21. This theory is the one that makes the most sense as the French version translates to Twenty One in English. There are also a few more similarities between Vingt-en-un and Blackjack that has led many to believe this is where it truly originated from.
Despite the many theories on its origins, Blackjack is massively popular across the globe, so much so that the game has become a go to in movies based on casino game play or movies featuring casino scenes. One of the most popular movies ‘21’ is focused solely on blackjack. The movie is about a brilliant student who needs a way to make quick cash to pay his tuition. He becomes part of a team of students who under the leadership of a strange professor make use of their math skills to win big money while playing blackjack in Las Vegas.
The film is based on a true story of the MIT Blackjack Team made up out of ex-students and currently enrolled students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School and Harvard University. These students actually used card counting techniques and other highly sophisticated strategies to outsmart the casinos at blackjack worldwide. This team was successfully running from 1979 until the start of the 21st century.
Kids, don’t try this at home… If you are planning on watching the movie after reading this you’re in for some quality entertainment but remember that “it’s just a movie”. Yes it might be based on real life events but casinos, especially online casinos have gone through great measures to make it incredibly difficult for you to successfully card count as part of your strategy. The MIT Blackjack Team can be admired for what they’ve accomplished but chances of becoming part of the next big Blackjack team and outsmarting casinos especially online is not very likely.
Blackjack Variants and Their Daddies
Choosing the right blackjack game for you can be difficult especially because there are so many Top Blackjack variants from leading software developers in the industry. The rules and odds are the biggest difference in these games so ultimately you need to find a variant that fits you’re gaming style and won’t leave you bankrupt.
Pro Tip: Always read the rules of the game before playing. Even if you know how blackjack works you might save yourself some frustration and disappointment later on if you read through the specific variant rules to see if there are any changes in rules, betting options and pay-outs.
If the multiple variants weren’t enough there are also several casino software providers with their own variants to offer. Among all of the software providers in the industry the top developers especially when it comes to blackjack is Playtech and Microgaming.
Top 4 Microgaming Blackjack Variants
1. Classic Blackjack Gold
Microgaming is known for their Gold versions of some games, basically the gold series comes with much better graphics and sounds than the normal variants of the games. In other words Classic Blackjack Gold is the basic blackjack variant that has been played throughout the centuries. The game makes use of one 52 card deck and the dealer has to stand on all 17’s. In this variant you are not allowed to surrender and can only double down on 9, 10 or 11.
The use of just one deck of cards provide you with better odds so it remains one of the go to variants among avid blackjack players. Plus you’ll get to play in style with superb graphics and sounds to give you that in casino feeling.
2. Triple Sevens Progressive Blackjack
In this blackjack game variant the lucky number 7 is the magic card. The game makes use of five 52 card decks and has a progressive jackpot prize pool. To hit the jackpot you need 3 sevens of diamonds. Apart from the glamorous addition of a progressive jackpot the game follows standard blackjack rules.
Pro Tip: When playing this blackjack variant you should always opt to hit on two sevens. Keep in mind that three sevens of any suit provides a massive payout of 250:1.
3. Spanish Blackjack
This blackjack variant is played with eight decks of cards in the shoe but all 10’s are removed from the decks. Thus, each of the eight decks are made up out of 48 cards only. This simple change in the game is of advantage to the house but the rules are luckily changed in your favour. Playing this blackjack variant leads to less blackjack hands but the upside is that special payouts have been added to your advantage. In this variant you are allowed to double down on any two cards, you may even double down twice. The game also allows you to split as well as re-split hands and the best part is that a player 21 always wins.
7–7–7 of the same suit pays 50:1 when facing a dealer 7
Special bonus payouts are given if you have a 6–7–8 or a 7–7–7
A special payout is also awarded if a 21 is formed with a total of 5–7 cards
4. Double Exposure Blackjack
The name of the game says it all, this blackjack variant allows you to see both of the dealer’s cards and not just one. This is something most blackjack players dream of as they believe this gives them an advantage over the house. Unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple. While you do get to see the dealer’s cards the game rules are changed to even out the odds.
The game is played with eight standard card decks and you are only allowed to double down on 9, 10 and 11. You are allowed to split your pairs as with regular blackjack but in this game the dealer wins all ties except when you have blackjack. Another change on that note is that you’ll be paid 1:1 instead of 3:2 when you have blackjack. The game also offers no late surrender options and the dealer is allowed to hit on a soft 17.
Top 4 Beloved Playtech Blackjack Variants
1. Classic Blackjack
One thing you can always be certain of is that no matter who the provider is, one of their top blackjack variants will always be the classic. The Playtech version of Classic Blackjack is as true to the standard blackjack form as possible. Again this form of blackjack has common rules such as the dealer having to stand on any soft 17 and no added surrender options for players.
The game is played with six 52 card decks and you have the option of doubling down on your first two cards. If you take the double down option you will only receive a single card. The same happens if you split aces but you are also allowed to split any pairs in this variant.
Those who have played the game will tell you that it’s the exact same game as Blackjack surrender apart from not having the option to surrender. So if you’re looking to enjoy a classic blackjack variant with the option to surrender you might have to play Blackjack Surrender instead of Classic Blackjack from the Playtech variants.
2. Blackjack Surrender
Speaking of which, Playtech’s Blackjack Surrender is played with six 52 card decks that are shuffled before the next deal. In this variant the dealer has to stand on any 17 and a player blackjack always wins. The fun part is that you have the option to surrender in this game variant where you lose only half your bet instead of all of it on a weak blackjack hand.
When to surrender: Having the option to surrender is helpful but only if used in the correct circumstances. If the dealer’s face up card is an ace, 10 or 9 and you have a hand totalling in 16 you should surrender.
3. Blackjack Switch
This innovative blackjack variant from Playtech comes with amazing odds in favour of the player. You get to play two hands at the same time and you’re allowed to switch the top card of each hand to the other if needed to improve your odds. Because of this the dealer ties on 22 when you have a total of 21 or lower. The only exception to this is if you get blackjack.
The other downside of this game is that a dealer blackjack beats a player blackjack and the payouts decrease to 1:1 instead of the normal 3:2. The rest of the rules are the same as those in classic blackjack and while it might sound like the game could take you down the losing path it can be quite lucrative with the correct strategy and knowing when to switch cards between hands.
4. Multi-hand Progressive Blackjack
This variant is extremely popular among players as it features all the elements players might need for a thrilling and profitable gaming experience. The game can be played with a minimum of $5 per hand or a maximum of $1,000. Then there is the advantage of an additional $1 side bet you can place during the game for a chance to qualify for the progressive jackpot. In this game 6 decks of cards are used that are shuffled after every hand. One of the main reasons players opt in to this blackjack variant is for the big pay-outs, even if you don’t trigger the progressive jackpot you still get out decent amounts of winnings.
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The Live Dealer Experience
Let’s not forget about live dealer blackjack variants. These games allow you to get the ultimate real casino feel from the comfort of your couch. The games are played in studios or land based casino rooms and are filmed from multiple angles to give you a 360 view of the room. With a trained live dealer guiding your gameplay you are in for quite a treat. And let’s not forget about the social benefit these games offer as you can make use of a chat box to talk to the dealer and in some cases even other players at the table.
In fact, Playtech even allows you to play live dealer blackjack in which the dealer is a Playboy bunny. This will sure get your engine running and keep you focused…on the game. If Live Dealer Blackjack games are something foreign to you, take a look at our guide on how they work and what you can expect.