Popular Types of Blackjack Explained

The main objective of Blackjack is to beat the dealer by obtaining a hand of cards that’s as close to 21 as possible, and higher than the dealer’s hand. Different versions of the game have slightly different rules.

We explore some of the general rules below. This is followed by an overview of four of the most popular versions of the game.

Blackjack Basics

  • The value of a King, Queen and Jack is 10 points each.
  • Numbered cards (‘2’ to ‘10’) keep their face value, in other words: 2 points to 10 points.
  • The value of an Ace is 1 point or 11 points, depending on which value advantages you as the player.
  • Once you’ve received your first two cards, you can choose to either hit or stand. To ‘hit’ means to request another card. To ‘stand’ means that you are happy with your hand.
  • Should the value of your hand go over 21, your bet is forfeited (referred to as being ‘busted’).
  • Should your first two cards be either a King, Queen or Jack (10 points each) and an Ace (11 points), this is known as a ‘natural Blackjack’.
  • After receiving the first two cards, you may wish to ‘double down’ (if the casino rules allow this). Doubling down means placing a second bet, equal in value to the first. When doing so, you’ll receive another card. An additional hit will not be permitted after this.

Classic Blackjack

Also commonly referred to as American Blackjack, in this version, you and the dealer receive two cards each. One of the dealer’s cards remains face down. The face-down card (also called the ‘hole’ card) is only revealed when the dealer chooses to hit or stand.

European Blackjack

In European Blackjack, the cards are dealt differently than in Classic Blackjack. To begin, the player receives two cards, face up. The dealer receives one card (also face up), and only receives the hole card once the player has decided how to play his cards.

Blackjack Switch

In Blackjack Switch, two hands of cards are played at the same time, with identical bets placed on each. The hands are dealt face up, and the player is permitted to switch his second card from one hand to the other.

A tie is reached if the value of the dealer’s hand is 22. In this case, nobody wins and no money exchanges hands.

Free Bet Blackjack

Free Bet Blackjack is a much loved, newer form of the game. The allure of this version is that players can split a pair or double down on certain cards (determined by the casino) for free. In other words, players aren’t required to increase their bet and thus to risk losing more money in the process.

When splitting or doubling down, they simply leave their initial bet as is. Should they win, the house will pay them out as if they had increased their bet.

We hope this brief overview has encouraged you to explore different types of Blackjack. The game takes practice and skill but mastering your favourite version will lead to big profits!