Online Black Jack Variations
Blackjack is among the most popular casino card games in the world and for good reason. I’m with the many among you who love challenging the dealer and feeling like part of a team with my fellow gamblers. There are a lot of ways to chase 21, though, and I’ve come to realize many people don’t know about some of blackjack’s many varieties. In order to fix that, I picked out a few of my favorite blackjack spin-offs to profile here. You can find these games and more at many of my recommended online casinos.
Spanish Blackjack or Spanish 21 — it goes by both — is one of the more popular blackjack spin-offs. One of the first key differences is that in Spanish 21, all the 10 cards are removed from the deck. The dealer’s strategy will generally be the same as in regular blackjack, and players can hit, stand or split according to standard blackjack rules. Blackjacks pay out at 3:2.
While players lose about a 2 percent advantage to the dealer with the 10 cards removed, there are other rules that close that gap considerably. For instance, a five-card 21 pays out 3:2, a six-card 21 pays 2:1 and a 21 with seven or more cards pays 3:1. Blackjacks composed of 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 pay 3:2, and suited 21s pay 2:1 except for spades, which pay 3:1.
Because of all those funky payouts, smaller cards have more value in Spanish Blackjack than regular blackjack. Rules can vary some between different Spanish Blackjack games, but the house edge for Spanish 21 is usually around 3 percent.
Hi-Lo-13 is basically the same game as standard European blackjack but with one added twist. Players still try to beat the dealer by hitting, staying or folding, but before all that, they make one bonus bet. On the table, players can place chips in one of three circles: Lo, 13 or Hi. Players are betting on the sum of their first two cards, with 13 as the standard over/under. If you bet Lo, you’re wagering the sum will be below 13. if you wager Hi, you’re betting for over 13. You can also bet for exactly 13 as your total. Lo and Hi bets pay out 1:1, while 13 bet pay out 10:1.
It’s worth noting that for the purposes of Hi-Lo-13 betting, Aces always count as one. So if you’re dealt A-10, you’ll still win your 3:2 payout, but your Hi-Lo-13 total will only be 11, meaning it would win a low bet.
The Hi-Lo-13 bets up the house edge slightly compared to regular blackjack, but since the rest of the game is still just regular old blackjack, there’s not much for new players to learn and adjust. You can find Hi-Lo-13 Blackjack at many of our recommended casinos, including Lucky247 and Hippodrome Online.
Pontoon is a variant of Spanish Online Blackjack that shakes things up even more. For starters, the dealer shows no hole card, meaning players have no indication of the dealer’s hand. If a player splits with an Ace in hand, the Ace must be played as a 1, and players are not allowed to draw after splitting Aces. Dealers will always hit on soft 17s.
Pontoon also has what’s known as a Super Bonus. This occurs when players draw a suited 7-7-7 and the dealer has a 7 face up. The bonus pays $1,000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5,000 for bets over $25. The odds of hitting the bonus are 1 in 668,382 in six deck games, but it’s worth watching out for.
Mostly because the dealer shows no hole cards — and thus can’t end the game with a blackjack — the house edge for Pontoon is even slimmer than in Spanish 21. Pontoon is very popular among online gambling halls and can be found in many of our recommended casinos, including Betway Casino.
This blackjack game is a little more rare in the online community, but you can access it at casinos like Lucky247. The game is very similar to regular blackjack, with one significant twist — rather than deal with one hole card, the dealer gives him or herself two face up cards, so everyone at the table knows what the dealer has off the bat. The house gets back some edge because blackjacks pay out 1:1 instead of 3:2 and players lose ties with the dealer.
Tables that allow splitting will only allow it once, and many Double Exposure don’t allow spitting at all. Many also forbid doubling down. It can vary table to table whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17.
The house edge for Double Exposure is slightly greater than regular blackjack, but minimally so. It’s still one of the better payout games available.
Some blackjack games give players the option to surrender. You won’t take advantage of this option often if you’re following optimal Blackjack strategy, but it can help. If the table you’re at has dealers stand on soft 17, you’ll want to surrender a 16 versus a 9, 10 or Ace, and 1 5 versus a 10. if the dealer hits on soft 17, surrender 16 versus a 9, 10 or Ace; a 15 versus a 10 or Ace; a 17 versus an Ace and an 8-8 versus an Ace.
In Switch, players are dealt two hands instead of one, and are allowed to “switch’ the top card from their hands if they so desire. This gives the players more control and creates the opportunity for more blackjacks, although the house picks back up on its edge by only paying 1:1 on blackjacks. Also, if a dealer gets a hard 22, he or she pushes with all player hands except a natural blackjack.
Similar to regular blackjack, Progressive Blackjack differs only in that it offers players an optional side bet for a chance to win an accumulating progressive jackpot. Players take chunks for the jackpot by drawing Aces, and the more Aces, the bigger the share of the pot received. If a player draws four Aces in a single hand, he or she wins the entire pot.