Blackjack, or Vingt-Un, is the most famous card game worldwide, a position challenged only, maybe, by poker. Every online casino will have loads of instant blackjack rooms, if not live dealer rooms. In fact, some could argue blackjack is as essential in casinos as roulette or slots. However, this game has many variations, and you should understand the differences before risking your money.
Quick Historical Background
Blackjack doesn’t have a clear place or date of birth. It was first mentioned in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel published in 1613, where he mentions a game of veintiuna (twenty-one in Spanish). The first records of this game in France and Britain date from the late 18th century. In the early 19th century, Vingt-Un was already popular in the United States.
Initially, the game was played with a 52-card deck, supporting between two and seven players. However, the mathematician Edward Thorp would change the game forever, with his book Beat the Dealer, from 1966. In this book, Thorp explains his card-counting method, showing how to conquer a decisive edge against the house.
The success of the book has driven the creation of teams to beat casinos. After massive losses and a few legal battles, casinos were allowed to change the rules. Changes include more decks and advanced shuffling techniques.
The Favourite Ones
There are many types of blackjack. While playing it in an online casino, depending on the gaming platform you visit, you’re likely to come across some or indeed all of the variations listed below.
The United States isn’t blackjack’s place of birth, but it’s where its classic version comes from. It’s the most widely played variation of this game, along with the European version. In the classic version, dealers can have their whole cards before the player gets the chance to make any decision.
In the European version, the players have the initiative, not the dealer. The dealer must wait for players to make their move. The European Twenty-One has other restrictions compared with its American counterpart. Those would include the ability to split only once and fewer chances of doubling down.
The name Vegas Strip refers to the South Las Vegas Boulevard stretch, full of luxury casinos. The version played there has its own nuances and became one of the most popular variations.
Completely different from other variations, the blackjack switch deals two separate hands to players. Then, players can swap or switch (hence the name) the second cards of each hand. Such a feature leads to entirely different gameplay.
Originally a side bet, Perfect Pairs earned a variation for itself. Here, players can opt for the Perfect Pairs (also referred to as 21+3) side before cards are even dealt.
The changes pushed by Thorp’s book made card-counting virtually impossible. Yet, blackjack remains a game of skill, requiring a reasonably educated sense of probability from the best players. There are plenty of websites where you can practice your favourite variation for free before going for the real deal.