Blackjack Variations

blackjack-humorI play blackjack, but it’s not my go-to game. I’m a low-roller, basic strategy kind of player.  So, when I started looking at blackjack variations, I was amazed by the list.

So I found a great website that lists most of the blackjack variants you can find in the casinos – both brick-and-mortar as well as online. seems to be a wealth of information, including articles about “how & When” to do things, card counting, online blackjack and is a great teaching source.

Back to the list of Blackjack variants that come right out from post called, “Blackjack Variations That Are Popular.” The article includes links with more information on each game.

Cats Playing Blackjack

Cats Playing Blackjack – I just love this.  No idea which variation they are playing.

The following list includes those that can be found in brick-and-mortar casinos. Those only online are not included.

  1. Bonus Blackjack – Bonus Blackjack is played exactly the same as standard blackjack, but with an optional side bet that gives the player a chance to really cash in on a blackjack. As it is only ever played with two decks, bonus blackjack is one of the most popular blackjack variations amongst card counters and professional players.
  2. Blackjack Switch
    Blackjack switch table and deal.

    Blackjack switch table and deal.

    Blackjack Switch has quickly established itself as one of the most popular blackjack variations found in casinos. While generally played the same as blackjack, the twist is that each player plays two hands and has the chance to switch their cards after the initial deal.

  3. Double Exposure Blackjack – it is one of the few blackjack variations that actually increase the odds for the player. Because of this, it is quite rare, as most casinos would rather not let players play blackjack variations where they are able to win more money. So if you ever do find one of these tables, sit down and play.double-exposure-blackjack_sa
  4. Free Bet Blackjack – According to Michael Shackelford, aka the “Wizard of Ods, “The twist to this one is the player doesn’t have to risk his own money when splitting or doubling (most of the time). It is like playing with a generous boyfriend at the table who makes all the supplemental bets for you and lets you keep the winnings. What is the catch?  if the dealer gets a 22, all bets left standing push.freebet-blackjack
  5. Pitch Blackjack – You already know Pitch Blackjack, even if the name is new. Pitch Blackjack is simply blackjack played with one or two decks, and gets its name from the pitching action the dealer uses to deal the cards. Online poker variations of Pitch Blackjack are typically just called single-deck blackjack
  6. Spanish 21 – There are a few twists to Spanish 21, the first being that it is usually played with a four deck shoe of cards. spanish-21-logoThese decks are what is referred to as a Spanish deck, meaning all of the tens are taken out. Some of the payouts are varied as well- all blackjack hands are paid on 3:2 odds no matter what the dealer has. Doubling down is allowed at anytime, including for split pairs. In fact, a player can double down anytime, not just on the initial two cards. So if you already took a card into your hand, you can still double down, though the rule of only one additional hit after doubling down would still apply. There is also a great rule called “double down rescue”, which is unique only to Spanish 21. Double down rescue means that a player can invoke the early surrender rule on a hand that they doubled down on. They would then lose only half their bet instead of all of it if they were to lose.spanish21_02
  7. 21 + 3 Blackjack – The “21 + 3” blackjack side bet is based on examining the player’s two cards and the dealer’s up-card. If the three cards form a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind or straight flush, the player wins. In the original version, the payout for each of these was 9-to-1.


    21 + 3 Table layout and Bonus paytable

  8. Blackjack Surrender – This is called an Early Surrender. The second option takes place after the dealer has looked at his cards to reveal if a Blackjack hand was dealt. This is called a late surrender. In both circumstances the dealer takes your surrendered cards, along with half of your bet.




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