Variants in Online Casino Blackjack
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One only needs to look at the 40 odd online blackjack games offered by Microgaming to be aware of the variety that is possible in such games. This variety arises because blackjack is played under slightly different rules in different land casinos. Online gaming software providers have put together various permutations and combinations of these rules so as to create a number of variants of blackjack. This article discusses some of the more predominant rules that have led to this variety.
Blackjack is played differently in the land casinos of the United States and of Europe. This difference has been carried into online blackjack. In the United States the dealer is dealt one card face up and the other card face down. If the face up card is an ace or a ten a value card then the dealer checks for blackjack before the player makes his moves. If he has a blackjack then the game is over and the player loses his wager. In European blackjack the dealer is dealt only the face up card. He is dealt his second start only after all players have completed playing their hands. This rule is also known as the No Hole Card rule. The No Hole Card rule is disadvantageous to the player. In addition to his original wager the player may wager extra amounts by splitting or doubling bets. In European blackjack he will lose these amounts as well if the dealer has a blackjack. In American blackjack this possibility does not arise because the dealer checks for blackjack before the player has an opportunity to place additional wagers.
In blackjack the dealer has to play his hand exactly as dictated by the rules. He can never use his own discretion. One important point of variation in the rules is whether the dealer stands on a total of soft 17 or whether the dealer hits on a total of soft 17. Some blackjack games follow the former ruling whereas others follow the latter one. When the dealer hits on a total of soft 17 the player is at a disadvantage because more often than not the dealer will end up with a total that is greater than 17. Combinations of the two differences explained so far lead to four variations in blackjack games.
Two other variations that do not need much explanation are players being allowed or not allowed to surrender their hand and take insurance against the dealer having a blackjack. Therefore we now have four rules each of which leads to two variations. Combinations of these four rules lead to 16 variations.
There are a number of different rules regarding splitting and doubling, which in conjunction with the earlier differences further increase the number of online blackjack variants. These are bulleted below.
- Player can double after a split
- Player cannot double after a split
- Player can double on any first two cards
- Player can double on a dealt hand value of 9 to 11 only
- Player can double on a dealt hand value of 10 and 11 only
- Player can re-split to two hands only
- Player can re-split to three hands only
- Player can re-split to four hands only
- Player can re-split aces
- Player cannot re-split aces
Before selecting a variant of blackjack on which to wager players need to study the combined effect of all the rules under which that variant is being played.