You are here » Home » Rule Variations in Blackjack

Rule Variations in Blackjack

Most blackjack games are played by the same basic rules. However, there are a number of variations that differ in the specifics. The main differences between blackjack variations include the number of decks, whether or not the dealer peeks for blackjack and hits on soft 17 (a 17-point hand that includes an Ace worth 11 points), and rules pertaining to splitting and doubling down. It is important to note that the main objective in all blackjack variants is to beat the dealer’s hand without busting by breaking a total of 21. However, when it comes to the more specific rules it is important to familiarize yourself with them before you begin playing a new blackjack game.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

One of the most popular blackjack variations is Vegas Strip blackjack. This is the most-played blackjack game in Las Vegas casinos and is popular online as well. The specifics of this game are as follows:

  • 4 standard decks of cards are used
  • Dealer peeks for Blackjack on 10s and Ace up-cards
  • Dealer stands on soft 17
  • Players can double down on any two cards
  • Players can double down after splitting
  • Players can split their hand 3 times, making up to 4 hands
  • Aces can be split only once
  • Players can only take one card to split Aces
  • 21 on a split Ace does not count as Blackjack
  • Unlike 10-value cards may be split (i.e. 10-J)
  • Blackjack usually pays 3:2, but sometimes 6:5

Atlantic City Blackjack

On the other side of the United States, in Atlantic City, casinos use nearly the same rules as in Las Vegas. The differences include the fact that Atlantic City Blackjack utilizes 8 standard decks of cards rather than 4, and late surrender is allowed.

European Blackjack

European casinos offer slightly different rules for their blackjack games. The differences between European Blackjack and Vegas Strip are as follows:

  • 2 standard decks of cards are used
  • The dealer does not peek for blackjack
  • Players may only double down on hands with a value of 9, 10 or 11
  • Players are allowed to split a hand only once
  • Players may split only like-valued 10 cards

The above-mentioned blackjack rules are the most basic, typical blackjack rules used throughout the world. However, there are blackjack variants that change the rules up quite a bit to add excitement and variety for players. Some of the more popular blackjack variants include Multi-Hand Blackjack, Double Attack Blackjack, Spanish 21 and Super Fun 21.

Multi-Hand Blackjack

Multi-Hand Blackjack, unlike other games of blackjack in which players play one hand at a time, encourages players to play up to 5 hands at one time. The rules are pretty much standard. However the fact that players have so many hands to deal with at once adds a unique thrill to the game. Multi-Hand Blackjack is played by the rules listed above for European Blackjack.

Double Attack Blackjack

Double Attack Blackjack changes up traditional blackjack rules quite a bit. The specific rules of the game that differ from Vegas Strip are as follows:

  • 8 Spanish decks are used (A Spanish deck is a 48-card deck created by removing the four 10s from a standard 52-card deck)
  • After the dealer has dealt the first card, his own upcard, players may “Double Attack”, raising their bets up to double the amount of their original wager
  • The dealer peeks only when players take insurance
  • Blackjack pays even money
  • Players may place side bets, called “BustIt” bets, that will be paid if the dealer busts on his third card

Spanish 21

Another popular blackjack game that is played with a Spanish deck of cards is Spanish 21. The specific rules are as follows, as they differ from Vegas Strip Blackjack:

  • 6 to 8 Spanish decks are used
  • A player with a hand worth 21 always wins
  • Players may hit or double down after splitting any two cards (including Aces)
  • Late surrender is allowed
  • A 5-card 21 pays out 3:2
  • A 6-card 21 pays out 2:1
  • A 7-or-more-card 21 pays out 3:1
  • A 6-7-8 or 5-5-5 pays out 3:2
  • If a player has 7-7-7 and the dealer has a face up 7, the player earns a bonus between $1,000 and $5,000 and all other players at the table earn $50 “envy” bonuses

Super Fun 21

Super Fun 21 is a very liberal blackjack game with a lot of fun and exciting ways to win. It differs from Vegas Strip with the following rules:

  • 1, 2 or 6 decks of cards are used
  • The dealer hits on soft 17
  • Players may re-split all pairs, including Aces, three times for up to four hands
  • Players may hit and double down on split Aces
  • Late surrender is allowed
  • Regular blackjack pays even money
  • A blackjack made up of diamonds pays 2:1
  • Hands valued at 20 or less with 6 or more cards win automatically
  • 21-point hands made up of 5 or more cards are paid 2:1
  • Player blackjack always wins

All of these games, and other blackjack variations can be played in live casinos or online for free or real money. A free game is a great way to learn the rules and improve your skills before playing for real money.

Blackjack Games A-Z
Play Blackjack for Free
Practice and improve your Blackjack skills with our free instant play games. No download is required.
Trivia & Facts
What are the chances of getting a natural 21, or blackjack?
Connect with