Blackjack variation strategies
There is a wide range of different Blackjack variations each introducing a certain basic strategy. These variations actually share the same basic features, but each of them offers rule variations and specific opportunities that may change the player's winning odds and diversify the game process.
Pontoon is a variation of blackjack vastly popular in the United Kingdom. It shares the traditional blackjack basic features with slight differences in rules and in terms. First of all, "natural blackjack" is called "Pontoon"; main player decisions also have other names: Twist for Hit, Stick for Stand, and Buy for Double Down. The dealer's cards in Pontoon blackjack are both dealt face-down, which means that the players have no idea what the dealer's cards are (except when the dealer has "Pontoon", which he or she checks before the players make their decisions).
The game of Spanish 21 is played with decks of 48 cards excluding 10-valued cards (except the pictures). This increases house edge by nearly 25% and would have made the game very unpopular if the casinos hadn't introduced some favorable rules to compensate for the high house edge:
- Player's hand valued 21 always beats that of the dealer's.
- Due to the combination of cards in a 21-valued hand, the player may qualify for Bonus 21 (e.g. if the player's hand is composed of 6 cards making 21, the player gets bonus paid at 2 to 1, and for a hand containing three sevens of spades the payout is 3 to 1).
- Super Bonus is achieved when the player has three sevens of the same suit and the dealer has a seven of any suit. It can make $1,000 to $5,000.
Vegas Strip blackjack
The rules of Vegas Strip blackjack are basically the same as with the regular blackjack, meaning that the aim of the game is still to reach a total hand value higher than that of the dealer's without busting (exceeding 21). Vegas Strip offers some slight changes to the basic blackjack rules:
- Vegas Strip is played with four decks of 52 cards.
- The dealer stands on "Soft 17" (the combination of an Ace counted as 11 and a six).
- All pairs can be split and re-split into up to four new hands.
- The Aces can only be split once; only one card is allowed to each of the split Aces.
- All 10-valued cards can be split (for example, a 10 and a Jack, or a King and a Queen).
- The combination of an Ace after split and a 10-valued card instead of "blackjack" makes a simple 21-valued hand that pays even money.
European blackjack, although having basically the same features as a regular blackjack, still offers slight differences in rules:
- The pairs may be split only once.
- The player may draw quite a few cards to any of the split Aces.
- 10-valued cards can only be split if they are the same (two Kings, not a King and a Queen).
- Only hands valued 9 to 11 can be doubled.
Perfect Pairs blackjack
Perfect pairs blackjack offers an additional bet that may win jackpot paid at 30 to 1. This bet is placed based on the supposition that the player's initial hand will make a pair - either Mixed (of different color), Colored (of different suit but the same color) or Perfect (of the same suit).
Blackjack Switch offers an additional opportunity to switch cards between the two hands the player is dealt, which increases the player's odds to get a good hand. At the same time, overall game rules and process remain basically the same as in the regular blackjack.
Progressive blackjack offers an extra bet added to the original bet based on the supposition that the player will receive one or more Aces.