European Blackjack

If you thought blackjack is blackjack is a blackjack game, then you’re like most. But there are in fact, more than one type of blackjack games available, even here in Canada, including European blackjack. While it’s not much different than the game you know (which may technically be considered American blackjack), when playing blackjack online at one of our recommended casinos, European blackjack is a great way to add a slightly different dimension to your game.

Rules of European Blackjack

So what’s there to know about European blackjack? Well the goal of any online blackjack game remains the same, to hit or come as close to possible to a combined card total of 21, without going over, and in doing so beating the dealer’s hand. The differences in European blackjack are:

  • No hole card for the dealer – In a standard blackjack game the dealer is dealt one face-up card and one face-down card, which he can peek at, and use to decide how he plays. It also means he knows instantly if he has a blackjack hand. If affirmative, he must immediately reveal it, to put a quick end to the game. For our purposes, in a European blackjack game, there is no hole card. The dealer is dealt one face-up card, and then a second face-down card only after all players have completed their hands. As such, players may add to their bets (and potentially increase their losses), by doubling up or splitting, without knowing that the dealer has a blackjack hand.
  • The dealer stands on a soft 17 – Which means he must hit on 16.
  • Double down only on 9, 10 or 11 – In European blackjack you can only double down on a hand value of 9, 10 or 11, and not after splitting. This is opposed to American blackjack which allows you to double down on any hand value, and after splitting.
  • One split, only on 10-valued cards – Splitting your cards doubles the number of hands you hold, by creating two separate hands from one (remember, you’ll have to concurrently double your bet to do so). While in American blackjack you can split numerous times on cards of any value, in European blackjack you can only split your cards once, and only on like cards with a value of 10 (10, J, Q, K).
  • No surrender – A late surrender, after your first two cards are dealt, can minimise your losses (from 100% down to 50% on a weak hand). Whether you’re playing European blackjack online, or in the best casinos in Vegas or Niagara Falls, you won’t find a surrender option here.

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Odds in European Blackjack

When it comes to the house edge, if you look at the European blackjack rules above, and take them individually or as a whole, you will easily understand for yourself that American blackjack has better odds than its European counterpart. Overall, however (depending on the number of decks used of course), blackjack is considered the game with the lowest house edge of all the online casino games out there, which is good news for you. For those who like to get precise, the house edge for European roulette is generally quoted as 0.42%, though this may fluctuate depending on where you play.

As for odds, a blackjack hand in European blackjack is paid out at a fixed rate of 3:2 odds. That means if you bet $10, you’d receive $15 in pay.

Variations of European Blackjack

In a standard, land-based casino, you won’t likely get much choice when it comes to variations of European blackjack games. And there within lies the incredible advantage of online European blackjack play.

Visit any of our recommended online casinos above, and you’ll see for yourself, there is actually a fair bit of choice when it comes to online European blackjack games. Log in and experience for yourself a range of games like European Blackjack Gold – Redeal, European Blackjack Gold – Hi Lo 13, Blackjack Gold – High Limit, and European Blackjack Gold – Perfect Pairs, to name but a few.

Top 5 European Blackjack Tips

When it comes to playing European blackjack online, there are a few tips we recommend you keep in mind:

  • Play free European blackjack – Always take advantage of practice mode, and the option to play for free. It’s one the primary advantages the online format offers, and it’s well worth your while.
  • Use your casino bonus – You made a deposit, you collected a bonus, now put it in play at the European blackjack table. Once you clear the wagering requirement, you can make money for free.
  • Be wary when splitting or doubling down – Since you don’t know the dealer’s hand, you should be careful when increasing your bet. Only split or double down if the card the dealer is showing is low, and your hand is really great. Keep in mind, if the dealer has blackjack, he will beat all hands of a mere 21.
  • Always split Aces – The Ace card is a blackjack player’s friend, in any hand. And two Aces are always good news, making them worth the odds of a split.
  • Study the blackjack charts – A lot of research has gone into the statistics for each hand. Take a look at the blackjack strategy charts to see how to play any card combination to your best possible advantage. Though learning the charts won’t guarantee a win, and you may feel like going against logic and pressing your luck some days, being well-informed is always a good place to start.

Conclusion

European blackjack has become standard fare online. While it is slightly more stringent in terms of its rules than its American counterpart, it’s at least equally fun to play, especially at top European blackjack online casinos, as listed above.