Whether you're a regular casino game player or not, you have bound to have come across the term Blackjack at some point in your life. You may have even heard of it referred to as 21. Well, it is one of the most popular casino games on the planet after all. Over the years, the game has seen the rise of many variations with European Blackjack being one of the main ones both online and in brick and mortar establishments. In fact, it is often considered one of the closest versions to classic Blackjack. Whether its rules, basic strategy or blackjack game types; we're about to take you through it all in our European Blackjack guide. But first, here's our list of where you want to be heading to try this variation out for yourself.
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Above are some of the top casino sites for European Blackjack and what's more they are extremely safe too. Virtual casinos always raise some doubts when it comes to safety and fair play. Stick to any of the above and you can rest assured that their games make use of RNG software. All of which are further subject to regular audits by third parties like eCogra.
Not only are they safe, they are also a great place to pick up casino bonuses. One downside is that blackjack players will need to watch out for wagering requirements. Often, casino sites will apply game weighting restrictions and perhaps this is down to blackjack games having a higher RTP than other casino games. At 10Bet for instance, all Blackjack variations contribute to 10% of wagering requirements for their first deposit bonuses. This may be hefty but at least its a step up from others like Cherry Wins Casino that omit the game completely from bonuses.
Now that you know where you need to be playing, we'll take a step back and look into the fundamentals. If you're familiar with the Classic game, then you'll be glad to know that this version follows the same principles. In fact, the aim of the game is to get a hand value as close to 21 as possible. Go over that mark and it's an automatic bust. Hard hands are the most commonly found in blackjack whilst soft hands refer to those where the Ace takes a card value of 11 points.
The game is usually played with double decks and all face cards including the King, Queen and the Jack have a value of 10. Aces are valued 1 and 11 depending on the situation. The player can double down any two-card hand and can split two cards if they are of the same value, same as with the Classic Blackjack. The player can split two cards twice with a total of three hands as long as there aren’t any aces. You will find some blackjack variants online that are played with multi decks of anywhere between 4 to 8 decks. The more decks used in a shoe, the greater the house advantage. Moreover, although we would never advise you to engage in it, card counting becomes almost impossible in these instances as there are too many cards to memorise.
For those who have a general idea of how the game works we now move on to what sets it apart. Although a lot of the differences may seem minor, you'd be surprised by the impact they can have on the game outcome. to make it easier for you to understand, we have come up with a list below.
Because of the above rules, European Blackjack can often be seen as less player-friendly than say American Blackjack. For instance, the presence of the hole card in other variations can save players a lot of money in the long run. This said, one good thing about this version is the use of fewer decks which lowers the house advantage.
Blackjack games are a form of betting just like roulette and some of it will come down to straight-up luck. Although you won't be able to predict when a player or dealer busts, unlike other casino games, there are some blackjack strategies to help players out. In fact, there are strategy charts to help you take a decision about whether to hit, stand, double down or split based on your actual hand. These strategy charts can range from simple to more complex one, based on the type of player. Below we have included a basic European blackjack strategy chart to give you a better idea of how this works.
The blackjack strategy chart above is simple enough to understand and all you'll need is your hand's total and the dealer's face-up card. Of course, the chart has been drawn up based on probability and hence it won't guarantee that you win each time. But this is the same for all card games including baccarat and poker. The element of the unknown is what makes things so exciting after all. In the meantime, though this chart is a good guide to fall back on should you come unstuck.
Before moving on to our next section, there's something we need to point out and it is specifically directed at card counters. It is a common belief, especially in land-based casinos that an ideal playing strategy is to memorise previously dealt hands, especially with the European style of blackjack since it only uses 2 decks. When it comes to online blackjack though, we would always advise against this. Primarily because at most sites cards are re-shuffled constantly which means that it will never work. It could actually end up working against players who rely too much on it. Our suggestion is to stick to blackjack strategy cards and just hope that lady luck is on your side.
Although Blackjack, in general, has a higher RTP than other casino games like slot machines, it is still a form of gambling. Moreover, basic blackjack strategies will provide some guidance but nothing will be able to predict a winning hand. As seen previously, certain rules make European Blackjack less player-friendly too than the American variant. One additional card and you could end up losing everything quite quickly. Luckily some casino sites like Videoslots give players the option to play for fun. This is the perfect opportunity for new players to familiarise themselves with the European version and see how the strategy charts work. Since you do not need to wager real money, it is completely risk-free too.
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If you do have some real money to fund your gaming account then there are a number of options out there. What's more, if you are a regular at online casinos then Play'n GO will definitely ring a bell. Perhaps best known for its quality slots like Book of Dead, the game provider is one of the best. Their European version of Blackjack comes with a few twists. Firstly it allows players to play up to 3 separate hands and it is also played with six-decks. In fact, it has a high RTP of 99.37% which is extremely favourable when compared to other card games. But don't take it from us, check it out for yourself by heading on down to Casumo.
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Another mightly name in the industry, Microgaming has built a huge reputation for itself, particularly amongst progressive slot fans. It's Gold Series table games are just as prestigious though. When it comes to this type of blackjack, Microgaming has a special redeal variant. As the name applies, it gives players the option to re-deal either their own or the dealer's hand without losing the original bet. Of course, this comes at a price and this will vary based on card values but it could still be worthwhile. Unlike the previous option, this is a double-deck game and in fact, the RTP comes in slightly higher at 99.60%. This game requires more thought but it could also end up being more exciting. UK casino, SportNation is a great place to try this option out for yourself.
Perhaps the best option to suit every type of player is GVG's Turbo edition. Players are given the option to choose from standard, high roller or VIP stakes. Whilst the blackjack tables for each are similar, the betting limits will vary massively. PlayOJO is a great casino to head to if you want to try this version out for yourself. They even have a demo option which allows players to try out the game for free. What's more, the game qualifies for their special OJO plus promotion. This means that you'll earn cash back as you wager real money on this game.
Sometimes referred to as 21 or Vingt-Et-Un, this is one of the various blackjack tables available. It is often considered the most similar to the classic blackjack game. This said there are a few blackjack rules that are unique to this version. For instance, this option is usually played with two standard 52-card decks. Other rules relate to doubling, splitting, insurance bets etc. Whilst these blackjack rules will not affect the actual payout, odds and player RTP will vary. Overall this game is considered less player-friendly than other versions such as the Las Vegas style of play.
As with other forms of betting, a lot of blackjacks will come down to luck. In fact, it is impossible to predict when other players or the dealer hits. This said, unlike other table games like roulette, a strategy can play an important role in blackjack, In fact, there are basic strategy charts that can be easily downloaded and printed. The act as a good guide of how to play based on the player's hand and the dealer's face-up card. One thing to point out is that although this is a good blackjack strategy option, it won't guarantee you a win since it is based on probability.