Blackjack is a game that needs no introduction. The default version has one of the lowest house edges in the world! Of course, just how high or low it goes depends on the rules your specific table offers you. Naturally, you can’t control your luck. But you can play following the basic strategy outlined in our mastering Blackjack guide! With its aid, each round you play will be slightly tilted in your favour!
After a while, though, you’ll probably get tired of the same old Blackjack round. Casinos are well aware of this: it’s why they offer so many variants! Which ones should you choose that retain the high payout nature of the original Blackjack game? In this article, we’ll go over a few of our low house edge favourites! Just remember to double-check the table rules before you start playing them.
Spanish 21 Blackjack
The first variant we’ll take a look at is Spanish 21. It’s immediately recognizable to experienced Blackjack players thanks to its slightly adjusted deck. All four tens are removed, cutting down the size of each deck to 48. This makes reaching 21 more difficult, sharply increasing the house edge.
Of course, nobody would accept having their winning chances lowered for no reason. As a result, Spanish 21 offers a variety of excellent rules to make up for the lack of tens. Some of our personal favourites include:
- A player getting an exact 21 always wins
- Punters win even if the dealer also gets a Blackjack
- You can double after splitting your hand
- Players can re-split up to four hands
- Late surrender is available
Rules may change depending on the online casino and software provider you’re playing with. However, these are the default rules that we’ve seen after testing several Spanish 21 games.
Another advantage for punters are extra wins. Five, six, or seven-card Blackjacks pay 3:2, 2:1 and 3:1, respectively. Sadly, you cannot claim these extra wins if you double or split. You can also snag some extra wins if you have a mixed or suited 7-7-7 combinations.
Free Bet Blackjack
Punters first came across this variant of Blackjack in 2012, when it made its Vegas debut. Since then, it’s popularity has made its way to online casinos, where it found a brand new legion of fans!
Free Bet Blackjack is perfect for players who like splitting and doubling. There are a time and place for both using standard blackjack strategy, but it doesn’t come up often. To encourage it more, this variant makes both of these actions free under specific circumstances.
So what sort of changed rules does Free Bet Blackjack offer us? Let’s break down the important adjustments.
- You can double down anytime on hard 9, 10 or 11
- Free splits on all pairs except tens and fours
- Up to four free re-spins on all card combinations, including aces
- The player can double down for free after splitting
- The dealer getting 22 becomes a push instead of a win
Using standard rules, you play this game with six decks, and a Blackjack pays 3:2. There’s no surrender, and dealers hit soft 17s.
If you want to increase your odds of winning, we suggest taking each free double down you’re given. You’ll also want to use free splits on everything except a pair of fives. Split fours only if the dealer has a five or a six. And never split tens. This kind of lower-risk environment is a great way to get familiar with doubling and splitting. Tables with the above-mentioned rules give you a great house edge, set at 1.04%.
You know, we remember a time when swapping cards in a casino used to be punished. But with the constant need for innovation, developers try to break up the monotony in any possible manner. Including turning what was once a cheating manoeuvre into an official online blackjack mechanic!
Unlike standard Blackjack, with Blackjack Switch, we play two simultaneous hands. Since you’re playing two hands, you also pay double for each wager you make! With two hands, punters are able to swap cards between their hands at the start of each round. And while it sounds great, it does have some restrictions.
The casino will only allow you to swap your second drawn hand. Let’s use an example to make it easier to imagine.
- Your first hand draws a ten, then a five
- Your second hand draws a seven, then an eight
Players can then choose to swap the five and eight around. But you cannot swap the eight for the seven. Nor can you swap the ten and seven. Only the second cards are eligible to be swapped, and only at the very start.
After that initial swap, you play the rest of the game normally. You’re able to hit, double and split as you usually would! Blackjack Switch shares its downside with Free Bet Blackjack. Yes, the dealer getting a 22 is not a player win anymore. A dealer’s 22 will push everything except the punter’s Blackjack.
We know the mechanics. How do we turn them to our advantage? The way you want to go about it is by defining the dealer’s first drawn card. They can have a strong upcard, which ranges from a seven to an ace. A weak upcard ranges from three to six. And the last upcard is deuce, which is any two cards.
Once we define the upcard, we can plan ahead with our own cards. We can afford to play more aggressively against weak upcards, and safer with deuces and strong upcards. If you’re interested in learning more, you can look up a detailed WLPC Switch System. It gets a bit complicated, so we decided against including it in full.
These games offer a much-needed change to the traditional blackjack formula. And despite radically adjusting how we play Blackjack, they still retain its amazing high house edge. Play them smart, and your house edge will stay the same as a standard Blackjack. Even lower in the case of Blackjack Switch!
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