Blackjack Games and Variations

As one of the most recognized casino games out there, blackjack is subject to many imitations and variations. Some of the twists on blackjack have actually become popular games in their own rights while others have disappeared into obscurity.

Some of these variations have even made it to online casinos, which will only serve to make them even more popular. Even though blackjack is still the king of casino card games, these other variations offer fun twists on an old classic.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

Vegas Strip Black Jack is one of the most popular variations of blackjack and is almost indistinguishable from regular blackjack from the outside. The differences between the two games are subtle but they do make it an entirely different experience.

Vegas Strip is played with either 4 or 6 decks depending on where it's offered. The rule changes include the following:

  1. 1. Dealer stands on all 17s.
  2. 2. The dealer checks for blackjacks if the face-up card is an Ace. If the dealer has a blackjack, the hand ends and any players who don't also have a blackjack automatically lose.
  3. 3. If the face-up card is an ace, insurance is allowed before the dealer checks.
  4. 4. Players can double down on any hand, and they can double down after splits (except after aces have been split).
  5. 5. Players may re-split after splitting (except after splitting aces).

Face Up 21

The name of the game kind of gives it away but if you couldn't guess, Face Up 21 is a blackjack variation in which both of the dealer's cards are played face up. This makes your decision making process easier but it comes at a price: All ties go to the dealer and blackjacks are paid at even money instead of the standard 3 to 2.

This is a fun game and the twist in the rules changes the strategy of the game. There are also frustrating moments because no hand is a guaranteed win - not even natural 21s. Face Up 21 is similar enough to blackjack to be easy to learn but different enough to be refreshing. Give it a shot sometime.

Perfect Pairs Black Jack

This blackjack variation is played with the same rules as Vegas Strip blackjack with the addition of an optional side bet. If you place a bet at the beginning of the hand, you'll be paid out a bonus if you are dealt any of the following hands:

Perfect Pairs - 2 cards of the same rank and same suit. Pays: 30 to 1.

Colored Pairs - 2 cards of the same rank and same color. Pays: 10 to 1.

Any other pair - 2 cards of the same rank but with different colored suits. Pays: 5 to 1.

European Blackjack

European Blackjack is very similar to traditional blackjack with the following exceptions:

  1. 1. Only one split is allowed
  2. 2. Double downs are only allowed on 9, 10 or 11.
  3. 3. Dealer stands on all 17s.
  4. 4. The game uses 2 decks of cards.
  5. 5. Players may draw to split aces.
  6. 6. The dealer takes the second card after the players have finished their hands. This rule gives the players a great advantage because they can still win the hand if the dealer is dealt a natural 21.


This game also closely resembles blackjack at first glance but the rules are just a little bit different. The same blackjack rules apply with the following exceptions:

  1. 1. The game uses 8 decks of cards.
  2. 2. Blackjacks are called "Pontoons" and pay out at 2:1.
  3. 3. Dealer wins all ties.
  4. 4. If you get to 5 cards without busting, you will be paid 2:1.
  5. 5. The dealer checks for Pontoons at the beginning of the hand.
  6. 6. Players must draw if their hand totals are 14 or less.
  7. 7. Players may draw ("Hits" are now called "Twists" in this game) after double downs.
  8. 8. Players may only double down once per hand but they may double down at any time.
  9. 9. Players may split twice.
  10. 10. The dealer takes the second card after the players have finished their hands.

Spanish 21

In Spanish 21, the game is played without the 10 cards. This would normally be a great loss to the players' odds but the game makes up for it by offering the following rules:

  1. 1. Players may double regardless of how many cards in play.
  2. 2. A player with a 21 always wins.
  3. 3. Players with blackjacks always win, even if the dealer has a blackjack.
  4. 4. After Splitting AA, players may hit and double down.
  5. 5. After doubling, a player may surrender.
  6. 6. Players are paid 3:2 with five card 21s, 2:1 on six card 21s and 3:1 on seven plus card 21s.
  7. 7. Dealer hits on soft 17.
  8. 8. A 21 consisting of 678 or 777 of mixed suits pays 3:2.
  9. 9. A 21 consisting of 678 or 777 of the same suit pays 2:1.
  10. 10. A 21 consisting of 678 or 777 of spades pays 3:1.
  11. 11. A 21 consisting of 777 of the same suit while the dealer has a 7 pays out the following bonuses:
  • $1,000 for bets between $5 and $24.
  • $5,000 for bets of $25 and over.
  • All additional players receive a bonus of $50.
  • These bonuses will not be paid if player doubled

Super 21

Super 21 is played with the same basic rules as blackjack with a few player-friendly adjustments. This is a fun game because the rules go easier on the players, especially during ties.

  1. 1. Dealer hits on soft 17s.
  2. 2. Dealer checks for blackjacks when the face-up card is an Ace or 10 card.
  3. 3. Up to 4 splits are allowed.
  4. 4. Double downs are allowed after any number of cards, even after split pairs.
  5. 5. Players may surrender after doubling down.
  6. 6. Players may draw and double down to split aces.
  7. 7. Any two 10-value cards can be split.
  8. 8. Player blackjacks win versus dealer blackjacks.
  9. 9. Diamond blackjacks pay 2:1.
  10. 10. All other blackjacks pay 1:1.
  11. 11. Any five-card 21 pays 2:1. This bonus is not paid after doubling down.
  12. 12. Any six card hand instantly wins except after doubling down.

Match Play 21

Match Play 21 is played with the same exact rules as Spanish 21. The only difference is the name.