The game of Blackjack was first started in France in 1700’s. Then, it was known as vingt-et-un i.e. 21 in French. If any player has got an Ace of Spades and a Jack of Spades, then he is awarded extra money, hence the name ‘Blackjack’. Blackjack was first enjoyed in United States, in Indiana in 1900’s.
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As the game was new and not very popular among players, different casinos and parlors offered a deal to pay 3:2 for a total of 21 in the initial two cards. In today’s playing deck, the cards of 10, a Jack, King, and Queen constitute around 31% of the total 52 cards.
European Blackjack Rules
In the game of European Blackjack, the main objective is to get a hand closer to 21 and your combination must beat the dealer’s hand. If the value of the player’s cards is closer to 21 than the dealer’s cards, then that player will get double the money that he had bet on the game. If any player has a blackjack hand, then he gets the money in the ratio 3:2 times the amount he had bet.
However, this is in case the dealer does not have a blackjack hand. Generally, all the aces have a value of 1 or 11, all the face cards are of the value 10, and the rest of the cards carry their face value. As the Ace can have different values, the hand having an Ace, is known as a Soft hand.
The catch is that if the player’s hand is exceeds the value 21, then he loses the bet. If any player’s hand is of the same value as that of the dealer and is above 17, then he gets his bet back as neither one of them has won the game. If the count is 21, then Blackjack beats it.
The dealer distributes the cards till the value of the hand reaches or is above 17.
In case you are not satisfied with the total value of the first two cards, then you have the option of drawing more card(s) till you stand or go bust.
If you are satisfied with the total of your first two cards, then you need not draw more cards.
Suppose your bet is doubled and you can draw only one more card and you think that the additional card may give you an upper hand to beat the dealer, then you have the option to double down.
Suppose that your first two cards are of equal denomination. In that case, you can split your hand in two separate hands by drawing cards just like it was during the deal and place equal amount of bet. In many online casinos, if you get two aces and split them, then you get two more cards, one for each hand. If your hand reaches a total of 21 after splitting, then it is not considered a Blackjack, but just a 21. There are some casinos which do not allow the splitting of the hand.
How to Play European Blackjack
The main goal of European Blackjack is to have a hand whose value is 21 or lesser but in any case, nearer to 21 than the value of the dealer’s hand.
Initially, the player is dealt with two cards whose faces are open. The dealer gets one card with its face up. There is a ‘No-Peek’ rule in the European Blackjack which binds the dealer from checking his cards to find out whether or not he has got a Blackjack, until the second card is dealt. So, if the dealer completes the blackjack with his final card, the player loses all the additional bets that he may have made. However, a common fact that remains constant throughout all variations of European Blackjack is that the dealer’s Blackjack can get completed only if his final card is an Ace or a card of 10 points.
Offers Made by the Dealer:
The dealer may offer three types of offers namely, Surrender, Insurance, or the Even Money. He makes these offers on the basis of the face up card.
1st Situation: The Card is not an Ace:
Players who don’t have a Blackjack are given an option to Surrender. If the player accepts to surrender, then he loses 50% of his bet and the deal stands concluded.
2nd Situation: The Card is an Ace:
If the Dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, and at the same time, the player does not have a Blackjack, then the player can opt for Insurance. Insurance means drawing one more bet, which will be half the amount of the original bet. However, this bet states that the dealer has a Blackjack. If this is found correct, then the player loses his original bet but gets 2:1 money on his second bet. However, if the dealer does not have a Blackjack, then the player loses his insurance bet.
If the player chooses the insurance option and if he loses the first bet, even then the game is still on till the second bet is resolved.
3rd Situation: The Card is an Ace:
Suppose a situation where the dealer has got an Ace as the face-up card and the player has got a Blackjack. In that case, the player is offered Even Money. The player will accept the offer if he thinks that even the dealer has got a Blackjack.
If the player takes the even money, then he is immediately paid in 1:1 ratio after doubling his chip amount on the table.
Point to be Noted: If the player takes the even money, he has to forego his 3:2 payoff, irrespective of the fact that the dealer had the Blackjack or not.
• The dealer must have 16 or lesser.
• The dealer has to have 17 (either hard or soft).
• If the dealer’s hand’s value exceeds 21, then any player who has a hand below 21 wins the game.
• When both, the dealer and the player, have values greater than 17, then the person who is nearer to 21 wins the game.
• If both, the dealer and the player, have the same total, then it is a tie.
European Blackjack Strategy
It is always important to know the most basic strategy of European Blackjack, since this is extremely essential while playing the game. The strategy comes handy in every situation, even if you don’t know the arrangement of the rest of your cards. And since the game is played everywhere around the world – and even quite a few US friendly online casinos – you’ll always find a place to play the game properly.
As per a proper strategy, start screening your hand from left edge and then the dealer’s top card. In any case, the A indicated the Ace. If you go from top to bottom, you will see that you first have the hard totals, then the soft totals, and then come the splittable totals. There are some rule variations from place to place which can have some impact on your game if there is a borderline situation. The number of playing decks used may sometimes vary. Even the rule whether a dealer stands or hits on 17, or doubling is permitted after splitting is subject to change.
The best way to follow the strategy is to try and notice patterns. Then, you will understand the importance of playing every situation. The soft totals and even the pairs don’t come so often, so do not deal the cards to yourself.
Many players, especially beginners, don’t have faith in the said strategy since they probably relied on it once and lost the bet. Just remember one simple rule straight and clear that any strategy does not guarantee you victory in every hand! In fact, even the most trusted strategy will not make you win even half of the total games you play! However, after the initial ups and downs, the basic strategy will have a good effect in the long run.
European Blackjack Tips and Hints
The ideal strategy of playing European Blackjack is very easy to comprehend. You must always remember to double down in the following cases:
- If your hand is of a pair of 5s, or an 11, or even a 10, and at the same time, the dealer has any number between 2 to 9 or
- If you have a hand of a value of 12 and then the dealer shows that he has any value between 2 and 6.
- If you have a pair of Aces, then you must always split your hand into two irrespective of the value of the dealer’s hand.
- You must always stand only when you have a value more than 17, or if you have a soft 19 or even 20. You can also stand if you have a pair of 10. If you have the above combination, then stand irrespective of the card shown by the dealer. And it is always said that you must never split a pair of 10, because this is very likely to land you in trouble.
There can be several wrong or bad strategies for any game but the three most popular bad strategies that are employed in the game of European Blackjack include never busting or packing, mimic/following the dealer, and making a presumption that the dealer will always have a 10.