Just as the game of roulette has developed subtle variations between American and European versions, so too has the game of blackjack. Whilst the fundamental objective is still the same, i.e. to achieve a hand total of 21 or under which is higher than the dealer's, there are a couple of traits which make American Blackjack and European Blackjack different games. As a consequence, it is important for a player's bankroll that they understand the nuances and subsequent optimal strategies before sitting down at the table (whether that be a virtual blackjack table in an online casino or at a real table in a bricks-and-mortar casino). This is especially true for those playing blackjack for high stakes where there is a lot of real money to be won or lost in a session.
What is the Difference Between American Blackjack and European Blackjack?
As stated above, the ultimate objective of both versions of blackjack are the same, but there are a couple of different rule variations which have a direct bearing on house edge and optimal player strategy.
The Dealer's Hole Card
The primary difference between the two games is that in American Blackjack the dealer is dealt two cards initially just like the players. Whilst the player's cards will both be facing up, the dealer will have the first card facing up for all to see, and the second one facing down. In European Blackjack, the dealer will only receive one face-up card to begin with.
In American Blackjack, the dealer will check or "peek" at their face-down card if their face-up card is an ace or ten. If he or she has blackjack, the hand will end immediately. In European Blackjack games the game will carry on regardless of the dealer's face-up card, waiting until all players have finished their turns before then commencing with their own hand.
This American Blackjack rule is advantageous for a player because if the dealer does have blackjack, the hand will cease before the player commits any further money by splitting or doubling their hand which is about to be beaten by the dealer's blackjack. This can save a player a great deal of cash, especially if they are playing high limit multi hand blackjack and will be splitting or doubling multiple hands which have no hope of winning against the dealer's blackjack!
European Blackjack games are sometimes referred to as No Hole Card games due to the fact that the dealer receives no second card (known as the hole card in American Blackjack) to look at.
The Ability to Double Down on Any Value
The second major difference between European Blackjack and American Blackjack is that in European Blackjack a player can only double down when their first two cards add up to a total of 9, 10 or 11. In American Blackjack, however, a player can double their wager no matter what their first two cards total... although if their total was a long way above or below 9, 10 or 11 they would have to be particularly adept at card counting or extremely aggressive with their wagering in order to make it a sensible choice!
The increased flexibility does give a player more freedom to be aggressive with their betting with the goal of winning more money at the blackjack table should their doubled stake be attached to a winning hand. Obviously though, strategies and house advantage will vary as a result.
American Blackjack is often preferred by most casino gamblers because of the favourable conditions detailed above. As with all casino games though, whether on the internet or in a land-based casino, it is important to check the specific rules for that particular game, as rules can vary between locations and even between different tables in the same casino.
To get started playing American Blackjack, as well as other exciting casino games such as slots and roulette for high stakes, just click on the "Enter Casino" button at the top of the page.
Straightforward to learn, a low house edge and a player having a degree of influence over the outcome all make blackjack one of the most popular of casino games.
Rather than making money, those who already have a lot may simply play in a casino for high limits because of the attention they receive. And why not we say!