The basic aim of European blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible without going bust. A winning hand is one that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand. The standard rules of splitting, doubling down and insurance all apply – but these differ slightly in European blackjack. Although the rules are quite similar to regular blackjack, the game is different enough to stand on its own as a separate game. If you are new to blackjack, learn the standard rules and gameplay before moving forward in this article.
Online casinos with European blackjack
You will find European blackjack at online casinos frequently but generally this variation will only be in random number generated format, meaning you are unlikely to find live European blackjack – but we’d love to stand corrected. Some of the more popular versions of European blackjack are by iGaming giants such as Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech, while those looking to play in countries such as Australia and the non-regulated states in the USA will find a European blackjack title by RealTime Gaming.
European blackjack rules
If you are familiar with the standard rules of blackjack and its gameplay you will have no problem picking up European blackjack, with the only differences being a few subtle rule changes. To successfully play European blackjack you need to have a grasp of the basics of blackjack and the following rule variations for this specific game:
- The game uses two standard card decks.
- There are no “Five Card Tricks”.
- You are allowed to draw up to 11 cards (9 more than your original 2).
- The dealer has to stand on any hand with the value of 17 or more – this includes both hard and soft 17s.
- Blackjack pays out 3:2 – however, if the dealer also has blackjack then the hands are pushed and you keep your original bet.
- If the dealer gets blackjack and you do not, you will lose every bet that you have placed – this includes splitting and doubling down.
European blackjack strategy
European blackjack is pretty much the same as regular Blackjack and just like any other form of blackjack it is essential to check out the rules for the specific casino that you are playing in. Strategy for European blackjack is easy to find and any player can apply some basic rules in order to improve their game. The beginner player should focus on learning the game thoroughly before trying to use a ready-made strategy but all players can benefit from general advice regarding bank management and personal attitude.
The rules for European blackjack can vary a bit from venue to venue just like all forms of blackjack but it will most commonly include the feature that the dealer takes the second card after the players have finished their hands. The dealer normally stands on soft 17 and the game includes six decks. Doubling is only allowed on hard 9-11 and after split doubling is allowed.
How to use a strategy chart:
The first strategy for succeeding in European blackjack is to verify exactly with what rules you are about to play. This is a must if you want to use a basic strategy chart readily available online. Hand charts can be great tools as they are formulated from millions of hands of play. You must make sure that the chart you are using is a fit to the rules of the game you are playing, and even more important is that you understand the game well enough to understand the chart.
When you are playing European blackjack you should keep your bankroll in mind and make sure that it stays healthy long enough for you to enjoy your online gaming. Making fast decisions isn’t always the best and it is recommended to only increase bets when you are winning. It might sound boring but boring can be the best blackjack strategy for reaching the fun part, namely winning.
When to Stand
If you take a quick look at what strategies are recommended by professional players and readymade charts you will see some common lines. There are a few scenarios when almost anyone will advise you to stand. If you find yourself with more than 17, A8-10 or 10-10 you should stand no matter what up-card the dealer has. This is a general strategy for European blackjack that is easy to remember.
Finding the Best Strategy
There are many who are more than willing to share their European blackjack strategy with you and the internet is full of sites that offer strategy charts for free. A new player might feel overwhelmed and insecure about what advice is solid and what is bogus. To get more subjective information, finding sites with good reputations (like this one!) is a strategy as good as any in improving your blackjack. Reading a few blackjack guides can greatly improve your chances of winning.
Is European blackjack a good game?
Each version of blackjack has its own appeal. There is no right or wrong answer to the question of which version of blackjack is the one for you. Some versions allow you to play slower where other versions such as multi-hand blackjack ensure that you receive as much of an adrenalin rush as possible.
Trial and error is the best way to see which version of blackjack will best suit your playing style. There is no harm in trying them all because once you have a basic understanding of one type you will not struggle to adapt your game to a new style. Another great option is to play some hands of European blackjack in free-play mode to get a feel for the rule changes.
Overall European blackjack is a pretty standard version of 21 and is mainly found in casinos across Europe, although it has been spotted in Las Vegas in recent years.
As an online game, European blackjack is not the standard rules live casinos apply, but it is certainly available at most online blackjack casinos that stock RNG table games.