The interesting thing about online Blackjack is its combination of offering less experienced players with ideal conditions in which to learn and improve, yet meanwhile having features to attract very experienced players.
Game selections and choices in variations on Blackjack are the main contributors to that dual character of the online format.
What Is Standard Blackjack?
The reason blackjack, also called 21, is the world’s most popular table game probably has a lot to do with its minimal standard rules. There is a fascinating way in which the game is at once simple and yet has surprising depth.
Players are more likely to encounter the simplest standard versions at land-based casinos. The essence of standard Blackjack takes form in just a few, easy to remember rules:
- each player is dealt 2 starting cards
- one of the dealer’s cards may be visible
- cards have face values that are added up
- players can request new cards (each a ‘hit’)
- the goal is a hand as close to or equal to 21
- rounds end when players compare their hands
Are there Many Variations?
So, above we have Blackjack’s standard, basic set of rules, and on this basis there are many variations. Over 100 games inspired by blackjack exist. Obviously, not all brick-and-mortar casinos can offer so many, but Web-based casinos have the capability of offering many more.
Yet beginning players should understand how slight variations on the basic rules are distinguished from more extensive modifications. Bigger changes to rules have produced very different games around the world, with names like Pontoon and Spanish 21.
How Do Variations Change Blackjack Rules?
Aside from the basic flow of Blackjack sketched above, there are a larger number of provisions and rules that affect gameplay as players form their hands. For instance, in-between requesting new hits, each player may also increase a bet. And, the values of Aces can be either 1 or 11.
Using just a few variables like those, whole new games have evolved. If we take the detail of how many cards it takes for a winning hand, then we can see that variations like Spanish 21 reward having the most cards (of smaller values) as possible.
Card Values & Dealer Behaviors
Moreover, if we take the detail of the face values of cards, then we can see that in Pontoon all cards with a value of 10 are removed (like in Spanish 21), and an Ace must have the value of 1 when a player doubles their bet, which is called ‘doubling down’.
Some variations are relatively unusual in the way they change basic rules. In Chinese Blackjack, for example, all players’ hand must equal at least 16, and the dealer has the power to upturn certain opponent’s hands before finishing the round!
Why Play Blackjack Variations?
All levels of players should understand that there are a few main reasons that casinos and gambling websites have created all these variations.
One might want to ask, why does blackjack need so many alterations? Or, doesn’t making blackjack more complicated go against the spirit of this game?
Those are key questions regarding the reasons so many variations have been invented, and here are the main reasons, which answer those questions:
- there is demand among some experienced players for more challenging rules than standard Blackjack
- some players feel interested in specific aspects of standard Blackjack, which can be expanded
- casinos have a vested interest to create versions that may be more profitable, since the ‘house edge’ of standard Blackjack can be as low as 1%
- online casinos or land-based casinos use the invention of Blackjack variations for mere commercial purposes, to sell their exclusive games
Why Does Online Blackjack Offer Extra Choices?
The very simple explanation for why online casinos are known for offering so much consumer choice in terms of Blackjack variants, is that they can! There are just far fewer costs and obstacles involved for computerised casino gaming to do this — as opposed to land-based casinos, which require construction, hiring dealers, and so forth.
This, as we said at the beginning, is a great benefit for experienced players who are looking for ways to challenge themselves, or who are more interested in particular characteristics of this game that variations expand for them.
But, for those learning Blackjack, being confronted with so many choices may be confusing and intimidating. If a novice or newbie chooses the wrong (too complicated) version, then it could turn them off or lose them a lot of cash while learning.
What Is the Best Blackjack Game for Newbies?
In closing, we would recommend a newbie or novice player to learn the standard, most simple, original version of Blackjack, aka 21 first. This is quite possible online, and in fact online is the best option in contrast to the demands of sitting at a table inside a casino, for these reasons:
- the many points of etiquette while playing at a real table (hand signs, placing chips, courtesy) are less important when playing online with a computer
- there is more privacy and less pressure when playing online, so that you can learn at your own pace
- online Blackjack can be played for free or for low stakes, lessening the cost of a learning curve
- a beginner can gradually sharpen skills and increase confidence, and move on to variations or online live dealer games
Arguably, even players who see themselves getting into the many exciting variations on Blackjack, either online or in Vegas, will appreciate them more if they learn and master the classic format first.
Just be careful, if that’s your plan, to get clear about which variations are valuable and worth the time, and which are merely hype and may ruin this great game with unnecessary complications.
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