Blackjack for Beginners – Games and Variations

Welcome to this how-to video.
Today, we’ll be providing you with our beginners’
guide to blackjack games and variations.
There are a significant number of rules variations
that casinos use to give players variety,
and… in some cases… to try to get players
playing games with a bigger house edge.
Every variation comes with something to give
the house a bit of edge back, which we’ll
go over as we go along.
In this video, we’ll be breaking down some
of the more popular variants of blackjack.
Let’s combine all of the common rule variations
into one simple section.
The number of decks in use can vary, from
single-hand up to using 8 decks at a time.
The more decks in-play, the worse the odds
for the player.
The way the dealer handles Soft 17 can vary,
with the dealer either hitting a Soft 17 or
sticking on any and all 17’s.
Sticking on Soft 17 is actually better for
the player.
Sometimes, you’ll be permitted to double-down
after splitting.
If this is allowed, it adds a fraction of
a percentage point of advantage to the player.
Likewise, splitting after splitting is also
a potential rule allowance that would benefit
the player, however slightly.
This means that if you split 8’s and get
another 8, you could split them again and
have three hands going at once!
Casinos will vary with what hands you can
double down on.
The more you’re allowed to double, the better
for you!
Finally, the ratio for a blackjack payoff.
3-to-2 is the standard, but many casinos,
particularly on the Las Vegas Strip, now try
to offer 6-to-5.
Avoid those tables like the plague.
Now that the common rule variations are out
of the way…
let’s get to the game variations.
First is Blackjack Switch.
Players make two bets and get two hands.
Before beginning your turn, you’ll have
the option of switching the second cards in
each hand.
This makes it easier to get a blackjack or
get a hand that’s good to split or double-down
The concession here is that a dealer 22 is
no longer a bust hand, but rather a push.
Chinese Blackjack has a few other names, but
it’s played with one or two decks of cards
and there is a player designated as the “dealer”
for each hand.
Your goal is to get closer to 21 than the
dealer without going over.
There are special hands for this game, with
one example being called “Ban-luck”.
This is just a standard, “natural” blackjack,
but it pays off at 2 to 1 instead of 3 to
Another example is the “free hand”.
This is any two-card hand totaling 15 points.
If the player or dealer has this hand, they
can stop the round and immediately reshuffle.
It provides an effective counter to a “Ban-luck”.
Double Attack Blackjack is popular in Atlantic
It uses what’s called a “Spanish deck”,
which is a 48-card deck with the 10’s removed.
The jack, queen and king cards remain, however,
and still count as 10 points.
The reason this game has the name “Double
Attack” is because the player has an opportunity
to double their bet after seeing the dealer’s
up card.
However, a natural blackjack only pays out
at even money.
Double Exposure Blackjack is a variation where
both dealer’s cards are dealt face-up so
the players can see the dealer’s exact score.
This is a big advantage for the player, so
there are a number of consolations that the
players have to give up.
In Double Exposure, any tie hand becomes a
dealer win, and a natural blackjack only pays
out at even money.
Match Play 21 uses a Spanish deck, as well.
The payout structure works differently here,
with a natural blackjack paying out at 3-to-1,
and bonus payouts for certain hands.
For example, if you get three 7’s in your
hand and the dealer also gets a 7, you get
paid at 40-to-1.
Also, if you are dealt the 6, 7 and 8 of spades,
you get paid off at 3-to-1.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack is standard blackjack
with an additional side bet.
This side bet has to match your original bet,
and you win by getting dealt a pair.
The payout scale varies based on what pair
you get.
For example, a “perfect pair” is a pair
of the same suit, and it offers a 30-to-1
Spanish 21 uses a Spanish deck… and now
you know how the deck got its name.
Since taking out the four 10’s from the
deck decreases a player’s chances of getting
a natural blackjack, Spanish 21 has some generous
rule variations.
Most of them are just the most generous aspects
of the standard rules that we went over first…
like allowing for doubling down after splitting
and allowing you to re-split Aces.
A player blackjack always beats a dealer blackjack,
too, and that even goes for a player 21 against
a dealer 21.
There are also a bunch of bonus payouts for
various hands, which you can find out more
about on our website,
Players Edge 21 is nearly identical to Spanish
21, with two additional rules…
First, insurance pays 5-to-1 for a suited
Second, two cards of the same suit and rank
are automatic winners no matter what.
Pontoon is an Australian variation of Blackjack
that also resembles Spanish 21.
This is NOT the same as the online blackjack
game of the same name.
Pontoon, of course, uses the Spanish deck,
and gives bonus payouts for certain hands.
We list them all on our website, but a few
examples are that any five-card hand that
totals 21 pays out at 3-to-2 odds… any hand
of 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 where all of the cards are
spades pays out at 3-to-1… and any hand
of 7-7-7 of the same suit pays out extra if
the dealer also has a 7 showing.
This bonus payout is $1,000 if the player
is betting under $25 on the hand, or $5,000
if the player is betting $25.
You won’t be eligible for any of these payouts
if you double down on your original hand,
Finally, Super Fun 21 is a popular game in
Las Vegas.
A natural only pays out at even money, but
there are a lot of additional rule variations
that favor the player.
A player total of 20 always wins if the player
has 6 or more cards.
A player total of 21 always wins when it’s
made up of 5 or more cards AND pays out at
Also, player blackjacks always win, with blackjacks
of diamonds paying at 2-to-1.
You can find detailed strategy guides for
each of these blackjack variants on our website.
We have plenty of additional videos and articles
for you to make sure you are the best blackjack
player you can be… including more within
the “Blackjack for Beginners” section…
so make sure to check out
for even more on the game.

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