There are many blackjack variants available at both land-based and online casinos in Australia. Although most versions of the game retain pretty similar rules, some minor difference often leads to a huge increase or decrease in house edge. This also affects the payouts you see should you win with a regular hand or a natural.
If you would like to find out more about how blackjack variants differ from each other, keep reading. We also discuss some of the most popular variants at online casinos in Australia.
Blackjack rules differ slightly depending on the variation you play. Generally, there is a standard list of rules that may be affected when playing a new variation, including:
Whether the dealer hits on a soft 17, some variations force the dealer to hit on a soft 17, whereas other force the dealer to stand.
Payouts for getting a natural blackjack. Usually, the standard payout is 3:2 for winning with a natural. However, if a game is slightly easier or harder to win, this payout could be adjusted.
The numbers of splits you are allowed to make. Usually, most games allow you to split up to three times. However, some variants only allow you to split once.
The number of times you are allowed to double down. Some games only allow you to double once, but others let you double up to three times (but we recommend you be wary of doing this.)
Whether you are allowed to surrender in the game, surrendering is a gaming option that is favourable to the player. So, you won’t find it in every game.
Some of these rule differences are important because they have a dramatic impact on the game’s house edge. So, you want to pay close attention to ensure you are playing a game with a low house edge.
List of Blackjack Variants
Here is a list of blackjack variants popularly available at Australian online casinos:
Single Deck Blackjack
As the name suggests, single deck blackjack is played with a single 52-card deck. It used to be the standard version of the game, but then card counters hacked the game (it is much easier to end a game session with massive wins when you count cards in single-deck blackjack.)
Nowadays, you’ll struggle to find a single deck game at land-based casinos, but you can still play it online. The game has a standard payout of 6:5 for a natural blackjack.
Double Exposure Blackjack
Double Exposure Blackjack is a variant of the game where both the dealer’s cards are exposed. Traditionally, only one of the dealer’s cards is visible in most blackjack variations. Both of the dealer’s cards being visible makes it easier to make decisions about bets.
As the game features a slightly more favorable rule for players, payouts for a natural are only 1:1. This is because the house edge of this game sits at 0.67%, which is ridiculous.
Pontoon is a version of blackjack that lets you double down on two or more cards outside of your original hand. You are also required to hit on a hand that has a score lower than 14. Finally, in the event of a tied natural, the dealer wins. (This is not the case in all versions of blackjack – usually, the result is pushed.)
In Pontoon, you still get a 2:1 payout after splitting. As the game has hard rules about the dealer winning in the event of a natural, the house edge is higher than in other games.
Blackjack Switch is a special version of blackjack where you play with two hands instead of one. You have the option to switch the top card between two hands, which means more opportunities to win. This lowers the house edge, so to balance this out:
A natural pay 1:1.
A dealer pushes at a hand score of 22 on all hands except a natural.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack is a game version that lets players place a side bet on their first two cards being a pair. The Perfect Pair refers to a pair of cards of the same value and the same suit. The bet pays out 30 to1. However, you can also get a coloured pair, which is 12:1, or a mixed pair, which is 5:1.
Outside of this side bet, the game retains pretty much all the same standard blackjack rules you would find in the classic variation.
European Blackjack is another very popular variant of the classic game. Generally, if you enjoy the classics, we recommend you stay away from the European variation because of the rules behind how cards are dealt.
Players get two cards face down, and the dealer gets a single card face-up. The dealer’s second card is only dealt after you have made your play. As the dealer does not check for blackjack, the house edge goes up.
Progressive Blackjack is very similar to the classic version of the game. The only difference is that there is an option for an additional $1 side bet to win exclusive progressive jackpots that apply to unique split and double down actions.
Payouts differ based on the rules of the specific Progressive Blackjack title and by the casino. So, be sure to read up on the unique rules at that casino before you start playing.