One of the most popular variations of blackjack, particularly in European countries as the name suggests, is European Blackjack. The game of European Blackjack is played by standard blackjack rules, utilizing two decks of cards.
Before the game begins, players place their bets. Then each player receives 2 cards from the dealer. The dealer takes 2 cards as well, placing one face up and the other face down. Then, the players must decide from one of the following options:
- "Stand" with their initial 2-card hand and not accept additional cards
- "Hit" and ask the dealer to give them additional cards to increase the total value of their hand
- "Split" doubles into two separate hands
- "Double Down", doubling their bet and accepting one additional card
- Take "Insurance" if the dealer has an Ace showing
Once players are all set with their hands the dealer reveals his hand. The dealer stands on any hand worth 17 or higher. If the dealer's hand is worth a total of 16 or less he must hit. Players that hold a hand worth a value higher than that of the dealer without breaking 21 win and are paid. Players with hands worth a value lower than that of the dealer lose and forfeit their bets.
As you can see, European Blackjack is very similar to standard blackjack. The following specific rules apply to European Blackjack:
- European Blackjack is played with two decks of cards
- The dealer stands on "soft 17", a hand made up of an Ace and a 6
- Doubling down is allowed on hands totally 9, 10 and 11 only
- There is no re-splitting or doubling down after splitting
- Players may draw additional cards when splitting Aces
- There is no surrender allowed
- A "Full No Peek" rule means players lose their entire bet against a dealer blackjack
- Insurance resolved at the end of each hand
- Players may play only one hand at a time
When it comes to strategy, the best strategy for European Blackjack is familiarizing yourself with odds, as with other blackjack variations. The chart below illustrates the best move in any situation, based on your hand and the dealer's up card. Additionally, many blackjack strategists advise against taking insurance in European Blackjack.