Innovative Blackjack Variants & Classic Blackjack Games

With its easy-to-understand rules and promise of high payouts, blackjack is a game that appeals to all kinds of players and is the most popular casino game in the world. However, playing the same game over and over again can become a little monotonous. After a while, plenty of players find that blackjack, often referred to as ‘twenty-one’, isn’t varied enough to keep their attention. As a result, there are now quite a few different types of blackjack games to liven things up for players.

Especially in online casinos – where there’s a need to offer the player a little bit more variety – blackjack variations are becoming more and more popular. The game has been around since the 17th century, so it’s hardly surprising that the game could do with an update for the modern world. Some of these different versions of blackjack are straightforward, some of them present a little difficulty to players just starting out.  In the following article, we’ll showcase three of the most innovative blackjack variants, what makes them so unique, how to play them, and where to find them in the United Kingdom.

Blackjack hand with Jack Sparrow

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Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a recent variant that’s become very popular in recent years. In Blackjack Switch, the player is given two hands and can exchange one card between the two hands, hence the name Switch. Only the two second cards of each hand can be exchanged with each other. Sharper players will have noticed that this ability presents the player with a huge advantage over the bank.

To compensate for this advantage, blackjacks are only paid 1: 1 and if the dealer hits 22 it’s automatically a tie. The decision to ‘switch’ is usually more complicated than the decision to hit or stand. You can’t miss the chance to gain a hand of 20 or even 21 points. The game is currently available online from Playtech’s software and, unlike most variants, switch can be played in real-world casinos in Las Vegas and Russia.

Online Blackjack Switch table with chipsOnline Blackjack Switch table with bet
Blackjack Switch Information:
  • 99.87% expected return
  • 1:1 blackjack payout
  • Dealer wins in event of a tie
  • Dealer doesn’t lose if he has 22

The house advantage compared to the original version of the game remains the pretty much the same. If a hand is good, the player can press the house’s advantage up to 0.18 percent. But there are also some rule variants of Blackjack Switch, where the house advantage then shifts between 0.37 percent to 0.58 percent. Basically, the rules are so well adapted to the possible switch, that the house advantage remains pretty much the same as the house’s original advantage.

As with most blackjack variations, the outcome of a Switch round is very difficult to predict, but the switch definitely offers some interesting advantages. There’s a reasonably safe profit margin in most hands, so if you lose the other hand or buy over, you can make a plus-minus zero deal. If you want to give Blackjack Switch a go, head over to EuroGrand Casino to see if you can make the most of the switch.

Pontoon

First played in Singapore and Malaysia, Pontoon is a game of luck that’s very similar to classic blackjack. There are, however, some crucial differences that make the game a whole lot more exciting. The setup is the same and the goal of the player is still to reach a higher count than the dealer without going bust (over 21 is still bust). After each player has placed a bet, they’re dealt two cards and the dealer also receives two cards. In contrast to the blackjack, however, neither card is open, but both cards are hidden. This is really important, because usually the player uses what they know of the dealers cards to make their next decisions. In Pontoon, however, you don’t have that luxury and things get a bit more exciting.

Online Blackjack Pontoon with dealt handsOnline Blackjack Pontoon 2 - 1 payoutOnline Blackjack Pontoon with rules
Pontoon Information:
  • 99.64% expected return
  • 3:2 blackjack payout
  • Dealer wins in the event of a push
  • Can only stand by 15 points

The card values in Pontoon are the same as in blackjack. Pontoon means the same as ‘blackjack’ in this particular variant: any hand that combines an ace and a ten for 21. If a player draws a pontoon then they automatically win, unless the dealer also draws 21, in which case the hand is tied. In the event of a tie, the house is rewarded and the players loses. Pontoons pay out at 2:1 for players, which is a lot better than the usual 3:2 rate in the original game.

Duel Blackjack

Duel Blackjack is a fast and uncomplicated variant of blackjack. Just as with the original version, the aim is get 21 points or getting as close to 21 points without going over. The game begins usually with an ante, after which the cards are dealt. The player receives an open card and a hidden card. Both of the dealer’s cards are concealed. Two additional cards are laid out on the middle of the table as community cards. Players then have to decide whether to fold – losing only their ante – or play on and take a second ante.

After the player’s choice, an open community card is added to the selection of the player’s own hand. If the player has a good hand with their open card and their chosen community card, then the player will ‘stand’.

Online Blackjack Duel tableOnline Blackjack table ante
Duel Blackjack Information:
  • 98.38% expected return
  • No bonus payout for blackjack
  • Stake return in the event of a push
  • A community card can be used

If the player wants another card that’s when the second card of the player is turned over. Then it’s the dealer’s turn and to disclose a card, choose a community card, and then reveal his second card. The chances of winning are a little worse than in the classic version of the game. The advantage, however, is in the community cards. The player has the first choice and, with the one open card and a community card, the chances are they have a very good hand. Players looking for a bit of variety to their blackjack should check out our Ladbrokes Casino page for Duel, Pontoon and Switch.