Online blackjack and offline blackjack have been the stars of the gambling world for a very long time and that’s because its popularity stems from the fact that it has a very small house edge and impressive RTPs.
But there are many amazing variations of the classic online Blackjack game, each one of them with different advantages and disadvantages, and today we want to talk to you about European Blackjack.
European Blackjack is one of the most played variations all over the world in both land-based and online casinos and it’s the game you’ve seen many card counters try and beat in some extraordinary movies.
The game is played with just two desks which theoretically makes it easier for them to outwit it, but while card counting is illegal or impossible, the fact that you gain an advantage from having fewer cards is definitely a fact. Let’s jump into European Blackjack online – how it’s played, the rules, the strategy and the pros and cons.
European Blackjack Rules
European Blackjack uses the rules and principles of the classic game which means that if you know how to play any kind of online blackjack game it won’t be hard to spot the small differences and adjust to be able to play this variation. Keep in mind that, as it goes with all variations, some of the rules might change depending on where you choose to play the game.
While the game is played with 2 decks of cards which works in favour of the players and it’s one of the few blackjack games that have such few cards in play nowadays, there are some options and bet options which can change depending on the blackjack sites where you play it.
You might find that you cannot use the option to surrender or can’t double down after splitting. Some even change things up even more and allow doubling down only if your hand totals 9, 10 or 11. Furthermore, you can only split pairs once and only two identical cards can be split when you have 10-value cards.
Another interesting thing about European Blackjack is that in this version the dealer cannot peek at his cards and see if he has blackjack or not. He will get one card up and the other one will come only after the players are done with their hand. Also, the dealer will stand on a soft 17.
Payouts are the same, 3/2, or 2/1 if there’s an insurance side bet possible, while a draw between a player and the dealer will result in a push and the player will get his money back.
How to Play European Blackjack Online
Online you can play European Blackjack for bets as low as £1, while when playing the live dealer version of the game most minimum bets start at £5, but you will find many different tables with different limits, both lower and higher.
When the game starts, the cards will be dealt one at a time from the dealer’s left and each player will get 2 cards with the face up while the dealer will get a single face-up card. If the dealer has an Ace then the players can choose to take an insurance side bet of half the main bet stake and it will pay out 2:1 if the dealer gets a blackjack. Remember that this side bet has a large house edge, so chances are that you’re better off not making it.
After the bets have been made and the cards distributed, the players can choose to get another card (hit), not change anything (stand), take another card and make another bet (double down) or split their hand into two hands if they have an identical pair (split). In some variations, you also have a surrender option where you give up half your stake.
Once all the players have made their choices and all the over 21 hands have been removed, it’s the dealer’s time to act. At some of the best gambling sites where you can find European Blackjack, the dealer will stand on a soft 17, while others will hit on the same total, but all will stand after 17. If the dealer will bust then all the players that still are in the game will get paid 1:1.
Apart from insurance, there are several other side bets you can try at many online casino sites that offer European Roulette. While these can bring you a bigger win, they will also bring about a bigger house edge, so be very careful when creating your European Blackjack strategy and make sure that the win is worth the risk.
But as a good rule of thumb remember that playing responsibly is key so small bets, small risks and small wins are usually better than high risk, high reward situations.
The most common side bet is the Perfect Pairs which you can access when you get a pair. You will get different payouts for getting pairs of the same colour or the same suit. There’s also the 7’s for hitting 7 suited 7’s while the dealer has a 7 up card or even Bonus Blackjack that pays for blackjack hands like Ace and Jack of Spades.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing European Blackjack
As we were saying before, European Blackjack is sometimes played with only two decks, which will give you an advantage over the online casino site, but on the other hand, you can find variations with several packs so be careful when you choose what blackjack game you play so that you know what to expect.
The fact that the dealer is required to stand on a soft 17 is yet another advantage as it decreases the house edge, but this too can change in some versions, so you should always check beforehand to make sure you’ve found the version you are interested in.
One thing that can be considered a drawback on this type of blackjack game is the fact that the dealer cannot check for blackjack. This means that players can make several bets and work on their hand only to then lose their entire bet because the dealer had a natural Blackjack.
As you can see most advantages and disadvantages will exist or not exist depending on the game you choose. For this reason (and for many others for that matter) you should always play for free in demo mode before you start playing for real. This way you get to see what all games have to offer and what rules they impose so you know what to expect and can use different strategies to have better chances of winning.
Sure, you might have heard about Microgaming’s European Blackjack Gold Series, but if you don’t know the exact rules it won’t matter that European Blackjack Gold is a good game if you’re unsure how to play it.
Step by Step Guide on How Exactly to Play European Blackjack
- Load the game – Pick the variant you want to try and hit Play. Load the real money version after you’ve made a deposit and have the funds in your account.
- Select the bet amount – Choose how much you want to bet. Just click on the chip button.
- Wait to see the results – if you’ve gotten blackjack you’ll get the payout instantly, if the dealer has blackjack you will lose your bet.
- Choose to hit, stand, double down or split – only if nobody’s won yet.
- Wait and see if you’ve won – once you’ve chosen your action it’s time to wait for the outcome. The payout will generally be 1:1 and paid to your account instantly.
Play European Blackjack Online for Free
We can’t stress this enough: playing responsibly is the most important thing ever. There is nothing that comes before your safety, your safety is the absolute key element. Well, in order to do this there are several steps you need to take.
The first one is that you need to make sure that you understand the rules of every game you want to play and know exactly how to play it. This is where playing for free comes into the picture. It’s crucial that you practice in a safe environment and become better at playing European Blackjack and any other game.
That’s why we offer an extensive collection of Blackjack games for free, with no deposit, no download and no registration required. You can play here in demo mode for as long as you want, on any device you prefer, and just make sure that you become a better player.
Another important thing to consider (once you’ve already mastered playing for free) is that you have to pick the right online casino site for you. When switching to real money play not only do you have to be ready, but the casino needs to be right for you.
This means that it should be completely legal, fair and trusted, have the right license for your jurisdiction, but also a wide range of payment methods, many exciting games and helpful promotions.
And last, but definitely not least, you need to set a budget and stick to it no matter what. Even if you decide to try some European Blackjack strategies that you’ve heard about and think that when you lose you should double your bet and try again (this is almost never the right call) you need to stick to that budget.
It doesn’t matter that the game has wide limits and you can bet between £1 and £10000. If you have £100 in your budget for entertainment for the whole month betting it all on just one hand is not the smart thing to do.
Make the bets you can afford and know when to stop. You can always try again some other time and maybe have better luck, but you can’t win what you’ve already lost. So make smart choices and play European Blackjack responsibly!