Best Blackjack Variants

The beautiful thing about cards is that there are so many types of blackjack variants you can play. There are usually only a couple differences between the games, which makes for an exciting twist when you’re looking to switch things up.

The Basics

Before we get into all the types of blackjack variants, let’s take a second to review the basics for ‘regular’ blackjack. The game starts with the Dealer and yourself, and possibly other players depending on where you are playing. Each player receives two cards, one face-up, and one face down. The Dealer also receives cards in the same fashion.

The object of the game, no matter which type of blackjack variant you are playing, is to make the sum of the cards 21 without going over. In some variants, if the Dealer has 21, you automatically lose. There are a few variants, like Spanish 21, in which you can hit 21 and win even if the Dealer has 21.

Important Terms To Know

  • HIT- used when players want another card added to their original two cards
  • STAY- the player refuses anymore cards
  • BUST- any hand with an amount over 21
  • DOUBLE DOWN- the player wants to double their bet and will only receive one more card
  • HARD HAND- any hand that does not have an ace OR a hand that has an ace that has to equal one or else it busts
  • INSURANCE- a side bet in case the Dealer hits 21
  • PUSH- a tie between the Dealer and player
  • SPLIT- two matching cards dealt in the original hand can split into two different hands
  • SURRENDER- forfeit the hand and receive half the original bet back
  • FIVE CARD CHARLIE- player draws five or more cards that equal less than 21

Blackjack Variants

Spanish 21

This version plays with a 48 card deck instead of the usual 52. There are no tens, which makes it more difficult to achieve 21 as it changes the balance between low and high cards. The house edge increases 2% by the removal of the tens. To compensate for that difference, the player wins if both the Dealer and player hit 21.

The player also wins if they draw five or more cards that don’t add up to 21. It’s difficult, but not unheard of, to draw five or more cards and not reach 21. Spanish 21 allows for double down on any number of cards, including after splitting. The game also allows for late surrender, and re-splitting up to four hands, including the aces.

Blackjack Switch

In this type of blackjack, the player plays with two hands. After the initial cards are dealt, players have the option to switch the top cards to the other hand. The switch could be beneficial if one hand has two face cards and the other card has an 8 and 9, or similar situations. Both of the hands must have identical bets.

Players can double down on either hand, at any point, even if they switched cards. The Dealer hits on 17, and hands can be re-split up to four times. Another difference from the regular game is that all cards are dealt face-up; players can see the Dealer’s hand from the get-go and make informed decisions.

Free Bet Blackjack

This game is a fun twist on the classic Blackjack game. If players have a hard hand of 9, 10, or 11, they receive a free bet token, which can be used one of two ways. The first is by splitting your hand, in which the free bet would wager on the new hand, or by doubling up on the hand. Players can use the free bet to double up or use to play for the second hand after splitting.

The advantage to the free bet is that if players lose, the free bet returns to the Dealer and the original bet returns to the player. If the hand wins, the payout equals the initial wager, plus the amount equal to the free bet. If the player splits the first two cards dealt, the free bet covers the bet for the second hand. Players can re-split up to four hands, and each of those hands is eligible for a free bet.

Super Fun 21

This is a different type of blackjack because 21 pays out evenly, except in the case of a blackjack made entirely of diamonds, which pays out 3-2. Super Fun 21 allows for late surrender, so if you misjudge your bet, you can still recoup half of it.

Pair splitting is allowed, and any face cards count as a pair and can split as well. Players can split up to four hands, so there are plenty of opportunities to hit blackjack. In this game, players win if there is a tie on 21 with the Dealer, or if they have five or more cards that equal less than 20.

Stadium Blackjack

Stadium Blackjack is played with up to 44 players and two dealers. At the start of the hand, players pick which Dealer they want to play with, and place their bets.

The difference in this game compared to other variants is that each player is playing off the same hand. The rest of the cards dealt are called Community Cards. So everyone has the same cards depending on if they decided to stand or hit.


There are so many types of blackjack available to play that it can be hard to know which one is worth playing. You can play many of these games in both online and land-based casinos, so there are plenty of opportunities to try them all.

It’s a great idea to start playing blackjack with basic rules until you are familiar with the game, and then move on from there. Whichever game you chose, have fun, and good luck!

About Author