Blackjack is one of the oldest casino games. It traces its roots back to the beginning of the 17th century. It is perhaps the only game that offers a definite advantage to the player by means of Blackjack basic strategy and Blackjack card counting. What’s more, you have the option to choose from hundreds of Blackjack variations available out there see this. Some variations offer you better payouts and some offer you better chances of winning. But the crux of game remains the same –build a hand that is worth 21 with cards 2-10 at face value and picture cards valued at 10 while, Ace can either be 1 or 11. And another common feature in all these variations – is that they offer great fun and money.
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Pontoon or Pontoon Blackjack is an English variation of Blackjack. In Australia, the game is played with four to eight decks of 48 cards each, with 10s being removed from every deck. The game gives the dealer a slightly better edge over the player; however as the 10s are removed, a Pontoon – a combination of an Ace and a face card is more difficult to come by and hence pays 2-to-1. If you do happen to get it, you win twice the bet you place and that’s way better than the 3-to-2 payout offered by regular Blackjack. Besides, your Blackjack will always beat the dealer’s Blackjack; it does not end in a tie.
Another variant called Double Exposure Blackjack offers better odds of winning to a player. The reason? You can see both the dealer’s cards. This lets you take effective decisions. If your hand is not as good as the dealer’s, you can decide to stand rather than end up losing a game. But before you go ahead to play this Blackjack variant, remember that the game offers even money on Blackjacks and a player loses ties.
One of the most interesting variants of Blackjack is called Blackjack Switch. Instead of a single hand, you are dealt two hands, a total of four cards. You can decide to keep the two cards that make you a better hand. For example, if you are dealt two hands containing 10-6 and 9-7, you can keep 10 and 9 with you and have a hand with a total of 19. This comes with a price though. Blackjack pays you 1-to-1 instead of regular 3-to-2 payout and the dealer’s 22 is a push not a bust.
Recently, in April, 2007, the State of Washington approved a unique variant of Blackjack. It is called Three Card Blackjack. The game is played with one deck of 52 cards. To begin, the player places the ante bet. The dealer and the player both are dealt three cards each. The player tries to make the best hand using two or all three cards. If the player is satisfied with the hand, the player needs to place another bet called the play bet, which is equal to the ante bet. No more cards are drawn either by the player or by the dealer.
If a dealer has a qualified hand, 18 or better, the hands are matched against each other. If the player beats the dealer, the player is paid 1-to-1 on both the ante and the play bets. If the dealer does not qualify, i.e. the dealer’s hand total is less than 18, the player is paid 1-to-1 on the ante bet and the play bet ends in a push.
The player also can make an Ace Plus bet at the time of placing the ante bet. If the player has an Ace in the three-card hand, the player is paid even money. An Ace and a 10 value card fetches thrice the amount of the Ace Plus bet. Two 10 value cards and an Ace pays 5-to-1, two Aces pay 15-to-1, and three Aces pay a massive 100-to-1 payout. That’s some serious Blackjack fun.