The major difference between American and European blackjack is the fact that the dealer can’t check his second hard until the players have decided what to do. In the American version, the dealer can check for blackjack before players make a move – if he has one, the round ends immediately.
Additionally, the dealer is required to stand on a soft 17 and hit on 16 in European blackjack, and there’s no splitting allowed in most casinos. Of course, the splitting rule varies from one casino to another, so you should keep in mind to read the rules at the tables you’re playing.
The other rules are the same – blackjack pays 3:2, you can double down (on hands totaling 9-11) and split aces as well (with some rule exceptions). Both the insurance and surrender bet are available in European blackjack unlike the American variant, where casinos decide which bet to offer. The surrender bet gives you half your bet back and the insurance bet pays 2:1.
There’s a reason why card counting is so popular in the USA. This unique technique has helped many players win millions, but we rarely see it in European casinos. Why? Well, even though most European Blackjack versions are played with only 2 decks, the cards are automatically re-shuffled after each round. This poses a huge challenge for card counting, rendering the technique obsolete.
Rules of European Blackjack
Other than these rule differences between both versions, European blackjack is played just like its American counterpart. No cards removed from the decks, no extra hands or any other unusual features. The dealer, as we mentioned, will stand on soft 17 and won’t check for blackjack before the players take action. Splitting is allowed once per hand and splitting 4s, 5s or 10s is prohibited.
Unlike other versions, European blackjack keeps things the same when it comes to the dealer’s blackjack, which beats all hands at the table. The game gets pushed if the dealer and the player have blackjack hands, and even money is paid out in case the dealer goes bust.
As we already said, European blackjack is popular in European casinos, yet it can also be found in online casinos. To play it, all you need to do is load up the game, select your chips (bet size), then wait for your cards. Afterward, you should make a decision to either hit, stand or split, while you can also double down and take the insurance if you think you should.
That’s it – all that remains now is to wait for your score and hope to beat the dealer.