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European Blackjack

A. Antonova (editor) |

European Blackjack – One of the Most Popular Blackjack Variations

European BlackjackWith so many variations of blackjack available both at land-based casinos as well as online, European Blackjack still remains a top pick for numerous players. The name of the game derives from the fact that it was predominantly played on casino floors across Europe. As this blackjack variation gained in popularity, it started appearing in brick and mortar casinos around the world. Nowadays, versions of European blackjack can also be discovered at multiple online casinos, giving fans of the game the chance to enjoy a thrilling gaming experience.

While European blackjack has a slightly higher house edge than classic blackjack, many players enjoy the European version of the card game. Although there are a few specific rules you need to know before you start playing this blackjack variation, the basics of the game of 21 will still apply. Mastering the correct strategy will definitely help you enjoy more successful sessions. In our article, you will learn the specific rules of the game as well as the optimal strategy you can use to reduce the house edge as much as possible.

European Blackjack Rules

European Blackjack CasinoEuropean Blackjack has the same basic rules as the classic game, meaning that you compete against the dealer and that your objective is to form a total as close as possible to 21, without surpassing this number. The assigned value of the cards is also no different, all of the face cards receive ten points, Aces can be valued as either one or eleven and the rest of the cards are worth the numeric value on them.

In European Blackjack, if you and the dealer have blackjack, the result is a Push, meaning that there is no winner. The game enforces the rule of dealer standing on soft 17 and if he has blackjack, it beats any other winning combinations. This variation is not a Hole card game which means that the dealer doesn’t peek for blackjack. When it comes to the rules regarding doubling down, it is possible to perform this move on only hands whose total value is nine, ten or eleven.

Splitting is allowed only once and it is possible to make this move only on 10-valued cards of the same rank. For instance, you can split two Jacks, but you cannot make this move if you have a Ten and a Queen. Splitting Aces is also permitted and, in contrast to many other versions, you can draw several cards to each hand. However, it is worth mentioning that if you are dealt a 10-valued card, this hand is considered a total of 21 instead of natural blackjack, which means the payout will be lower. You are not allowed to surrender, and doubling down after splitting is not permitted either. Re-splitting is also among the moves that are forbidden in this variation.

The standard payout for blackjack applies here as well, with players getting paid 3/2 for this winning combination. In this version, you can place an insurance bet which pays 2/1. This move can be made if the up card of the dealer is an Ace. The rest of the winning hands pay even money. It should be noted that the payout is determined by the casinos, therefore, it can vary depending on the place you are playing at. This variation is considered to be fairly beneficial for players as its house edge is less than 1%.

This variation is played with two decks of cards, although it is possible to find casinos that use up to six decks. In general, it is always a good idea to dckjack in an online casino ofouble check the rules in advance in order to make sure they are beneficial enough.

Step-by-Step Guide to European Blackjack Rules

  1. Objective: Compete against the dealer to form a hand as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. The value of the cards is standard: face cards are worth 10, Aces can be 1 or 11, and other cards hold their numeric value.
  2. Push Rule: If both you and the dealer hit blackjack, it’s a Push—no winner.
  3. Dealer’s Play: The dealer must stand on soft 17. If the dealer has blackjack, it trumps all other winning hands. European Blackjack does not feature a hole card; the dealer won’t peek for blackjack.
  4. Doubling Down: This is allowed only on hands with a total value of 9, 10, or 11.
  5. Splitting: Splitting is permitted once, exclusively on 10-valued cards of the same rank (e.g., two Jacks). Splitting Aces is allowed, and you can draw multiple cards to each hand. However, a 10-valued card after splitting Aces counts as 21, not blackjack, leading to a lower payout. No surrender, doubling down after splitting, or re-splitting.
  6. Payouts: Blackjack pays 3/2. Insurance bets pay 2/1 if the dealer’s up card is an Ace. Other wins pay even money. Payouts can vary by casino.
  7. House Edge: Typically below 1%, making it a player-favorable game.
  8. Decks: Played with two decks, though some casinos use up to six. Always verify casino rules to ensure they are player-friendly.


GameplayFirst of all, you need to place the amount of the bet you wish in the designated betting area, usually located in front of you on the table. It should be noted that prior to playing it is essential to have a look at the table limits and only join the game if they are in accordance with your bankroll. After you’ve placed your wager, you receive your first two cards face up. It is possible to see only one of the dealer’s cards as it is dealt face up.

This is the stage in which you have to make up your mind and decide which move to make. You can either stand or hit and if appropriate and permitted, you can also double down or split a pair. Before playing, it is best to always learn a strategy, regardless of the variation you are trying as this is the only way to manage to make the best possible move in a particular situation and reduce your money losses to the full.

European Blackjack Gameplay: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Place Your Bet: Start by placing your bet in the designated area on the table. Always check the table limits before joining to ensure they match your bankroll.
  2. Receiving Cards: After betting, you’ll receive two cards face up. The dealer also gets two cards but shows only one face up.
  3. Making Decisions: Now, it’s decision time. Based on your hand and the dealer’s visible card, choose to:
    • Stand: Keep your current hand as is.
    • Hit: Request another card to get closer to 21.
    • Double Down: If allowed and it is strategically optimal to double down this move will double your bet and you will receive exactly one more card.
    • Split: If you have a pair, you may split it into two separate hands, doubling your bet but receiving a new second card for each hand.
  4. Learn Strategy: Before diving in, familiarize yourself with European Blackjack strategies. Knowing when to hit, stand, double down, or split is crucial. A solid strategy is your best tool to minimize losses.

Strategy for European Blackjack

European Blackjack DealerBlackjack is a skill-based game, meaning that besides luck, it also requires a strategy. It is possible to influence the outcome of every hand by implementing a strategy plan correctly. The same applies for all of the variations of this game, including European Blackjack. It is essential to learn a basic strategy and follow it throughout the game if you want to make the most of your play and decrease the house edge. For a start, let’s have a look at some useful tips which have proven to work over the course of time.

Gambling experts advise that you should double down when you have a pair of 5’s or a ten and an eleven and the dealer’s up card is from two through nine. It is also recommended to make this move if you have a twelve and the dealer is in a weak position – whenever his up card is from two through six. The general rule regarding doubling down is that you should do so whenever the dealer is placed in a disadvantages position as in such cases, you have higher chances of winning the hand. Many proficient players try to get the most out of such situations in order to compensate for their previous losses.

If you get a pair of Aces, then it is best to always split them, without having to consider the up card of the dealer as this move is appropriate in any case. When it comes to the insurance bet that it is possible to be placed, in general it is considered to be rather unfavorable for players. Since European Blackjack is played with two decks of cards, the house edge of this bet is significantly increased and therefore, it is best to avoid it.

European Blackjack by RealTime Gaming – Strategy Chart


  • 8 Decks
  • Dealer Stands on Soft 17
  • Dealer Does Not Peek for Blackjack
  • Double on Hard 9-11, Double After Split (DAS)
Strategy Chart
Your HandThe up card of the dealer


  • H: Hit
  • H*: Hit with 2 cards, Stand with 3+ cards
  • S: Stand
  • D: Double if Possible, Otherwise Hit
  • P: Split (Pair)

Playing Online European Blackjack

European Blackjack ScreenshotPlaying European Blackjack in an online casino offers a number of advantages. First of all, you can play this exciting card game from home, without having to go all the way to a brick and mortar casino. Also, most online casinos give its customers the chance to play in free mode which is a great opportunity to try the game just for fun, without risking your own funds. Furthermore, some online casinos offer live European Blackjack which is hosted by a professional dealer in real time. This way you can get an extremely genuine experience of the game and enjoy it like never before.

It should be noted that when this game is played online, some of the aforementioned rules might vary, which is why it is always a good idea to double check them beforehand. For instance, in online European Blackjack you have a deck shuffle before the dealing of the cards, which is not a common rule in land-based casinos.

The particular rules of the game strictly depend on the software provider and the casino that offers the variation.


ConclusionEuropean Blackjack is a fairly fast-paced game that is both very challenge and entertaining. The excitement this game offers attracts a number of players from all over the world. Nowadays, it can be found in almost every casino, which is a clear indicator that this variation is one of the most popular blackjack games. It is definitely worth a try, however, before doing so, have a look at its rules and gameplay in order to know what to expect.

FAQ: European Blackjack

European Blackjack is distinct for not being a Hole card game, meaning the dealer does not check for blackjack until players complete their actions. It’s played mainly with two decks, limiting splitting to once for 10-valued cards of the same rank. Doubling down is restricted to totals of 9, 10, or 11, emphasizing strategic play.

The absence of a Hole card in European Blackjack means players must proceed without knowing if the dealer has blackjack, affecting decisions on doubling down or splitting. This rule increases the importance of a conservative strategy, especially against a dealer’s Ace or ten, as the risk of facing an undetected blackjack is higher.

Splitting Aces is universally recommended in European Blackjack because it maximizes the potential of creating two strong hands from a single Ace. Despite the game allowing multiple cards to be drawn to split Aces, remember that a 10-value card on a split Ace counts as 21, not blackjack, adjusting payout expectations.

In European Blackjack, the insurance bet is generally discouraged. Given the game’s two-deck structure, the bet carries a higher house edge, making it a less favorable option for players. The consensus among gambling experts is to avoid the insurance bet to minimize long-term losses.

Playing European Blackjack online offers convenience, accessibility, and the opportunity to practice with free modes or enjoy the authenticity of live dealer versions. Online play often includes differences in rules depending on the software provider, allowing players to find games best suited to their strategy and style.