There are dozens of popular blackjack variants in casinos and online gambling sites. Game designers and innovators always try to find a new side bet or rule addition that will be a smash hit, but they don’t always hit a home run.
So, what happens to the obscure, outlandish, and downright crazy blackjack variations that never gain a following? Some have a good run, others barely see the light of day, and a few never get off the ground.
Let’s take a look at 10 blackjack variants that time forgot. We’ll give you a glimpse at the novel rules you missed and see if any of them are still alive today.
10 Blackjack Variants That Didn’t Make the Cut
Some of these blackjack games were exclusive to a specific casino, and a few were only available online for a short period. Check out the complete list below.
Here’s an offshoot with seemingly player-friendly rules. You definitely had to deviate from the basic blackjack strategy with the bonus hands and more double-down opportunities.
For starters, there were several unique ways to get a hand valued at 21 with a 2:1 payout. Even putting together six cards under 21 will earn you a 1:1 prize over a dealer blackjack. Plus, you could also double with any number of cards or surrender anytime.
However, despite its liberal player rules, the 1:1 payouts for non-special blackjacks gave this version a worse house edge than the base game. It spread around the internet for a while, but now we can’t find it anywhere.
- Diamond-suited blackjack pays 2:1
- 5 or 6 card 21 pays 2:1
- 6 card hand under 21 pays 1:1
- Non-special blackjack pays 1:1
- Double any number of cards
- Surrender at any time
Have you ever heard of a 255-deck shoe? Well, now you have! Caribbean 21 was an online-only blackjack variation from RealTime Gaming with a fun pirate theme and a rustic wooden table that was a visual breath of fresh air.
But it wasn’t the complicated strategy chart or the mega-low 0.19% house edge that drove this one out of online casinos. It was a player winning $1.3 million in 2003 at HamptonCasino.com, and the game’s developers showing proof of cheating that soured the title’s reputation.
It didn’t take long for many sites to pull the blackjack variant, after which the game never really bounced back to its old glory. At this point, we haven’t seen it in years.
- 255 deck shoe
- Aces only count as 1
- Dealer wins all pushes
- Players can split any two cards
- Players can double down at any time
Vegas Strip Blackjack
This blackjack variation from Microgaming is essentially just a branded online version of the base game you find in Las Vegas. With its average payouts and standard rules, it is about as vanilla as it gets.
Vegas Strip-branded games are still available at a few European casinos. Still, most land-based or online versions use the same rules as this title anyhow.
Take a seat at most single-deck or standard multi-hand titles to enjoy the same gameplay you’d find at Las Vegas blackjack tables.
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Blackjack pays 3:2 or 6:5
- Players can split pairs
- Players can double on the first two cards
- Players have the option to take insurance
- There is no surrendering
Take standard blackjack, add a couple of side bets, and make it harder to hit a high payout and you have Diamond Blackjack from Gamesys.
At most tables, you’re happy to get a 3:2 payout for blackjack, but this game gave you a generous 2:1. What’s the catch? You only get the lucrative prize if your blackjack consists of two diamonds. Otherwise, you get the same 1:1 payout as all the other winning hands.
Pair that with two less-than-favorable side bets and a higher house edge at 1.24%, and the only reason to play this variant is if you really like diamond cards. No wonder this version only made its way into a few online casinos.
- Diamond-suited blackjack pays 2:1
- Other blackjack pays 1:1
- A blackjack side bet pays 19 to 1
- The 7s side bet pays up to 250:1
Double Attack Blackjack
A Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino might have a table for this variation of Spanish blackjack tucked away in a corner somewhere.
The Spanish deck has no tens (only the face cards remain), but the game makes up for that by letting you double your wager after seeing the dealer’s up-card. There is a side bet on whether the dealer will go over 21 on their third card.
Aside from those minor adjustments, you’re playing standard blackjack. While this title seems to have fallen on the face of the internet, let us know if you find it at a land-based casino somewhere.
- Spanish deck with no tens
- “Bust it” Side bet
- Players can double wager after seeing the dealer’s up-card
- Split aces only get a single card each
This proprietary version of online blackjack from Betfair Casino is truly unique. It takes the concept of betting exchanges and applies it to a virtual card game.
In this game, you’ll take a birds-eye view of a blackjack table where four players are using perfect mathematical strategy against the dealer’s house rules. You can bet on any number of actions, and with each card, the true odds automatically update in real time.
While it sounds intriguing initially, this complicated game of math and statistics had a house edge of almost 4%. Plus, it was only ever available at one UK online casino, and we can’t even find it there anymore.
- You bet on automatic gameplay
- All wins pay 1 to 1
- The game uses an “infinite shoe”
- 5 card charlie is the best hand
- Bet on winning players or exotic wagers
More of a side bet than an entirely new variation, Flip Card has some massive payout potential if you get a blackjack.
If you placed the extra wager at the start of the hand and got a natural blackjack, you will get paid depending on the dealer’s up-card. The biggest prizes, up to 500:1, come when your cards are the same color or suited (even better).
If you don’t take the side bet, the rest of the game is run-of-the-mill blackjack. That is, of course, if you see it somewhere. We’ve looked far and wide with no luck.
- Standard blackjack rules
- The flip card side bet pays up to 500 to 1
Lucky 13s Blackjack
This short-lived blackjack variant debuted at the 2014 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas and didn’t make it much further. Despite a couple of casinos briefly testing it out and developers planning an online version, this game died out quickly.
The game set itself apart by adding 12 extra cards to the deck, four 11s, four 12s, and four 13s. Of course, that messes with the ratios of everything. You can now bust on the deal, and, in effect, the house edge jumps up to 1.32%.
Aside from the extra cards and a couple of long-shot side bets, the base game was the same as classic blackjack.
- Four 11s, four 12s, and four 13s added to the deck
- Protection side bet against busting on the deal
- Pair side bet against
Player’s Choice 21
In this blackjack variation, you get three cards instead of two, play two hands instead of one, and must place a side bet every round.
You choose one of your three cards as a “common card” and split the remaining two into different hands. Then you play each hand with standard blackjack rules.
This ability to choose gives the player a whopping 22.5% favor over the house. So, why wouldn’t everyone play this variant? In comes, the mandatory 25% house edge side bet that balances the game back in favor of the casino.
As far as we know, this version only temporarily landed in a couple of casinos back in 2014. It’s hard to say if it’s still floating around, but we can’t find any information on where to play it these days.
- Choose a common card from three dealt cards
- Players play two hands at once
- There’s a mandatory side bet
Who doesn’t like power moves in games? In this blackjack variant, you get an empowered split and double down, but at the cost of the dealer pushing on 22.
You can split any hard hand valued at 15 or 16, even if they are not a pair. Plus, anytime you double on a two-card hand that’s a hard 9, 10, or 11, you can discard the extra card if you don’t like it and draw another one.
Geoff Hall, the inventor of Blackjack Switch, created Power Blackjack and was able to get it approved in a few states and have it tested in a couple of casinos. However, despite the efforts and a reasonable 0.55% house edge, this one never stuck around.
- Split any hard 15 or 16 hand
- The dealer pushes on 22
- Discard an undesired card on some doubled hands
- Blackjack pays 1:1 on dealer 22
Dozens of Blackjack Variations You Can Still Play Online
While many have fizzled out, you can play several blackjack variants for real money at our top-rated online casinos. Find exciting titles with various rule changes and unique side bets in the table games section at any of the sites below.
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Lost But Not Forgotten
Developers are always trying to find a new take on classic blackjack. While some set themselves up as mainstays on the casino floor, many only live a short time or never get to show their faces.
Whether it’s a weird new side bet or a fun rule that alters the game, one thing is sure. We will see more spin-offs of casino classics as time and technology progress. Follow our newsletter for exclusive first looks at new titles when they come out.