For the most part blackjack is a pretty standard casino game. There are not a lot of ways to vary blackjack. And that is probably why most of the blackjack variations you run across in online casinos and in brick and mortar casinos are based on side bets, while the actual game is played the same as always.
However. There are a small number of blackjack variations which are true variations, meaning that some rules are different. European Blackjack is one such variation.
European Blackjack is not a variation based on a side bet. There are two rules in this game that make it different than regular blackjack. And these differences in rules are not to the player’s advantage either.
First off players can only double down when the first two cards total 9, 10 or 11 in European Blackjack. Because double downs are highly advantageous to players, this rule does impact a player’s blackjack odds. When a player can double down on any hand it increases the player’s blackjack odds by 0.23%. But when players are limited to only doubling down on 9, 10 and 11 it takes 0.09% off of the player’s odds.
Next up in the differences between European Blackjack is that there is no surrender. Surrender is bowing out of the hand at the cost of half your wager. It is used when your chances of losing the round are very high; so rather than losing your entire wager, you only lose half your wager.
Late surrender gives players an added 0.08% to their blackjack odds, while early surrender takes 0.6% off of the house edge. In European Blackjack, players lose that added 0.08% and the house is not hit with that 0.6%. So not having the option to surrender hurts the player’s blackjack odds. Again.
And those two are the two biggest hits against a player’s blackjack odds. Overall the house gets to add 0.62% to its edge thanks to all the house favorable rules.
I would only recommend playing European Blackjack only for low stakes or for a break from regular blackjack. But I do not like that 0.62% added to the house edge, especially for regular playing. If you want to play European something in the casino or in an online casino stick with European Roulette.