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Variants of the game

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Blackjack is a member of a large family of traditional card games played recreationally all around the world. Most of these games have not been adapted for casino play. Furthermore, the casino game development industry is very active in producing blackjack variants, most of which are ultimately not adopted for widespread use in casinos. The following are the prominent twenty-one themed comparing card games which have been adapted or invented for use in casinos and have become established in the gambling industry.

  • Spanish 21 provides players with many liberal blackjack rules, such as doubling down any number of cards (with the option to rescue, or surrender only one wager to the house), payout bonuses for five or more card 21s, 6–7–8 21s, 7–7–7 21s, late surrender, and player blackjacks always winning and player 21s always winning, at the cost of having no 10 cards in the deck (though there are jacks, queens, and kings). An unlicensed version of Spanish 21 played without a hole card is found in Australian casinos under the name "Pontoon" (presumably borrowed from the British recreational blackjack-like game "Pontoon" which has substantially different rules).
  • 21st-Century Blackjack (also known as "Vegas Style" Blackjack) is found in California card rooms. In this form of the game, a player bust does not always result in an automatic loss; depending on the casino, the player can still push if the dealer busts as well, although the dealer typically has to bust with a higher total.
  • Double Exposure Blackjack deals the first two cards of the dealer's hand face up. Blackjacks pay even money, and players lose on ties; also, they can neither buy insurance nor can they surrender their hand (as both dealer's cards are exposed at the outset).
  • Double Attack Blackjack has very liberal blackjack rules and the option of increasing one's wager after seeing the dealer's up card. This game is dealt from a Spanish shoe, and blackjacks only pay even money.
  • Blackjack Switch is played over two hands whose second cards the player is allowed to interchange. For example, if the player is dealt 10–6 and 5–10, then the player can switch two cards to make hands of 10–10 and 6–5. Natural blackjacks are paid 1:1 instead of the standard 3:2, and a dealer 22 is a push.
  • Super Fun 21 allows a player to split a hand up to four times. If the player has six cards totaling 20, he automatically wins. Wins are paid 1:1.

Examples of the many local traditional and recreational blackjack-like games include French/German Blackjack, called Vingt-et-un (French: Twenty-one) or "Siebzehn und Vier" (German: Seventeen and Four). The French/German game does not allow splitting. An ace can only count as eleven, but two aces count as a blackjack. It is mostly played in private circles and barracks. A British variation is called "Pontoon", the name being probably a corruption of "Vingt-et-un".

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