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Learning the Difference between American and European Blackjack

April 4th, 2019

Blackjack is a global hit enjoyed by millions of gamers. While there are many Blackjack variations available, the two most common are the American and the European versions. While both are played by the same basic rules, it is vital that players understand the slight difference present to be sure of the strategies that must be applied in each case to enhance their chances of winning.

The Hole Card

The key difference is one card. It may appear minor, but players of the casino tables must recognise the importance of the hole card. The hole card can change the whole experience. The dealer in American Blackjack is dealt2 cards.

One is a face-up and the other a face-down. If a blackjack is a possibility and the card is a face-down, a dealer is allowed to peek at their hole card. If the face-up is an ACE, they can then check the hole card instantly. Should the hole card cause the dealer to get the blackjack, all players bets’ will end and the dealer gets to collect them all.

The European Blackjack does not have a hole card. The dealer is only dealt one card. They then receive the other card once all the other player’s hands are complete. The dealer, in this case, is able to check for Blackjack before the player completes his hand.


2 standard decks of cards are used in the European Blackjack while 6 or 8 standard decks of cards are used in the American version. The higher the number of decks in the shoe, the more card counting becomes difficult, but the greater the house edge.


Players can only split a hand once in the European Blackjack. They are only permitted to split like-valued cards of 10 value: 10 Queens, Kings and Jacks. In the American version, players are allowed to split their hand 3 times, and any pair of cards can be split.

Generally, players must be a little more conservative in the European Blackjack in their split attempts and double down. The American version demands aggressive splitting and double down efforts.