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#1 Canadian gambling guide

European Blackjack in Canada

Table games boast good strategies, especially when it comes to blackjack. On this page, we’ll describe its most popular variation, which is European Blackjack available at top-rated Canadian online casinos. The objectives and basic gameplay are the same as in traditional blackjack. Though the rules are quite simple, there are diversified European Blackjack tricks and tips Canadian gamblers can apply, so Casino Canada is here to solve this!

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Best casinos to play european blackjack for real money

Introduction to European Blackjack

Introduction to European Blackjack

In 2015, Canadians were interviewed regarding the card games they favour when visiting casinos, with 7% indicating a preference for blackjack. Several years later and the game has become even more popular. Also, its European version is particularly notable. European Blackjack is a popular variation of the classic blackjack game and is played with a few rule differences compared to the standard American blackjack.

European Blackjack is typically played with two standard decks of 52 cards. In some variations, multiple decks may be used. The dealer receives only one face-up card, known as the upcard. The dealer does not receive a hole card (a face-down card) until the players have completed their hands. This means that the dealer does not check for blackjack immediately.

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Facts & Details About European Blackjack

In Europe, European Blackjack is considered the most-played game of the blackjack family. It is played with two decks of 52 cards, which are shuffled together. Compared to American Blackjack, which is played with six or eight decks, this version requires only two decks of cards. To describe the game in a few words, we list these key facts and details:

  1. The dealer must stand on all 17s, which is different from the American version of the game. Thus, we get the 0.39% house edge rather than 0.48%, which is better for players.

  2. The player can double down on any two cards (while American blackjack only has this rule for certain hands) and can double down after a split.

  3. Canadians can split any two cards of the same value, including Aces. Players can re-split up to three times, for a total of four hands.

  4. The player is not allowed to surrender in European Blackjack. This version also doesn’t have insurance and doesn’t allow players to re-split Aces.

  5. The dealer does not check for Blackjack at the start of the game, so this provides more opportunities for players.

  6. If the player and the dealer have the same hand, this is considered a push and the player’s bet is returned.

Rules of European Blackjack

The main aim of the game is to get 21 or close to it but without exceeding this amount. Of course, the rule changes depending on the game variation you choose. Plus, the casino game can feature extra dynamics to impact the overall likelihood of success, including side bets. Here, we’ll explain the basic blackjack rules and highlight all the situations when Canadians should consider extra options.

  • Card Values in European Blackjack

    Card Values in European Blackjack

    You’ll notice that European Blackjack card values remain consistent with the standard values used in most blackjack variations. Numbered cards (two to nine) are worth their face value. Face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) are all worth 10 points each. Whether it’s a Jack, Queen, or King, they all carry the same value. The Ace is a special card that can be worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on the player’s choice and the hand’s requirements.

    Example:

    A three of hearts is worth three points, a six of diamonds is worth six points, and so on.

    Interesting fact:

    The suits aren’t considered, so these can be clubs, spades, and other suits. Ace is the only card that has a flexible value (always the condition which is better for the player).

  • Hand Signals in European Blackjack

    Hand Signals in European Blackjack

    To request an additional card, players use a tapping motion on the table with their fingers or lightly scratch the felt towards themselves. To indicate no more cards, players place their palm or open hand horizontally over their cards, parallel to the table. To double the original bet and receive only one more card, players can place an additional bet next to their original wager, then extend one finger or point to their cards.

    Example:

    To signal a split, players place an additional bet equal to their original wager next to the initial bet and use a V-shaped gesture.

    Interesting fact:

    These are physical gestures used by players to communicate their desired actions to the dealer without speaking. Please note that these signals aren’t available online.

  • Payouts in European Blackjack

    Payouts in European Blackjack

    The standard European Blackjack payout for a winning hand is 1:1, meaning you receive an amount equal to your original bet. If you’re dealt a blackjack, which is an Ace and a 10-value card (10, Jack, Queen, or King), the payout is typically 3:2, so your C$10 bet will bring you C$15 and you’ll get the C$10 bet back as well.

    Example:

    You bet C$10 and have a hand worth 15 (ten and five), while the dealer’s hand is 14. This means that you win and get paid $10 and will get an extra C$10 back (your initial bet).

    Interesting fact:

    When the game accepts side bets, you can get paid accordingly when meeting the conditions of a certain stake. Information regarding the money you can win is available from the menu.

Splitting and Doubling Down in European Blackjack

Splitting and Doubling Down in European Blackjack

When you are initially dealt a pair of cards of the same rank (e.g. two seven cards or two Queens), you have the option to split them into two separate hands. This requires placing an additional bet equal to your original wager. Here’s how it works:

  • Each card becomes the first card of a new hand, while you are also dealt an additional card for each split hand.
  • After splitting, you play each hand separately, and normal blackjack rules apply.
  • As for doubling down, this is an option that allows you to double your original bet after your first two cards are dealt.
  • By doubling down, you commit to taking only one additional card to complete your hand. Mainly, doubling down is not allowed after splitting a pair.
Insurance in European Blackjack

Insurance in European Blackjack

In European Blackjack, insurance is not typically offered as a betting option. This is a key rule difference compared to some other blackjack variations, such as American Blackjack. Since the dealer does not receive a hole card (a face-down card), players do not have the opportunity to make an insurance bet. This means that players cannot protect themselves against the possibility of the dealer having blackjack. The absence of insurance in European Blackjack simplifies the gameplay and removes the need to make additional side bets. Players can focus on their main hand and the standard blackjack strategies without the distraction of the insurance option.

European Blackjack House Edge & Odds

In European Blackjack, the house edge tends to be lower compared to some other blackjack variations.

European Blackjack House Edge & Odds
House Edge Example Odds
On average, the house edge in European Blackjack is around 0.39% to 0.62%, assuming that optimal basic strategy is applied. This means that for every C$100 wagered, the casino can expect to retain approximately C$0.39 to C$0.62 in profit, on average. Assuming that optimal basic strategy is employed, the player can expect to win approximately 44% to 48% of hands in European Blackjack, while the dealer will win around 52% to 56% of hands.

As you can see, though the European Blackjack RTP is large, you still need to play responsibly and remember that the house wins in the long run.

How’s European Blackjack Different from Other Blackjack Games?

Online blackjack is available in various forms, including not only RNG and live dealer versions but also different types with varying rules. Canadians can encounter European, Spanish, Switch, and Atlantic City variations. Here are the main differences between these blackjack variants:

How’s European Blackjack Different from Other Blackjack Games?
Blackjack type RTP House Edge Winning hand pays Player’s blackjack Dealer’s face-down card
European blackjack 99.6% 0.4% 1:1 3:2 No
Spanish blackjack 99.63% 0.37% 1:1 3:2 Yes
Switch blackjack 99.87% 0.13% 1:1 1:1 Yes
Atlantic City blackjack 99.6% 0.4% 1:1 3:2 Yes

European Blackjack Strategies

Here at Casino Canada, we believe that a basic strategy is a perfect option for European Blackjack. It’s a mathematically derived strategy that provides the optimal play for every possible combination of the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard. It suggests the statistically most advantageous decision in each situation. Studying and memorizing basic strategy charts specific to European Blackjack, considering the rules and variations of the game you are playing, is an ideal approach. Applying a basic strategy reduces the house edge and improves your overall odds. Canadians can find strategy charts displaying all the steps and variations.

Common Mistakes in European Blackjack

Some mistakes can decrease your winning potential. For example, by deviating from basic strategy, players increase the house edge and reduce their odds of winning.

🚫 Failing to utilize basic strategy

This is one of the most significant mistakes to make in European Blackjack. The basic strategy provides mathematically optimal decisions for every possible combination of the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard.

Solution:

Make sure to study and apply the basic strategy for the best results. Failing to consider the dealer’s upcard and its potential value can lead to sub-optimal decisions.

🃏 Missing splitting pairs and doubling down

Splitting pairs and doubling down are valuable options in European Blackjack, but some players fail to utilize them effectively.

Solution:

It’s important to understand the situations where splitting or doubling down is recommended according to basic strategy.

🎰 Compulsive gambling

Responsible gambling is also essential since chasing losses can lead to further losses and have a larger negative impact on your bankroll.

Solution:

Remember to play responsibly and manage your bankroll wisely.

Tips for Playing European Blackjack

Due to the European Blackjack tips we provide here, you can easily understand the basic blackjack strategy, learn what makes the dealer go bust, understand what a draw is, find out about other cases when the advantage is with the player, as well as benefitting from further information covered by this mini-guide, such as:

  • learning-the-rules-50x50s

    Learning the rules

    Make sure to examine the specific rules of the European Blackjack game you are playing, particularly those related to the dealer’s actions. For example, knowing that the dealer stands on a soft 17 helps you make more informed decisions based on the dealer’s likely hand.

  • splitting-pairs-50x50s

    Splitting Pairs

    Follow optimal basic strategy when deciding whether to split pairs. For example, it’s generally recommended to split pairs of Aces and 8s, but not pairs of 10-value cards. Splitting pairs can increase your chances of achieving winning hands and capitalizing on advantageous situations.

  • doubling-down-50x50s

    Doubling Down

    Utilize doubling down strategically, especially when basic strategy recommends doing so. Doubling down allows you to double your initial bet in exchange for receiving one additional card. This strategy is particularly effective when you have a strong hand and the dealer has a weak upcard.

  • manage-your-bankroll-50x50s

    Manage Your Bankroll

    Practice responsible bankroll management to ensure you have enough funds to sustain your gameplay. Set betting limits, establish a budget, and avoid chasing losses. It’s important to have discipline and not wager more than you can comfortably afford.

  • practice-and-play-online-50x50s

    Practice and Play Online

    Consider practicing European Blackjack in free online versions or using demo accounts before playing with real money. This provides you with the right to get familiar with the game, test strategies, and gain experience without risking your funds.

Playing European Blackjack Online: Best CA Casinos

Canadian customers who don’t want to leave their homes or, especially, their country to play European Blackjack can enjoy a good alternative in the form of online gambling. In fact, this is one of the best ways to play for real cash, benefit from the number of strong sides, and simplify things a great deal:

  1. You can easily use the chart (both an online and a physical version) without facing problems with casino employees.
  2. The range of casino games available on online Canadian gambling sites is huge, so players can also try their hand at video poker, roulette, baccarat, slots, and more.
  3. Initially, Canadians can get a welcome bonus. Plus, casinos offer a selection of regular promotions like deposit bonuses, cashback, and other casino bonuses.
  4. By subscribing to the casino’s newsletter, users can also receive bonus codes (just keep in mind the wagers and other restrictions) and keep up with the casino’s news.
  5. People fond of the real dealer atmosphere can move to live European Blackjack games and play a round with a game host.
  6. When obtaining winnings, Canadians can process withdrawals via local payment methods in CAD or alternative currencies.
  7. If you choose a Canadian site to play European Blackjack from our rating, you can be sure that it has a licence (e.g. a Kahnawake or UK Gambling Commission logo) for its activity and slot games.

Here at Casino Canada, we test online casinos and review each site before delivering our rating of all the choices Canadians have to play European Blackjack. We choose sites operated by a reliable company and accepting players from specific countries (in this case, Canada), analyze the maximum withdrawal limits, make sure that there are bonuses like free spins and action tourneys that gamblers can take part in, and undertake at least a couple of real-money rounds to test the sites. As a result, desktop and mobile users are welcome to trust us and choose a reliable gambling site to sign up, top up an account, and play European Blackjack online in Canada!

Interesting to know

  • European Blackjack is the most popular variation of the game, accounting for over 40% of all Blackjack games played in Europe.
  • The house edge in European Blackjack is 0.39%, which is lower than the house edge of 0.48% in American Blackjack.
  • European Blackjack is played with two decks of cards, whereas American Blackjack is typically played with six or eight decks.
  • In European Blackjack, the dealer must stand on soft 17, whereas in American Blackjack, the dealer must hit on soft 17.
  • European Blackjack allows players to double down on any two cards, whereas American Blackjack only allows players to double down on certain hands.
  • This version does not allow players to re-split Aces, whereas American Blackjack does allow players to re-split Aces.

Conclusion

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in the world, and the European Blackjack variant definitely deserves the attention of Canadian players. The variants that online players can enjoy include games with real dealers or RNG titles. In both cases, the chances of getting hands at certain values are the same, while we should note that the overall RTP of these games is very appealing too.

For those fond of risky yet beneficial bets, side-bet options are an ideal approach. Although the online version doesn’t accept card counting, this can be compensated by casino bonuses available in the online variant. By using a strategy chart that features the potential moves, players can try to minimize the house edge.

When looking for something catchy among those tables with good potential and accessible rules, take a peek at European Blackjack, which offers numerous ways to develop a gambling strategy and have fun!

Lucas Goldberg
Lucas, a seasoned site editor at CasinoCanada, boasts a decade-long journey in the gambling industry with a focus on providing players with meticulous reviews and insights of online games and casinos.
Site Editor
University of Toronto
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Digital Media, and Journalism, PlayTech Analytics career, communication with users through high-quality gambling content.
Expert in:
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Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 20.02.2024

FAQ

How is European Blackjack different from other blackjack games?

Although the basic European Blackjack rules are standard, it’s a bit different from the others since the dealer does not receive a hole card (a face-down card).

What is the house edge in European Blackjack?

This is the 0.40% score, which is a very good condition for Canadians who want to experience as high an RTP as possible.

What is the basic strategy for European Blackjack?

This is a set of rules that shows players when to hit, stand, double down, or surrender (if available). You can find a printable chart with this strategy.

How many decks are used in European Blackjack?

European Blackjack is typically played with two standard decks of 52 cards. In some variations, multiple decks may be used.

What is the insurance rule in European Blackjack?

Since European Blackjack does not have a hole card, players are not offered the insurance bet (half of the bet back) to protect against the dealer’s potential blackjack.

How much can you win at European Blackjack?

This depends on your deposits, bet size, and the game’s conditions. Initially, the game pays 1:1 or 3:2 for a blackjack. Plus, there are side bets with potentially larger totals.

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