American vs. European Blackjack – What Is Better?

Blackjack, Europe, Tables, Cards, Chips, Money

Not every player knows about the inherent differences between the American and European versions of blackjack. The two games are actually very similar, but is one of them better than the other? It depends on the person who’s answering that question.

In comparing American and European blackjack, I elaborate on all the differences. They include variations in terms of the rules, house edge, and other aspects of the two games. I also highlight the actions you can make in both games.

European vs. American Blackjack Rules

The objective in European and American blackjack is the same: attaining a hand that’s as close to 21 as possible. Going over 21 means you’ll automatically lose (i.e., bust). Your hand must be higher in value than the dealer’s to win (or they should bust when you don’t).

In both variations, the player receives their initial cards face-up. This means that the dealer knows the value of your hand at all times. After players receive these initial two cards, they must decide to stand (keep the hand they have) or hit (add another card to their hand).

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At many casinos, you can keep hitting until your hand is a bust. However, remember that certain casinos will limit how often you can hit with a single hand.

When it comes to the rules, the main difference is how the dealer receives their cards. In American blackjack, the dealer receives one card face-up and the other face-down. This allows players to determine if they want to play out their hand based on the dealer card they can see.


The dealer in American blackjack can look at the face-down card, but only if the face-up card is an ace. If the dealer has a blackjack with their two initial cards, and the face-up is an ace, the player automatically loses, no matter what.

With European blackjack, the dealer also has a face-up card, but they can’t look at the second card that’s face-down. This card isn’t revealed until everyone plays out their hands.

American vs. European Blackjack Actions

In American and European blackjack, the actions you can perform are largely the same. The game allows you to hit, stand, split, double down, or surrender. At some casinos, you can also make a certain side bet (known as “insurance”) when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace.

Surrendering is when you essentially forfeit your hand when you’re dealt two bad cards. You’ll get half of your initial bet back. Doubling down essentially creates an opportunity to win a bigger payout, but you have to stand with your initial two cards.


One of the differences in European blackjack compared to the American version is that you can only double down on 9, 10, or 11. Furthermore, European Blackjack only allows you to split with two face cards of the same value.

For example, when you have two queens, you can play them as two separate hands. You can’t do that with a jack and a queen, even if they both bring 10 points.

European Blackjack vs. American Blackjack House Edge

The house edge will greatly affect your blackjack strategy for both the European and American versions. Keep in mind that you’re playing against the dealer in both variations, and you can always make a few tweaks to reduce the house edge.


Many different factors can influence the probability of winning each hand. However, the house edge for American Blackjack sits at roughly 0.50% over the long term when you implement a good strategy. This is a fairly low number when compared to other popular casino games.

Veteran blackjack players that understand the game through and through can actually get that number even lower (0.30%). Remember, it all comes down to optimizing every move you make, which is the key to winning more often over time.

With European blackjack, you have a higher house edge, although the difference is negligible. That number at its lowest is 0.40%, and it’s about 0.20% worse than US blackjack. Don’t forget that you must implement an advanced strategy to reduce the house edge as low as possible.

Many people wonder why casinos offer blackjack when the house edge is so low. The truth is that the game is widely popular and in high demand at online and land-based casinos. Millions of casual players also don’t practice blackjack enough to reduce the house edge anyway.

The number of decks used at a single blackjack table can also affect the house edge. Casinos typically prefer to use anywhere between six and eight decks when it comes to American blackjack. However, with European blackjack, the game is often played with just two decks.

Winning in blackjack is also determined by your approach to certain scenarios. For example, knowing when you should hit or stand on a hard 15 can sway the odds in your favor. This is why having a basic strategy will make a huge difference in both American and European blackjack.

Play Blackjack Online

I encourage you to visit the best blackjack casinos online, which offer American and European variations. You can begin betting with real money and try your luck with both games to determine which one appeals to you the most.

These casinos also offer many amazing perks, such as fast payouts and multiple banking options. You can earn extra rewards by taking advantage of special bonuses and promotions at your disposal.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.