How to Play European Blackjack

A variant of the most popular card game in the world, the European blackjack is said to be the original. With origins believed to be in France, as the game made its way around the globe, so did its popularity. When it made it to North America, the rules changed a bit though the original objective remained. If you want to learn how to play the original game of numbers, we have outlined the basics plus the rules on how to play.

Basic European Blackjack

How to Play European Blackjack - Basic European Blackjack

For those who are familiar with the game of blackjack already, the rules and structure are going to sound familiar. Usually, the battle is between the dealer and the players, each one going head to head with one another. The goal of the game is to try to get as close to 21 as possible without busting or going over. Cards are valued the same in both variations, with 2-10 taking their face value, Ace taking either 1 or 11, and K, Q, and J taking 10. 

The first difference that players will notice is the way cards are dealt, with both coming to players faced down and the dealer only getting one. It takes place after all bets are made, and the dealer must take the first card face up.

How to Play European Blackjack

How to Play European Blackjack - How to Play European Blackjack2

The rest of the game is pretty simple but does take some getting used to. With the cards that were dealt, players will need to decide what they would like to do.

  • Hit – take another card;
  • Stand – take no cards;
  • Double down – up the ante and take another card;
  • Split – use 2 cards to act as 2 separate hands receiving 2 more in the process;
  • Surrender – to fold and lose half of the original bet.

Each player has their chance to make their choice and try to be as competitive as possible against the dealer, it is now the dealer’s turn to take a second card and play his hand. After this, payouts begin and depend on a few things.

  1. If the dealer has more than 21, the whole table gets a cut;
  2. If not, hands are compared, and the prize goes to the highest total;
  3. If values are the same, it is considered a push and players get a refund. 

European Blackjack Strategy

How to Play European Blackjack - European Blackjack Strategy

So, what about methods to win? There are a few, some more complicated than others. One of the best and most effective are to consult strategy charts that basically have all values laid out and suggestions on how to act in certain situations.

When to hit or to stand? While there is no guarantee that you’ll win every time, these few suggestions have been set up to give players a guide that can keep them from going over. Again, there is never a 100% guarantee to beat the dealer but you can make them sweat a little learning how to play like a pro. A few strategies approved by the best of players.


You shouldn’t do this often, and it is generally an accepted rule to only surrender on hard 16. Do not, however, quit if you have a pair of 8’s.

Now for Splits

  • One should always split apart Aces and 8’s;
  • On the contrary, never split 5s and 10s;
  • If the dealer has a value of 2-7, split up 7s;
  • If the dealer has face cards from 2-9 excluding 7, then it is always smart to split 9s.

Doubling Down

  • If the dealer has 3-6, and you have 9, double down;
  • If you have 10, double down, the only exception being if the dealer shows a 10 or an Ace;
  • Double hard 11 except if it’s up against a dealer’s Ace.

Hit or Stand

  • You should always hit on anything 11 and below
  • If the dealer has a lower value, stand on 12; if they have higher values, hit;
  • With anything from 13-16 in your hands you should hold, except in the case that dealer has a lower value;
  • Stand on hard 17, always but hit on soft 17 and below;
  • Never hit on 19; always stand.

Practice Makes You Perfect

The thing about most strategy games like blackjack is that your technique gets better with time. The more familiar you start to get with cards and hands and the patterns with which most expert players play, the better and faster you will play. The strategies mentioned above are a good place to start, and as we mentioned above, you can also consult a blackjack chart for a clear outline of suggestions. Before beginning your journey, always set a clear goal and have a set amount in your bankroll to make sure that you don’t make any detrimental mistakes that could leave you walking away empty-handed.