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European Blackjack Turbo

While blackjack has plenty of popularity throughout the world, not everyone plays by the same rules. There are major regional differences in what players expect from this game, and while the basic format may be similar no matter where you play, the details may surprise you if you play in a casino in another part of the world.

One of the biggest examples of this is the difference between American and European blackjack games. While each of these versions is recognizable as the same type of game, there are enough rule changes that the strategies and the feel is very different between these variants. If you’re not familiar with the European style of play, then you might want to give SkillOnNet’s European Blackjack Turbo a try. It’s a faithful rendition of this style of play, presented in an unassuming, easy-to-use interface, making it the perfect way to jump into this exciting brand of 21.

How Europe Plays

Even if you’re familiar with standard American games, you might need a quick primer on how European Blackjack Turbo works before trying this version. While the basic rules are the same, there are definitely quirks that change some of the details of game flow and what options are available to you.

As usual, this game is played using a shoe made up of eight standard decks of playing cards. At the start of each round, you’ll need to make a bet for each hand you wish to play. At the start of each hand, two cards are dealt face up to the player, while the dealer receives one card, also face up. In this variant, there is no hole card for the dealer – a sure sign that you are playing at a European table.

The object of the game is to beat the dealer by making a hand that is worth as close to 21 points as possible without going over. Every card has a different point value: numbered cards are worth their printed number, while face cards are worth 10. Aces are a special case: while they are normally worth 11 points, they can also be worth just 1 if they would otherwise take a hand over the maximum of 21 points.

The best possible starting hand for the player is an ace and a 10-point card. This creates a natural 21, also known as a blackjack. This hand beats everything except for a dealer blackjack, in which case the hands push. In most cases, blackjacks are immediately paid out at 3-2 odds.

The one exception comes when the dealer is showing an ace or a ten, in which case that payout will not occur until the dealer receives its second card and can check for blackjack as well. In the case of an ace, the player will also be offered an insurance bet. This bet costs half of the amount of the initial wager, and pays out at 2-1 odds should the dealer complete their blackjack later on (allowing the player to break even for the hand).

After these initial steps are taken, the player then has the opportunity to play out their hand. Any hand that does not yet have a score of 21 can be played in a variety of ways, depending on the current situation. Any of the following options may be available to you:

  • Stand: At any time, the player may choose to stand, taking no further cards and ending their turn.
  • Hit: At any time, the player can hit, taking an additional card and adding it to their hand score.
  • Double Down: This option is only available on the initial two-card hand a player receives; in addition, you may only double down if your hand score is 9, 10, or 11. When this option is taken, the player must make a second bet, equal in size to their initial wager. In return, they receive one more card, after which they must stand.
  • Split: This option can only be taken if the player receives two cards of the same rank in their initial hand. If the players wishes to do so, they may split those two cards into two separate hands, each of which must be played for one full bet. Each hand then receives a second card, after which they may be played as normal. The one exception is aces: when they are split, each receives a second card, and then must stand (in addition, a 21 here is not considered a blackjack). If additional pairs are made after splitting, you may continue to split, up to a maximum of four total hands.

A player must continue until they either stand or their hand has more than 21 points in it. If a hand goes over 21, it is said to “bust.” If a player busts, they immediately lose all bets associated with that hand.

Once all players have busted or stood on their hands, it is the dealer’s turn to act. First, the dealer will draw and reveal a second card to complete their initial hand. If this creates a blackjack, it pushes with any player blackjacks; otherwise, any outstanding blackjacks will now pay 3-2 odds. At this time, all insurance bets will also be resolved, paying out 2-1 if the dealer completed a natural 21.

In all other cases, the dealer will play out their hand based on a set of very simple rules. If the dealer has 16 or less, they will always hit; conversely, they will always stand on a hand of 17 or more. If the dealer’s hand goes over 21, they (like the player) will bust, and all remaining player bets will immediately pay out at even money odds.

Should the dealer stand, then each player hand is compared to that of the dealer. If the player hand is higher, all bets on that hand win; conversely, should the dealer have the higher score, all bets lose. If the two hands are tied, then the result is a push.

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European Blackjack Turbo

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Fast, Crisp Gameplay

European Blackjack Turbo offers gameplay that features all of the rules mentioned above, doing so in a way that makes the game extremely accessible and easy to play. There aren’t any special side bets or particularly unique features here, but the overall package does have a couple aspects that are worthy of note.

When you first load the game, you’ll be able to choose from three different stakes levels: Standard (€1-€300), High Rollers (€5-€500), or VIP (€10-€1,500). The tables are otherwise identical, but the options do provide a wide enough range that all but the biggest whales should be satisfied by the offerings. And if you want to wager even more at one time, there is a way to do it: this is a multihand game, allowing you to play up to five hands at a time if you wish to do so.

Actually controlling the game is quite simple. Everything takes place on a classic “green felt” layout, and there’s plenty of room to play the maximum number of hands without things getting crowded. The turbo in the title likely refers to the speed at which hands are dealt: there’s no waiting, and no fancy animations are used that could potentially cause delays. Action buttons are located prominently at the bottom of the screen, and everything is large enough to be used easily without the potential for mistakes.

Different Rules, Different Strategy

Because European rules change the options available to players, and because the dealer does not check for blackjack until the end of the hand, the proper strategies for this game are different than those in American variants. As usual, however, you can find charts that will provide you with the basic strategy for this game: that is, the information you need to make the mathematically correct play in every possible situation.

As in American Blackjack Turbo, we’re happy to provide a simplified strategy that can help you get started. While the following set of rules won’t lead you to perfect play, it will avoid all major errors, allowing you to get very close to the optimal return in this game – in this case, that would cut the house edge to just 0.58%. The strategy is loosely based on one found at The Wizard of Odds, and has been modified both for simplicity and for the different tactics necessary to succeed under European rules.

In the lists below, you simply need to follow the rule that applies to your hand. If you’re not up to speed on your terminology, most hands are “hard;” a “soft” hand is one with an ace that counts as 11 points (and as such, cannot bust on the next card, as the ace can still revert to a 1).

Hard Hands

  • Double with 9 against a dealer showing 2-6.
  • Double with a 10 or 11 against a dealer showing 2-9.
  • Hit on all other scores of 11 or less.
  • With 12-16, stand against a dealer six or lower; hit against a seven or higher.
  • Stand on all hands of 17 or higher.

Soft Hands

  • With 12-15, always hit.
  • With 16-18, double against a dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
  • Stand on all hands of 19 or higher.

Splitting

  • Never Split fours, fives, or tens.
  • Split aces and eights against everything other than a dealer ace.
  • For all other pairs, split only against a dealer 2-6.
  • If you do not split, play the hand as normal according to the above rules for hard and soft hands.

In addition, it is best not to take insurance when it is offered. By following all of these rules, you should get within a couple tenths of a percent of optimal strategy, and avoid any serious mistakes that will cost you significant amounts of money in the long run.

Europe’s Way to Play

European Blackjack Turbo is an excellent version of this very popular variant on the world’s most widely-played casino card game. There’s nothing particularly outstanding about this title, but it does everything you’d want from a blackjack game: you can get plenty of action at whatever pace you like, and the no-frills interface ensures you won’t be distracted or confused at any point while playing. Combine that with the wide range of stakes levels available, and this is a version of European blackjack that we think is accessible enough for the newest players while remaining flexible and powerful enough for even the most serious gamblers out there.

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