The origins of the black jack game are actually unknown, but the earliest record of the black jack game is from Spain, referred to as "ventiuna" (21 in Spanish), in the early 17th century. Since then, variations are numerous, with over 100 variations to the black jack game known. And all variations of the blackjack game affect the House Advantage. These are some of the most popular variations (or variations you will nearly never see!) to look out for when playing the blackjack online or at a land-based casino:
The Dealer Hits on a Soft 17:
The dealer stands on a hard 17 all the time, but if the rule of the table (which is written clearly in the rules) is that the dealer must hit on a soft 17 (ace and a 6), the house advantage is decreased by 0.2%. This variation is always used in the black jack game variation Blackjack Switch.
Number of Decks in Each Game:
If you play black jack games with fewer decks, the house advantage is decreased. However, if fewer decks are used, the black jack game usually makes up for the lower house advantage by adding stricter rules to the rest of the game (e.g. to not allow resplitting, to prohibit doubling after splitting or on soft hands, to require the dealer to stand on a soft 17, or to pay the player less than the usual 3:2 payout for getting blackjack). The house advantage is quite low on one deck (0.17%) and even low on a double deck (0.46%); four, six, and eight decks are all pretty similar (between 0.60-0.66%).
This is a very good option for players and is therefore often restricted from casinos. Most of the time, you can only double your bet on the first two cards and then receive just one more card. But sometimes you can double down on any two cards, not just the first two (which decreases the House Edge by around 0.2%).
Doubling Down After a Split:
This variation is rarely ever played, and definitely not seen in a black jack game online (the house advantage is lowered by 0.14%). Since you can often resplit up to three times (depending on the variation of the black jack game), you could then have four hands on the table, with eight times your initial bet!
After a player splits a pair (if the split pair has another pair), most casinos allow you to resplit the pair. Some variations allow an unlimited amount of resplitting, while other have a limit, often until 4 hands (resplit to four).
Surrendering (Early or Late):
This variation is rarely seen in online blackjack, let alone land-based games. Surrendering means that you give up your hand and lose only half of what you bet. An early surrender means that you surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack, while a late surrender comes after the dealer initially checks.
This is a variation that is nearly always available, but greatly misunderstood by players (and really should not be used). If the dealer's up card is an ace, he offers insurance to the players. If you take insurance and the dealer gets blackjack, your winning insurance bet is 2:1 (but you lose your initial bet). So it ends up evening out. If you get blackjack, though, you lose a great deal of your payout.
The Dealer Wins a Push:
This variation, thank god, is rarely used in standard blackjack games. If the dealer wins on a push rather than tie, the player would lose a ton of money!
Just like when playing a slot machine, we always recommend playing black jack game free before wagering any money. As mentioned before, there are over 100 variation of black jack games, so if you are playing a black jack game online and play for free, you can make sure you understand and know all of the variations. If you ever play in a blackjack tournament, you will find that there will be many different types of the blackjack game available: Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, Pontoon (the British version), Double Attack Blackjack, and Double Exposure Blackjack. If you play these as a black jack game free to begin with, you will ensure that you know all of the rules before actually playing, which is a very important part of the game.