Blackjack is one of the most famous card games available in modern casinos. But have you ever heard someone call it Twenty-one or Pontoon? Hearing this would make us wonder if all of these names are the same game. Could there be more versions of Blackjack out there and what are they?

Are 21 and Blackjack the Same?

If you have come across these two names in casino gaming and were wondering if they are the same, the short answer is yes. In modern times, these two names refer to the same game. However, when we look at the historical development of Blackjack, the long answer is slightly more intricate.

The name 21 refers to the card game system where reaching the value of 21 means victory. This system was originally present in the Spanish-origin game of Vingt-Un, which was the game Blackjack developed from. Therefore, as the original Twenty-one game spread from France in the 18th century to Germany, Britain and eventually America, it developed many variations. This game system is now present all over the world and one of the most popular variations today is Blackjack.

Though all of these games share a similar rule set and goal, each is slightly different from one another. These differences are all based on the respective regions where the original Twenty-one game was developed in. This article presents each one in more detail below. Which one is your favorite?

Pontoon

This is our first card game that has the 21 system but is not Blackjack technically. It originated from the same game as Blackjack, which is called Twenty-One or Vingt-Un depending on the time and region. Those two older games have a ruleset that is similar to modern Blackjack, but Pontoon is slightly different.

Pontoon is a British domesticated version of Vingt-Un for three to ten players, with one being the banker. The main differences are that the player’s cards are all hidden and getting new cards is not free. Once the cards are dealt by the banker, the banker can look at his card and double the stake if his hand is favorable. Then, each player has the option of either buying a new card or twisting them. Buying a card costs a certain amount up to the players original wager, and the card is passed faced down. On the other hand, twisting the card is similar but the card is free and passed to the player face up. Once all players are happy with their cards the game proceeds similar to modern Blackjack rules checking who is the closest to 21.

Spanish 21

Developed from the original version of the game, Spanish 21 is another similar system with its intricacies. A lot of the rules are similar to traditional Blackjack but with several differences. The first one is that you can re-double cards, meaning you can double down twice on the same hand. This is a great advantage for the players and goes hand in hand with the second difference. You automatically win if you reach 21 and there is no risk of “pushing” as in regular Blackjack.

The final major difference is that there are no 10-value cards. This means the players are left with single-digit cards and face cards to reach 21.

Free Bet Blackjack

This variation is a bit more modern. The variations in this Blackjack alternative are as the title suggests, free bets. Usually in Blackjack when you double down or split, you have to place an additional wager to continue. In Free Bet Blackjack the dealer will allow these actions for free. If the player wins, the original wager as well as the free ones will be paid in full.

The security here is that if the player’s hand is defeated, the play only loses the original bet. This system is accompanied by the additional rule that if the dealer goes over 21 with a sum of 22, all bets are pushed.

Superfun 21

Finally, we have one of the most modern versions of Blackjack. Superfun 21 is played strictly with a 52-card deck. The main differences are that you can surrender on any number of cards you have.

Additionally, you can double on any number of cards and you can automatically get paid on 6 card 20s or 5 card 21s. A player’s Blackjack is always a victory in this alternative. To balance this, unless you have a diamond-suited Blackjack, you only receive even money for regular Blackjacks.

Closing Remarks

The original version of Blackjack called Vingt-Un originated somewhere in the 17th century. Since then, several variations of the base game were developed based on the region and the people. Though they have their differences and variations, they are essentially based on the same Blackjack ruleset. For casino enthusiasts and history lovers alike, it can be really fun trying out different versions of Blackjack and seeing which one is your favorite.



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