In this series of articles we will look at the many games of blackjack that are available, from the biggest casino software, to smaller, one-off games. This is as comprehensive of a review of online blackjack as you are going to find, and as all “Online Blackjack Reviews” articles will be published here, be sure to drop in from time to time to discover our latest opinions on the best software out there.
In this particular article we will focus on Microgaming, the oldest and often considered to be the best casino software on the market. Microgaming is often valued because of its variety of slot machines and the fact that this is one of the best places to play progressive slots. However, as we shall discover, Microgaming also does a pretty good job as far as blackjack is concerned.
Microgaming Blackjack Variants
There are many forms of blackjack on Microgaming, as you would expect from such an established brand. We have listed these below, along with a rundown of the standout features, odds and our opinion of them.
Classic Blackjack: We have said it before and we will say it again, when it comes to blackjack variants, you can’t beat a good game of Classic Blackjack. These rules have a very low house edge, which means you have a good chance of winning big and often, certainly more so than many other Microgaming variants.
European Blackjack: Typically, the European rules of blackjack are tweaked more in favor of the house, with a higher house edge. There are not too many big rule changes on the Microgaming version, but the payout percentage is lower here than on many other Microgaming blackjack variants.
European Blackjack Re-deal: This is a fun little variant and one that always manages to entice us, whilst also always taking our money. This uses European rules, but with one major difference, which is that you will be offered the chance to re-deal cards in your hand and in the dealer’s hand. You have to pay for this and you pay more if you are making a move that is highly favorable to you. Re-deal Blackjack requires some new tactics, ones not typically used in blackjack, and whilst the house edge is low and you can win big here, you can also lose a lot of money very quickly. Be cautious of this variant, but by all means try it out, at least for a few hands.
Vegas Single Deck: Using the Classic Blackjack rules, Vegas Single Deck Blackjack has a slightly lower house edge thanks to the fact that it only uses a single deck of cards. This is not as impressive as it would be in offline blackjack, purely because it is impossible to count cards in online blackjack (the cards are returned to the deck and they are shuffled after every deal).
Bonus Blackjack: Whilst it sounds enticing and it promises some big wins, the house edge of Bonus Blackjack is one of the lowest on Microgaming, albeit only slightly.
Spanish Blackjack: This is a form of Spanish 21 and one that uses 8 decks. Surrender is allowed and you can earn extra cash with 5 card hands and 7 card hands. The house edge is a mere 0.42%, which makes it one of the best variants of Spanish 21 we have ever played and one we would definitely recommend.
Double Exposure: Very much saving the best for last, Double Exposure is our favorite blackjack variant on the Microgaming software and one we would recommend to all blackjack players across all levels of ability. The main difference here is that all cards are visible at all times, including those held by the dealer. There are 8 decks, but there are some other tweaks that fall in favor of the player and the house edge on this game is just 0.32%.
The Best Microgaming Blackjack Variant
This is an easy one for us, as you will struggle to find a better online game of blackjack than the one offered by the Double Exposure variant. We only scratched the surface of what this game offers above, but if you play this for yourself you will begin to understand where we are coming from. Blackjack is all about playing the dealer and as many professionals will tell you, you often need to pay more attention to the dealer’s hand than you do to your own. Typically, you can only see one of the dealer’s cards and Basic Blackjack Strategy is essentially based around what that other card might be, but with Double Exposure Blackjack, you can see what that other card is right away.
That’s not to say that all other blackjack variants on Microgaming are worthless, as there are many great variants here. If you want the simplistic approach then try Classic Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack or even Strip and Downtown Blackjack, which we didn’t cover above but can be found on Microgaming. These are all basically the same, with some very minor and often unnoticeable tweaks. We wouldn’t recommended the Spanish 21 variant, but if you like this game then you’ll struggle to find a more generous version of it. We’re not big fans of the European Blackjack variant either, but would recommend you try the Re-deal version.
Where to Play Microgaming Blackjack
So, now you know what to expect from the Microgaming software, which online casinos license this software? Well, one of the best out there is Spin Palace. As well as using Microgaming, Spin Palace also has the best loyalty club you will find, which means that professional blackjack players can get a little extra, earning everything from cash to VIP tickets and luxury goods for extended play.
Royal Vegas Casino and other Digimedia sites, including Euro Palace and Platinum Play, also use Microgaming, and it can also be found on some of the biggest gambling brands in the world, including Bet Victor, 32 Red and Mr Green, to name just a few.