In the “Online Blackjack Reviews” series of articles we are taking a look at the many different sites and software offering blackjack. In this article we will focus our attentions on Playtech, which is one of the biggest casino softwares out there and is often thought to be the best. This award-winning developer creates the best offline and online software, with everything from social gaming and slot machines, to binary options and sports books. If you want to create your own online casino but would prefer to license some multi-functional software, then Playtech could be just what you need. And, as we shall discover, if you’re looking for a solid game of blackjack across many variants, then Playtech can help you there as well.
Playtech Blackjack Variants
Blackjack: Carrying the name “Blackjack”, this variant is basically Classic Blackjack, offering a good house edge and following some basic rules. There are splits and doubles available and you can also double after a split. The only flaw with this game is that 6 decks are used, whereas fewer decks are more common in other Classic Blackjack games.
Blackjack Pro: If the number of decks is important to you, then this is probably a better option than the game listed above. Blackjack Pro uses a single deck, with other rules closely matching those of the standard Blackjack game. Of course, the number of decks is not as important online as it is offline, as the cards are automatically shuffled after each hand and card counting is not possible.
Pontoon: Although we generally recommend against playing variants of Pontoon, namely because the house edge tends to be a lot lower than other variants, this one is quite impressive. The house edge is 99.68%. Pontoon also pays the highest for a blackjack of any of the variants on this software.
Progressive Blackjack: If you like blackjack and want to play your favorite card game with the added fun of a slot machine, then this could be perfect for you. Progressive Blackjack is a variant of blackjack that also comes with a progressive jackpot, which means that if you’re good enough and you’re lucky enough, then as well as the regular wins and blackjacks, you’ll also scoop a big prize. As for the rules of Progressive Blackjack, the dealer stands on Soft 17, you can double and you can split (albeit only once). You can not re-split aces though and there is also no surrender option available on Progressive Blackjack. We’d argue that those minor exclusions are worth it though for the addition of such a big jackpot.
Blackjack Surrender: Any blackjack professional will tell you that many of the extras in blackjack are useless. Insurance is a great example as no professionals take it and Basic Blackjack Strategy advises against it. Doubles and splits are also supposed to be used very sparingly. However, one of the extras that professional players do like to use, is the surrender option, and this is the main focus of Blackjack Surrender. This allows you to settle early in a hand you know that you’re going to lose, which in turn means you can increase your overall earnings by edging that payout percentage in your favor.
Lucky Blackjack: This is an aptly named variant of blackjack, because you will need a huge dose of luck to overcome the meagre 80% payout percentage. This is ridiculously low, especially when you consider that all other blackjack variants on Playtech are over 97%. There is only one deck used and Lucky Blackjack pays as much for a blackjack as many other games on Playtech, but the house edge tells you all you need to know. Avoid this game if you value your cash.
Blackjack Switch: This is a must-play for all blackjack fans. Blackjack Switch is so-called because you play two hands at once and can switch the cards around in those two hands, which obviously greatly benefits the player.
The Best Playtech Blackjack Games
We recently professed our adoration of the Double Exposure variant of blackjack, which is available on the Microgaming software. This is a game that uses fairly standard rules, but with one major tweak that suits players and also makes the game significantly more enjoyable. Well, although Double Exposure Blackjack is not available on Playtech, a game that ticks all of those boxes is, and that game is Blackjack Switch.
We actually prefer this blackjack variant more than Double Exposure Blackjack, making it our favorite online blackjack game. We’re not the only ones who feel that way either as Blackjack Switch consistently makes it to the top of “Best Blackjack Variant” lists, so much so that it has also been adopted by offline casinos and can be played in the biggest casinos around the world. We mentioned the rules above, and the fact that Blackjack Switch basically allows you to play two hands at once and to switch cards. What we didn’t mention, however, is that this game carries the lowest house edge of any blackjack variant, offering a return of 99.86%. This means that if you were to spend $100 on average, you should get back around $99.86. This is astonishing and you won’t find better return odds on any game in any casino.
Blackjack Switch should definitely be your main choice when looking for blackjack games on Playtech, but there are some other great games here as well. Another favorite of ours is Progressive Blackjack. This carries a progressive jackpot, as its name suggests and as we detailed above, but whilst this usually lowers the payout percentage, that is not the case here and the return for Progressive Blackjack is an impressive 99.57%.
Where to Play Playtech Blackjack
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, Playtech is popular not just with players, but also with casinos and other gambling sites, because its software covers most areas. Basically, if you want to create your own gambling site then you will find everything you need on Playtech, which is why it is currently used by many big gambling brands, from sports books to online casinos and a great deal more.
BetFred, Coral, Ladbrokes, Boyle and Sky Casino all use Playtech, as do BetFair, William Hill and Supercasino. Choose carefully, because not all of these are the same, even though they use the same software. The progressive jackpot on offer, for instance, can differ greatly from one casino to the next, and of the list above, the highest progressives tend to be found on BetFair, perhaps because it has the most members and therefore the most players adding money to the pot.