What’s The Difference Between Blackjack and 21?

Players often ask if there are differences between blackjack and 21, as they both have the same set of basic gaming rules. Some casino patrons typically think of these games as one as players need to reach a total of 21 to win in both games. Sometimes, players even interchange the names of these two highly popular casino games.

The main difference between blackjack and 21 is that in 21, there are no cards with a value of 10. Therefore, this game will have 48 cards during gameplay. Players can find other differences in their origin, number of cards, scoring, winning criteria, and other subtle rules. The section below will provide more details about these differences between blackjack and 21.

Blackjack vs 21 - Differences
Blackjack vs 21 – Differences


One difference between 21 and blackjack is their origin. The 21 game is the original ancestor of blackjack and is also known as Vingt-Et-Un. It is believed to have originated in France and Spain in about 1768. However, there were also instances in the 1770s and 1780s when players tried their hand at this game in the U.K. It was only around 1825 when the original rules of the game were made official through printing. The Spanish version of the game and its Vingt-Un counterpart in France then got combined to evolve into the American format of the game. This new variant was named blackjack in 1899.

Card deck

Another difference involves the card deck. Customers who play 21 will use the Spanish deck. The Spanish deck has 48 cards that follow a different layout on the blackjack table. The reduced card quantity accounts for the removal of the number 10 from the deck. Nevertheless, all the cards will have the same value as the ones from the blackjack pile.

Increased winning chances

Customers prefer the 21 version to blackjack as it allows its players to have more chances of winning. Compared to blackjack, 21 allows doubling after splitting. Players can also do double redemption and opt to throw in the towel after doubling, which can result in losing only the original wager.

More interesting game flows

The 21 format allows for more exciting in-game flows. The variations in the mechanics of this game offer more action for the players. As an example, the game offers “match a dealer,”. This is an optional side bet that customers will not be able to find in blackjack. Players find excitement when playing this bet as it involves the comparison of player cards and the up card of the dealers.

Better benefits

Unlike blackjack where it is a push whenever you tie with the dealer, 21 enables players to win automatically upon getting 21, regardless.

Another beneficial feature of 21 is the option to double down regardless of the number of cards placed on the table. In blackjack, players can only do this after their first two cards. This is highly advantageous for players, especially if the dealer has a weak hand.

Larger payouts

The 21 game lets players gain bigger payouts. With blackjack, customers can only win a 1:1 payout unless they get 21 organically with two cards. However, the case is different from the 21 game. It allows players to have more chances to win bigger payouts once certain events happen. For instance, punters can get a 3:2 payout ratio if they can get 21 with a 5-card hand. They can also enjoy a 2:1 payout with a 6-card hand making 21. Getting 21 with 6, 7, 8, or 7, 7, 7 can also provide customers with a 3:2 payout ratio.

House Edge

Blackjack and 21 also differ in terms of the house edge. With blackjack, players can see a range of house edge rates that peaks at 4.5%. Players who apply proven strategic moves can allow them to pull the house edge down to 0.5%, one of the lowest among all the titles in casino game catalogs. This translates to players losing only 50 cents with a $100 bet. For 21, the house edge is even lower at 0.4% if the players have a good handle on the tactics of the game.


While blackjack and 21 may be similar in certain aspects, such as basic game rulings, there are also several differences. Some of the differences between these two popular casino game variants include their origins, payout ratios, bet types, and benefits. However, based on comparisons done on both games, players can gain more value by opting for 21 instead of blackjack when playing in casinos.