As one of the oldest suppliers of online casino software, Microgaming has collected over the years an impressive gaming portfolio, including more than 40 variations of blackjack. The abundance and richness of games in combination with the reliable, user-friendly platform of Microgaming has made it a true household name in the world of online gambling.
It all started back in 1994 when the Isle of Man based company launched its first web-based casino and by all accounts, the first ever online casino. Since then, more than 70 gaming websites have partnered with Microgaming to offer their customers the largest collection of casino games on the Internet. In fact, this company has more titles in its gaming portfolio, a little over 550, than any other software developer. More importantly for blackjack fans, Microgaming’s massive blackjack selection includes 42 titles and some of the most interesting variations of the classic game.
As a true pioneer in the gaming industry, Microgaming is well-known for its excellent software that powers a colossal number of online casinos today. Initially, the platform was available only in a downloadable format, which players had to install on their personal computers. This option allows patrons to access their favourite casino directly from the desktop of their computer and enjoy smooth, glitch-free gameplay. Available for free, Microgaming’s Casino Client also comes with the complete gaming collection and all casino features such as banking, customer support and promotions.
However, this downloadable software can be installed on Windows PCs only, so there is a second option for Mac users – Microgaming Flash Casino, which can be opened in-browser on any operating system. It is even easier to access the Flash version of Microgaming-powered casinos, but players should bear in mind that not all the games would be available. All the latest releases, however, load instantly in the web browser, boasting stunning graphics and beautiful animations.
In addition, the provider also has a great solution for mobile users as its Flash casino opens on smartphones and tablets, too. There are also many mobile casino applications powered by Microgaming – to play casino games from your iOS or Android device, can simply download and install them for free.
Popular Blackjack Games by Microgaming
As mentioned above, Microgaming has a diverse collection of blackjack variations that should satisfy most type of players. Some of them are played with a single deck of cards, but most of them use multiple standard, 52-card decks. Below, we provide short discriptions of the most popular blackjack games by Microgaming and one of their best aspects is the published RTP percentage. In fact, Microgaming is one of the very few casino software studios that publish this tiny, but incredibly important piece of information, RTP, or Return-to-Player. It is also an alternative way to show the house edge in each game.
Single-Deck Classic Blackjack
This is one of the best blackjack variations offered by Microgaming but it is a bit harder to find, as it is available only in the downloadable software. Players who install it on their computers can enjoy quite a standard blackjack game which is played with only a single deck of cards and has an incredibly low house edge of just 0.13%. This is an European-style of blackjack game, which means that the dealer’s second card is not revealed until all players finalize their actions.
In addition, the dealer stands on soft 17 and surrender is not available. Players are allowed to draw to split Aces but splitting of any pairs is available only once. Doubling after splitting is not allowed. The game is available both in the standard and the Gold Series, with little differences in the betting limits.
There is another game by Microgaming under the same name, but it can be played in-browser and uses 5 decks of cards. Once again, this is European blackjack and the dealer cannot peek, but stands on soft 17. Players can split hands valued 9 to 11 just once and there is no surrender. The house edge here is 0.40% if the player executes a perfect strategy.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
The American-style, 4-deck Vegas Strip Blackjack by Microgaming is one of the best variations you can play online. It is based on the classic table game of the same name which can be found across brick-and-mortar casinos. The dealer peeks for blackjack and stands on soft 17, while players can double down on any two cards, including after splitting. They can split pairs up to 3 times to form four hands, except for Aces – they may be split just once and players cannot draw cards to split Aces. Surrender is no allowed.
The RTP rate in this game is 99.65%, which means that the house edge is only 0.35%. For those who look for even lower house advantage, Microgaming offers a blackjack variation, which is seems similar. It is called Vegas Single Deck and, as indicated by the title, it is played with just one deck of cards. There are several differences in the rules – the dealer hits on soft 17, and doubling down is allowed only on hands valued 9,10 or 11, but never after splitting. Also, players can split their hand just once and there is no surrender option. If played perfectly, the house edge in this game is just 0.31%.
Atlantic City Blackjack
Players who have tried many of Microgaming’s releases would probably know that there is one game that is almost identical to Vegas Strip Blackjack. This is yet another classic – Atlantic City Blackjack, which can be played in the downloadable Casino Client and in-browser. There are only two little differences between the Vegas Strip and Atlantic City variations, namely the decks of cards used and the surrender rule.
This version of the game is played with 8 standard decks of cards and the rare option to surrender is available. Even late surrender is allowed, which as a player-advantage rule, it compensates for the large number of decks and helps reduce the house edge to 0.35%. In addition, players are offered to play with up to five hands at a time.
This version of the game is preferred by many players because it comes with one really favourable rule – the dealer’s both hands are dealt face-up, hence the name Double Exposure. Along with the obvious advantage of this rule, there is another little detail that favours players and this is the fact that a player blackjack is always a winner. In addition, the dealer hits on soft 17.
Other rules players should be aware of are that the game is played with 8 decks and doubling down is allowed only 9, 10, and 11. Re-splitting is allowed up to three times and players can double their bet on a split hand, as well. However, you cannot draw cards to split Aces, which is a standard rule for almost all blackjack games. The house edge is very low at 0.32%.
Double Exposure can be found in Micrograming’s standard format, but it is also included in the Gold Series where players can also opt for a multi-hand version, along with the classic, single-hand game. In the multi-hand blackjack variation, you can play with up to 5 hands.
Spanish 21 is a very popular game based on blackjack but Microgaming has decided to call it Spanish Blackjack. However, most players probably know well that it is so different from the classic game of 21, that we can hardly consider it blackjack. Still, it can be found in the blackjack collection of Microgaming.
The first significant difference with all standard blackjack games is that this version uses 8 Spanish decks, which means that the four 10 cards are removed. Instead of a deck consisting of 52 cards, the Spanish deck has only 48 cards. This dramatically changes the inner patterns and the mathematics of the game, so players need to adjust their strategy to these altered conditions. Microgaming’s version also requires the dealer to hit a soft 17. Surrender is allowed before you receive a third card and you can double on any hand and after splitting. Unlike in most blackjack games, re-splitting of Aces is also allowed.
Interestingly, when the player has a 21-value hand, whether that is blackjack or not, he or she wins, irrelevant of dealer’s cards. You can also surrender after doubling down and you will be given back your original bet. The most interesting thing about this game, however, is its paytable – the payouts are completely different from classic blackjack and there are bonus payouts for certain hands. For instance, you receive 3:2 payout when you have a 5-card 21 or a 7-card (or more) 21.
If you have a 6-card 21, you win 2:1. The hands 6-7-8 and 7-7-7 of mixed suits pay 3:2, but if the cards are of the same suit, the payout is 2:1. If they are spades, you are paid 3:1. An even better prize awaits players who get suited 777, while the dealer’s exposed card is a 7. In this case, the payout is 50:1. When it comes to the house edge, it is 0.42%, but only is the game is played with no mistakes and an optimal strategy.
Hi-Lo 13 European Blackjack
There are several European-style blackjack variations by Microgaming, including the quite standard European Blackjack which comes is a single and multi-hand format. There are also two types of European Gold games, as well as almost identical to them, the Hi-Lo 13 European Blackjack. It is played the same way and it follows the same rules but features 3 side bets. So, let us take a look at the basic rules all this games share among them.
They are all played with 2 standard decks of cards and the dealer stands on soft 17. You can double down on hands valued from 9 to 11 and you cannot double the bet after splitting. Only one split is allowed, but you can draw cards to split Aces. There is no option to surrender. Of course, you cannot re-split Aces, while the dealer cannot peek as in all European blackjack games. Players can see the dealer’s second card only after they have ended their moves.
The more interesting part in Microgaming’s Hi-Lo 13 European Blackjack is that you can place side bets. They are straightforward and easy-to-understand – you are betting on whether your initial hand would be lower than 13, higher than 13 or exactly 13. And this is where the title of the game comes from. It should be noted, however, that for the Hi-Lo count, Aces are always worth 1. You can place a chip on one, two or all three side bets, and if you guess correctly that your initial hand is below or above 13, you receive a payout of 1:1. But if you wager on the third option, that your hand would be exactly 13, and you win, the payout is 10:1. The house edge in this game is 0.40%, but it may increase depending on the side bets you place.
All Microgaming Blackjack Games
Blackjack Games at Microgaming-Powered Casinos
Although Microgaming has created more than 500 casino games, it is blackjack where it has specialized in. It offers one of the most extensive collections of online blackjack and even variants of the game with progressive jackpots. The combination of modern blackjack and progressive jackpot gives players the opportunity to win big even if with relatively small bets.
Indeed, most of the games come with extremely flexible betting limits, which make them perfect for both casual players and high-rollers who prefer high-stakes games. There are both low and high-limit tables where bets start from £1 and may reach £2,000. When it comes to blackjack variations, Microgaming offers a wide range of classic and modern, one-of-a-kind versions which use anywhere from one to eight decks. With standard, regional and really unique games, Microgaming’s blackjack selection has something for everyone, regardless of their skill or experience.
Due to the wide variety of games, the rules are not universal and each release is a little bit different than the others, but in general, most Microgaming blackjack versions share the following rules – blackjack pays 3:2, no surrender is allowed, and Aces cannot be re-split. Of course, there are several exceptions and there are both American and European-style versions. In most of the variations, the dealer stands on soft 17, except in a handful of games where the dealer must hit.
In all American blackjack versions, the player is allowed to double down on any initial hand, while in European variations, doubling is allowed only when the two cards total 9, 10 or 11. In almost all games, insurance is given as an option if the dealer has an Ace.
Microgaming’s blackjack games are divided into two series – standard and gold. Although the standard games are considered to be some of the best blackjack variations on the Internet, the Gold Series titles are truly exceptional. With their improved graphics and animations, they push the boundaries of the user experience but they also come with higher minimum betting limits. These games also offer enhanced performance, faster gameplay and a realistic play angle which creates a more authentic atmosphere.
The software provider’s gaming portfolio also includes a full range of live dealer blackjack games, available to anyone who prefers to play against a croupier who is an actual person. This option allows players to experience the true casino action and adrenaline. Once again, the gameplay is fast-paced although players have a 15-second period in which they can place their bets. There are plenty of advanced features such as AutoBet and PlayCheck and the cards are dealt from an eight-deck shoe.
Another very important gaming category today is mobile games which allow players to access their favourite slots, table or card games on the move. As with most leading casino software providers, Microgaming has a nice selection of mobile-compatible titles, including several top-quality blackjack variations. They can be opened on devices using the most common operating systems today, namely iOS, Android, Windows and even Blackberry.
Interestingly, most of the mobile blackjack variations can be downloaded as standalone apps, but for those who do not have this option, there is a great alternative. The games also come in an HTML5 format, which allows players to load them directly in the web browser on their device.