What is the ‘European no-Hole-Card Rule’?
In a game of blackjack, the dealer typically will not look at his hole card until the players have completed their round. However, the European no-Hole-Card Rule dictates that the dealer takes his hole card immediately after all the players at the table hold their hands.
‘European no-Hole-Card Rule’ Explained
The European no-Hole-Card Rule is a variant of regular blackjack. Under this rule, the dealer may take his hole card when all players in the round have their completed hands. Usually, however, the dealer would only look at their hole card at the end of the round, right before it is their turn to act.
Some countries – European ones, as the name of the rule suggests – will have the blackjack players lose the full amount of their doubling and splitting if the dealer happens to get a blackjack (that is, when their initial starting hand of two cards gives them a score of 21, which is the objective of the game).
Because of the European no-Hole-Card Rule, the player’s odds and according strategies may change significantly.
As aforementioned, the player of the game obeying the European no-Hole-Card Rule will lose their accumulated splitting and doubling amount if the dealer is lucky enough to get a blackjack. For this reason, playing under the European no-Hole-Card Rule raises the house edge by around 0.11%.
The player is also very likely to have to amend their playing strategy. For example, a change should occur when: the dealer has a 10 or an ace; hitting an 11-point card against a card worth 10 points; hitting two aces against one ace; or hitting two eights against a 10-point card and an ace. These strategy amendments would stand assuming “surrender” is unavailable.
While offering a potentially more exciting game, the European no-Hole-Card Rule does offer a slight advantage to the dealer and the casino.