A Guide to Online Blackjack
Blackjack is a fundamental casino game. We’ve all seen it in movies and books countless times, and no real casino would be complete without it. It’s a simple, fun and incredibly fast-paced game, which makes it more accessible than some of its equally-important classics. Even if you have never visited a casino before, you can get to grips with blackjack in a matter of minutes
Practically every online casino will feature some form of blackjack, as well as numerous variations, allowing you to play with subtle twists and changes. You can play for fun, or on online blackjack real money games on your computer, smartphone, or tablet wherever are. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the rules, and give you a few strategies to try too, then you can find one of the best online blackjack real money casinos on our toplist.
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How is Online Blackjack Different to Traditional Blackjack?
The biggest, most obvious difference between online and offline blackjack is convenience. In the days before virtual games, if you wanted to play a hand or two of blackjack, you had to actually visit a casino. With online blackjack, though, it’s all so much simpler. You can play your favourite game from anywhere (provided you have an internet connection). All you need is your mobile or computer, and the game itself.
Another difference is the intimidation factor. Playing at a table in a brick-and-mortar casino can be pretty daunting, especially for newcomers. You may find yourself surrounded by experienced players who win big time and time again. While it’s unlikely they would try to make you feel uncomfortable intentionally, your lack of familiarity may leave you too self-conscious to enjoy the game. When you play at an online casino, blackjack is far less intimidating. Even in live blackjack games, you know there’s no reason to feel daunted by other players’ eyes on your cards, or a judgmental croupier waiting for you to stay or hit.
Online blackjack can also be faster than in the real world, as you don’t need to wait for the dealer to shuffle or deal the cards. You also don’t need to wait for fellow players to make their choice. It’s fast, simple, and hassle-free. This may not be the case when choosing live online blackjack, though, as this is a real-time format providing a more authentic casino experience (which is the main attraction!).
Online blackjack games run on random number generators (RNGs) like many others, which helps to keep the system fair and reliable; any online blackjack games at licensed, regulated casinos can be trusted. This randomization element ensures that your chances of winning remain the same and that a casino is incapable of cheating you out of your money, as long as that casino has a license.
Top Online Blackjack Casino Game Providers
Some of the biggest software developers in the online-gaming industry offer blackjack games of the highest quality. Microgaming, for example, is one of the top brands, with over 20 years in the business to their name. They have released a number of different online blackjack games down the years, including Perfect Pairs, European Blackjack, and Double Exposure Blackjack.
Another massive software brand is Playtech, known by blackjack fans for their innovative Blackjack Switch. This game allows you to swap the cards in your virtual hands, giving you a bit more control over the game’s progress. NetEnt is one of the world’s largest, most prolific software developers, known for a huge selection of video slots. They also created a range of classic and live blackjack games, used at countless online casinos – you’ll see their name countless times when browsing some of the best casinos’ games catalogues.
Any of these developers – as well as the likes of Evolution Gaming, BetSoft, NextGen Gaming, and more – produce terrific blackjack games well worth your time. Many of these will offer free blackjack no download required too, so you can practice blackjack for free and get an idea of how to win at blackjack before you invest any of your own money.
How Do You Play Online Blackjack?
Even if you’re a complete novice, blackjack takes next to no time to master. The rules are blissfully simple and straightforward. The most key thing to remember is that the goal is to get to 21, or a close to it as possible, without going over it.
Understanding the cards, therefore, is pretty crucial, but also straightforward. Cards with values between 2 and 10 are worth as much, while any face cards (king, queen etc.) are worth 10. However, an ace card can be worth either 1 or 11, depending on how this will affect your hand. Any hand with an ace valued at 11 is referred to as a ‘soft’ hand, while a hand featuring an ace valued at 1 will be known as ‘hard‘.
Each game starts with you deciding on a stake. You’ll be able to make different minimums/maximums at casinos, depending on which venue you register with. To start with, you should keep your bets small, to avoid getting in over your head. You’ll be able to up the stakes later on, as you become more and more familiar with the process of play. The dealer will present you with two cards, both face up. He or she will then give themselves one card, again face up (though they may get more, depending on the variation you’re playing).
If your own cards equal 21, you’re the winner! You’ll have a blackjack … unless, of course, the dealer has the same score. In which case, this hand is classed as a tie. Depending on what game or casino you are playing at, the winner in this situation can vary, but usually, it will just result in you getting your money back. If you, and you alone, hold a blackjack, you’ll be paid out at a rate of 3 to 2, whereas other winning hands (those that don’t add up to 21 exactly) will pay out at a rate of 1 to 1 instead.
If your two cards don’t equal 21, then you must play on and you’ll be prompted to make one of the following decisions:
Hit: you’ll receive another card, in the hopes this will bring you closer to 21; you can keep hitting until you feel satisfied (or until you go over, which counts as a loss, or a “bust”).
Stand: You’ll be given no more cards, and the dealer has the chance to play their hand.
Split: If two cards share the same value, you can to split them into a pair of separate hands, if the game style and casino permit it. You’ll have to place a bet on each of your hands (equal to the original bet), though this essentially doubles your wager, so bear that in mind. You’ll be given a second card for each hand, and then be invited to proceed as normal with these (you may stand on one hand, hit on the other etc.).
Double Down: This will mean double your bet, take another card, and then stand. The double down blackjack option should be approached with caution and should be based reflectively of the stake and the value of your cards combined.
Surrender: If you choose to surrender, you’ll be “surrendering” half of your stake amount, instead of losing it all.
Insurance: This can be played if the dealer has an Ace face up while the other card is face down and will be a wager, half the value of your original bet. If the dealer has a natural blackjack, you will lose your wager bet, but win twice your insurance back and come out even.
When you stand, the dealer will then take his or her go. They will take a second card, but they can only take one of a few steps when playing their hand: they have to hit if their cards equal below 16; they must stand if they have 18 or over; for a hard 17, the dealer has to stand; for a soft 17, they can either hit or stand (depending on the variation of online blackjack and the casino you’re playing at).
There are multiple variations of blackjack, though most are played to the rules explored above. In some cases, you may play the game with just a single deck of cards, while others will let you play with two, four, or even eight different decks. The dealer’s behaviour may vary too, requiring them to either stand or hit on soft 17s. You may be unable to spit your hand in some, too. In Double Exposure, yours and the dealer’s cards will be dealt face up, while in Spanish blackjack, play proceeds without any cards carrying a value of 10. Some of these games may also come with an increase house edge, which should also be considered before play starts.
While these variations may sound confusing, the best online blackjack casinos will provide you with a comprehensive guide to each game’s rules. If available, be sure to read these over before you start playing, to ensure you feel ready to take the risk. Online blackjack games typically allow for ‘free play’ too: you can try them without having to actually pay any real money. This is a huge benefit, as it allows you to familiarize yourself with the rules, the pace, and the overall experience without risking any of your stake. Never go into a variation of online blackjack without knowing exactly how it works.
When playing online blackjack, knowing when to hit and when to stand is absolutely critical. Given that chance plays such a huge role in the game, formulating strategies to help you win isn’t easy – but here are some methods to get you started.
– 4s-8s – If you’re dealt anything between 4 and 8 in total, choose to hit regardless of the dealer’s card. However, if you’re dealt cards totalling 12 to 16, but the dealer’s card is a low number, stand instead.
– Double Down – If your game of online blackjack allows you to Double Down, do so when the dealer’s card shows between a 2 and a 6, as they have a higher chance of going bust. Winning isn’t guaranteed, of course, but even if you have to lose double the amount, you stand a good chance of winning twice as much. blackjack double down is a great way to get those funds up, but only when used with caution.
– Do Not Play Insurance – Most players who have played a long time, would not worry about insurance. While it can be beneficial high-stakes game to avoid losing big amounts, ultimately, from the moment you play it, you on the backfoot.
– Keep track of your stake amounts – One minor disadvantage of online blackjack’s fast pace is how quickly your money disappears, even when you’re sticking to low wagers. You can all-too-easily lose touch of your limits and end up agreeing to far more than you probably should. Set yourself a limit ahead of the game, and stop when you know you should. It sounds simpler than it actually is in the moment, but do your best to stick to it.
-Finding a Blackjack cheat sheet – This can really help you get started at blackjack for the first. It is merely a chart that illustrates the best move to play at any given time. Practising blackjack with these can help avoid making some rookie errors. They also come available for different variations too, so if you are looking to try a new blackjack style, they are a good way to get to grips with the gameplay. While it is considered bad form to use one in a real-world casino, online there is nothing stopping you.
–Do your research – There is a wealth of reviews out there, and following expert advice can mean all the difference between discovering a terrific range of online blackjack games with great payouts and not. These reviews can also guide you in finding as well as best blackjack, poker, roulette and other top table games you will love.
-Blackjack Apps- The best blackjack apps on the market are also a great way to start practising blackjack for free. They have all the fun of blackjack experiences, just you don’t need an internet connection or a casino account. Making them the ideal way to play blackjack for free before you are ready to get involved in blackjack for real money.