Blackjack is without a doubt the most popular casino card game, period. With the rise of online casino gaming, online blackjack has made the game bigger than ever before.
If you are new to blackjack, you will be happy to know it’s a remarkably simple and easy game. It is that very simplicity, coupled with the fact that you can win blackjack by applying skill, rather than just by relying on blind luck, that make blackjack so popular.
In this guide to online blackjack, we will show you everything you need to know. From how to play to where to play, on a detour through the various blackjack tips out there, and much more in between.
Every section of this page has been written as self-contained. Feel free to skip forward to the best section for you.
The Best Blackjack Casinos for 2017
Now that you are ready to play blackjack, we have compiled a list of the best casinos offering online blackjack.
These casinos offer multiple blackjack variants, some great bonuses, and in most cases the chance to play blackjack with live dealers.
Our experts have also fully vetted every site on the list. They all pass our criteria and you can trust them. We would never risk our credibility by vouching for a casino anything less than world-class.
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Online Blackjack Rules
Whether you walk into a casino in Vegas or Macau, there will be a basic set of rules which identify the game as blackjack.
Likewise, whatever blackjack variant you are playing, which can change the rules slightly, the objectives remain the same.
In this section, we will focus on the most common kind of blackjack – classic blackjack, sometimes known as 21.
1 – When you first enter the blackjack casino, you will be dealt two cards face down. If there are other players at the table, such as in live dealer blackjack games, they will also be dealt two cards. You can basically ignore them, because you are always playing against the dealer.
2 – Once you have received these two cards, you will have to weigh up the probability of beating the dealer. You win blackjack by having a hand which equals 21, or as close to it as possible without going over it. In cases where neither you or the dealer has 21, whoever has the highest value hand closest to 21 wins. For example, an 18 beats a 17.
3 – You will only be able to see one of the dealer’s cards. One will remain facing down, so you will have to assess your chances of beating him based on this. You will have the option of taking another card, or playing the hand you have. If you do decide to take another hand, this is called ‘hitting’, whereas playing with the cards you have is called ‘standing’.
You can hit as many times as you please, but always be aware of exceeding 21. This is called ‘going bust’, and you lose automatically when this happens.
4 – Once you are ready to play your hand, you can decide to stand. The dealer will turn over his other card, and the winner will be revealed!
That’s all there is to it. There are a couple of other small things like the ability to take insurance or surrender your hand, but we don’t need to cover those here. What we can tell you is that most blackjack experts agree that you should do neither of those things.
Blackjack Cards & Their Values
If you are totally new to the game of online blackjack, you might be thinking – so how do I make 21?
Again, this is remarkably simple. Just remember the following:
- Number cards are worth their numerical value. So a 9 of Spades is worth 9, and a 7 of Clubs is worth 7.
- Face cards are worth 10. So a Jack is worth 10, and so is a King.
- Aces can be worth 1 or 11, depending on how you want to play them. In digital blackjack games Aces will usually automatically be played in the way that is most advantageous to you.
That’s all you need to remember. Here are some examples of hand values just to clarify everything even further:
An Ace and an 8 is worth a total of 19.
A King and a 7 is worth a total of 17.
A King, an 8, and a 3 is worth 21.
A Queen, a Jack, and a 2 is worth 22. In this case you go bust.
Oh, one more thing. While there are multiple ways to make 21, there is something known as a ‘natural’ 21. This is an Ace and a 10 or face card. If you go up against a dealer who has a three card combination making 21, and you have a natural 21, you will win.
Tips & Tricks – How to Win
We mentioned at the beginning that blackjack is a game of skill. Due to that, there are professional blackjack players who make a living playing blackjack. This is because blackjack is a game of probability, and once you know how to play you can just keep getting better.
Rather than one grand, unifying blackjack theory, there are many. Here are some of the most popular blackjack strategies and tips.
Theory 1: Thou Shalt Do as the Dealer Does
When you play online blackjack, the dealer can be either a real person or a computer program. Either way, blackjack rules determine what the dealer will do when he or she gets those first two cards.
The dealer will always request another card when their hand value is 16 or under. They will always stand when their hand value is 17 or more.
Many players believe, and have had some success, using this same strategy.
This isn’t a perfect strategy, and it does give the house a fair edge in the long run. You might have some success with it, but don’t expect to bring down the house like Kevin Spacey & Co in 21.
Theory 2: Follow Perfect Blackjack Strategy
Perfect blackjack strategy is the real deal. However, despite its name, it is not perfect.
To outline perfect blackjack strategy here would take volumes of pages. Luckily, you don’t need us to do that. You can download a blackjack strategy chart and keep it handy. This will instruct you what to do in basically every situation.
This blackjack strategy is based on pure probability. If you have the patience to sit and learn it, and the discipline to follow it, you will have the best odds possible.
There are also some computer programs which can help you learn perfect blackjack strategy. You key in the cards you have and the cards the dealer has, and the program will tell you what to do.
This might take some of the fun out of playing blackjack, but if you want to make money consistently, it might be worth looking into.
Perfect blackjack strategy is the real McCoy. If you want to become a blackjack expert, learn it.
Theory 3: Capitalize on Lady Luck While She Visits
Some blackjack players also prefer to abandon all of the math and simply cash in on winning streaks.
Any veteran gambler will tell you they exist, and some believe in them more than the math of the game itself.
The idea is when winning streaks come, you up your bets and take full advantage. When the streak ends, you scale back and wait for the next run.
This is an extremely risky way to play. We don’t recommend it. Despite that, it seems casino gamers would rather prostrate themselves before the gods of luck than learn tedious theory, because a LOT of blackjack players do this to this day.
We highly recommend taking advantage of blackjack bonuses. They are available, so why risk your own money up front when you can use the casino’s own cash to get a feel for the game?
Here are the different types of blackjack bonus:
No Deposit Bonus
These allow you to play with 100% pure casino cash. You won’t have to deposit a single penny of your own cash. This is a great way to play real money blackjack for free.
Casino Welcome Bonus
For these, you will have to make a deposit using your own money. Usually, the casino will give you 100% on top. This means you can play blackjack for half the price it would normally cost. Take full advantage.
You might have encountered live dealer blackjack before. You will usually find cashback bonuses in the live casinos. These give you a certain percentage of your lost bets back. If you do lose to the dealer playing online blackjack, you will have the chance to redeem some of that cash.
If you have never tried live blackjack, you will want to gibe it a go. It’s the best way to play online blackjack by far.