Online Blackjack Casinos
What You Need to Know
Online blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games that is offered. It gives players a much better house edge than many of the other casino games, which makes it a favorite among players. Blackjack online is a simple game to learn but has a lot of information. This online blackjack guide covers different aspects of the game. Learn how to play a round of blackjack online, with the rule variations players need to keep in mind. The main way to reduce the house edge is to learn the basic blackjack strategy and follow the optimum decisions.
Play blackjack at the best online casinos that are reputable and highly recommended. Take a look at the different blackjack game variations that offer players different ways of playing. As technology advances, so does the gambling experience. You can have a better experience by playing Live Dealer Blackjack or mobile blackjack from your smartphone or tablet. For those with more questions, check out the common answers in the FAQ section.
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How to Play Online Blackjack
Most people learn to play online blackjack, or 21 as many players call it, at a young age. It’s a great game to help young children learn how to quickly add numbers from 1 to 11. If you haven’t had the opportunity to play before or just need a quick refresher, here’s a step by step guide on how to play online blackjack.
Place Initial Bet
Each player places a bet on the table before the blackjack cards are dealt. This wager is usually placed in a small circle in front of the players chip stack, but at some online casinos you simply place your bet in front of you. Bets can be any amount that falls within the table betting limits.
Each table has a minimum and maximum bet size. For example, $5 to $500 or $20 to $1,000.
Two Cards Per Bet is Dealt
After all bets are made the dealer gives each player two cards and also deals themselves two cards. The dealer cards are dealt one face up and one face down. Player cards are both dealt face up, letting the player think about the best decision to make.
At this point, each player decides what they want to do with their hand. The options vary based on the casino blackjack rule variations, but in general, you can Stand, Hit, Split, Double, or Surrender.
- Stand: when the player is satisfied with their cards and decides to pass on making other decisions.
- Hit: when a player decides to take another card from the shoe/deck to add to their hand total.
- Split: when a player has two cards of the same rank, like two Eights, and decides to create two separate hands. This will cost them an additional wager and will receive one card for each hand to create two hands in total. This depends on the casino rules.
- Double: also referred to as “Double Down”. When a player believes that they only need one additional card to make the best hand possible. They will place an extra wager, equal to their ante bet, and receive one more card. This gives the player a chance to get double their money on an optimum hand.
- Surrender: when a player believes they have little chance of winning, even by taking an extra card, they can choose to Surrender their cards. This is similar to “Folding” in poker. The player will lose half of their initial bet. Check out the online blackjack rules at your casino to see if they allow players to Surrender.
Winning at Online Blackjack
The objective of online blackjack is to get close to or at 21, or get a higher hand value than the dealer. This must be done without going over 21, or the player will go “bust” and lose automatically.
Comparing Card Values
All of the face cards and 10’s are valued as 10, Aces can be 1 or 11 depending on the situation, and every other card is worth its face value. If you have an Ace and a 10, or face card, you have a natural 21, or a blackjack. If you have a 7 and a 6 you have a total of 13. You only get to see one of the dealers cards before making your playing decisions.
When the dealer has an Ace as their up card, you have the opportunity to take insurance. Insurance lets you place a bet, up to the value of your original wager, in case the dealer has a blackjack. If they do, you win 2 to 1 on the insurance bet, while losing your original bet. This may seem like a safe way to break even, but the insurance bet doesn’t really have anything to do with your hand. All you’re betting on is if the dealer has a 10 value card as her down card.
Best Blackjack Online Casinos
Here is a list of the best online casinos that offer blackjack. You will see how many decks, the edge, and what the blackjack payout is when you play the classic blackjack game at any of these casinos.
|Casino||Country||# of Decks||Edge||Blackjack Pays||# of Variants||Mobile Blackjack||Live Dealer Blackjack|
|Las Vegas USA||USA||6||99.46%||3:2||10||Yes||Yes|
Blackjack has many possible rule variations and each one either helps the player or the house. Here’s an explanation of the most common variations you’ll find in both online casinos and land based ones.
Dealer Soft 17
The dealer either hitting or standing on soft 17 is one of the main differences from one blackjack table to the next. You can even find both options at the same online casino. This rule is almost always listed directly on the table, so you can quickly see how the current game operates.
This rule works just like it says it does. The dealer either hits or stands when their hand total of 17 has an Ace counting as 11. When a hand is using an Ace as 11, it’s called a soft hand or soft total. It’s soft because it can take an additional card with no chance of busting. This happens because if the hand goes over 21 the Ace is then counted as 1 instead of 11, reducing the total to less than 22 again.
The net rules variation is if the player can surrender. When you surrender you forfeit your hand for half of your original wager before the end of the hand. Not all games have the surrender option, but it’s advantageous to players if the game ha the rule.
For example, if you have a nine and a seven for a hard total of 16 and the dealer shows an ace the most profitable long term play is surrendering half your bet. Of course, you lose half your bet when you surrender but you end up losing more than half your bet by playing the hand any other way.
The option to double down is available at almost every blackjack table, but some places restrict it to only certain totals. Common restrictions include only doubling on your first two cards, doubling only on totals of nine, 10, and 11, or only on totals of 10 and 11. The best rules for the player are wen you can double on any two cards.
You also have tables where you can double after splitting pairs and tables that don’t allow it.
Splitting Two Cards
Most online blackjack games let you split any pair on your first two cards, and some tables allow splitting pairs that were created from splitting. Some tables restrict re-splitting of Aces.
A blackjack pays 3 to 2 in most normal online blackjack games, but you need to check the casino rules before you play. If the game pays less than 3 to 2, you should never play there. Games that pay 6 to 5 or 1 to 1 for a blackjack give the casino a large advantage.
You may run into rule variations not listed here from time to time, but most of these rule changes are found in online blackjack variations; not traditional blackjack. For example, Spanish 21 has many variations, but it’s not a traditional blackjack game.
Pagat has a good overview of the rule variations available at online blackjack tables.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
Online blackjack is played with a deck of cards, or a number of decks, each containing exactly 52 different playing cards. The set nature of the card values means that every card that is played leaves an exact number of cards remaining in the deck. For example, if the Ace of spades is removed from a single deck of cards you know that it’s not possible for another Ace of spades to be played until it gets shuffled back into the deck.
The reason this is important is because when you’re dealing with an exact set of cards you can develop mathematical models that tell you what the best possible play is in every situation at the online blackjack table. This correct mathematical model is called basic blackjack strategy. You don’t have to figure out any of the math, it’s already been done by others. All you have to do is follow the advice to benefit from it.
Every play is based on the cards in your hand and the up card the dealer is showing.
When the correct math and computer programs are used it looks at the same situation based on every single way it can turn out in the long run. Many computer programs run simulations millions of times to see which play is the most profitable. Sometimes two plays are profitable, but one is always more profitable on average than the other. At time every possible play is unprofitable, but one play will be less unprofitable than the others.
Blackjack Strategy Table
Here’s a blackjack strategy chart you can use. You should print it out and use it while playing, or simply have it ready when you play blackjack online. Often you can find small cards with basic online blackjack strategy at the online casinos you play at. For those that play online and use this chart, you’ll quickly memorize the best plays and eventually stop using the chart.
I’ve color coded the chart to make it easier to read:
- Hit simply means hit or take a single additional card. It’s color coded green because green means go.
- Double means to double down. Simply slide an extra bet equal to your first wager out.
- Stand means stand or take no more cards. It’s color coded red because red means stop.
- Split means split. Put your cards side by side and slide an additional bet the same size as your first bet forward.
- The H stands for a hard hand. A H5 means a three and a two.
- The S stands for a soft hand, so each one includes an Ace counted as 11. If you have a hand with the Ace counted as one you have a hard hand.
You need to learn additional rules for games that have surrender as an option.
Additional Surrender Rules
- If the dealer has a 10 you need to surrender a hard 15 and a hard 16.
- If the dealer has a nine you need to surrender a hard 16.
- If the dealer has an Ace you need to surrender a hard 16.
No Double After Split Strategy
The following adjustments need to be made if you aren’t allowed to double after splitting.
No Double After Split
- Always hit with a pair of twos against a dealer two or three.
- Always hit with a pair of threes against a dealer two or three.
- Always hit with a pair of fours against a dealer five or six.
- Always hit with a pair of sixes against a dealer two.
Don’t Take the Insurance Bet
The only other main strategy concern you need to know is you should never take insurance. As you read in the opening section, taking an insurance bet is basically betting on whether or not the dealer has a 10 valued card in the hole. If the dealer has a 10 you win 2 to1 and with any other card, you lose.
The deck has 10’s, jacks, queens, and kings as 10 valued cards. The cards that aren’t 10’s are aces, twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, and nines. So nine card ranks make you lose and four card ranks make you a winner. This makes the odds 9 to 4, but only pays 2 to 1. 2 to 1 is the same as 8 to 4, so you can see that 9 to 4 odds are worse than the 8 to 4 odds, making insurance a losing bet.
Managing Your Money
It is vital that online blackjack players learn how to manage their bankroll. If you lose all of your money in one gaming session, you won’t be able to win back your money. This is why learning to manage your money is important. You can check out our guide to bankroll management to help improve your gameplay. Remember, no money = no blackjack betting.
Playing Blackjack Online
The internet is good for many things, and one of the best is the ability to play blackjack online. You no longer have to travel down to the local casino or jump on a plane and travel to Las Vegas or another gambling mecca to try your hand at a game of 21.
Simply log into your favorite online casino and start playing in seconds. Even if you’ve never played online before it only takes a couple minutes to get started. If you wish to see what blackjack games and variants are offered by the different software developers.
You can learn more about the best online casinos by reading the reviews on this site. Or using the links to the best online blackjack casinos in the table above.
Blackjack Game Variations
There are many different blackjack game variations, some of which include:
Live Dealer Blackjack
Were you aware that you can play online blackjack with a real dealer almost exactly the same way you play at your local casino?
Using video streaming technology, many online casinos offer live dealers, usually attractive females in skimpy outfits much like in many real casinos, who deal on the camera. Once you log in and get started it’s easy to forget you’re playing online instead of at a big casino resort in Las Vegas.
Not every online casino has live dealer play, so check the reviews we offer or look for the live dealer section on the individual casino websites linked to from this site.
Mobile Blackjack Games
Technology is always improving and making things that seemed impossible only a few years ago normal. One of the most amazing technological advancements over the past several years is how useful mobile phones and other devices have become.
You can play a game of blackjack on your smartphone or tablet from almost anywhere. And we’re not talking about some watered down version with simple graphics either, but instead a mobile blackjack version that looks and plays just like a regular online casino game. You can play the same blackjack game you play at home on your desktop or laptop computer.
Almost any phone or tablet that uses an Android operating system or an iPhone or iPad has online casinos that offer great blackjack games. Some internet casinos even support Blackberry and Windows based phones.
Simply follow one of the links on this site to an online casino and look for the mobile gaming section of their site. You can download or access the apps directly from the casino website. You don’t want to go to the regular app store or iTunes store. They usually don’t have the best versions and options for blackjack players.
Mobile Blackjack Casinos by Mobile Device
There are three different platforms that you can use in order to play blackjack on your mobile device, whether it is Android, Apple iOS, or even BlackBerry.
Online Blackjack Bonuses
Every online casino seems to offer bonuses to entice new players to try their games. While you should take advantage of every possible bonus that helps extend your bankroll, you need to always read all of the terms and conditions before accepting a bonus.
The first problem is many online casino bonuses aren’t available for blackjack players. Many are only to be used by slots players. Some casinos do offer bonuses for online blackjack players. Some bonuses are available for a range of games including blackjack but you have to play more hands to clear them than playing slots or other games.
For example, you might only need to play 30 times the bonus and deposit amount if you play slots but 10 times that if you play blackjack.
Another issue with bonuses is they usually restrict your ability to cash out until you clear the bonus by meeting the clearing requirements.
If you’ve been playing blackjack for long and have read anything about the game you’ve probably come across some information about counting cards to gain an edge against the casino and the blackjack tables.
Blackjack players tend to have one of two reactions to this news. They either instantly think that counting cards is too hard so they don’t consider it, or they want to know as much about it as possible so they can start winning money on a consistent basis instead of being a long term losing blackjack player. There are plenty of books on this subject that players can read and get informed.
Using this Strategy
The good news is that players can get an advantage against the casinos by learning how to count cards. The bad news is you have to play in a live casino to use your skills for profit. You can practice while playing online, but the online games are designed in a way that eliminates the ability to gain an edge by counting.
If you’re one of the players who think counting is too hard to learn, you need to learn more about how it’s done before you sell yourself short. If you can add or subtract one from a single number you keep in your head you can learn to count cards while playing blackjack.
Counting Cards Example
If the count is a positive three and a two is dealt, you add one to your count. Your new count is positive four. If the net card is a king, you subtract one from your count. The new count is three. If the next card is a jack you subtract one. This makes the new count two.
See how easy counting cards at the blackjack table is?
Of course, you need to learn what to do in certain situations based on the count, but if you take your time and have confidence you can do it you can learn to count cards quickly and easily.
But don’t even think about counting cards at blackjack until you have memorized the basic strategy decisions and can make them correctly 100% of the time. Without using the best basic blackjack strategy every single time, you’ll give up too much of an edge to make counting worth learning.
The online casinos have software that shuffles the cards after each hand so even though it seems like you’re working your way through the blackjack shoe you’re playing a new hand every time with a fresh set of cards. Even the live dealer casinos switch shoes often because they know about card counters too.