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Blackjack is a popular game where one or more players compete against the dealer or an RNG machine. There are plenty of variations, but the key objective is always to win by getting as close to 21 as possible. In this guide, we cover the basics of how to play online blackjack at some of the best online casinos.
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Whether you know it as 21 or blackjack, chances are you’ve come across the game. As simple as it is to learn, there’s a lot of strategy that goes into it, with the odds often falling in your favour.
The rules to online blackjack aren’t overly complicated, which is another reason for the game’s popularity. So, what do you need to know before you start playing blackjack online? Keep reading our guide to learn the basic rules, bets and blackjack variations.
Whether you want to practice playing online blackjack for fun in demo mode, or you’re ready to wager real money, knowing the basics is essential for your success. Fortunately, the general rules couldn’t be simpler.
The whole idea behind blackjack is to win against a dealer and to do that, you need to have more points than the dealer without going over 21 (bust).
Counting your points is easy:
While the dealer begins by dealing cards, he or she has the advantage of acting last, with players only getting to see one of the dealer’s cards during a game.
If you hit 21, you can look forward to a 3:2 payout, which amounts to 2.5 times your bet. If your hand adds up to 20, it’s unlikely that the dealer will beat you.
Calculating the odds and figuring out the house edge is important. There are several factors to take into account, though, and once you familiarise yourself with them, you’ll learn that the standard blackjack house edge is around 0.50%, but it can go as low as 0.43%.
House Edge Factors
|What it is||How it works|
|Number of decks||A standard game uses 8 decks, but there are online blackjack variants that use 4 and 6 decks.|
|Dealer’s action on a hand of 17||Whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft or hard 17 impacts the house edge.|
|Cards in the first hand that may be doubled||Doubling is allowed on certain hands, such as a hand of 9-11, 10-11 or any 2 of the same cards.|
|Re-splitting||The number of hands you can re-split, including re-splitting an Ace, doubling after a split and hitting a split Ace.|
How To Play Online Blackjack
When a round starts, you’re dealt two cards. The dealer also gets two cards – one face down and one face up. If the dealer’s card facing up is a 10 or Ace, the dealer will peek at the second card to check for blackjack. If neither you nor the dealer has 21 points, it’s time to start betting.
Hit or Stand – calculate the value of your hand and that of the dealer’s and decide whether you want to Hit or Stand. If you want to Hit, you ask the dealer for another card, based on the value of your cards. If you don’t want more cards, you Stand, which is usually done when the value of your cards is quite high (over 17).
Once all the players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals their facedown card.
If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you win. If the dealer’s hand is 21 or closer to 21 than other players, the dealer wins.
We couldn’t bring you a guide to how to play online blackjack without discussing the rules on Soft 17.
In most games, the dealer’s hand will stand at 17 or more. So, if the dealer has a hand of 16 or below, they must draw an extra card.
But some online casinos apply the Soft 17 rule, where if the dealer has an Ace, it’s counted as an 11, and in this case, the dealer has to hit on 17, changing up the house edge. At first glance, it seems like this rule would increase the likelihood of bust, but that’s not the case. If the dealer doesn’t bust, the hand is high and will likely win.
Yes, you can play RNG blackjack games for free or real money and Live Casino versions for real money. As long as you understand the basics of the game, you can have fun playing 21.
You’ll find them on this page. The casinos we recommend offer various versions of the game, along with exciting bonuses and different tables for different budgets.
Not against RNG games, but you can try when you play Live Casino blackjack. However, there are measures in place to prevent cheating.
No, it’s impossible. Legit casinos follow laws and regulations to ensure random and fair outcomes. The casinos hold licences from top authorities and are regularly audited to ensure games are always random. There is no way to rig online casino games.
The basic rules are simple. You’re dealt two cards and you need to get a hand that scores as close to 21 as possible without going over 21.
This is a move you can make if your hand has two cards of equal value. You can split the hand into two hands and double your bet.
Technically, single-deck blackjack is the best with a low house edge of just 0.3%. But it really comes down to which games you enjoy and your gambling budget.
There is no guaranteed way to win, but you can use tips and strategies to increase your chances against the house. A basic strategy is a good starting point, especially if you’re just learning how to play the game.
Live Casino Blackjack
Up to now, we’ve been talking about online blackjack that uses random number generators to mimic the real-life game. In these games, all decks in a shoe are shuffled between hands, making it trickier to hit a winning streak.
With Live Dealer blackjack, you get the feel of being in a land-based casino, complete with a multitude of blackjack variants and real dealers who stream live from casino studios. Some software developers work with brick-and-mortar casinos to bring the action live directly from the tables.
When you log in to a live blackjack game, you can view the action, place bets and talk with the dealer as all the action unfolds.
Live online blackjack, though, has higher minimum and maximum bets to cover the costs of running a studio, the equipment and even the live dealer salaries.
What’s more, the game is a little slower than standard online blackjack versions as it’s a real person manning the tables. That said, the average RTP of digital and live dealer blackjack are pretty similar.
If you’re a fan of mobile casinos, you’ll be glad to hear that thanks to advanced technology, software providers have come up with plenty of mobile-compatible blackjack games for you to play whenever you want to. Whether you’re an iOS or Android aficionado, a tablet or a smartphone fan, you can put your skills to the test in an effort to score 21, or at least more than the dealer without going bust.
There is a long list of leading software developers that have a variety of both mobile and Live Casino online blackjack games, including names like Real Time Gaming, NetEnt, Playtech and Microgaming. Whether you play on your mobile device or computer, one thing’s for sure – you can look forward to quality online blackjack games with exceptional graphics.
While many of the online blackjack strategies out there look pretty cool and claim to work, nothing in gambling is guaranteed. No complex system or mathematical formula can defeat the house and the odds of the game remain the same.
However, there are a few strategies you can learn in an effort to maximise your gameplay and try to boost the odds in your favour, and you’ll find them in our Strategy section. Just remember, there’s no guarantee when it comes to winning any casino games, so you might as well have fun, learn new skills and figure out which version is your favourite.
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