Blackjack is one of the most popular card games ever created and today, it’s offered at almost all online casinos. Whether you’re looking to play at low-stakes, or hit the high-roller tables, Blackjack accommodates all players, and there’s a huge amount of variety available online.
While Blackjack can seem daunting at first, the game is actually incredibly simple to pick up, and in this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can find the best online casino to play Blackjack for real money.
We’ll cover some of the basics you need to get started, along with looking at optimal online Blackjack strategy guides – so, without further ado let’s get started.
Blackjack: How to Play
The basic fundamentals of Blackjack are relatively straightforward. You are dealt two cards, and your goal is to make a hand that equals as close to 21 as possible (without going over 21.) You play against the dealer, who is dealt either one, or two cards initially – dependant on the variation of Blackjack being played – and the hand which totals closer to 21, wins.
In order to begin playing Blackjack, you just need to select your stake, and choose whether or not you wish to play any side bets (which we’ll cover later on in this guide) and click the “Deal” or “Play” button.
Blackjack Card Values
As mentioned, when playing online Blackjack for real money, you’ll be aiming to make your two cards add up as close to 21 as possible. The majority of cards are worth their face value – so, for example, a 3 of clubs is worth 3, and the 5 of hearts is worth 5. So, if you were dealt these two cards, your hand total would equal 8.
Ten, Jack, Queen, and King are all worth ten points, and the Ace is worth 11, or 1 – whichever helps your hand the most.
Now, once you’ve placed your bet, and clicked deal, you’ll be dealt your two cards – and you then have a number of options available to you, which we’ll look at below:
Hitting: Hitting – also known as “twisting” – is when you feel as though your hand’s value is low, and unlikely to win. If you choose to hit, you are dealt another card. You can hit as many times as you like, but if your hand ever goes over 21, you will “bust”, and the dealer will win automatically.
Stand – If your first two cards dealt are strong (i.e. a pair of tens), you can stand. You can also opt to stand after hitting – and it’s basically a way of saying “I think my hand is strong enough to beat yours, so let’s get on with it!”
Splitting – If you’re dealt two cards of the same value (so, for example, a pair of 2’s), you can choose to split them. This requires you to match the original bet you made. So, if you had bet $10, and wanted to split, you would place an additional wager of $10. The two cards would then be split, with each being dealt another card. You can split an unlimited number of times (except in Blackjack variations that only allow for splitting once), although it’s worth pointing out that when you split aces, you only get one card.
Doubling – If your first two cards total 9, 10, or 11, there’s a strong probability that your next card will be a Ten, Jack, Queen, King, or Ace. To capitalize on this opportunity, you can ‘double’ your bet, allowing you to place an amount equal to your initial wager alongside your current bet. You are then drawn one more card, and you cannot hit after this.
Surrender – While it’s generally not advised to surrender when playing Blackjack online for real money, if you have a very bad hand – like a 16, against the dealer’s ace – you can sometimes opt to surrender. This means you are returned half your stake and the hand ends. It’s a good way to cut your losses, but you should only surrender when you have a truly bad hand.
Insurance – When playing online casino Blackjack, you usually have the option to “insure” your hand. This is offered when the dealer’s first card is showing as an ace. If you opt to insure, you’re essentially protecting yourself from the dealer having Blackjack. To insure your hand, you need to pay 50% of your original stake. If the dealer does indeed turn out to have Blackjack, you’re paid out at 2:1 on the insurance bet, meaning you recoup all your stake from the hand. If the dealer doesn’t have Blackjack, you lose the surrender bet, and the hand continues as normal.
Once you have finished your action, the dealer will then draw his or her hand. The dealer will always draw to 17 – and in some cases, they will hit soft 17.
Once the dealer has finished acting, your hands are compared against one another, and if your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you get paid out at even money. (For example, a $5 wining bet would return $10.)
If you and the dealer share the same hand, it’s a tie, and you receive your full stake back.
Blackjack Side Bets
One of the ways in which online casinos have made Blackjack more interesting for players, is by offering what are known as side bets.
Side bets are additional (and optional) wagers that you can choose to place, when betting, and they offer you the chance to win enhanced prizes. We’ll look at some of the more-common side bet options below:
Blackjack Perfect Pairs
By far the most popular side bet, Blackjack Perfect Pairs allows you to bet on your first two cards being of the same value. If you choose to play the Blackjack Perfect Pairs sidebet, and your first two cards dealt are of the same value, but different colours and suits, you’ll be paid at 5:1. If your first two cards are the same value, the same colour, but a different suit, you get paid at 10:1, and if your first two cards dealt are identical, you get paid a massive 35:1!
Taking inspiration from 3 Card Poker, the Blackjack 21+3 sidebet is one of the most popular around today, and this sidebet pays if your first two cards – and the dealer’s first card – make a poker hand. This includes a flush (all cards the same suit), a straight (all three cards in consecutive order), 3-of-a-kind, and a straight flush. Pay-outs vary dependant on the casino you’re playing it.
Progressive Blackjack is a rare, yet popular variation of the game, and it offers you the chance to win massive amounts of money, from placing a small sidebet (usually $1.) A progressive jackpot is pooled between multiple online casinos and continues to grow until it’s won. While the specific requirements vary, on how to actually win, most game require your first two cards, and the dealer’s two cards to be aces, all of the same colour and suit, in order for you to scoop the jackpot.
That’s just three of the sidebets you’re likely to come across when playing online Blackjack for real money. Developers are constantly coming out with new, and innovative variations of the game, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on new releases, as some of them can be quite entertaining!
Finding Top Online Blackjack Sites
If you’re looking to play Blackjack online, and want to ensure you have a fair, unbiased, and enjoyable playing experience, then you’ll want to ensure you choose a suitable site to play at.
While finding the right site depends on a few factors – many of which vary greatly from person to person – below, we’ll cover a few of the main things to keep an eye on, before deciding to join or not.
Country Restrictions: It seems self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many people join a casino, not knowing their country is actually excluded from using the site. Always read the casino’s terms and conditions, and if in doubt, contact support.
Check Banking Options: There’s no point joining an online casino if you can’t deposit or withdraw funds – so always have a quick glance at the “Cashier” page before signing up, to make sure your preferred payment method is shown.
Game-Range: Of course, one of the biggest things to look out for is the game-range offered, and for Blackjack in particular, this is important, as it likely determined which (if any) side bets you play, and also the type of strategy you bring to the table.
Above all else, use your common sense; if a casino doesn’t feel right – then it probably isn’t.
For our peace of mind, we only include casinos that have passed our heavy vetting process – so you know that when you play, you’re in safe hands.
The Best Online Blackjack Strategy
It’s worth remembering when playing Blackjack – and indeed all casino games – that at the end of the day, the house will usually win…
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve your chances of winning in the short-term – and with Blackjack, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll emerge a winner, if you follow the correct strategy.
Below, you can see an image of what’s known as a “Blackjack Perfect Strategy” chart. This chart shows you the best-possible actions to take, so that you ensure you’re maximizing your chances of winning each hand.
Now, you don’t need to remember this chart off by heart – but it can be useful to have a copy to-hand, to refer to when you’re stuck, and don’t know whether to hit, stand, split, or double.
Advanced Blackjack Tips
If you want to win as much as possible playing Blackjack, it’s crucial that you prepare yourself for the game. There’s no point playing if you’re just going to bet, and ‘hope for the best’. Instead, take a look at the online Blackjack strategy chart above, and familiarize yourself with the rules of the game.
This may sound super basic, but it’s one of the best, and most effective ways of getting an edge, and improving your chances of winning.
It can also help to understand some of the odds while playing. If you follow the basic strategy chart shown above, this won’t be overly relevant, as you can simply follow that, but for times you don’t have it with you, it’s good to know that – for example – there is a 50% chance of drawing a picture (value of 10) card when hitting.
The most important thing is to practice. Know what to do in tricky situations (like when you hold a 16, against a dealer’s 5), and above all else, keep your cool.
There’s nothing worse than playing a long, enjoyable session of Blackjack, only to become tilted and frustrated by a few bad hands – so if you feel things aren’t going your way, consider walking away from the table for a bit, and taking a break.
If you’re looking to enjoy the best online Blackjack games, then you’ll need to know what all the terminology means – which is why we’ve prepared a glossary of common Blackjack terms and phrases below.
Hitting – When you want to draw another card, in the hope of improving your hand and taking it closer to 21.
Standing – When you’re happy with your hand total and are ready for the dealer to draw his or her cards.
Doubling – When your first two cards total 9, 10, or 11, and you want to double your stake, in return for one card.
Splitting – When you’re dealt two cards of the same value and want to split them into separate hands.
Even-Money – An option given to you if you have Blackjack, and the dealer shows an ace. Even-money ensures you double your money, even if the dealer ends up drawing Blackjack.
Blackjack – When your first two cards dealt include an ace, and a picture card. Blackjack pays 3:2.
Side Bet – An additional and optional bet available of many Blackjack tables, that allows you the chance of winning larger amounts of money, by making an additional wager.
Soft 17 – When a 17 is made up using an ace card. A soft 17 can be hit without fear of busting, as the ace can be worth 11, or 1; whichever benefits the hand most.
Progressive Blackjack – A type of sidebet found on some Blackjack tables that pays for being dealt two aces of the same colour and suit, WITH the dealer also being dealt a matching ace.
To conclude this online casino Blackjack guide, we’re going to answer a few commonly-asked questions, which you can find below:
How long does it take to learn the rules of Blackjack?
Blackjack is very simple to understand, and using the information in the guide above, you’ll be able to get a good idea of how the game works in a matter of minutes.
What does Blackjack mean?
Getting a Blackjack means that your first two cards include an ace, and a picture card, or ten. Blackjack pays out at 3:2, so it’s a hand you’ll want to aim for!
How much does it cost to play Blackjack online?
It depends entirely on the casino you’re playing at, but most offer Blackjack tables with minimum bets starting from just £1.
How can I win more playing Blackjack?
Follow the advice we’ve covered above and take a moment to look at the basic strategy chart. Like anything in life, the more you play the better you’ll get – so stick at it!
Do I have to play sidebets?
No. Sidebets are always optional, and you can choose to play only your main Blackjack hand, if you prefer.