A Pro Guide to Online Blackjack (Update 2020)

Online Blackjack can be considered as one of the top casino games online. The game, and many of its variations, is available at many of the leading casino sites on the net these days. In our in-depth review, we look at the game in great detail so that you have all you need to know before getting started. We talk about the history of the game, how to play, the real-money and free versions, blackjack strategies and so much more.

The History of Blackjack

The history of blackjack is a hotly debated topic, and its exact origins are still not known to this day. Plenty of theories exist, with the most common being that it was derived from a similar game called 21 back in the 1600s. The game was referenced in the early literature of Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes. In this version, the game was played without tens. Similarly, though, Aces were worth either 1 or 11 points. A similar game called ‘One and Thirty’ also started getting attention in France in the 1700s, which could be another unproven blackjack influence.

Wherever the game originated (likely in Europe), it landed on North American shores through French colonists in the early 1990s, although the rules back then were slightly different than they are today. For example, there were a lot more betting rounds, and only the dealer was allowed to double.

The game spread throughout the continent, but did not gain as much popularity as gamblers through it was boring and not lucrative enough. Casinos in Nevada started featuring blackjack in the 1930s, offering a special bet to get people interested. This bet was a 10 to 1 payout for any player who achieves a 21-point hand consisting of the Black Jack and the Ace of Spades. This 10 to 1 payout is no longer applicable at modern casinos; however, the name blackjack stuck to this day.

Rules of Blackjack

One of the main reasons for the game’s popularity is that it is easy to learn and play. Blackjack is a game of luck and some skill, which means anyone can learn the game and enjoy a rewarding experience. In fact, many consider blackjack to be one of the easiest table games at land-based and online casinos, especially when compared to games like baccarat and craps.

In addition to this, there are several strategies available to help players improve their blackjack technique and overall chances of winning. These can be simple tips considered when betting to more complicated strategies that experienced players implement to enhance their gaming experience. These techniques and strategies can be applied to any player who has a good understanding of how it works and how it will benefit their game.

That said, the rules of blackjack remain basically the same, whether playing at land-based or online casinos. It is worth noting; however, there are different variations of blackjack available online, from standard versions with a few interesting tweaks to more niche versions with unique rules. Not all variations are available at every online casino, so make your choice based on what version you’re looking for.

How to Play Online Blackjack

The premise of blackjack is simple – beat the dealer’s hand by getting as close as possible to 21 without going over, or bust, as it is referred to in the game. During gaming, players have a number of betting options and actions that can take place to improve your chances of winning and enhance the speed or excitement of the game. These include options to hit, stand, split, double down, surrender and more, which will be explained in more detail later in this guide.

Blackjack is always played against the dealer using a standard 52-card deck. Therefore, the aim is to beat the dealer to win the game. If the dealer has a better hand than you, you lose. To win, you must accumulate a hand as close to the value of 21 as possible without getting a bust. If your hand is 22 more or more, you automatically lose regardless of the dealer’s hand. If your hand is under 21, there is a chance you could win based on the dealer’s hand. Working out the points is easy as each card has a value. All numbered cards have their face value, while face cards are worth 10 points and the Ace represents either 1 or 11 – whatever works best for your hand.

The game starts by the player placing a bet before the dealer hands out the cards. Players and the dealer receive two cards each. The player receives both cards facing upwards, while the dealer’s cards have one face down and one face up. The face-down card is referred to as the hole card. The best possible blackjack has on an opening deal is an Ace and a ten-point card. Once the cards are dealt, the player has the option to hit, which is to receive another card, or stay, which is to keep the cards they have. The option to hit or stay will depend on how close the cards are to 21.

Blackjack Betting

Like most casino games out there, there is a certain level of understanding and experience that comes with placing bets in blackjack. While many new players choose to opt for the basics and still enjoy some winning opportunities, it is best to know exactly how betting in blackjack works before putting down money. This not only increases your chances of winning but helps avoid excessive losses as well.

Playing blackjack online is easy, while the free version puts you in a position to really learn the rules of the game before making any real-money bets. But, like any other casino game, betting on blackjack does carry a certain level of risk. If you’re concerned about losing at blackjack, try the free games and work on your technique and strategy before wagering at an online casino.

Let’s look at the two common types of betting in blackjack.

Flat Betting

Flat betting is when you wager the same amount for each hand. As with any betting strategy, there are pros and cons to this type of betting. A combined positive and negative to flat betting is that, while you won’t lose as much, you won’t win that much either. Many players avoid this betting method because, since the dealer has the edge, I’ll never win big. Others simply considered this a boring type of betting. That said, players who are looking for a safe option will enjoy the benefits of this betting as it limits losses so it won’t have as big of an impact on your bankroll at the end of the game.

Progressive Betting

Progressive betting is the style of varying your bets from one hand to the next. It is essentially the opposite of flat betting. There are different ways to bet progressively, although they all have one thing in common – players either increase or decrease the next bet based on whether they won or lost their previous hand. There are two different ways to make use of progressive betting:

Increase as you lose – Here, you increase the amount of money you wager every time you lose a hand. The goal of this betting method is to try and win back whatever was lost. If you’re lucky enough to win a hand, you essentially get your original bet back.

Increase as you win – Some players go in the opposite direction and increase their hand whenever they win. However, after a loss, you return to your original bet.

When choosing the best option to suit your needs, players must remember that each has its advantages and disadvantages. While increasing your bet when you lose means you can get back your losses, a losing streak could mean you end up losing more than you planned. If you choose to increase on a win, you have the chance to win a large sum of money on a winning streak. Alternatively, the opposite can also be true, and you can end up losing more money than if you were flat betting each time.

Online Blackjack Strategies

Since blackjack is a game of luck and skill, there are various strategies that can be applied to improve your chances of winning. Most of these strategies are not designed to guarantee wins (this is not possible), but instead to improve your winning chances and minimise your losses in the long run.

For beginners looking for the right strategy, a good place to start would be to choose a game with the lowest house edge. This means you improve your advantage over the casino. If you plan on using a blackjack strategy, remember that one size does not fit all and you must choose the right one that works for you and your bankroll. Again, it is important to remember that using a strategy does not guarantee a win; it simply helps you make the best decisions during the game to limit your losses and improve your chances of winning.

When it comes to blackjack strategies, there are plenty available, but three of the most common include the following.

The Martingale System

This is one of the oldest betting systems around. The premise of this bet is for a player to double your bet every time you lose on the assumption that you will eventually win and show a profit from your original bet. Of course, there is a certain level of risk to this betting strategy. Because you’re doubling your wager each time, if you’re on a losing streak, you may not have enough money left to place your next bet. As such, this is a good strategy for short-term gains as the longer you play, the more likely you are to have a losing streak. Before choosing this strategy, ask yourself whether increasing your chances of winning is worth losing a larger amount than normal.

The Parlay Betting System

Also known as the ‘pyramiding’ or ‘let it ride’ method, this is a strategy where you let your ride increase to your next bet. In this case, players wager their winnings plus the initial bet after a win. For example, a player puts up a bet, and if the hand loses, the player matches the bet until a win occurs. When this happens, the player leaves the original bet and all winnings on the table as the next bet. This strategy is specifically designed for players on a winning streak. The only decision a player using this method must make is knowing when to stop and cash in on their winnings. A losing hand is inevitable, so players must know when to pull back and cash out.

The D’Alembert System

This is considered a safer option for blackjack players. Named after mathematician and physicist Jean le Rond D’Alembert, this method is similar to progressive betting in that the player increases a bet after every loss. However, with this strategy, players increase bets by one unit after a loss and decrease by one unit after a win. Players are not required to make huge bets after a loss, only having to raise a bet by one unit. This makes the D’Alembert method a much riskier blackjack strategy – a perfect betting strategy for new players.

The Blackjack Table

The blackjack table is often one of the most overlooked parts in a game of blackjack. While the table is not as complex as other casino games like craps and roulette, a blackjack table can tell you a lot about the game being played. Understanding the blackjack table can help prevent players from making mistakes and losing excessive money during play.

A blackjack table is set up in a semi-circle shape, with the dealer located behind the flat side of the table and players sitting around the curved part (in the case of land-based and live casinos).  There is also a chip rack in front of the dealer where he can collect bets and pay winnings. The dealer deals cards from the shoe, while the discard pile is located on the opposite side. This is where cards go after each hand is completed. These are the sections of the table that players will never have to deal with.

The parts of the table that are of interest to the player are the printed information at the centre of the table, which tells you more about the rules of the game. This should include the rules for the dealer, the payment for blackjack and the payment for insurance. Other rules, like for side bets, will be available somewhere else on the table. The minimum and maximum bets should also be indicated.

Blackjack Card Counting

Card counting is the technique of tracking the number of high and low cards left in the deck, which can benefit a player’s gameplay. Counting cards successfully means you can raise your bets when the odds are in your favour, improving your chances of winning. Card counting is not about trying to manipulate the system or cheat in blackjack. It is a skill set in addition to normal gameplay that gives players an edge while playing if done correctly.

Card counting can work at online as well as land-based casinos as all you’re doing is keeping a tab on all the face value cards being dealt. Counting cards is actually not as complicated as it seems and can be done successfully in just four simple steps:

  1. Assign cards a value of either +1 for cards 2 to 6, 0 for cards 7 to 9 or -1 to cards 10 to Ace.
  2. Keep count of all cards that are dealt from the deck using the above values.
  3. In this way, you can keep track of the value of the cards remaining in the deck.
  4.  If the count is negative after each round, increase your bet size as there will now be more low-value cards in the deck. If the count is positive, lower your bet.

Counting cards may seem like an unnecessary effort, but playing perfectly can improve your house edge by 1%, which is quite impressive.

Online Blackjack Tips

When it comes to blackjack, there are many tips you can use to truly enhance your gaming experience, especially when playing for real money. These tips are meant to encourage players to improve their gameplay for the best results and experience while playing at online casinos. Remember that these tips are meant to improve, not guarantee your winning chances.

Always split 8s and Aces – Most experts can agree that players should always split 8s and Aces. If you land two Aces, there are two possibilities for blackjack or at least two soft hands. Two 8s; however, add up to 16, which is actually a very weak hand, so there is a good chance of losing to the dealer.

Don’t use insurance – Ask any experienced player, and they will tell you to avoid using insurance. This is because, in most cases, you end up spending more money than you win as the odds are 4 in 13 that the dealer will land blackjack if he’s showing Ace. This means that players taking insurance have a 9 in 13 chance of losing the wager.

Know the table – While there are a number of blackjack variants available on the internet, it is important to check out the table as most of the important information is located here. This includes the rules of the game, minimum and maximum bets and more.

Online Blackjack Variants

When playing blackjack online, you must be aware that there are different variants of the game to appeal to a broader market. While the basic premise remains the same, there are certain rules that will have been tweaked for each version. When playing for real money, you must decide what blackjack game you want to play before making a wager, with the most popular options being American and European blackjack. Here are just some of the top blackjack variants available at online casinos:

American Blackjack

American Blackjack can be considered one of the most popular versions of the game. Here, the dealer receives two cards at the start of the game – one facing up and the other facing down. Six to eight decks of cards are used in this version and players are allowed to double down on any total and make the last surrender after splitting.

European Blackjack

Another widely-available and popular version, European blackjack’s rules dictate that the dealer receive one card at the beginning of the game and another after the players are done betting. Two standard decks of cards are used, and players can only double down on values of 9, 10 or 11. Splitting can only be done once on a 10 value or face cards. It is worth noting that the game does not offer a last surrender option.

Other types of blackjack variations include:

Progressive Blackjack – This is similar to any standard version of the game except it comes with a massive progressive jackpot, making it all the more appealing. Playing for the jackpot usually involves an additional bet, although other rules typically remain the same as the blackjack version you are playing.

Spanish 21 – Spanish 21 is one of the earliest versions of the game and is played using 6-8 decks of cards, with the 10-value cards removed. This increases the house edge, making it better for casinos or players looking for a more challenging experience. The dealer is allowed to peek at his hole card, and last surrenders and insurance are available in this version.

Atlantic City Blackjack – Another popular version, Atlantic City Blackjack is most prominent at its namesake casinos. The game features 8 decks, and the dealer is allowed to peek at his hole card. The dealer can also stand on soft 17 while options for players include last surrenders, insurance and re-splitting.

Vegas Strip Blackjack – Similar to American blackjack, this popular version of the game is played with four decks of cards. The dealer can peek at his hole card and stand on soft 17. Players can split, re-split up to three times and double down during gameplay.

Super Fun 21 – Super Fun 21 is just that and uses a single deck of cards. The game sticks to the standard rules of blackjack and is widely available at online casinos.

Live Blackjack – As the name suggests, this is the live version of the game. Most variations of blackjack can be made to play using a live format at online casinos. These games are played and streamed live from anywhere in the world. Standard blackjack rules apply, with the only difference being that the action takes place in real-time. The game also features live dealers.

Advantages of Playing Blackjack Online

There are many advantages to playing online blackjack compared to its land-based counterpart, including the following:

Convenience – This is the main reason why people choose to play online. Casinos on the internet give you access to your favourite blackjack game at all times of the day and night with no waiting period. There is no need to travel anywhere or leave the comfort of your home. Simply log on from your desktop or mobile device, and you’re ready to play.

Bonus and promotion options – Unlike land-based casinos, online casinos offer a wealth of bonuses and promotions to new and existing players. Many of these offers are available to blackjack players as well, making it extra appealing.

Game options – Online casinos do not have to worry about space. Therefore, the virtual casino can offer a lot more in terms of games. Online casinos usually host several blackjack variations, including live blackjack, as well as other casino games like online slots, roulette, video poker and more.

24/7 customer support – Customer support is usually just a click away. Most online casinos also feature 24/7 support, making it extra convenient and accessible to get in touch and receive assistance at any time of the day or night.

Play Blackjack for Free

Blackjack is popular for many reasons, most of which is due to its simple rules and interesting gameplay. Since the dawn of the internet, more players have access to casino games directly from their desktop or mobile device. This caused the popularity of the game to soar. Many online casinos offer different versions of the game, including options to play for free or real money. Playing for free is highly recommended, especially if you’re a new player. When playing blackjack for free, you can improve your gaming skills and enjoy the enhanced functionality and gaming options of an online platform.

The Advantages of Playing Online Blackjack Free

Once playing online blackjack, you may find that you prefer playing for free for the following reasons:

You do not risk any money – You do not need to fund your account to play free blackjack and make any real-money bets. However, if you want to win at blackjack, you will have to start wagering real cash.

You can practice your skills – Blackjack requires a bit of skill and strategy in order to get the most out of your gaming experience. As such, playing for free allows you to practice your skills before making the commitment of playing for real.

No need to fund your account – As mentioned before, you do not need to fund your account to play games for free at an online casino. Simply choose your best option and start playing.

Online Blackjack on Mobile

Most blackjack versions are playable on mobile devices. All of the best titles from top casino providers have been developed and optimised for use on various leading devices, including iOS, Android and Windows. This makes gaming on the go completely convenient and user-friendly. These games have been adapted to fit the smaller screen of smartphones and tablets, allowing for a smooth and seamless transition from desktop to mobile.

It has also been made touch-friendly to match the capabilities of a modern mobile device. This improves your gaming experience as you simply have to tap your options you want and drag your chips to the table with little hassle. The graphics and sound effects are also of the same quality as if you were playing on a PC or laptop. As long as you have a stable internet connection and a compatible device, you can enjoy thrilling, top-class gaming while on the move.

Live Blackjack Online

Live blackjack has become more and more popular these days thanks to modern technology. This variant, as mentioned before, is a live version of the game that can be accessed on your desktop and in some cases, on your mobile device. Its mobile accessibility will be casino or software-dependent. That said, live blackjack is as thrilling as can be and offers the most authentic gaming experience you will get online. It replicates the real-life experience in every way, including the live dealers and live players. The game usually takes place live somewhere in the world and is streamed to your screen in real-time. You can even communicate with the dealer and fellow players, adding to the realism of the experience. Most live blackjack games are powered by NetEnt, Evolution Gaming or Extreme Gaming.

Our Conclusion

There’s a reason why everyone loves blackjack. It is a popular game that remains one of the classic casino games. Its rules and gameplay have not changed much in centuries, and newer variations simply enhance the game instead of changing it. Its simplicity, easily understandable rules and inclusive budget mean everyone has the chance to enjoy this popular casino game. Also, many online casinos offer real and free versions of the game to enjoy. The game is also a combination of luck and skill, making it a great option for new and experienced players alike. Blackjack will continue to be a popular game at online casinos, and thanks to modern technology, the experience will only get better.

FAQ Online Blackjack

 ✅ Where to play black online?

Blackjack online is available to play at many of the top online casinos on the internet. Several software providers are known for producing online blackjack games, including Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech. These providers are renowned in the industry for their high-quality offerings and seamless gameplay. Find an online casino powered by a software provider in this league and you’ll likely have access to blackjack games, including some popular and niche variations of the game.

✅ Why should I play live blackjack?

Live blackjack offers a more authentic and realistic gaming experience from your desktop or mobile device. Live blackjack games are live-streamed from specific casino venues around the world and bring the action straight to your computer screen no matter where you are. These games feature live dealers, live players and real-time action. There is also the option to communicate with the dealer and players, similar to what you will experience at a land-based blackjack table.

✅ Why should I play free online blackjack?

The main benefit to playing free online blackjack is the ability to practice without risking any money. Playing for free gives you the chance to practice your skills and learn the rules of the game with no pressure. They do not require you to make a casino deposit, so you can enjoy the games in your own time. Only once you’re ready, should you move on to real-money blackjack.

✅ Can anyone play blackjack online for fun?

Yes, as long as you are playing from a country that supports online gambling and that you’re of legal age, anyone is allowed to play blackjack online for fun. Simply join an online casino that offers free blackjack and enjoy risk-free playing.

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