Online Blackjack – the Casino Classic Everybody Loves
Blackjack is one of the preferred casino games, perhaps because it’s not a game of chance, but rather one of skills and strategy. Dating back to 17th-century Spain and France, it got the name we all know today when it arrived in the USA. If casino games were hands, blackjack would be the most profitable hand you could be dealt. A good reason for that is the fact that it gives players a considerably higher edge over the casino compared to other games. But let’s have a more detailed look at what defines online casino blackjack – basic rules, fun variations, side bets, and strategy.
The Rules You Need to Know
You’ve probably heard the success stories and are eager to play blackjack online for money, but before you do that, it is crucial that you understand the rules. Otherwise, not only will you not have fun, but you may get frustrated and lose money. This casino classic can be played with one or up to eight decks, each comprising 52 cards. The aim is to beat the dealer by getting a hand with a total value closer to 21. There is a case in which you’ll win without having a better hand than that of the dealer, and that is when the dealer busts. To bust means to have a hand which exceeds 21.
When you play blackjack online, you play against the dealer, who represents the house. If you get any 10-value card and an Ace, which is called a natural blackjack, you’ll be an instant winner, and you’ll get a payout of 3:2. If neither you nor the dealer has 21, the hand closer to twenty-one wins. If you and the dealer both have the same total value of cards, it’s called a push. That means no one wins, and you’ll get your stake back at the end of the round.
The game starts with each of the players getting two cards which face up. The dealer also gets two cards, but one of them faces down. The face-down one is called a “hole card.” If the croupier gets a ten or an Ace as a first card, they will check the hole card to see if they have a blackjack – that’s called peeking. The value of each of the face cards – King, Queen, Jack – is 10, while the cards from 2 to 10 are counted according to their face value. Aces can count as either 1 or 11, depending on what is more profitable to the player. If you have an Ace, your hand is called a soft hand. That kind of hand gives you maximum flexibility.
There are a few possible actions in the course of the game: hit, stand, split, double down, surrender, and take insurance. To hit means to ask for another card, which is the opposite of to stand. If you split your hand, it means you’ll have two hands instead of one, each with a wager identical to the original one. Some casinos allow splitting only when your two cards are of the same value, such as two 8s, 10s, Aces, and so on, while others don’t have any restrictions. If you double down, you only get one more card, but you could maximize your winnings by making your bet twice its original value. In most online casino blackjack versions, dealers have to hit until they reach 16.
RNG vs. Live Blackjack
The main difference between RNG and live blackjack is the way the cards are shuffled and dealt. In RNG online games, card decks are shuffled electronically. That’s an automatic process that happens after every round. At the live tables, the cards are shuffled and dealt by a real dealer. Additionally, the shoe is reshuffled once it gets halfway. Another difference between the two lies in the speed of the games. RNG versions let you take as much time as you need, while live ones take the same time they would at a land-based casino. Yet another difference is the interaction factor. During live games, you can chat with the croupier and the other players, while in RNG versions that is not an option.
How to Select the Best Online Blackjack Variations
We’ve laid out the rules of the classic blackjack game, but that’s not all. There are many other versions, each with its own little twists and turns. Some of them provide the player with a better edge over the casino, while others have exciting side bets and other bonuses instead. Internet blackjack offers the best diversity, so here are some of the most popular variations you should try:
- Progressive Blackjack resembles the classic version but offers a chance to hit a progressive jackpot – hence the name. It allows you to make more moves, including hitting, standing, doubling, and splitting.
- European Blackjack uses two decks of cards, and there’s a notable difference in the way the cards are dealt. The dealer gets their second card only after all the players have taken the cards they need.
- Atlantic Blackjack is played with eight decks. The dealer stands on a soft 17 and checks the hole card for a blackjack. The player is allowed to split a hand up to three times. You’ll have the option to surrender as well as to take insurance.
- Spanish 21 uses six or eight decks, but these aren’t the classic 52-card decks. They are made up of 48 cards because the four 10s have been removed. The fact that the decks lack the tens accounts for a higher house edge. The dealer checks the hole card, and if there’s a blackjack, the dealer wins. If the player has one too, the result will be a tie. Both insurance and surrender are allowed. The player can surrender even after doubling down, which increases the chance of winning.
- Pontoon has rules that are totally different from those of classic blackjack. Players can double down after splitting Aces. They have to hit before reaching fifteen. There’s a five-card trick, according to which if you draw five cards and don’t exceed twenty-one, you win. Once you learn the rules, you’ll have a fair chance of beating the casino.
- Blackjack Switch was created by the card counter Geoff Hall. The player is dealt two hands and can switch the second cards of each hand if that would improve the chance of reaching twenty-one. The payout of blackjack is 1:1, instead of the standard 3:2.
- Vegas Strip Blackjack is the American version of the classic game, played with four decks. The dealer is allowed to peek for blackjack and has to stand on a soft 17, which increases the player’s odds. The players can split up to three times, and they can double down after splitting Aces.
- Super Fun 21 uses a single deck and sticks to the rules of the classic version. It lets gamblers split up to four times. If your hand is valued at 20, you’ll win automatically. A player’s blackjack beats the dealer’s at all times, but it pays even instead of the usual 3:2.
- Blackjack Surrender allows you to forfeit your hand in case it is weak and the dealer’s face-up card is strong. That is a chance that can be very advantageous in certain circumstances, as it can minimize your losses considerably.
Make Blackjack Gambling Even More Exciting with Side Bets
One of the most exciting features of blackjack is the chance to place side bets with fantastic payouts. There are a few side bets available when you play blackjack online, each with its own conditions and payouts. What you should know is that the higher the payout, the less likely it is for the side bet to be successful. That’s why many experts will advise you not to place side bets, because they increase the house edge. However, they are quite popular, so we’ll present to you the top three side bets.
- Insurance is one of the most common side bets, which you are allowed to make if the croupier’s top card is an Ace. When you take insurance, you automatically place an additional bet to protect you in case the dealer has a blackjack. It pays 2:1 at most blackjack sites. If you also have a blackjack, you won’t win unless you have taken insurance.
- Bet Behind is not available in RNG games; it’s to be found at live tables only. It lets you place a wager on another player’s hand, which is especially helpful if you aren’t experienced enough or aren’t confident about how to play. It’s also useful when the seats at the table are all taken. It allows you to enjoy your blackjack betting session without giving it much thought, but be sure to choose wisely which player to trust.
- Perfect Pairs is a very wide-spread side bet which awards you for getting a pair. Only the first two cards you’re dealt matter, and there are three possible types of pairs: perfect, colored, and mixed. Mixed or red/black pair is when you get two cards that have the same face value but different suit and color. A colored pair is made up of two cards that have the same face value and color. Finally, the perfect pair consists of two identical cards – same value, color, and suit. Naturally, the last type is the hardest to get and offers the best payout.
Use Strategy for the Best Online Blackjack Gameplay
Blackjack is a game in which skills, strategy, and luck play a role in the outcome. Since you can’t tweak luck, make sure you improve your skills. There are special strategy charts that tell you exactly what to do depending on your hand and the hand of the dealer. A glance will let you know if you should hit, stand, split, double down or surrender. These cheat sheets are especially effective in online RNG versions because you’ll have time to check them.
As long as you’re using the correct chart for the variation you’re playing – note the number of decks and the dealer rules, it will decrease the house edge. Some strategy tips to remember are to split 8s and Aces but never split 10s. Although you will be prompted to take insurance when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you’d do well to pass – statistics show that this move is not worth it.
Top-Rated Blackjack Sites at Your Leisure
With so many thrilling variations, you’re probably wondering where to play blackjack online. Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Have a look at our recommended casinos. That’s where you’ll have the many variations of blackjack – classic, pontoon, perfect pairs, European, multi-hand, surrender, progressive, and others – at the palm of your hand. Enjoy excellent software from leading providers, such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. And if you want to employ strategy or use your skills, instead of relying on luck, the virtual blackjack table is the place to be.