The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide On How To Play Online Blackjack

Blackjack is a widely popular card game played all over the world. The game’s objective is to achieve a higher score than the dealer and other players by combining the cards in your hand without exceeding a total of 21.

Although luck plays a role, blackjack is primarily a strategy game. With some practical experience, and an understanding of how the game works, you will soon be much more confident when playing.

Online blackjack does have a number of variations and rules, so it can seem daunting to learn. But our team has prepared this beginner’s guide to guide you through learning how to play, the most important house rules you should be aware of, and how to bet when playing. By the end of it, you’ll be ready to take your online blackjack skills to the next level and become a pro in any casino.

A Quick Guide To The History Of Blackjack

The origins of blackjack are not entirely certain. The game was originally known as “21” and was first cited in a short story by Miguel de Cervantes in the early 1600s. It became popular among French aristocracy in the 18th century and was played in casinos and parlors throughout Europe. French colonists brought the game to America.

Today, blackjack is one of the most popular card games at online casinos. Unlike poker, where you play against other opponents, in blackjack, you play only against the dealer or the house. The game is generally played with a typical deck of 52 cards, although some variations may use multiple decks.

The objective of blackjack has remained the same, despite evolutions to how the game is played: your goal is to reach a total of 21 or as close as possible without going over and with a higher hand than the dealer. If the dealer’s hand goes over 21, they lose the game, and the same goes for you.

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Why Blackjack Is The Best Bet In An Online Casino

All casino games have a mathematical edge for the house. This is also true for blackjack. However, if played correctly, blackjack has the lowest house edge in the casino.

The house edge is expressed as a percentage, the amount the casino mathematically expects to keep from each bet over a long time (thousands of hands). For some games, such as keno, the house edge can be as high as 40%, while for others, like blackjack, it can be as low as 0.5% or even less.

For example, if you play slot machines with a house edge of 15%, betting a dollar per one spin and making 600 spins per hour, you’re putting $600 per hour into action. The casino expects you to lose 15%, $90 per hour. This calculation takes into account any occasional wins and payoffs you get. Over time, you will likely lose all your money.

You can determine the expected hourly loss for any casino bet. This is how casinos make projections and plan their floor space to maximize revenue per square foot. Blackjack, assuming a good set of rules, offers a house edge of around 0.5%. However, different casinos and tables within the same casino offer different options for their blackjack games, which can affect the house edge. For instance, a game that uses 8 decks has a higher house edge than a game with only one deck.

Suppose you’re playing blackjack for $5 per hand and playing 100 hands per hour. You’re putting $500 into action each hour, but you only expect to lose 0.5% of that, which means your expected hourly loss is only $2.50. This is much lower than the $90 loss in the slot machine example. Additionally, blackjack offers an opportunity to get an edge over the house through various advantage play techniques, although most of these are too advanced for casual players.

How To Start Playing Blackjack For Beginners

Learning to play blackjack is easy, but there are some important rules to remember before playing for real money. Let’s go through the typical game process to understand how to play:

1 - Select a blackjack game of your choice and join the table

After all players are ready, each player receives two face-up cards. The dealer also gets two cards – one face-up and one face-down.

2 - Determine the total value of your cards and the dealer's cards

To win at blackjack, it is essential to determine the total value of your cards and the dealer’s cards while ensuring that the sum stays below 21. You can rely on your intuition or gain additional knowledge by consulting our blackjack tips manual. Once done, you must choose whether to ‘Hit’ or ‘Stand.’

  • ‘Hit’ means asking for another card. Do this only when you’re sure the next card won’t cause you to go bust, or you’re willing to take a risk.
  • ‘Stand’ means asking the dealer to jump to the next player and deal you no more cards. Do this when your hand value is already quite high (e.g., over 17), and you’re unsure if the dealer’s hand will beat yours.
3 - Check your hand value after making your move

You will stay in the game if your hand is valued at 21 or anything less.

4 - Dealer reveal their face-down card

After all players decide, the dealer will reveal their face-down card.

5 - You win if your hand value is closer to 21 than the dealer's

If your hand value is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you win. If the dealer’s score is 21 or higher than the players’, the dealer wins. The dealer will issue your winnings if you’ve won, and your payout amount will depend on the type of bet you placed.

Now that you know how to play a blackjack round at our recommended blackjack casino sites, let’s delve deeper into the game by exploring card values, hand names, game rules, and table and dealer rules.

Card Values In Blackjack

To play blackjack correctly, the first thing you should learn is the card values. Luckily, card values can be split into three categories, making it easier to remember.

The first category is the numbered cards

Clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades numbered from 2-10 points are worth.

The second category is picture cards

Blackjack picture cards are worth 10 points each: King, Queen, and Jack.

The last category is Aces

Aces can be valued at 1 or 11 points in blackjack, making it a crucial factor for players to remember.

Hand Names In Blackjack

There are only a few hand names to remember in blackjack, but knowing them is essential to evaluate your hand and the dealer’s hand during gameplay.

  • Blackjack – Blackjack is when the first two cards dealt equal 21. For example: King + Ace = 21 (Blackjack), or Queen + Ace = 21 (Blackjack)
  • Soft hand – It is worth noting that a hand that includes an Ace can be classified as a soft hand. This is because an Ace (A) can be calculated as either 1 or 11, depending on which value is more advantageous for the player during that particular moment in the game. This means that a hand consisting of a 7 and an Ace can be considered both 8 and 18 simultaneously, which is why it is referred to as a “soft” 18.
  • Hard hand – A hard hand is a hand without an Ace in the combination. For example: King + 7 = Hard 17, or Queen + 5 = Hard 15.
  • Push – A push occurs when the player and dealer have the same hand value, resulting in a draw.
  • Bust – When your hand exceeds 21, it’s called a “bust,” and you lose.

Basic Blackjack Rules Players Need To Remember

Now that we have covered some of the basics of playing blackjack, it is essential to keep a few basic rules in mind. Knowing the payouts you will receive in different blackjack scenarios and making the right moves depending on your hand can be very helpful. Below are the basic rules of blackjack that you should keep in mind:

  • Regular wins pay 1:1. This means that if your cards are closer to 21 than the dealer’s cards, you win.
  • Blackjack wins pay 3:2. This happens when your cards equal 21.
  • If the dealer’s hand is valued at 16 or below, they must hit.
  • You have the choice to hit or stand. If you hit, you add a card to your hand to reach a final hand value of 21 or closest to it. If you stand, you hold your current hand value.
  • You can double down, which means doubling your bet mid-hand and receiving just one more card. However, some casinos limit this option. Doubling down is generally best when you have a hand value of 10 or 11.
  • If you have two cards of equal value, you can choose to split your hand into two different hands for an extra chance to beat the dealer.

It’s important to start with the basic rules before moving on to more advanced ones. Once you have mastered the basics, you can tackle these more complex rules with ease:

  • Surrender – Allows you to fold your hand with 50% of your bet being refunded to you, and the other 50% going to the dealer.
  • Insurance – It is a side bet. It requires you to wager half of your regular stake in addition to your regular bet. The payout is 2:1, but it’s generally not recommended to take insurance in blackjack. The bet can only be placed if the dealer’s up card is an Ace, and it pays only when the dealer has a natural blackjack.
  • Splitting Hands – When you receive two cards of the same number, you can split your hand into two separate hands. This can increase your chances of winning by allowing you to play two different hands instead of one. However, this requires an additional bet.
  • Doubling Down – If you’re feeling confident, you may want to consider doubling down. This strategy involves doubling your initial bet after receiving your first two cards in hopes of winning with the next card.
  • Even Money – If a player has blackjack, they can be paid even money on their blackjack wager instead of making an insurance wager. This is known as the “even money” option, with the player being paid 1 to 1 immediately.

Table And Dealer Rules

When it comes to blackjack, the dealer has limited options compared to players. They can only hit and stand and cannot take insurance, split hands, double down, or surrender.

On the other hand, the rules of the table determine the house edge and are essential knowledge for players. Knowing the rules can help you choose a table with the best odds and increase your chances of winning. Common table rules in online blackjack include payout ratios of 3:2, 6:5, or 2:1, using four to eight decks, dealer standing on soft 17 or hitting on soft 17, and minimum and maximum bet amounts.

It’s important to know that table rules differ from player rules. The variation of these rules greatly influences the house edge. Some player-friendly rules include 3:2 blackjack, dealer standing on soft 17, resplitting aces, and doubling down on soft hands. Unfriendly rules include 6:5 blackjack, dealer hitting on soft 17, no resplitting aces, doubling down (on 9, 10, or 11), and 6-8 decks.

It’s essential to find a good balance of rules when looking for a blackjack table to play. On our website, you can find top-rated live blackjack sites that offer tables that have more player-friendly rules than unfriendly ones, and these tables are the best.

How to Play Blackjack As The Dealer

Understanding how the dealer plays blackjack can help you, as a player, to gauge the game. One of the reasons blackjack has a low house edge is the set of rules that guide the dealers’ play.

In all blackjack games, dealers must hit any total of 16 or below, regardless of the player’s cards. Dealers also stand at 18 or higher. However, when the dealer has a soft 17, a total of 17 that includes an ace, they may either hit or stand.

In some casinos, the dealer must hit a soft 17, while in others, they must stand on a soft 17. The dealer’s inability to make decisions is the biggest reason the player has an advantage in blackjack.

For example, if you bet $10 and are dealt a total of 15 while the dealer has a 6 as their upcard, you may stand. The dealer must take a hit because of the game’s rules, even though they have you beat. Suppose they have a total of 16 and deal themselves a 10, causing them to bust. In that case, you win $10. If the dealer could make decisions, they might decide to stand on the total of 16, but they don’t have that option. This gives a player a fighting chance.

Top Blackjack Strategies For Improving Chances Of Winning

If you’re new to playing blackjack, our comprehensive guide on the top strategies for playing online blackjack will give you plenty of advice on when to hit, stand, or double down. However, here are three quick strategies to help you get started when playing at an online casino:

Choose tables with fewer decks

It’s a basic rule that beginners to blackjack should remember – the fewer the decks, the better the odds of winning. Games with fewer decks have a lower house edge than those with more decks, so you have a higher chance of winning. However, games with more decks have unique rules worth checking out, such as surrender and Double After Split (DAS) options.

Never split two face cards

A common mistake made by rookie players is to split face cards and tens, thinking that it can double their profits. However, it is generally not recommended to split face cards in a game of blackjack. This is because splitting them can lead to a higher risk of losing twice the amount of your original bet while reducing the high probability of winning with a total of 20. Therefore, it is better to stick with the initial hand rather than risk drawing cards that may not be beneficial.

Remember always to split aces and 8s

A common mistake made by rookie players is to split face cards and tens, thinking that it can double their profits. However, it is generally not recommended to split face cards in a game of blackjack. This is because splitting them can lead to a higher risk of losing twice the amount of your original bet while reducing the high probability of winning with a total of 20. Therefore, it is better to stick with the initial hand rather than risk drawing cards that may not be beneficial.

How Do You Count Cards In Blackjack

Most of us would have seen card counting in movies, where a group of nerdy academicians used it to take on a casino in order to rob it by working together. But what most people need to learn is that card counting in blackjack is not illegal at all.

In fact, as an experienced player, utilizing card counting techniques can significantly improve your blackjack strategy. By assessing the cards remaining in the shoe, you can make more informed bets and adjust your approach as needed. Additionally, card counting can help you identify when to implement deviations in your strategy, further increasing your chances of success.

Even though casinos are making efforts to combat card counting, it is still an essential skill for players who wish to win more money from the blackjack tables. You can discover how to count cards in blackjack in our complete guide and see if it’s something you can master.

5 Blackjack Tips For Players

If you are not careful, playing online blackjack can quickly drain your pockets. However, with the right approach, you can play like a pro and get great value from the game.

To achieve this, you need to have a good strategy and use your head instead of your heart. To get a feel for the game and test your strategy, start with free blackjack games online.

Before approaching the virtual blackjack tables, consider these tips to increase your chances of winning at virtual blackjack tables:

Don't bet money you can't afford

Set a budget for yourself before playing and stick to it.

Familiarize yourself with a basic strategy

Ensure your basic strategy guide is easily accessible for quick reference.

Never bet more than 50% of your stack on a single bet

Avoid reckless play and always bet responsibly.

Hold your nerve

Even when things don’t seem to be going your way, stick to your strategy. In the long run, having a clear strategy is the best way to increase your chances of success.

Use a cheat sheet if necessary

It’s perfectly fine to have a cheat sheet with you to the casino. These strategy charts are great for beginners who may need to become more familiar with every hand. Even experienced players can benefit from them at times.

FAQ

How to play blackjack online?

To play blackjack online, sign up for a free account at one of our recommended online casinos. Most top-rated casinos offer Blackjack variants in demo mode, except for live blackjack.

Is it possible to win in blackjack without counting cards?

Players can indeed win at blackjack frequently, but it’s not possible to count cards online. However, in particular offline situations, card counting can help turn the house edge in your favor. Nevertheless, the house edge in blackjack is already so low that you may not even need to use card counting.

What happens if you tie in blackjack?

When a tie occurs in a game of blackjack, the bets are returned to the players without any winnings or losses.

How can I consistently win at blackjack?

It’s only possible to win at blackjack sometimes. Luck plays a crucial role in winning at blackjack. With the presence of house edge, you cannot win every time, regardless of your skill level.

How do side bets work in online blackjack?

When playing blackjack, a side bet is an additional wager placed in a designated area that can result in a bonus payout if won.

Ahmad Al-Azizi
Ahmad Al-Azizi

Greetings, fellow casino enthusiasts! I'm Ahmad Alazizy, a seasoned casino expert deeply passionate about all things related to the thrilling world of gambling. From the time I first stepped into a casino, I knew that my journey would involve delving into the intricacies of games, strategies, and the vibrant casino atmosphere. My mission is to share with you the most effective tips and insights, ranging from understanding the intricacies of various casino games to making informed and successful bets.