Online Blackjack Guide
Table of contents
Just because you aren’t particularly skilled at blackjack or don’t have your skills honed down, doesn’t mean that you can’t get up to speed in a matter of moments, and start playing this hugely popular casino game for real money. In this complete guide to online blackjack, we’ll have you playing online blackjack in minutes. If you’re ready to learn how to play, let’s begin…
Wagering and the Deal
Blackjack is a game which features all standard cards (no jokers) and multiple decks. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand, by getting as close to 21 points as possible. Aces count as either 1s or 11s, face cards count as 10s, and all other cards count for their numerical value. If you go over 21 points, you will lose the game.
To start off with, players must first look at the chip sizes you have available. They will often range from $1 up to $500, but you can put any combination of chips down, provided you stay within the table betting limits, which are usually displayed on the screen.
Once bets have been placed in the betting circle, you can click ‘deal' to receive your first two cards. The dealer will also receive two cards, but unless you are playing a blackjack variant such as Double Exposure, it is likely that only one of the dealer’s cards is visible.
Players have several options open to them after the deal. Players can choose to hit, stand, take insurance bets, double down, or split.
Hitting involves taking one or more cards, to try and get your hand closer to 21 points in value. If you have a hand worth 16 or 17, it is worth standing instead. Players with a particularly good hand may wish to double down. This involves placing a bet equal to the ante (your original stake) and taking just one more card. Alternatively, under certain conditions, players may choose to split their hand into two hands (for another equal value bet). This is usually done with a pair of 10s, to give you two chances of winning and therefore bagging double the wins. Not all games allow splitting, and very few allow you to split aces.
If the dealer has a 10 or an ace, the game may allow you to take an insurance bet. This is basically a bet which usually costs half your original stake, or sometimes the same stake as your original wager and insures you against the dealer having blackjack (an ace and a 10 (or face), essentially a 21-point hand). There is only a 30% chance of them having this hand, so insurance bets are usually not worth it.
If you hit and your total goes over 21, you will bust and will lose your bet or bets.
Winning, Losing and Payouts
Once you have made your decisions, the game will enter its final period. The table dictates the rules that the live dealer must abide by. They will usually stand on 17s and hit on anything below that. When both the player and the dealer have made their decisions (provided they haven’t gone bust), the hands are compared.
The hand with the highest value wins. If that means the dealer wins, you will lose your bets. However, if you beat the dealer, you will pocket wins of 1:1. Should you correctly call an insurance bet (the dealer does have 21), then you will pocket winnings of 2:1 even if you lose the hand.
In the event of a tie, the hands are said to be a push, and bets are returned to the player. A few blackjack variants may have the dealer winning tied hands, though.
Online Blackjack Guide: Variants and Side-Bets
All the rules above can be found in virtually any online blackjack game, although there may be a few twists and turns along the way if you’re playing a blackjack variant. Some blackjack variants allow players to see both dealer’s cards (such as Double Exposure), may allow players to swap cards between their hands (like in Blackjack Switch) or allow the player to surrender and only lose half their bet if they have a particularly bad hand (such as in Blackjack Surrender). Blackjack variants such as these have rules which alter the house edge, and thus the dealer may win ties or may stand/hit with hands worth different values than mentioned above.
Some blackjack games come with side-bets, too. These bets (known as Perfect Pairs) allow players to wager side-bets (often $1) that they will have specific hands, such as pairs. Prizes vary from game to game with these side-bets, so check the paytable of each Perfect Pairs blackjack variant to see what you can win with those hands. Perfect Pairs and other side-bets pay out if you have what is required, meaning you don’t have to win the hand to pocket a win from a side-bet.
Now that you know a few things, it is time to look for a blackjack strategy (we recommend the Martingale System to start off with) and put it to use with free games. Once you’re comfortable, try deploying the same system on real money games. You may be surprised at how effective they can be, even if they don’t guarantee a win. At 888 casino you can play free online blackjack, and at the same page read an intro and tips & tricks to get you started.