Blackjack is one of the most popular games found at any casino, regardless of whether the casino is online or offline. There are many reasons for this. However, the two that stand above all others are the facts that it’s exhilarating to play and that it’s possible to win some serious money if you know exactly what you’re doing.
Thanks to blackjack’s popularity, you’ll find that it’s offered at pretty much every online casino out there. You can read through our reviews to find the best place to play this game. However, if you’re not sure about how to play blackjack, keep on reading, as we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about this insanely exciting casino classic.
Learning To Play Blackjack
Firstly, we’re going to look at how to play the standard version of blackjack online. Before you start, you’ll need to find a top casino – something you can do by reading our casino reviews – and then sign up. Once you’ve deposited some money, you can start the blackjack game and begin playing.
Before looking at the gameplay, it’s essential to understand the game’s goal, and it’s a simple one: to get closer to 21 than the dealer, without ever going over. All cards are valued at their face value, except for the picture cards, all of which have a value of 10, and the aces, which can be worth either 1 or 11.
If you manage to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over the magic number, you’ll double your money. Get Blackjack, which is when your first two cards total 21, and you’ll generally win a prize worth 3:2. Lose, and you won’t win anything.
Now you know the aim of the game, let’s run through the gameplay. You’ll first need to place a bet, and most casinos allow you to bet anything from a few pence through to hundreds of pounds. Once you’ve placed your bet, you’ll receive two cards. The dealer will also usually receive two cards; however, only one will be showing.
You now need to do one of the following actions:
- Hit. This means that you receive another card.
- Stand. This is when you are happy with your hand and don’t want any more cards.
- Double. If you have a particularly good starting hand, you might want to double. This sees you doubling your bet and then receiving one additional card. You should always double on 11 unless the dealer is showing an ace.
- Split. If you have been dealt two cards of equal value, you can split. You’ll then create two hands by splitting the cards, and you’ll need to make another bet of equal value to your initial bet to do so. You then play each hand as its own individual hand. You should always split aces and eights.
- Insurance. Some games will allow you to take insurance if the dealer is showing an ace. You place a wager equal to your original bet and will double the bet if the dealer has blackjack. Experienced players seldom take insurance.
- Surrender. Some games also offer a surrender option. Instead of choosing to keep playing and potentially win, you can surrender your cards and receive half your initial bet back. The other half is lost. Only consider surrendering if you have 15 and the dealer is showing a 10-value card, or if you have 16 and the dealer is showing a 10-value card or an ace.
The only time you won’t need to make a decision is when you’re dealt Blackjack, which is a hand consisting of an ace and a 10-value card, and the dealer isn’t showing an ace. If you get this, you will automatically receive a prize worth 3:2. If the dealer shows an ace, they will reveal their second card when all other players have taken their turn. If they don’t have Blackjack, you’ll receive a prize worth 3:2; however, if they do, you’ll tie and will receive your money back.
It’s important to remember that you will lose automatically if you go over 21, even if the dealer also goes above 21. If this happens at a live table, you’ll then need to wait for the next hand to start. At standard online blackjack games, you’ll be able to start a new hand immediately.
Once you have decided to stand, the dealer will take their turn. They will also try to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. If they do exceed 21, you’ll win, providing you haven’t gone over 21 as well. The dealer must follow specific rules while playing. For example, in many games, the dealer must stand on 17 or higher.
Once the dealer has finished, you’ll be able to see whether you’ve won or lost. After any money is paid out, the cards are dealt again, and you’ll play another hand. Each game should only take a minute or so, so expect to play plenty of hands during every blackjack session.
Payouts in Blackjack
How much money can you win playing blackjack online? Well, the prizes are pretty small when compared to other games. However, the chances of winning each hand are almost 50/50, so you should win pretty often.
If you beat the dealer, you will double your money. So, bet £10 and win, and you’ll receive £20 back into your online casino account. If you win with Blackjack, which is a hand featuring an ace and a 10-value card, you’ll win a prize worth 3:2. This means if you bet £10 and get Blackjack, you’ll win £25 back. If the dealer beats you, you’ll lose all the money you staked. Should there be a tie, you will receive your stake back.
When it comes to split hands, you will play them just like you had two individual hands. So, if you bet £10 on each hand and win just one, you’ll win £20 for the winning hand, but lose your stake for the losing hand. This means you’d come out even.
Popular Blackjack Variations
As with many online casino games, there are many different variations of blackjack. Some of these vary wildly from the original game, while others only have slight tweaks to their rules. Take a look below to find out about five of the most popular blackjack variations found at online casinos.
First up is Blackjack Switch, which has a big difference from standard blackjack: in Blackjack Switch, you make two bets, and you are initially dealt two hands instead of one. The player can then switch the top two cards between hands if they want to. For example, if the player was dealt 5-K and Q-6, they might decide to switch the cards, so they had K-Q and 5-6, which are much stronger hands.
After switching the cards, the two hands are played as they would be in regular blackjack. Should the dealer get 22, the hand will be declared a tie unless the player has Blackjack. When a player does get Blackjack, they’ll only double their money – in standard blackjack, they’d win a prize worth 3:2.
Super Fun 21
Super Fun 21 is another variation of blackjack. However, there are a few tweaks to the rules. The main difference is that the player will win if they manage to score 20 or less with a hand of six cards or more – this will even win if the dealer manages to get Blackjack. Additionally, a player will automatically win a prize of 2:1 if they manage to get 21 using five cards or more unless they’ve doubled down.
It’s also often the case that a player will win a prize worth 2:1 when they get Blackjack containing just diamonds. All other Blackjacks will be paid out at even money. Hands can also be split up to four times, plus it is possible to double down at any point in a hand.
At first glance, it looks like Spanish 21 is pretty similar to standard blackjack until you spot one crucial difference: in Spanish 21, there are no 10s in the deck. It is also possible to split multiple times in Spanish 21, plus the payout for Blackjack is even money, and not 3:2 as you’ll find in standard blackjack. However, if both you and the dealer get Blackjack, you will win. Also, if you manage to get 21 using any combination of cards, you will always win. It’s much more challenging to hit Blackjack in Spanish 21, thanks to the absence of all the 10s from the deck.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
As the name suggests, Vegas Strip Blackjack hails from Sin City. It doesn’t differ hugely from standard blackjack, but there have been a couple of tweaks to the rules. The most important to remember is that it’s possible to split any pair of 10-value cards – in standard blackjack, the two cards have to be identical values. Also, getting 21 after splitting aces doesn’t count as Blackjack. There are no other significant differences between Vegas Strip Blackjack and standard blackjack.
Atlantic City Blackjack
The final popular variation of blackjack to look at is Atlantic City Blackjack, which also doesn’t have a vast number of differences from the standard game. The only significant difference to be aware of is that Atlantic City Blackjack allows late surrender. This means that it is possible to surrender after the dealer has checked for Blackjack. This rule benefits players and contributes towards Atlantic City Blackjack having one of the best RTPs of all blackjack variations.
Blackjack Side Bets Explained
If the excitement of blackjack isn’t enough, you’ll also find that many blackjack games also offer a side bet to you. These side bets come in various forms and aren’t mandatory – instead, you can choose whether to bet on them. The side bet has nothing to do with your main bet. This means you can lose the side bet but still win your main bet or vice versa.
There are a few different side bets you could find at the blackjack table. Take a look below to find out about the more popular ones.
- Perfect Pairs. The player receives a prize of 5:1 if they’re dealt any pair and a prize of 12:1 for a pair that are the same colour. Getting a Perfect Pair – a pair of exactly the same cards – leads to an award of 25:1.
- 21+3. This bet looks at both cards initially dealt to the player and the first card dealt to the dealer. If they form a flush, there’s a payout of 5:1, while a straight leads to a prize of 10:1. Three-of-a-kind pays 30:1, and a straight flush pays 40:1. Finally, three-of-a-kind with all cards the same suit leads to a prize worth 100:1.
- Lucky Ladies. If the player’s initial cards add up to 20 and are unsuited, they win a prize of 4:1, while suited cards that add up to 20 pay a prize of 20:1. A pair of cards of identical rank and suit that add up to 20 pay 25:1, and two queens of hearts pay 200:1. Finally, the player wins 1,000:1 if they get two queens of hearts and the dealer has Blackjack.
Side bets are undoubtedly a way to add even more excitement to the game. However, you should be aware that they nearly always have a high house edge – far higher than the standard blackjack game. This means that experienced players usually avoid placing side bets, regardless of how large the potential prizes could be. Over time, those playing side bets are almost sure to lose more than those simply playing the main blackjack game.
Live Dealer Blackjack
Nowadays, many online casinos are offering live dealer blackjack to their players. This is blackjack played with a real dealer, beamed to your screen live using a webcam. You’re able to interact with the dealer and other players at the table, meaning that live dealer blackjack is the most realistic way to play without having to set foot in a casino.
Playing live blackjack is simple: just click on the digital overlay to make decisions, and the dealer will instantly see these and react accordingly. As with all other casino games, your prize will be automatically added to your casino account balance if you win.
Find the Best Casino with Blackjack Today
As you can see, blackjack is one of the most exciting games around. Is it any wonder it’s become one of the most popular games are casinos, both online and offline? If you’d like to start playing this fantastic game, you now simply have to find the right casino for you – something you can do by reading through our detailed online casino reviews. Why not take a look today?