Blackjack is one of the most widely played games in land-based casinos across the globe. Now, online blackjack has also become a very popular game in online casinos. The popularity of this game online has led to the creation of so many interesting variants including blackjack surrender and multi-hand.
In this guide on how to play online blackjack, we will take a look at the basic rules, provide various tips and strategies, and give some recommendations on the best places to play the game.
How to Play Blackjack: Basic Rules
The objective of this game is to beat your dealer. If the total value of your cards is greater than that of the dealer without exceeding 21, you win. If your hand goes higher than 21, you “bust”, which means you lose. In Blackjack, you must know the value each card is worth.
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Let’s Talk About Card Values in Blackjack
The cards from 2 through 10 are worth their exact face value while all the face cards – King, Queen and Jack are worth 10. An ace can have two values – it is either worth 1 or 11.
In this game, a hand that has an ace which is counted as 11 instead of 1 is known as a “soft hand” because its value can change. For instance, an ace and a four is called a “soft 15”. On the other hand, a hand that does not have an ace is known as a “hard hand” because it has just one value.
However, if you draw to a soft hand and the total value of the three cards plus the ace is over 21, the hand automatically becomes a hard hand or else it will bust you. For instance, if you originally received an ace and a four, you can have either 5 or 15. If you then draw an eight, you will have a hard 13 because counting your ace as 11 will give a total value of 23, which will bust you.
How to Start an Online Blackjack Game
In an online blackjack game, after you place your bet, the dealer will give you and other players two cards with their face opened. The dealer will also get a card turned face down. (Note that there are some variations of this game that allow the dealer to receive two cards one turned down and the other facing up.)
If the total value of the cards you receive is equivalent to 21 (for example if you receive a 10 and an ace), you immediately have blackjack and the dealer will pay you the odds of 3/2 on your initial bet.
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How to Play Your Hand
The ideal situation is to make blackjack at the beginning with your first two cards. But if you don't make this jackpot, you have a couple of options.
First, you may choose to “stand”. In this case, you will not take any more cards and play will move to another player and then to the dealer. You may also choose to “hit” - this means you will take one more card to move your total nearer to 21. You are free to continue hitting till you make blackjack, go bust, or decide to stand.
If you are fortunate to have two of the same type of cards dealt to you, you may choose to split. That means you can split the cards into two, double the bet, and play the hands differently, taking one more card for each hand. This is known as “double down”.
The dealer's participation in the game makes it more interesting. When it is his turn, he turns his card face up and then deals himself another card. What he does next will depend on the total value of the two cards.
If the total is 16 or lower, he must hit but if it is 18 or higher, he must stand. With a total of 17 (a hard 17), the dealer must also stand. But if it is a soft 17, he must hit. However, rules may vary from one online casino to another, so you must ensure that you read the rules properly before you start playing.
Insurance is a controversial topic in the blackjack game. But if you are just learning how to play the game, you should know what it means. If the dealer's first card is an ace, you have the option of taking insurance.
Insurance in blackjack means that you pay another bet that is up to half of the initial one just in case the next card the dealer receives makes him a blackjack. If this happens, you will win 2/1 on your insurance bet. But if the second card does not give the dealer a blackjack, you will lose your money.
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Time to Look at Some Good Tips and Strategies
Here are some strategies and tips that will help anyone who is just starting out with online blackjack. They will help you to avoid some obvious mistakes and enable you to have more fun with the game.
1. Set a Bankroll
A bankroll is a fixed amount of money that you set aside for playing games like blackjack. This money should be a portion of your disposable income for the month. It should not affect your ability to pay your bills or take care of essential needs if you lose it. It should be a percentage the money which you will normally spend on hobbies and entertainment.
2. Use the Practice Mode to Learn
When you get to any casino that offers online blackjack, you should start by learning how to use their interface with their practice mode or free version. To see it for yourself, simply visit any online casino listed below, open a free account, and head to their blackjack tables. Once there, you will get the chance to try many free blackjack variants.
Remember that there are many variations of this game so make sure you use the free-play version as an opportunity to have a feel for each casino's version before you put in real money.
3. Use a Strategy Chart or Cheat sheet
Print out a basic blackjack strategy sheet and master how to use it. Most of these cheat sheets are color-coded and easy to understand.
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Using a strategy sheet allows you to obtain instant advice to cover the most common situations you will encounter during a game and help you minimize losses. Keep the strategy sheet by your side during practice sessions as well as when you bet with real money.
4. Master the Classic Blackjack First
When you are learning how to play online blackjack, master the classic blackjack first before taking on any of the exotic variants. Although these variants may seem to be more exciting, the basic version is still one of the best and most popular versions.
If you master one version at a time, you will be able to transfer some of the skills you have mastered to the next variant.
5. Double on 10 and 11
Make it a habit to double down when you have a total of 11. If your dealer has a hand of 9 or lower, you may also double with a hand of 10. Bear in mind that about 30 percent of the cards in the deck have a value of 10 so you have a chance of one out of three of hitting 20 or 21 with a hand of 11 or 10. You can double your bet since you are at an advantage.
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How to Find a Good Site for Online Blackjack
Here are some basic recommendations that will help you locate a good place to play blackjack. But you should also develop a checklist of features to look for when searching for good online blackjack casinos.
First, ensure that the website has a safe and secure system (SSL encryption with https in the web address bar) for receiving and transferring your bank or credit card details.
The best casinos are also independently regulated and audited. In fact, these sites have their random number generators tested and audited to ensure fair game play. In addition to regular blackjack, these sites also have a wide variety of games including variants of blackjack that you can play.
Suggested blackjack sites:
Here are some of the best casinos where you should play online blackjack games: