Top Blackjack Casino Sites
*18+ T&Cs apply to each offer. Click "PLAY NOW" for more information
Online Casino Blackjack 101 – Basic Rules and Terminology
The game begins simple enough – two cards will be dealt to both the player and the dealer. By combining the numerical value of the cards, the goal of the game is to reach a count of 21. After the initial draw, a player will be given a choice to draw additional cards, while the dealer is usually obliged to draw cards until their hand reaches a minimum card count of 17. If any of the participants in the game goes over a hand-count of 21 or has less than their opponent, they will lose the round. You can play Blackjack now pretty much everywhere and try out those basic mechanics yourself.
The Common Blackjack Words You Will Hear
Every action which is taking place during a round, has a specific word that describes it. For example, to "hit" means to take another card. To "stand" means that a player doesn't want any more cards, and wants to end their turn - so the game can move on to the decision phase of the next participant (or dealer). "Double down" refers to the action of increasing a player's bet 100%, and then immediately drawing only one card. If a player double's down, their turn will be automatically ended, once the dealer has provided the additional card.
When it comes to "splitting", this refers to the action of separating an initial hand into two – once the two cards are separated, a dealer will place an additional card for each one on the board, essentially forming two new hands. In order for the split mechanic to become available, a player's hand needs to have two cards of the same type (a pair).
The last most common Blackjack phrase is "surrender". It's a game option that allows players to forfeit half of their initial bet, in order to fold their hand, and begin a new round. Remember that playing Blackjack for money can be risky, so it is advisable that you are aware of the general terminology. Here are a few more game terms you should know about:
- Natural Blackjack – when the initial hand that is dealt, is made up of an Ace, and a face value card resulting in a value of 21.
- Push – is when a player and the dealer have the same value of cards. When this draw mechanic occurs, players receive their bets back.
- Hole Card – the second card that is dealt to the dealer, which is face down.
- Auto Win - a condition under which a player wins the round, disregarding any other rules.
Important Game Statistics
Blackjack is often preferred by experienced casino players, because it is quite favorable when it comes to its RTP rate – some studies have pointed out that the RTP of a classic Blackjack online game can reach up to 99.5%! Naturally, this percentage will vary depending on the type of Blackjack that is being played. Even the number of decks used in a specific game can affect the RTP value. Usually, a game of Blackjack can contain anywhere from 1 to 8 decks in the "shoe" (a card container-dispenser).
Basic and Advanced Strategies When Playing Blackjack
Card counting is one of the most difficult, yet most effective ways of winning in Blackjack. The efficiency of the strategy has been proven in land-based casinos; however, things sit differently when it comes to online casino Blackjack. Essentially, card counting allows the players to memorize which cards have been played out, making better predictions and adjusting their betting strategy for a more profitable approach. Although card counting is not illegal, it is shunned by land-based casinos worldwide.
On the other hand, there are accepted "strategy charts" that tell the player what to do when they are presented with a specific hand. Those charts are allowed for use in both online and land-based casinos, and are usually implemented by players who have started learning the game. Bear in mind that basic strategy charts will be different, and their type will be determined by the number of decks used by the particular Blackjack game variant. Here is how basic strategy charts look:
When playing Blackjack online for money, it is highly advisable that you have a strategy in mind. Whether you're trying to come up with a particular "hit" or "stand" strategy or you want to try out a specific betting tactic, make sure to always start with a small amount of cash. Regardless of how much you know about the BJ genre, you need to expect to lose some rounds. With training and perseverance, you can quickly become adept at playing real online Blackjack efficiently. Who knows, you might even make a profit!
In online Blackjack real money can be won or lost very quickly - which is why you always need to be focused when playing, especially on the features and mechanics of the particular BJ you've chosen. Not all strategies will work for your favorite Blackjack variant, which is why it is important to take the time and make sure that you possess the proper knowledge that will assist you in the creation of a viable gameplay plan.
Before you play Blackjack for real money, you also need to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of the particular BJ version you're interested in. In most cases, the game's positive sides will help you to create or modify your gameplay strategy and maybe provide you with the edge you're looking for to get ahead. Last but not least, it is perhaps the most important strategy tip of all - do not underestimate online Blackjack gambling!
The best online Blackjack comes in many variations, and while they all preserve the main goal of "21", they differ by the number of additional mechanics they introduce. With that being said, there are two types of variants out there – those who have additional rules and mechanics, and those with limited features. Below, you can read more about the most played Blackjack variants and the features that make them special.
In classic Blackjack, a game round begins with two cards being dealt to the player, and only one face-up card to the dealer; however, in the American version of the game, things are a bit different. In American Blackjack, both the player and dealer are given two cards from the get-go, with the dealer receiving one face up and one face down card. This version of the game also has the Insurance and Surrender features, and a split can be performed up to 3 times.
Although some players prefer this type of rule, others do not – mainly because of the fact that the dealer has the chance of achieving a Natural Blackjack. What this means, is that if the dealer registers a Natural Blackjack hand, the player will lose, unless their initial hand can also produce a natural count of 21. Regardless of this mechanic, American Blackjack has an estimated house edge range between 0.31% and 0.35%. The number of decks used in American Blackjack can reach up to 8.
Just like its American counterpart, the European Blackjack game can feature between 2 and 8 decks. One of the things that make this version of Blackjack preferable, is that the dealer is initially given only one card, which gives a chance to secure a win (or a push), if they hit a natural Blackjack. Although this is a significant benefit, the set of rules in the European version of the game is considered to be very strict.
The first major difference in rules comes from the split mechanic. In European Blackjack, a split can be performed only once, and solely if a player's hand is made up of two of a kind cards (e.g., two jacks, two tens, etc.). This means, that you won't be able to split a 10 and a Jack if you wanted to. With that being said, it doesn't come as a surprise that European Blackjack has an estimated house edge of approximately 0.62%.
Often referred to as "British Blackjack", Pontoon is a variant of the popular game of 21, with its own set of specific rules and conditions. Because fans and players passionately insist that Pontoon is a completely different game, this is why it also has its own terminology. With that being said, here is what we mean:
- Pontoon – is a word for a "Natural Blackjack".
- Twist – means to "hit" (request another card).
- Stick – a word for "stand", which also ends the player's turn.
- Double Down – also known as "early surrender".
- Five-Card Trick – when a player has managed to achieve 21 by drawing five cards.
Although most card players often attribute Pontoon to be a variant of Blackjack, the former is officially regarded as its own, separate game because of the extensive number of rules it has, which separates it from the classic alliteration of the 21 game genre. With that being said, the first thing we should mention, is that Pontoon has no hole card. Although this can be perceived as a positive benefit, players are exposed to a greater risk of losing a round after performing a split.
Furthermore, there is no "Push rule" in Pontoon, meaning that if you and the dealer both have the same score, the player still loses their bet. Another interesting difference, comes in the form of the cards used in the decks. The game can feature from two to eight decks; however, all cards with a number 10 are taken out of them, leaving only face cards to have a value of 10 points.
This is done in land-based gambling establishments; however, there are versions of Pontoon that still use a full set of cards. Those versions are usually found in online casinos. One of the biggest positives in Pontoon, is if a player gets a count of 21 from their cards, they instantly win and are paid out - essentially canceling the dealer's turn.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack
"Perfect Pairs" (PP) is another popular variant of the Blackjack genre. Fundamentally, Perfect Pairs is American Blackjack; however, with three additional side bets. Before each round, a player can choose to place an additional bet on the PP field. There are three distinct scenarios, where pairs can appear, and the size of any payout will depend on what type of pairs a player receives. When you play Blackjack online for money, you can expect odds like these:
- 30:1 - Perfect Pair, consisting of the same two cards (Two Queens of Hearts, Two Kings of Spades, Two Nines of Diamonds, etc.).
- 12:1 - Colored Pair, consisting of two cards with the same value, but different suits of the same color (Aces of Diamond and Heart, Jacks of Spade and Clubs, etc.).
- 5:1 - Mixed Pair consists of two cards that are of the same value, but mixed colors and suits.
As a type of a "clone" to the American version of the card game, the Perfect Pairs does have, a "push" rule. Even with the numerous benefits that come from its parent version, Blackjack Perfect Pairs is often considered to be one of the least popular games, among experienced players. It is because of the small chance of any pairs appearing, the house edge is estimated to be between 2% and 8%, making this variant of Blackjack one of the least profitable ones to play.
Advantages of Playing Blackjack Online
A casino game's transition from the land-based scene to virtual space is not always smooth, but we can definitely say that this is not the case for the Blackjack genre. In some cases, the online version of the game appears to be much better than any land-based versions. Playing online Blackjack has the ultimate level of convenience since you can do it either from the comfort of your own home or while on the go, via your preferred mobile device.
Another benefit of online Blackjack is the automation of the overall process. You don't have to wait for a real dealer to deal or take away any cards. The same can be said about processing bets and payouts - every online Blackjack game is developed with the idea of providing a fully streamlined and optimized gameplay.
The availability factor is huge in this genre! One of the best things about BJ is that you can find it practically everywhere! Although there are specialized Blackjack sites that offer a huge variety of BJ types, even the smallest online casino will have at least one variant from this popular card game genre.
You do need to remember that not all is "glitz and glamour", mainly because of how the game is made. One of those drawbacks is also one of its benefits - the gameplay speed. Because of the game's streamlined design, players, especially newbies, might go through their budget much faster than they would if they are playing in a land-based casino. On a different note, online Blackjack continues to become more popular for the fact that it offers the variety which players are looking for. It's an all-known fact, that even big casinos tend to offer only a single type of the Blackjack card game, so if you're looking for a bit fancier way to play, then you will easily find it online.
Live Blackjack is the closest thing that comes to visiting a real casino, from the comfort of your home! All online casinos that provide their players with live dealer games are known to offer multiple variants of the genre. Some of the biggest Blackjack live dealer providers include Evolution, ViG (Visionary iGaming), Playtech, Pragmatic Play Live, and many others.
Players who are able to access online casinos that offer live Blackjack often prefer to do so, mainly because of two important reasons. The first one is the gameplay experience, and the second - a much broader betting range. If you want to play real Blackjack without having to leave your house, opening the live dealer lobby of any live casino will make that happen!
Top 3 Casinos for Blackjack
*18+ T&Cs apply to each offer.
If you're interested in mobile Blackjack games, you don't need to look very far. Every variant you will find in an online casino, is HTML5 optimized - which means that you will be able to play a Blackjack game on any Android and iOS-based device. Both online gambling websites and iGaming software developers advise players to always use smartphones and tablets with updated browser apps, for an optimal gameplay experience.
Prior to diving into any Blackjack bonus that is offered in an online casino, you need to be aware of something very important – promotions for this specific card game are usually rare. Because this card game is considered to have the lowest house edge when compared to any other casino games, any bonuses for it usually come out once in a blue moon.
Gambling establishments, in particular, want to make things a bit more challenging for the player – what this means is that if a promotion would be released for any Blackjack game, you should expect a number of terms and conditions. Bear in mind that one of the most common rules on any bonus which would apply to Blackjack, is a limitation on the winnings which are attained from the use of the bonus.
Once any Blackjack bonus has been claimed, the contribution rate of any BJ bets is expected to be much lower than those made on slots. On average, Blackjack bets contribute 25% of their value for the completion of a bonus. Bear in mind that not all casinos will include the Blackjack genre in the contribution scheme, and those that do, usually allow the most classic version of the game - meaning that other variants such as Pontoon, BJ Switch, and others, will be excluded.
If you've never experienced the game before and you want to play Blackjack online for real money, the most valuable tip we can give you is this – experience this card genre in demo mode first. All variants available online can be tried for free, without the risk of losing actual cash. On the other hand, when it comes to online Blackjack, real money bets reveal the game's true spirit in the best manner possible! If you feel comfortable with spending a few bucks, you will feel the true stakes of the game.