Ultimate Online Blackjack Guide
Blackjack has been a player favourite for years, and it’s made a hugely successful transition from land-based tables to the online arena. Find out more about the game here, before you try your luck and put your strategies and skills to the test in our high-quality online Blackjack
A Little Background
The game of Blackjack developed in the 18th
century, and was first played exclusively in the homes of European aristocrats. Even today, it is often called Twenty-One and it was originally known by the French version of that number, which is Vingt-et-Un. The name stems from the fact that 21 is a central part of the game’s rules and strategy.
Later, Vingt-et-Un progressed to French casinos and then casinos across Europe. When the first colonisers made their way to the new world of America, they brought it with them. As Internet-based casinos exploded in the 1990s, so too did online Blackjack. In a nutshell, this is why we find ourselves in the fortunate position of having the game at our fingertips today.
Basic Online Blackjack Rules
The objective in any game of Blackjack is to get a hand total of 21, or as close to that as you possibly can without going any higher. At the same time, you need to beat the dealer’s hand. Number cards from 2 to 10 count as their pip value, while all face cards are worth 10. Depending on what works best with the other cards in the hand, Aces can have a value of 1, or 11.
There are usually 6 tablemates, and anywhere from 1 to 8 decks of cards depending on the variation you’re playing. To start, everyone will place a bet and will then be given 2 cards. The dealer will also get 2 cards, and 1 of them will be a hole card, which faces up and can be seen by everyone.
Based on your understanding of probability and your knowledge of your own hand and the dealer’s hole card, you’ll need to decide what move you want to make. This heady blend of chance and strategy is what land-based and online Blackjack players find so tantalising. You can’t do anything to influence the hand you’re dealt, but you do get to decide what you want to do with it.
The moves you can make are to Hit, Split or Double Down. There are also rules about the moves the dealer has to make, depending on what they are holding. At the end of the round, everyone’s cards are revealed. If you have 21 exactly, you’re holding ‘Blackjack’ and get a fantastic 3:2 return. If your hand total is less than 21 where the dealer’s total is either lower than yours or higher than 21, you win a 1:1 payout.
You bust when your hand total is over 21, and lose the round.
Get dealt another card.
When you’re holding a pair of same-value cards, you can split them into 2 new hands of 1 card each, and get dealt a second card to each new hand.
Double your stake and get dealt another card.
When you are dealt a face or 10 card and an Ace, so that you have Blackjack without having to take any action yourself.
Soft and Hard Hands:
Soft and hard hand totals do and do not include Aces.
You fold before making any moves, forfeiting half your stake but getting the other half back.
The insurance bet is independent of the main wager. You are paid 2:1 if the online Blackjack dealer’s hole card is an Ace.
There is only 1 player in the Blackjack round. Most online games are heads up, although there is an increasing number of multiplayer options.
A slang word referring to face cards.
Charlie rules say that if your total is under 21 and you’re holding a certain number of cards in your hand, you will win even if the dealer holds Blackjack. For example, a 6-Card Charlie rule means that if you hold 6 cards and don’t bust, you win the round.
European vs. American Games
The oldest format of the game is what is commonly known as European Blackjack, and in this format the dealer is dealt just 1 card when players get 2. This card faces down, so you can’t use knowledge of what the card is to make your strategic decisions. The second, face-up dealer card is only dealt after you’ve made your first move.
When European settlers came to America, the game was tweaked to improve player odds. In that version, called American Blackjack, the dealer gets both cards at the same time as the players, and before any moves have been made. Not only can you use the hole card to help you decide what to do, but the dealer also “peeks for Blackjack” if the hole card is an Ace or a 10-value card. This means that they check their face-down card and if they have Blackjack the round is over. You’re spared making any more losing bets and spending any more money.
Land-based and online Blackjack is so popular that it was almost inevitable that it would spread and give rise to different versions over time. They’re all based on either the European or the American format, with a few twists of their own, and have their own challenges and rewards. Below are some of the variations that you have to check out:
- Spanish 21
- Classic Blackjack
- Vegas Strip Blackjack
- Vegas Downtown Blackjack
- Atlantic City Blackjack
- Double Exposure Blackjack
- Super Fun 21
- Get familiar with the strategy charts that are available for all online Blackjack These will tell you what to do in response to the first 2 cards you are dealt, in every possible instance.
- Learn the various betting strategies such as Martingale, D’Alembert, Fibonacci and Oscar’s Grind.
Manage your bankroll by starting each round with a bet that is worth a pre-set portion of your total bankroll.