Online blackjack has attracted a massive player audience worldwide since the rise of online casinos. The game’s wide appeal is largely due to its simple, yet extremely exciting nature.
Blackjack is not just based on random luck. It does also require you to master certain skills and knowledge to win. Besides, it provides some of the lowest house edges compared to other casino games.
If you are ready to play for real, see our selection of the top blackjack sites right on this page. In our blackjack guide we will explore in detail all the proven tips and tricks to help you become a better online blackjack player.
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Your goal as a player is to get as close to 21 points as possible without going over. Your hand should also be higher than that of the dealer. Whoever’s card value goes beyond 21, loses.
Blackjack Game Explained
In terms of gameplay, online blackjack uses the conventional card deck without taking into consideration the suits. The rules are the following:
Cards 2 through 10 are regarded for their face value, e.g. 2 counts as 2 points, 9 counts as 9 points, etc.
J, Q, and K are worth 10 points.
The value of A varies – it can be counted either as 1 or as 11, depending on which value is better for the player/dealer.
The table setting varies. Usually, it will seat between 5 to 12 players. Nonetheless, you will be playing against the dealer only, and your goal will be to beat them.
You win if
Your hand has a higher value than the dealer’s.
The dealer draws a hand with a value exceeding 21.
You draw 21 on your first two cards, while the dealer does not.
You lose if:
Your hand’s value exceeds 21.
At the end of the round, the dealer’s hand is of greater value than yours.
Blackjack Types of Bets
Once the cards are dealt, you have several options on how to proceed:
Hit: Depending on the current value of your cards, request to draw cards until you either decide to stand or you go over 21 (go bust).
Stand: If your cards’ value is already high enough, you can ask the dealer to move on to the next player without requesting any more cards.
Double: Again, depending on your cards’ value and your strategy, you may decide to double your bet and get one more card.
Split: If you are dealt two cards with the same value, you can split them, which will allow you to play with two separate hands.
Surrender: This is a step you might take if you are not satisfied with your cards. It gives you the chance to surrender them for half of your wager’s worth.
Side bets: These vary according to the particular casino, but in general you can place them along with the original wager. We will explain them in more detail below.
Blackjack Side Bets
Blackjack side bets are additional bets you can make during the standard game. They require you to predict which cards you and/or the dealer will receive.
💡Tip: While side bets might be tempting to many because of the extra payout opportunities they provide, you have to bear in mind that these are purely based on luck. Therefore, if you are a strategic player, you might want to think twice before resorting to side bets.
Let us explain it this way: Because of the low house edge, you are unlikely to lose big on blackjack. However, precisely for the same reason, you cannot expect to win great amounts of money.
In the standard play, your house edge will most commonly vary between 0.5 % – 2.0 %. In comparison, most side bets boast a house edge of 10+ %. Thus, while side bets obviously increase your potential payout levels, they also make it easier for you to lose greater amounts of money.
Types of Side Bets
With that being said, let us look at the most common blackjack side bets:
This is the most popular blackjack side bet. The idea is that if the dealer’s upcard is an A, you can get insurance by surrendering half of your bet. This wager pays out at 2:1 and reduces the overall house edge.
As the name implies, this wager will pay out only if you have two-of-a-kind of the following combos:
Mixed pair (two same-value cards from different suits and colors)
Colored pair (two same-value, same-color cards)
Perfect pair (a pair of the same cards)
This wager takes into account the player’s two cards as well as the dealer’s face-up card and pays out in several cases:
Flush (three cards of the same suit)
Straight (three cards in a numbered sequence)
Three-of-a-kind (your two and the dealer’s upturned card are of the same number or face card value)
Straight flush (three consecutive cards of the same suit)
Suited triple (three cards of the same number and the same suit)
Other side bets
Royal match (any suited player’s cards or suited K and Q) – pays 5:2 and 25:1, respectively.
Over/Under 13 (the sum of the player’s cards is less than or greater than 13) – pays even money. Some casinos will allow you to bet on 13 exactly, as well.
Super sevens (one or more 7s are dealt in the player’s cards) – pays 3:1 for one 7, 50:1 for two unsuited 7s, 100: 1 for two suited 7s, 500:1 for three unsuited 7s, and 5000:1 for three suited 7s.
Lucky ladies (player’s cards add up to 20) – pays 4:1 for an unsuited 20, 10:1 for a suited 20, 25:1 for a matched 20 of the same rank and suit, 200:1 for two queens of hearts, and 1000:1 for two queens of hearts when the dealer has blackjack.
The online casino industry is highly developed thanks to today’s advanced digital technologies. Thus, online blackjack comes in many variations, and it is important to be able to distinguish between the different types of gameplay.
You will find below an inclusive overview of the most common kinds of blackjack games:
Classic blackjack is simply the standard game we have discussed so far in this review. If you follow our guidelines, you should be fully prepared to try it.
This version also follows the game’s basic rules. The only difference is that you can play with multiple hands at once, which increases your winning chances.
Single Deck Blackjack
The name pretty much says it all. This is a blackjack game where you play with a single deck of cards following the standard rules.
This is an exciting type of blackjack gameplay, where you play with two hands from six decks of cards that are dealt face up. Please note that you must place equal wagers on both hands and you can only switch the second (top) card dealt with each hand for other cards.
This is another blackjack version played according to the classic rules. The only difference is that it offers a side bet with a progressive jackpot.
In European blackjack, the dealer only has their first card upturned. The second one is not revealed until all players at the table have played their hands.
According to the American rules, if the dealer shows an A, you can get insurance before they reveal their second card. If they do not make blackjack, you will lose the insurance wager. However, if they do, you lose your initial bet only to get a 2:1 payout on your insurance.
Calculating your winning probabilities is not an easy task in blackjack, as this is a very dynamic game, where the odds are constantly shifting depending on what hands you and the dealer have.
💡Remember: when playing blackjack, the dealer is always in a slightly more favorable position than you.
The number of decks with which a game is played also affects the probabilities, along with other factors, such as certain casino-imposed rules.
Let’s take a look at some basic odds stipulations. The tables below shows your and dealers’ bust probability when choosing a hit after you have received your first two cards.
Player’s Bust Probability
11 or lower
Dealer’s Bust Probability
So what are the odds?
Generally, you have a 42.22 % chance to win a blackjack game. Please note, however, that the house’s odds are not 57.78 %. The reason is that approximately 8.48 % of all blackjack games end in a push (tie). Thus, the loss probability comes at 49.10 %.
What is the Probability of Getting Blackjack?
You might also be wondering about the chances of getting a blackjack. When playing blackjack with a single deck, the odds of being dealt blackjack stand at 32/663, or 4.83%.That is around 1 in every 20 hands.
What about RNG Powered Blackjack?
While this probability may fluctuate if the deck is not reset following each hand, it remains the same when you play online blackjack in an RNG-powered game. The reason is that in this case, you are always dealt hands from a standard 52-card deck.
How to increase your odds?
Increasing the number of decks does not change the odds significantly, although they can mildly decrease. For example, being dealt from two decks gives you a 4.78 % chance, while six decks provide for 4.75 %. One-hundred decks reduce the probability to 4.74 %.
Blackjack odds are highly volatile. Therefore, you have to have a sound strategy to increase your winning chances.
The House Edge
Before we proceed to the most common tips on improving your odds, let us first discuss the house edge. This will help you further understand why it is important to have a strategy.
In blackjack, as in all casino games, the house always has an advantage. The good news is that the house edge for blackjack can be reduced to anywhere between 0.2 % – 0.5 % when using basic strategy.
Do Advanced tactics help?
Players with advanced tactics may lower it even further. However, it will never go down to zero. In comparison, if you employ no strategy at all and rely on pure luck, the house edge can go as high as 2+ %.
How to reduce the house edge
Never split a pair of 5s or 10s.
While splitting a pair may reduce the house edge in most cases, it is never advisable to do so when you have two 5s or 10s.
Always double down on 11
Doubling down is a decision you might take depending on the hands you and the dealer have. However, a rule of thumb is to always double down on 11.
Split pairs of 8s and Aces.
Splitting a pair of 8s and Aces increases your winning odds.
Double down on 8 if the dealer has a 5 or 6 upcard in a single deck
Since 5 and 6 upcards are low-value hands for the dealer, it is a good idea to double up if you have an 8.
Stand on Hard 16 against a 10
IIf the dealer has an upcard of 10, you should either surrender or stand at hard 16.
Hit a Hard 12 against a 2 or a 3.
This strategy is one of the exceptions that will maximize your opportunities.
Hit a Soft 18 against 9, 10, or Ace
Another proven strategy is to hit a Soft 18 if the dealer’s upcard is a 9, 10, or an A.
The conservative strategy suggests that you start from the smallest possible bet and increase it by a single unit only after you win. If you lose, you should return to your initial wager.
This approach invites you to play carefully and not be tempted to pursue massive winnings. Specialists recommend it for new players specifically.
The Martingale Strategy
The Martingale Strategy recommends that you double your wager every time you lose. Thus, it states, when a win finally comes, it will compensate for the losses.
This is an expensive strategy beginners should avoid. Most players who use it are high-risk-takers that are focused on winning big money and do not fear significant losses.
You can see the martingale strategy bet example in our online roulette guide. The same bet sequence can be applied to blackjack as well.
1-3-2-6 Blackjack Betting System
This is a moderate strategy, where the numbers in the title suggest how you should bet upon winning a blackjack hand.
The sequence gets triggered with your first win and ends in your first loss. If you wish to continue your play, you should restart it.
How to Play Online Blackjack in 5 Quick Steps
Now that we have discussed everything you need to know in detail, let us proceed to the actual process of getting started playing blackjack for real money:
Pick an online casino
There is a tremendous variety of casinos that offer online blackjack. To make the right choice, you need to look at the game quality, overall website security, payment safety, customer support availability, and a few other important factors.
Get a proper welcome bonus
A good welcome bonus can help you advance your play and increase your winning opportunities. Therefore, make sure to get a generous deal that is not attached to any misleading terms.
Choose your blackjack variation
As we already elaborated, online blackjack comes in many shapes and forms. To select the right game for you, please click on the “Info” button inside the game and read the rules.
Prepare a strategy
Once you get familiar with the game’s rules, you can consider any of the strategies discussed above and tweak them if necessary to ensure better results.
Make a deposit and go for it
The last step before starting to play is to simply adjust your bet and set off on the exciting journey of playing online blackjack. We always recommend that you be conservative with your initial wager.
Online Blackjack Tips
TIP 1: Do not spend money on “insurance”
The insurance bet is an unnecessary hassle that will only help you lose more money.
Tip 2: Prefer the 3:2 payout
Games with the standard 3:2 payout are much more favorable than those that give you 6:5.
Tip 3: Read the rules
With so many blackjack variations out there, you need to make sure you understand the particular set of rules of each game you are about to play. To access the rules, you can click the “Info” icon in the game.
Tip 4: Practice in demo mode
It is very important to try the games you intend to play in demo mode first. In this way, you will be able to advance your skills and decide which variation is the best fit for you.
Tip 5: Create a budget and stick to it
Before you kick off your blackjack play, you need to set winning and losing limitations and observe them. Failing to do so may prove hazardous to your budget. Never wager more than half of your bankroll on a single bet. Better yet, always try to start from the lowest possible bet.
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Author: Lucas Arauz
Lucas Arauz is our senior casino analyst and chief editor of TopCasinoSites.BET. He loves playing all kind of games but roulette is his favourite. He's looking for payouts, withdrawals, safety and other aspects of a casino site. Alex is passionate about learning new languages and travel around the world.