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Online casinos often have a large selection of blackjack games, including traditional games (Vegas Strip, Vegas Downtown, European, Atlantic City), side bet games (Perfect Pairs), popular variants (Double Exposure, Blackjack Switch, Pontoon and Super Fun 21) and tournament games – the latter providing a more competitive type of gaming in which players compete for guaranteed cash prizes when paying a small entry fee. To become familiar with Blackjack and learn strategy, we provide unlimited free access to the 21Blackjack game below.
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Online Blackjack Guide
Who doesn’t love the scene from Rainman when Dustin Hoffman’s savant character sweeps into Vegas winning loads of cash by counting cards while playing Blackjack. Blackjack offers that ultimate illusive fantasy of one-upping the house and consistently winning against the casino. Despite the truth that Blackjack offers some of the best odds in the player's favor, modern casinos have made a real effort to make pulling a fast one on them nearly impossible. And it is not unheard of these days for casino’s to flat out ban players if they catch wind that they are card counting at their establishment. Regardless, Blackjack is a fun, fast-paced game that can offer real reward if you are smart and a ninja in the self-control department. It is not surprising that variations of the game have been played since the 1600’s.
Understanding Table Rules
First and foremost, you will always want to examine the rules for each game or “table” or casino at which you are planning to play blackjack. Little changes can greatly affect your odds and the house edge. And casino’s are ultimate counting on people not being educated consumers and just playing whatever flashes in their eye first. For example, things you will want to take note of that will affect your odds as a player are:
- The number of decks the dealer is working with.
- Whether or not they have a policy that the dealer must hit on a “Soft 17”.
- How much they pay when a player gets a Natural Blackjack.
Not taking these factors into consideration could set you back with a house edge that is even less in your favor. This goes for any online casino, and any game. Never deposit money, make wagers, or play games without doing concerted due diligence into the online casino’s terms and conditions and each game’s particular rules and guidelines. Never take for granted that the rules you learned with will be applied to the game you are about to play, because as they say, the devil is in the detail. And it is in that detail that the house will maximize its ability to “always win”. It is up to you to determine how often, and for how much.
Whether you are at a land based casino or playing live dealer online Blackjack, it is important to stay aware of your surroundings and what the vibe is of your table. If other players at your table are taking a while to make their call and they are sitting in better positions than you, like 1st or third base allowing them to hit or pass before your do, you may want to consider migrating to a different table.
Once you feel comfortable you may even want to consider playing multiple hand simultaneously when and where allowed. But this should only be considered when you have a solid grasp on how to select a table with the most favorable rules, how to utilize your principles of strategy, and even more advanced techniques like splitting pairs, surrendering, implementing insurance, and doubling down.
Blackjack Game Objective & Rules
In order to play Blackjack it is best to start with getting very familiar with the value of each card within a deck, because in the end Blackjack is a numbers game. Cards 2- 9, no matter their suit, are all worth exactly the same as their numerical value. Face Cards including Jacks, Queens and Kings are each worth 10 points. Aces function as a semi-wild card, in that they can either be worth 1 or 11 points. It is determined by which amount best serves the player's hand.
Blackjack revolves around getting the point total of 21. In other words, the player's objective is to get a hand that has a numerical value that is higher than the dealer’s, but does not surpass a total of 21. If the player’s hand ends up totalling more than 21 points, this is considered “Going Bust” and equates to a loss and the dealer’s automatic win.
First, you are dealt two cards. Depending on what the total of those two cards are and how close it comes to 21, you can then choose to “hit”, which means the dealer gives you another card to add to the total, or you can “stand” which means you will stay with your current total and hope that the dealer does not have a hand that ends up equally closer to 21 than yours.
In the meantime, the dealer deals themselves two cards, one facing up, and one facing down. The one facing up is known as the “face card” and the one facing down is know as the “hole card”. The dealer turns over their hole card once, you, the player decide to “stay”. If the total of their face card and hole card equal less than the amount of your total, the dealer is obligated to “hit” their hand until they either reach a total closer to 21 then yours, or surpass the amount of 21. You win whenever the dealer goes bust. So let’s say you have decided to hold with a total of 20, and the dealer’s total reaches 18; they have to “hit” their hand and it adds a 5 of Hearts. They have just gone bust and now you have won.
Other techniques of strategy to get comfortable with are doubling down, splitting pairs, taking insurance, and surrendering. Doubling down means that your double your bet which is then followed by an additional hit. Splitting a pair takes place when the dealer deals you two of the same value card and you “split” them into two new hands, which doubles your bet. Taking insurance means that you place a wager in favor of the dealer having a Blackjack when his face card is an Ace. And Surrendering is when the dealer offers the player an opportunity to “surrender” their hand when the dealer’s face card is a ten or an ace. This allows the player to recoup half of their bet.
Online Blackjack Strategy
Blackjack is the ultimate blend of luck and skillful strategy. You won’t always when with excellent strategy, but you certainly won’t by only relying on hunches. You don’t have to be Rainman to make sound strategic choices when playing Blackjack, and doing so could certainly prevent you from losing more money than you would otherwise.
Understanding how the different style of blackjack games may affect your playing strategy is an essential step to increasing the “skill” factor of this particular casino game. Even the simple act of estimating how likely the dealer is to go bust based on his or her hole card is an important element worth giving credence to. Now factor that into all of the other information you are receiving through out the table and you become that much closer to maximizing your position against the house edge. And even more importantly, have a good grasp on your own odds of going bust, because ultimately this is what you have the most control over.
It may be a good idea to refer to a color-coded strategy chart that will guide you through the best moments to utilize tactics like splitting pairs, doubling down, and taking insurance. Practice while playing free games. Because practice makes perfect and risk-free practice makes for a happy pocketbook.
Online Blackjack is unique in that you are going to receive your dealt cards via a random number generator. After a card has been “dealt”, it automatically gets shuffled back into the digital deck. This makes card counting much more unlikely than with land- based blackjack. But online casinos will often offer players “side bets” incorporated into the standard Blackjack game. These can be fun, but ultimately do not offer odds that are that attractive for the player.
Also be on the lookout for if the casino requires the dealer to hit on a soft 17, which is not as favorable for the player. Rarely, a casino will allow doubling down after splitting a pair which does help lower the house edge. Plus, allowing the advantageous re-splitting of a pair of Aces is rare, but worth seeking out. And definitely take advantage of Surrendering if offered as this also lowers the house edge. If you do your research and a bit of prep it can serve you well in the long run.
Online Blackjack Websites and Apps
Here are some of the best resources that we have found to help you get prepped and ready to play blackjack online. Everything from rule guides and strategy tools, to the most interesting mobile and live dealer online blackjack games worth checking out.