A COMPLETE GUIDE TO BLACKJACK: HOW AND WHERE TO PLAY, WIN AND MORE
Like many of the casino classics out there, the version of blackjack we know and love today is an amalgamation of various different card games from the four corners of the world. In spite of the slightly ambiguous roots, the general consensus is that blackjack really came to life in the 15th century.
Fast-forward a few centuries and blackjack is now one of the most popular games in the online casino world. In fact, as a testament to the popularity of the game where “twenty one” is the magical number, you’ll now find a ton of betting options online. From bonus bet games to single deck affairs, blackjack online now comes in many shapes and sizes and that’s why players love it.
Blackjack Types: Different Games For Different Players
Although we can’t cover every subtle nuanced version of the game, we can cover the biggest players out there. Regardless of whether you’re playing for fun, clearing bonuses or betting for real money, the following games will give you a chance to play something people affectionately know as the “21 card game”.
The original version of the game, classic blackjack is characterised by the following rules: a single deck is used, the dealer has to hit on soft 16 and stand on soft 17, blackjack is any 10-value card plus an ace (payout is 3:2), you can double on any total, and you can surrender (lose half your bet and give up).
Vegas Blackjack rules are almost identical to the above. One of the main differences with this variant is that there are more decks in play. The typical number is between six and eight decks.
Atlantic City Blackjack
Often seen as the most favourable set of rules when you play blackjack online, Atlantic City games allow you to double and split on any starting hands (any starting pair for splitting). You can double after splitting, but you can’t re-split. Finally, blackjack pays at 1.5:1 and insurance on a dealer ace pays 2:1.
One of the biggest benefits of playing blackjack online is that you can bet on multiple hands at once. Although this is possible in live casinos, the maximum you’ll typically be able to play is two. In contrast, when you join our recommended blackjack sites, you’ll be able to play as many as five hands at once. What’s even better is that it will take just a few clicks to set your bets, thanks to those highly convenient re-bet buttons.
Blackjack Switch and Blackjack 21+3
Perhaps the most interesting innovations to come out of the online casino world in recent years are bonus games. When it comes to online blackjack, the two main bonus style games are Switch and 21+3.
When you play the former, you’ll be playing two hands at once and have the ability to switch the top two cards in a bid to improve your hands. For the latter, you’ll have the option to place a side bet and win as much as 100:1 on your money if the first three cards (your two plus the dealer’s up card) make a ranked poker-type hand (e.g. a flush).
A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Play Blackjack
Aside from being around for centuries and taking many different forms, blackjack’s popularity stems from its simplicity. OK, so when you start delving into blackjack tips for doubling and splitting, things can get a little murky. However, if we’re sticking to the basics, the rules of blackjack are crystal clear and flow in the following way:
- First place a bet equal to or exceeding the table minimum (the best blackjack sites online typically allow you to play from as little as £0.10).
- After setting your bet, hit the deal button and wait for your two cards.
- Once you’ve received your cards, the dealer will have one card exposed and you have two main options: stand or hit.
- Alternatively, if your first two cards total 11 or less, you have the option to double down. This involves adding a second bet (equal in size to your first) and receiving just one card.
- Alternatively, if your first two cards match (i.e. a patch), you have the option to match your first bet, split the cards and create two separate hands. Each hand will receive a second card and play then continues as before.
- Assuming neither of the special conditions listed above happen, you can stand on any total, or hit in an attempt to make a total closer to 21.
- After you’ve completed your turn, the dealer will follow a similar course of action (although they must draw to 16 and stand on any total 17+).
- At the end of the round, the player closest to 21, or 21 exactly, will win.
- If you win, you’ll receive a 1:1 payout. If you hit blackjack, i.e. your first two cards are an ace or ten, you’ll receive a 3:2 payout.
Finding The Best Blackjack Sites Online
Finding the best blackjack sites online is fairly easy if you follow our recommended platforms listed above. Of course, we didn’t just pluck these sites out of the air in a bid to give you somewhere to play. As part of our comprehensive review process, we use the following checklist to ensure each site meets our high standards:
- Game selection: is there more than one blackjack variant?
- Bonuses: can you get more for your time online through welcome bonuses, VIP rewards and free bets? Does blackjack contribute to the wagering requirements on the bonus?
- Live Games: can you play against real dealers in a live blackjack game?
- Safety and Security: is the site regulated by a known licensing body and does it have a random number generator (RNG) certified as 100% fair by a third-party testing agency?
If a site gets a thumbs up for the above questions, looks great and functions well, there’s a good chance we’ll rank it as one of our best blackjack sites.
The Best Blackjack Strategy Tips
Before we let you go off and explore everything our top rated blackjack sites have to offer, we want to leave you with a few terms that might help you at the tables. Although not exhaustive, this list should cover the main phrases you’ll hear when you’re racing to twenty one:
- Ante: Another word for “bet”
- Shoes: The place where the cards are kept
- Side Bet: Othperwise known as an optional bonus bet
- Split: Splitting a pair to make two separate hands
- Double Down: Double your bet and receive just one card
- Hit: Take a new card for free
- Stand: Settle on your total
- Blackjack: a hand comprised of an ace and 10-value card
To enjoy a better online blackjack experience, check out the up-to-date table at the top of this page for secure links to some of the best online casinos in the world.