How to Play Blackjack Online – Basic Rules
The rules of online blackjack are very simple. The aim is to get a higher card score than the dealer without exceeding 21. If either you or the dealer gets a hand score of exactly 21, that’s blackjack—automatically a winner. A round on online blackjack begins with the dealer dealing two cards to you. The value of each card is displayed on the screen. Things get a bit interesting after that, but worry not—we’re not going to leave you in the lurch. We’ll start with the basic game actions, then proceed to how you can start winning.
Placing a Bet
To start playing, you have to place an online blackjack bet. You can do this by advancing chips that represent real money value. You can also enter the amount you want to wager and wait for the dealer to deal the cards. Online blackjack chips are usually colour-coded and also have their values written. Depending on the type of game and online casino you’re playing at, the game will have different table limits. These limits show the least and maximum amount that you can bet. Some multi-hand variants of the game allow you to place two or more hands in the same round. With multiplayer game variants, you may have other players at the same table, but online blackjack is played against the dealer. Other players won’t affect the outcome of your game.
Dealing the Cards
When you’re playing online blackjack, standard 52-card decks without jokers are used. The dealer will get cards from a dealing shoe which, depending on the online casino, may have four, six or eight packs of cards used. The dealer will first give you your first two cards with their faces up. They’ll then get their own cards, which will face up as well. The dealer’s second card, however, will lie face down. You will, therefore, have partial knowledge of the relative strengths of your hands. At this point, you can make any of the following decisions.
Hit or Stand
Sometimes, the dealer’s card may have a value that’s already above the two you’ve been dealt. In such cases, or when you feel like your cards are still way below 21, and getting one more would not get you above blackjack you can choose to hit. Hit simply means taking another card. You can hit as many times as you like unless your score exceeds 21. You can also choose to stand—or decline to take any more cards and go head to head with the dealer. The dealer doesn’t have as much leeway to decide how the game proceeds as the player does. They just follow specific online blackjack rules, for example hitting below 17 any standing on any value over 17.
Split or Double Down
If, at the beginning of the game, you get two cards with the same value, you can split them to create two hands. You’d, therefore, have to make another bet with the same value as your original stake. The dealer will then pair up each one of the cards with another card to form two two-card hands. You can then carry on with your blackjack online game with both hands. To avoid players getting two blackjacks, some variants allow you to only get one other card if you split a hand of two aces. Doubling down means adding a second bet equal to your initial one and getting an extra card. You’ll, however, be forced to stand. A blackjack double down adds some excitement to the game and gives you the potential for a bigger win.
When it’s apparent that the dealer may have a stronger hand than yours and hitting is not an option, you can choose to surrender. The surrender option allows you to give up your stake and receive half of it back. You can only surrender at the start of the game before you hit, and only with some online blackjack variants. With an early surrender, you can forfeit your bet before the dealer checks their cards. You can’t lose even if the dealer gets blackjack. With a late surrender, you’ll lose to a dealer blackjack.
If the dealer’s visible card is an ace, you can take the insurance option to cover your bet against the dealer getting blackjack. To get insurance, you usually have to add half the amount of your stake. The option pays 2:1 if the dealer ends up getting blackjack, which means you breakeven. For example, if you bet £20 on the round of blackjack online, an insurance bet would cost £10 and yield a £20 payout if the dealer gets blackjack. As it’s very difficult to accurately predict whether the dealer will get a 10-card, it’s unwise to add more money on an insurance bet.
The even money bet is almost similar to the insurance bet. To start with, you can place the side bet if the dealer gets an ace sitting face up and you already have blackjack. If you take the even money bet you get double your initial bet back before the dealer checks their second card. In standard online blackjack rules, you would otherwise receive 3:2 wins. An even money bet protects you from a push if the dealer also gets blackjack. When a push occurs, you get your stake back without any extra winnings.
Online Blackjack Variations – Surrender, Switch, Pontoon
Like we mentioned before, online blackjack is one of the most famous casino games. But besides the simplicity of online blackjack rules and the ability of players to reduce the house advantage, there are a lot of other reasons behind the game’s widespread popularity. Another reason is that there are numerous variants of blackjack online, so that players never get bored doing the same thing over and over. While the differences may be subtle, the resulting changes in gameplay and strategy are colossal. In this section we’ll give a brief outline of some of the most popular online blackjack variants.
Online blackjack switch is one of the most popular variants of the game that players will find at gambling sites. The small twist in this variant is that when players are dealt two hands when the game begins, they can swap the top two hands. In classic online blackjack, the swapping of cards between two hands would be considered a classic cheating manoeuvre. To cover up for this knock to their house advantage, online casinos pay 1:1 odds for blackjack. Also, all hands will be tied when the dealer gets 22. Still, even with these subtle changes in rules, the house edge is still well below 1%.
When you play online blackjack, it’s equally vital to reduce potential losses as it is to try to maximise your wins. A surrender move allows you to do just that by folding your hand. As such, you would lose only half of your stake instead of losing the whole amount. For example, you get a four and a four on your first two cards. The situation won’t look too bright if the dealer then shows an ace. For half the price of your bet in blackjack surrender, you’ll be able to surrender instead and take back your wager.
Atlantic City Blackjack
As the name suggests, this online blackjack variant hails from Atlantic City. One of the biggest draws to Atlantic Blackjack is the minimal house advantage that may be as low as 0.35%. That’s, of course, assuming that a player is applying basic online blackjack strategy and playing optimally. That’s the closest you can come to a zero-sum game as far as both online and offline casino games are concerned. The small twist that gives players a bigger advantage is that the dealer is required to stand on both soft and hard 17. The game is very enticing and challenging, but has moderately good chances of winning.
To new players, Pontoon may almost seem like the same game as classic online blackjack. However, there are several instances where its rules differ from blackjack rules. In fact, when you consider all the rule differences, you could call Pontoon a different game. For example, players can draw more cards or double down after splitting aces. If a player gets a 5-card hand that doesn’t go above 21, they’d have won. If you get a Pontoon after pair splitting, it counts as a natural and would, therefore, qualify for bonus payouts. These small rule modifications make Pontoon a more action-filled game.
Live Blackjack Online
Live online blackjack aims to bring the brick-and-mortar online casino experience right to your doorstep via your PC or mobile device. By playing live blackjack on the best mobile casinos, you can experience the pleasure of playing against a live dealer while you’re on the move. You can also carry the ambience of a real-life casino in your pocket. Live casino android games are typically streamed in real-time from land-based casino floors or studios using state-of-the-art technology. Watching the cards being dealt one by one adds a lot of excitement and drama to your online blackjack gaming experience.
Low Stakes vs. High stakes Online
Placing massive amounts of money on one hand of online blackjack can be thrilling, but it’s not right for everyone. If you’re a new player, it’s always an excellent idea to play blackjack online for fun before you start placing real money bets. You can play online blackjack free, but if you want to get the full experience from the get-go, then low-stakes games may be the best option. Placing very small stakes is ideal if you’re new to the game and would like to gently perfect your blackjack strategy. You can also play low-stakes online blackjack if you’re on a low budget and would like to stretch your bankroll a bit. Some online casinos allow players to place as little as £.010 per round. Of course, low stakes also mean less winnings when you beat the dealer.
If you’re a seasoned high roller, then you may choose to bring out your big guns and play high stakes blackjack online. Ambitious players who’re looking to test their high-stakes strategies, enjoy the thrill, and possibly win a lot of money will love high stakes blackjack. Some of the best online blackjack variants are only available for higher stakes. Although each gambling site has its own limits a new online casino may allow players to wager as much as £1000 per round.
Online Blackjack vs. Land-based Blackjack
If you’ve ever interacted with a veteran blackjack player, then you may have had the land-based vs online blackjack debate. Some players insist that however even the best online blackjack UK casinos have advanced, they can’t offer the same gaming experience as you’d get at a land-based casino. Our professionals at ukcasino.xyz couldn’t disagree more with this rather all-encompassing statement. Why? We’ve experienced both sides of the coin for some years and know the pros and cons like the back of our hand (please excuse the pun).
For some gamblers travelling to gambling meccas like Vegas and Macau is a life-changing experience. Granted, when you’re in Vegas, you can take in loads of exciting smells, sounds, and characters while you split, hit, and double down. You can even do it over a complementary cheeky drink. However, not all that glitters is gold. To some players, the brick-and-mortar casino atmosphere is a mere distraction. Players who enjoy an occasional cocktail or glass of whiskey as they play may even sacrifice their bankroll by tipping the hostess. At the end of the day, the aim of playing blackjack online or at land-based casinos is to beat the dealer. We think playing online is just as exciting—but each to their own.
Online Blackjack Strategy
At first glance, online blackjack seems like a very simple game. Yes, you only need to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a complex and thought-provoking game underneath. By using different blackjack strategies that are backed by mathematically sound probabilities, players to maximise their wins and minimise loss. But manually determining the optimal move for every round and every scenario in a blackjack online game would require a lot of time and computational power. Fortunately, veteran players came up with a blackjack strategy chart that you can use to make quicker decisions. A strategy chart or calculator allows players to compare the dealer’s visible cards with several optimum moves. Using charts may seem cumbersome at first, but if you practise while playing blackjack online for fun, it’ll soon become second nature.
What About Card Counting?
Part of blackjack’s appeal comes from the mystery of card counting. Since a group of MIT and Harvard students used card counting techniques to take down casinos all over the world, more players are curious and hope to achieve similar results. Players who want to boost their online blackjack winning chances by counting cards should first memorise the optimal moves, then increase or decrease their bets. The fundamental principle behind card counting is based on 10-value cards and aces being optimal, and low-value cards being bad for the player. 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s are worth 0. 2’s to 6’s are worth +1 and 10’s and aces are worth -1. Players, therefore, keep count of the available cards to determine the ratio of bad and optimal cards remaining in the shoe.
Online Blackjack Bonuses
Virtually every online casino offers a range of bonuses, including some blackjack promotions. These bonuses allow players to enjoy free online blackjack games as a way to check out the casino and hopefully stay to play for real money. But, like most bonuses, blackjack promotions require players to complete wagering requirements before they can receive a real money payout. Unfortunately, while an online slots bonus usually contributes 100% to the wagering conditions, blackjack online no money and free online roulette game bonuses typically contribute 10%. You’ll, therefore, complete the wagering conditions at a much slower pace. Sometimes online blackjack doesn’t contribute to free slots win real money no deposit required bonus wagering conditions. You may even be barred from playing blackjack while you have an active bonus. However, that’s not to say online blackjack fans can’t enjoy bonuses too.
By far, the most popular blackjack online bonus is the match deposit bonus. Online casinos match your initial deposit with bonus funds that you can use to play free blackjack online. For example, with a 100% up to £100 bonus, you’ll have £300 to play with if you deposit £200 the first time you login. With a new casino sites UK no deposit bonus, on the other hand, you receive an online blackjack bonus just for creating an account. You may also receive free spins no deposit win real money as part of the package. The best blackjack online casinos may also offer a live dealer bonus. Blackjack-friendly bonuses also have a high wagering condition percentage for online blackjack games.
Choosing the Best Bonus
Before opting in for an online blackjack bonus, players should remember to carefully check the casino’s terms and conditions. Giving special attention to restricted game lists and wagering requirements will enable you to choose the best bonus. The higher the percentage with which an online casino can match your deposit, the better it is for you. For example, a 100% bonus will double your bonus, while a 200% bonus will triple it.
The upper limit also matters—a £100 upper bonus limit may make a 100% and 200% bonus similar if you already wanted to deposit £100. Also, with lower wagering requirements, you have a better shot at getting a real money payout. Some casinos also limit the amount of time and money that you can get with the promotion funds—go for higher limits. You may need no deposit bonus codes, but these are usually easy to get. There’s also no point in getting a bonus that doesn’t allow you to play free scratch cards and other games that you may enjoy.
Online Blackjack Odds – Reducing the House Edge
There’s always a blackjack house edge, but it’s to the benefit of every player to reduce it to the lowest possible percentage. Reducing the house advantage allows players to take as much real money winnings as possible after their gaming session. The rules and house advantages vary from table to table and house to house, but there are some common methods that work in the player’s favour. Now that we’ve outlined the basic online blackjack rules and strategy, our ukcasino.xyz guide will now cover how you can use them in a practical way to improve your win rate.
Whenever you play blackjack online, you need to manage your money. Without a solid staking and bankroll management plan, you risk going broke in the first few minutes. According to veteran players, you should only use a small percentage of your overall budget to bet on each round of the game. How small your individual should be depends on who you ask—generally anything between 5-10% is great. You can also start by figuring out how long you want to play, and how long it takes to complete a round of blackjack online. You can then assume that you’ll lose all your bets and divide your bankroll accordingly.
Play in 3:2 Tables
Another important point to consider before you sit down at an online blackjack UK table, you should consider its potential payouts. Whether you play blackjack online free or for real money, you have to check whether a game pays out at 3:2 or 6:5. These ratios can make a massive impact on your potential winnings. Playing at a 6:5 table will result in a player incurring a lot of losses. For example, if you bet £20 and win at a 6:5 table, you would get (1.2X your stake), which is £24. If you were, instead, playing at a 3:2 table, you’d have won (1.5X your stake), which is £30.
Play With Fewer Decks
We’ve already covered basic online blackjack strategy, card counting, and how you can make the most of each game scenario. New players may think that playing a game that has more decks offers better chances of hitting blackjack—their reasoning is the more aces and tens there are, the more winning combinations. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Here’s why. If you get an ace and need a 10 to hit blackjack, in one deck you’re left with 51 cards, 16 of which have a value of 10. That’s a 31.4 chance of winning. With two decks, your chances fall to 31.1, and 30.9 with three decks. While these percentages may seem small, it’s a good idea to avoid anything that reduces your chances of winning.
Like we mentioned before, the best way to learn how to play blackjack optimally is to practise with free online blackjack. You can find some demo-mode or tournament blackjack games on some online casinos. But because you can claim real money winnings after, the best way to play blackjack online free is using bonuses. The mistakes you make when you’re playing using bonuses won’t translate to financial losses. Also, because the casino doesn’t stand to win any of your money if you’re playing a free blackjack game, the odds are already in your favour.
Online Blackjack Casino Choice
The internet is peppered with a blend of blackjack online casinos where you can register and start playing. Unfortunately, not all of them provide a decent enough gaming experience in terms of odds and available variants. If you want to play live blackjack online, there’s also the issue of streaming quality and the studio atmosphere. Spending hours scouring the internet to find one blackjack online casino that’s good enough to play at can be a total drag. But instead of going through casinos and playing free blackjack, you can always browse through our list of ukcasino.xyz online casino reviews UK.
When Online Blackjack Stops Being Fun…
Playing blackjack online can be incredibly fun and engaging, especially when you’ve researched numerous strategies and can reduce the house advantage. However, players should never lose sight of how it’s supposed to remain a fun activity. More often than not, when players start asking how to win on slot machines, roulette, and online blackjack, they get too hung up on winning and forget to have fun. They may end up chasing losses in the hope that the next hand will turn the tide and start a winning streak. Problem gambling is a serious issue that threatens to blight all the fun and excitement that blackjack online casinos offer.
Fortunately, there are a variety of safe gambling tools that players can use to manage their gaming time and money. Gambling limits ensure that, even when you feel like the tide is turning, you’ll be able to stick to your budget. You can also use session reminders and limits to maintain a balance between playing blackjack online and other important activities. Above all else, when online blackjack stops being fun, it’s vital to stop and regain your perspective. Online casinos offer tools like take a break and self-exclusion to help customers stop playing. You can also register with Gamstop and receive free assistance from gambling charities like Gambler’s Anonymous and BeGambleAware. If you’re playing at offshore casinos not registered with gamstop, you can’t actually self exclude, but you should be able to contact support and ask them to close your account.