The beauty of blackjack is that it’s multifaceted and has many variations catering to different play styles. Remember to always check the rules and for the side bets that are available to get the full experience that the game can offer. Let’s take a look at how you can get up and running – and winning – at blackjack in no time.
How Online Blackjack Works
Blackjack is sometimes known as “twenty-one” because the best hand you can get is when the points total to 21. The game can be played with one to eight decks. There are many variations of blackjack but the core rules remain the same.
The main objective is to play against the dealer and not other players. You’re aiming to beat the house and not necessarily to obtain 21. You start by placing your bet in front of you and you’ll be dealt two cards that are faced up. The house will get two cards as well but one facing down and the other up. You can choose to receive more cards, called hit, or stand which means you don’t want to get additional cards anymore. Your aim is to get as close to 21 as possible by adding the values of all your cards without going over. If you go over, called bust, then you immediately lose the game and your bet too.
If there are any remaining players and after they stand, the dealer will reveal their hidden card. The dealer draws additional cards to their own hand if it’s less than 16 or 17, depending on the version you’re playing. You win if the dealer goes bust or has a total value lower than yours and. The dealer then pays you 1x your stake. If there’s a tie, your bet is then returned to you.
In blackjack games, you can decide whether to have the ace card to have the value of 1 or 11 while all picture cards count as 10. You get a natural blackjack, or 21, when you have an ace and a picture or a 10 card as your initial hand. When this happens, you’re automatically the winner and will receive 3/2 of your stake.
Special Blackjack Moves and Variations
Blackjack may have simple rules but it’s a very versatile game. You can perform special moves and play different variations so you don’t have to always game in the same way. Apart from the standard hit or stand, there are other moves that you can perform:
- Split – When your first hand is a pair, you can choose to split it. This means that your hand will be separated into two hands. You’ll have to add in another bet equal to your original wager to cover the additional hand. Each of your two hands will receive another card and you continue playing the game with two hands.
- Double down – This is perhaps one of the most exciting moves available in blackjack. When you choose the double down option in the middle of a hand, it means that you double your stake but you must stand after receiving one more extra card. If used correctly, it can earn you some nice cash prizes.
- Insurance – The Insurance option becomes available when the dealer’s face up card is an ace. Taking this option means that you’re betting on the dealer having a natural blackjack and you place half of your bet in the insurance pot. If the dealer’s hand is indeed a blackjack, you will win 2x the amount you’ve placed in the Insurance pot. If not, you lose your wager in the pot and the game continues as per normal.
But wait, there are even more ways to play blackjack! There are more than 20 variations of blackjack ranging from standard ones to unique variations that are only available by games of certain software providers. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular blackjack variants you’ll find online:
- European/Classic Blackjack: European Blackjack is the most common form of the game played on the internet. It comes with six decks, and you’ll usually be able to place an Insurance bet during the game.
- Blackjack Switch: A thrilling variation available at Playtech-powered casinos, Blackjack Switch lets you gamble with two hands at once. You can swap your top face up cards to form two completely new hands. The game also features side bets which pay out if you get three of a kind with the odds of 5:1, two pairs with the odds of 8:1, or 4-of-a-kind across your two hands with the odds of a whopping 40:1!
- Double Attack Blackjack: The Double Attack is an exciting variant where you can ‘double attack’ your bet and make more cash once you see the dealer’s face-up card. There’s also the interesting ‘Bust It!’ side bet where you bet on whether the dealer will bust on their third card.
- Live Dealer Blackjack: Live Dealer lets you gamble against human dealers operating from a real-life casino or studio. The dealer deals out real cards which are read by a scanner and streamed to your computer screen. You can chat in real time to the croupier and ask for advice or interact with other players. Live Dealer is slower than traditional online blackjack but is ideal for players who miss that live casino experience.
Side Bets in Online Blackjack
Do you know that there’s more than one way to win at blackjack? Apart from the main bet and insurance, some types of blackjack games offer additional bets called side bets. They are an optional wager you can make on top of your main one. These side wagers are a way for casinos to encourage more people to play blackjack and to make the game more exciting. The stakes for side bets are usually small at around £1 per bet.
However, should you win the bet, the payout is often many times your stake. So if you want to win big with just one hand, you’ll definitely want to take a closer look at how side bets can help you with that.
There are many different blackjack side bets and game makers are always coming up with new ways to enhance players’ gaming experience. Here are some of the most popular side bets that you’ll find in certain blackjack games:
- Perfect pairs – To win the perfect pairs side bet, the first two cards in your hand must form a pair or 2-of-a-kind. The payouts are much better if your pair has the same colour and/or suit.
- 21+3 – Winning this bet will depend on your initial two cards and the dealer’s face-up card. You win if these three cards form a flush, straight, 3-of-a-kind, or straight flush.
- Hi/Lo – This side bet combines two games in one – blackjack and hi/lo. To win the hi/lo side bet, you must correctly guess whether the second card of your initial hand is higher or lower in value than the first.
Live Dealer Blackjack
Are you craving for some social interactions while playing blackjack? Then live dealer blackjack is the game for you! Online blackjack is run by an RNG software that will determine the outcome of each action performed in the game. While it’s fun and fast-paced, an RNG blackjack could seem cold and mechanical after a while.
Live dealer blackjack games are run by human dealers with players sitting with you at the same table. The dealer shuffles, cuts, and deals the card in a studio and the footage is streamed to your screen in real time. When you play blackjack live, you’ll be able to interact with the dealer and other players using the chat function.
Live-dealer blackjack games combine the best of both online and physical casinos. You get to play the game in real time and talk to other people while doing it all within the comfort of your home. Not only that, you can play live games via your mobile device too! Now you’ll never have to miss out on the action wherever you are, something that a brick-and-mortar casino can’t offer.
Recommended Software Providers of Online Blackjack Games
The software that powers the online blackjack game you’re playing can make or break your gaming experience. Good software providers deliver the game bug-free with convincing visuals and intuitive user interface. More importantly, reputable developers are regulated by established authorities and must stick to fair RNG algorithms that are audited by independent third-parties.
As a player, it’s wise to know who are the best software providers in the market so you don’t waste your time playing sub-quality games. Below are some of the most reputable software provides or blackjack games that you can trust:
- Net Entertainment (NetEnt) – NetEnt is a leading game solutions provider that has become a household name in the world of online casinos. The developer’s blackjack games look stunning and give a seamless experience with a rich interface. NetEnt has released a huge variety of blackjack games including the Professional Series where you have the option of playing up to three hands simultaneously and place side bets that could win you 100x your stake!
- Microgaming – Microgaming is a pioneer of online casinos and offer perhaps the most blackjack games on the internet. The company’s Blackjack Gold Series are made especially for high rollers which has a higher minimum wager than its other blackjack games. Microgaming’s software is one of the most powerful in the industry and you can access the games wherever you are using both your desktop computer and mobile devices.
- Playtech – Playtech is known for producing some of the most user-friendly online casino games in the world, and its blackjack games are no exception. You can customise your gaming experience in all sorts of ways including adjusting the speed of cards being dealt, turning off animation, changing the card size, and many more. On top of that, Playtech’s blackjack games come in many variants and side bets. A favourite is the Seven Card Charlie rule where if your hand reaches seven cards and you don’t go bust, you automatically win.
Practice Makes Perfect When it Comes to Online Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games played all over the world. It’s fun, exciting, and takes almost no time to learn. It’s a game of skill with some element of luck which keeps the game entertaining by making every hand different. With so many variations and side bets to spice things up, you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
Although blackjack is an easy game to learn, it takes time to master the game so don’t be put off if you don’t win big in the beginning. In this case, practice makes perfect. The good news is you can play for free online whether you’re at home or on the go. This means that you can be adept at the game without spending too much money. When you’ve learned the basic strategies and feel confident enough, move on and play real money blackjack online and you’ll find yourself a thrilling new world of gaming.