Blackjack Online: The Ultimate Guide and Tips
Blackjack only seems simple to play, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Luckily, the popular card game is now available in online casinos so that you can practice and gain some skills and experience before going big!
Best UK Blackjack Sites
What Is Blackjack?
Blackjack is one of several casino games where you need to be careful when making decisions. The outcome depends on your skills and expertise, not entirely on luck. And even though you play against the dealer, your odds of winning are pretty high.
Some players even earn their living on Blackjack!
So, the house edge in Blackjack is less than 1%, and Blackjack rules are simple to learn. Plus, the game itself is thrilling and engaging. That being said, you can easily guess why Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games worldwide.
The History of Blackjack
As you may already know, gambling is as old as time. And for that reason, we can’t ever be sure about the exact origins of the specific game. The same goes for the popular card game – Blackjack. According to one theory, it appeared in the 1700s in French casinos under the name Vingt-Un, which means twenty-one.
However, the first written record of the game, similar to twenty-one and under the same name, showed up in the early 1600s. The tale in question is “Rinconete y Cortadillo” by Miguel de Cervantes, the famous Spanish author. And that’s why it’s more likely that this card game actually originated from Spain, not France.
The other curios and debatable thing about Blackjack is the origin of the name. At first, this casino game was famous under the name twenty-one regarding its rules and goals. But at some point, the famous card game got the name we use today – Blackjack.
And again, various theories tell different stories. According to the first and most likely one, the name Blackjack is associated with the way the game was played before.
Supposedly, one of the early versions from the 1800s played in the USA had bonus payouts. And one of these bonuses (ten-to-one) was rewarded to the player who got an Ace of spades and Jack of either clubs or spades. This hand was called Blackjack, and the name got stuck even after the payout bonuses disappeared from the game.
As you can see, the Blackjack rules evolved with time, just like the name. For example, once upon a time, the dealer was the only one who could double down. But today, Blackjack is the casino game with the highest odds of winning and rules you can comprehend in less than no time!
- In the beginning, every player and the dealer gets two cards.
- The players’ two cards are turned face-up, and one of the dealer’s cards is placed face-down (hole card).
- The face cards value 10, an Ace can be either 1 or 11, and other cards are worth their rank.
- The main goal is to beat the dealer.
- In the ideal situation, you’ll hit the Blackjack right away – get a total card value of 21.
- If this doesn’t occur, you’re supposed to get a score closest or equal to 21 without exceeding that number.
- The player or the dealer who exceeds 21 loses the game – this is called busting.
- You’ll win if you score higher than the dealer but don’t exceed 21, or if the dealer busts.
- The dealer plays last and by specific rules.
- The other players’ strategies don’t affect you at all.
How to Play Blackjack?
When you get your two cards and place bets, you can do several things:
- Hit – ask for more cards.
- Stand – reject getting new cards for the rest of the round.
- Double down – double your bet and get only one more card.
- Split – when you get the pair of identical cards, you can split them and play two independent hands.
- Surrender – in some casinos, you can surrender and keep half of your bet.
- Take insurance – when the dealer’s up card is an Ace, you can make a side bet called insurance.
Now, some moves are very logical to make in a specific situation and very wrong in another. Moreover, the dealer’s cards should also affect the way you play. So, let’s take a closer look at these Blackjack moves:
- When you have a total card value less or equal to 12, it’s safe enough to hit.
- If you scored 12-16 and the dealer got 7-Ace, hit.
- When you scored more or equal to 18, you should probably stand.
- If you have 12-16 while the dealer’s up-card is between 2 and 6, stand.
- Always split the pair of 8s and Aces.
- Don’t split the pair of 4s, 5s, and 2s.
- If you scored 11 and didn’t get an Ace, you can double down.
- You can also double your bet when your total card value is 10, and the dealer doesn’t have an Ace.
When it comes to the surrender in Blackjack, there are two types: early and late. The early surrender is offered only by several casinos, and you can use it before the dealer checks the hole card. The late surrender happens subsequently, and more casinos allow it.
There’s also one thing you should know about taking insurance. Again, you’re allowed to make this side bet up to half the original bet size only if the dealer has an Ace. And in case the dealer hits the Blackjack, you’ll win the insurance. But if they don’t, you’ll lose it. However, you still have a chance to win the hand!
Top 3/5 Winning Tips
Now that’s you learned the very basics, check out these tips for starting big:
- Get familiar with the Blackjack basic strategy chart, which shows the perfect moves to make in any possible situation. Use the basic strategy tips as a base for making decisions.
- Don’t place bets bigger than you can handle, especially if you’re a beginner.
- Avoid taking insurance – this move is seldom advised to new players.
- Always go with the 3:2 payout, instead of 6:5.
- Ignore what other players do – in Blackjack, everyone’s for themselves.
How to Count Cards in Blackjack?
Before we start talking about card counting in Blackjack, there are several things you should be aware of:
- First, counting cards in Blackjack increases your odds of winning for approximately 1%. In other words, you’ll cut into the house’s mathematical edge.
- And for that reason, the casino may ban you if someone figures out you’re counting cards.
- However, card counting in Blackjack isn’t illegal – you won’t end up in prison!
- But note that casinos use multiple decks of cards, making it more difficult for you to keep a running count.
- The card counting in online Blackjack is usually ineffective because most casinos use shuffle machines continually.
- But card counting can help you out when playing live dealer Blackjack games.
So, if you’re okay with this and still want to learn card counting in Blackjack, here’s a simple guide that explains it step by step:
- Assign a value to cards – by the Hi-lo system, cards from 2 to 6 are worth +1, and 10-Ace value -1; cards from 7 to 9 are worth 0, and you’re supposed to ignore them.
- Every time a card is dealt, you should add or subtract – for example, the 3 shows up, and you add 1, the Jack is dealt, you subtract 1, and so on. That way, you keep a running count.
- When running count goes below zero, the casino holds the advantage. Simultaneously, when it’s positive, you have higher chances of winning.
- Calculate the true count by dividing the running count by the number of decks remaining – for example, if the running count is +10 and there are five decks remaining, the true count is +2, and you have a slightly higher chance of winning!
- Raise your bet whenever the true count raises, and make smaller bets when it becomes neutral or negative.
But always keep in mind that casinos notice players who count cards thanks to their precise betting patterns. That’s why bluffing can be of use here – but only if you’re good at it!
And finally, card counting isn’t recommended to newbies. If you’re a beginner still learning the basic strategy chart or thinking about starting, counting cards can wait. For a start, try playing free online Blackjack to gain some experience and understand the game better.
Many online casinos offer you the possibility to play free games, and you should undoubtedly take advantage of it! That way, you can practice without taking risks and losing money. And when you gain enough skills, you can think about bringing your game to a higher level!