How to Play Online Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games played online. This dynamic one-on-one game requires both skill and luck to beat the dealer and come out ahead. Blackjack is also one of the few casino games where playing the right strategy can significantly reduce the house edge. For those who are new to the game, we take a look at the basic gameplay and simple strategies that can increase your winnings.
Let’s start off with the basics. Online Blackjack is a card game where the player faces off against the dealer. In the online version of the game, players can choose to play a single hand or multiple hands at once. The game consists of a single table with the dealer on one side and the player on the other. Online Blackjack will have the player’s chips and the game buttons situated at the bottom of the screen.
How the Game Works
The game begins with the player placing his or her bet on the online Blackjack table. In the online game, this can be done by simply clicking on the virtual chips and placing them on the betting area. This first bet can be any size up to the maximum table limit. Once the player has placed their bet, the dealer will then deal the player two cards and himself two cards with one of the cards facing upwards. The upward facing dealer card is the focus of all Blackjack strategies and should influence how a player proceeds with the game.
The aim of Blackjack is to win the round by beating the dealer. This is done by achieving a score of 21 or as close as possible without going over 21 points. Each card is worth a certain number of points. All cards 2 through to 10 are worth the point value displayed on the card. The Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points and the ace is worth 1 point or 11 points depending on what the hand requires.
Blackjack Play Options
Players have a series of moves available to them in game once they have received their cards. These moves follow a sequential order.
- A player can be satisfied with their hand value and stand.
- A player can have an unsatisfactory hand value and hit, which means they will receive an additional card. A card that will push the hand total over 21 is termed a bust and the player immediately loss.
- A player can Double Down, meaning that he doubles his initial wager and receives only one more card.
- Players may also potentially split their hand. This can be done if a player has a pair of cards, usually a pair of 10’s. The split cards then each receive a single card and each set is essentially a separate hand. It should be noted that a Blackjack in a split does not count as a true Blackjack. There are many rule variations online when it comes to splitting so always make sure to read what your particular favourite Blackjack game state about their rules.
- Finally, a player may surrender. This option will only be available to players after they have received their first two cards. In games that allow the surrender option you will get half your wager paid back to you.
The Number Of Decks And House Edge
As we said, a Blackjack game can be played with anywhere between 1 and 8 decks. Generally speaking, most online Blackjack games use 4 to 8 decks in their shuffles. You will find single deck Blackjack games but they often feature quite tightened rules to avoid players taking advantage.
The number of decks will naturally influence the house edge. Basically the more decks used, the higher the house edge.
- 8 decks – 0.65%
- 6 decks – 0.64%
- 4 decks – 0.6%
- 2 decks – 0.46%
- 1 deck – 0.17%
Using Blackjack Strategies
In Blackjack players can use what is commonly called basic Blackjack strategy. Using this strategy is the best way to become an effective Blackjack player, and you can apply what you learn to a number of different Blackjack games.
Below is a condensed example of basic strategy. You can also find Blackjack strategy charts online that you can keep with you as a guide, and will further expand on the basic strategies below.
For hands that do not feature an Ace (Hard Totals):
- If you have a total of 8 always hit.
- If you have a 9, double down if the dealer is showing you a 3 to 6. Hit if not.
- A 10 should be doubled down if the dealer shows you a 2 to 9. If not, hit.
- If your hand value is 11, double down.
- For hand totals of 12 to 16 against a dealer hand showing you 2 to 6, always stand or hit.
- If your hand is a 17 or higher, always stand.
For hands that feature an Ace (Soft Totals):
- An Ace and a 2 or 3 – Double down if a dealer shows you a 5 or 6, otherwise hit.
- An Ace and a 4 or 5 – Double down against a dealer 4, 5 or 6, otherwise hit.
- An Ace and a 6 or 7 – Double down against a dealer 3 to 6, otherwise hit.
- An Ace and an 8 doubles against a dealer six, otherwise you stand. And an Ace and a 9 always stands.
Use these Blackjack tips to play Classic Blackjack, and when you are confident move on to variations like Vegas or Spanish Blackjack, or anything else that takes your fancy!