Playing online blackjack
Blackjack and roulette are the most popular table games in casinos around the world. The biggest draw for blackjack players, and what edges blackjack in the casino games stakes, is the ability to use strategy and skill to push your chances of winning. There is no right or wrong way to bet on red or black or odds or evens at the roulette table but knowing the correct way to play a 14 when your dealer is showing a 7 can make all the difference in a blackjack game.
Blackjack, ‘King of Casino Games’, is a straightforward and relatively simple to play card-based game. It’s you versus the dealer to see who can get closest to 21 without going over and ‘busting’. The odds are definitely the best on offer and you have a greater chance of winning at blackjack than you do at almost any other casino game.
Online blackjack is played against a software programme instead of a dealer and you can choose to play single hand blackjack or multi-hand blackjack but it is still you versus the dealer.
Online Live Dealer blackjack is a new way of enjoying the full casino experience from the comfort of your home by using web cams and technology to bring a real live game into your home.
Most online casinos offer a number of online blackjack games as well as some games that are based on the same concept such as pontoon.
How do I play online blackjack?
Online blackjack follows the same rules as land-based casino blackjack.
You play against a dealer using a deck of cards to see who can get closest to their cards adding up to 21.
Cards from 2 to 10 have their face value: e.g. a two of clubs = 2, a three of clubs = 3.
Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) have a value of 10.
Ace can have a value of either 1 or 11 depending on the rest of your cards and how you are building your total.
The point of the game is to get a higher total than the dealer without going over 21.
Play starts with the players placing their bets. The dealer then deals each player one card face up, followed by one card face up for the dealer. This is followed by each player getting a second card face up, and the dealer getting a second card face down.
Players may choose to take additional cards to try and get their totals as close to 21 as possible, or just to try and get a higher total than the dealer based on the face up card they can see.
If players choose to take another card, they ‘hit’. If players choose to not take another card, they ‘stand’.
Once each player has the cards they want, the dealer turns the face down card over. Based on what is revealed, the dealer then takes additional cards to try and beat the player totals. Generally, in casino play the dealer has to take cards until they get a value of 17 or more.
If either the player or the dealer take cards that push their total over 21, they are ‘bust’ and lose immediately.
If the player ‘busts’ they lose their bet. If the dealer ‘busts’ the players get double their stake. If neither player nor dealer busts, the hands are compared and the hand with the highest total wins. If the hands are the same value, called a ‘draw’ or ‘push’, the player keeps the stake but does not win any extra money.
And then we have ‘blackjack’.
If the player draws an ace and any card with a value of 10 it is called a ‘blackjack’ and the player wins 2.5 times the bet. If the dealer also draws blackjack, it is a push and no winnings are paid.
Is there only one way to play online blackjack?
Not at all. There are variations but the above are the basic rules. It’s always a good idea to either read any specific rules of the online blackjack game you are playing at your chosen online casino or to play a few rounds in demo mode to get a feel for the game.
And, of course, there are also various side bet games that can be played at some blackjack games. For example, there are some online blackjack games that offer extra bonus winnings if three 7’s are drawn or if you draw five cards without busting. Once again, it is always a good idea to check before you start betting.
Are there strategies to winning at online blackjack?
As with any casino game, you are relying a lot on luck. But the joy of blackjack is that there are tips and tricks to make your playing odds a bit better. If you want to read about these tips from the Guru visit our ‘Online blackjack tips’ page here.
The Guru recommends these online casinos for a great online blackjack experience.
When you’re ready to hit the table and chase that blackjack, these online casinos will give you, the South African player, the best experience:
PlayLive casino – also offers Live Dealer online blackjack.
Europa Casino – also offers Live Dealer online blackjack.
The Guru recommends you do this before playing online blackjack:
- Always check the rules before you start playing.
- Try a free or demo version or use any free bonus promos from the online casino and test the game before you play for real money.
- Avoid the ‘insurance’ side bet – it rarely pays out and is skewed highly in favour of the house.
- Set a budget and stick to it.
- Use winnings to carry on gambling and put your initial stake aside to play another day.