Blackjack is one of the most popular card games that can be found at casinos all over the world. The reason why blackjack is so popular is that it’s a relatively easy game to play and has the best odds in gambling.

Table of Contents

  1. History of Blackjack
  2. Online Blackjack Rules
  3. How to Play Blackjack
  4. Top Blackjack Variants
  5. Best Blackjack Strategy
  6. Blackjack Terms
  7. Free Blackjack vs. Real Money Blackjack
  8. Blackjack Tips
  9. Best Online Blackjack Sites

Learning how to play blackjack online with all rules and tips will help you reach your full potential. That’s why we’ve created this Ultimate Blackjack Guide. We’ll take you through blackjack history, gameplay, strategies, top variants, and more.

Once you learn how to play Blackjack, head to one of our featured casinos and play some of the available variants!

History of Blackjack

Blackjack is probably one of the oldest card games that have been played for many centuries. The origins of Blackjack are still not clear, but researchers agree that Blackjack was invented in the French casinos during the 18th century. The game was then called “Twenty-one”, or “Vingt-et-Un”, which translates to 21.

From France, the game spread throughout Europe, somewhere acquiring a different name. Moreover, it became popular in the US during the 19th century. In the 20th century, when Nevada legalised gambling and became the first state to regulate the industry, Blackjack’s popularity increased further.

The game of blackjack was still called 21 in Nevada. But, it was during this period when the game changed its name to Blackjack. 

Gambling halls needed a way to promote the game and offer bonus payouts. One of the bonuses paid extra if a black jack (a jack of spades or clubs) was dealt along with an ace of spades. Then, people started to call the game “Blackjack”.

New variants were regularly introduced and currently, there are plenty of available Blackjack versions. That trend was amplified by following the introduction of the software for Online Blackjack. That made things a lot easier for providers and it became simpler for them to create and launch new games.

Today, Blackjack is one of the most played casino games. Its online version revolutionised the gambling industry and you can play online blackjack from the comfort of your own home!

Online Blackjack Rules

The rules of playing blackjack are the same, whether you play it in a land-based casino or at an online casino. However, since we’re all about online gaming here at SlotsWise, we’ll stick to Online Blackjack Rules.

Blackjack is a game known for its simplicity and that’s why it has simple and straightforward rules. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as you can. However, if your card total is higher than 21, you’ll lose.

When playing online blackjack, the cards are automatically shuffled and you have to place your bet. Starting from the left, each player is dealt a card, which is placed face-up on the table. The same applies to the dealer’s first card. 

After that, each player receives a second card which is also face-up on the table. However, the dealer’s second card is placed face down.

After all players have made their decisions, the dealer will reveal their facedown card. If your hand is closer to 21 than that of the dealer, you’ll win. But, if the dealer has 21 or a score closer to 21, they will win. The dealer will then pay out any winnings and collect the losing bets.

To sum up, the basic online blackjack rules include:

  • Regular wins pay 1:1 - when the value of your cards is closer to 21 compared to the dealer’s cards;
  • Blackjack wins pay 3:2 - when the value of your cards equals 21;
  • Hit or Stand - the basic choice for the players. They need to decide whether to add a card (hitting) or not (standing);
  • Split - an option of turning your hand into two separate hands, for an extra chance to beat the dealer;
  • Double Down - an option of doubling your bet;
  • Insurance - if a dealer shows an Ace as their face-up card, they will ask players to take insurance and protect themselves;
  • Surrendering - some online casinos give you the option to surrender half your bet;
  • Soft 17 - also known as a soft hand, it’s a hand that has an Ace in it. Some casinos require the dealer to hit on a soft 17, while other casinos require that they stand;
  • Take Even Money - if you land a Blackjack and the dealer has an Ace, you can choose to take even money and get paid 1:1.

How to Play Blackjack 

When playing online blackjack, you have two options - to play blackjack as a software game where the dealer is the computer or play Live Blackjack. Live Blackjack means that you’re going to play with a live dealer. However, both types have the same rules of play.

The first thing you have to do when you start playing Blackjack is to join a table and set your bet. The game can include more players, so you have to wait for everyone to join. When all players are ready, they are dealt two cards face up. The dealer also receives two cards - one of them face-up, the other face down.

When the cards are dealt, you have two basic options, either to hit or stand. Hitting means asking for another card, whereas standing means keeping your pair, hoping that the dealer has a lower hand or that he/she will go bust. 

If you ask for another card and you go over 21, you go bust and lose the game. If the dealer has a higher pair, you also lose, whereas if you’re tied, you get your wager back.

We said that hit and stand are the two basic options. In many cases, you can also double, which means that you add a wager equal to your original wager and get another card. If you win you will win double. You can’t hit again after a double. A Split is also an option when you have two cards of equal value.

So, let’s say that you have two eights and you split them up, then the dealer deals you an additional card on each eight, and you play the two hands separately, so you could win one game and lose the other. Surrendering when you think the dealer has 21 or getting insurance to cover your losses if you think it is likely that they have 21 are also options in certain games.

Top Blackjack Variants to Play

You’re already aware that Blackjack is one of the most popular games at online casinos. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that there are many blackjack variants available to play. Here, we’ve divided the most popular blackjack variants that you’ll find at all high-rated online casinos:

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch provides an exciting alternative to players who are bored with playing the classic Blackjack game. Although the rules of playing Blackjack Switch are almost the same, there are some differences you should know.

Blackjack Switch is a type of blackjack that allows you to trade cards between two hands. The player has to make two equal bets and is allowed to switch the second dealt card to each hand. 

In other words, if you have one hand with an 8 and a 6, and another hand with a 5 and a 10, you can switch the 6 and the 10, creating two new hands: one hand with 8 and 10 and another with 5 and 6. As usual, the aim is to get closer to 21 without getting over it.

Blackjack Perfect Pairs

Blackjack Perfect Pairs, also known as Perfect Blackjack, is a blackjack variant that involves side bets. Perfect Pairs is an optional side bet that can be played (or not) on every hand you take part in at a blackjack table.

The goal in Blackjack Perfect Pairs is to get as closer to 21 as possible. After joining a table, you have to decide how many hands you’ll play and whether you want to place side bets.

There are three types of pairs:

  • Mixed pair - same number/face card value, different suit and colour;
  • Coloured pair - same number/face card value, same colour, different suit;
  • Perfect pair - same number/face card value, same colour, same suit.

Blackjack Surrender

Blackjack Surrender is another popular Blackjack variant that includes the Surrender move. What that means is instead of playing out the hand, a player would attempt to surrender. The Surrender option can save you a great deal of your bet.

As always, the aim of Blackjack Surrender is to reach 21 without going over it. The game starts with the dealer dealing two cards for you and for them each. Then, it’s time for you to decide whether you’ll hit (take another card), stand (leave your hand as it is), split (split your hand in two), double your bet, or Surrender.

European Blackjack

The European Blackjack is considered the classic blackjack variant. It’s also considered the game from which blackjack became popular all over the world. 

In European blackjack, there is no hole card. The dealer receives only one card face up, while the second card is dealt after the player’s hands are complete. Because of this process, the dealer cannot check for blackjack before the player completes their hand. And of course, like in the other variants, the aim here is to get closer to 21, but not over it.

Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City is no different than the other blackjack variations when it comes to the main rules. Here, the objective is also to reach 21 without surpassing it and win against the dealer. The cards are valued in the same way and the Ace is still the most powerful card.

The rules of Atlantic City Blackjack require the dealer to stand on Soft 17 and check for blackjack when they’re showing an Ace or 10. In addition, you can split your hand up to three times when you are dealt two cards of equal value. 

Single Deck Blackjack

As its title suggests, Single Deck Blackjack is a blackjack variant that is played with a single deck of cards, unlike the classic blackjack that is played with 6 decks. This means that you’ll play only against the dealer independently of other players. 

The main objective of Single Deck Blackjack is also to get a hand value of 21 or as close as possible to 21 before the dealer.

Double Exposure Blackjack 

Double Exposure Blackjack is a variant of blackjack in which the dealer receives two cards face-up in part of the initial deal. For that reason, Double Exposure Blackjack always pays 1:1, no matter how you win or what hand you win with.

Best Blackjack Strategy

Many players play the game without adopting any kind of a Blackjack Strategy, but this is one of the games where you actually need to have a strategy if you wish to be more successful. Although there is no way to ensure yourself a win, using a strategy can increase your chances of winning.

The house edge is pretty low in blackjack, so it gives you better theoretical winning chances. But if you play without a strategy, you actually decrease your chances of winning, i.e. the house edge is increased.

The use of blackjack strategies has seen many players becoming highly successful in this game.

First of all, make sure that you understand all card values. Of course, the cards with numbers on them are self-explanatory, but there are some cards that can be confusing. Namely, in blackjack, 10, J, Q and K all have exactly the same value of 10 points.

As we’ve mentioned above, the Ace is a special card in blackjack, as it can be worth either 1 or 11. For example, a hand of A and 5 can have a value of 6 or 16, depending on which is more beneficial for you in a given situation.

When playing blackjack, you need to make a decision on every hand, whether to Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split, or more. That being said, here is our Best Blackjack Strategy:

Surrenders:

  • 16 surrenders against dealer 9 through Ace, otherwise don’t surrender (revert to hard totals).
  • 15 surrenders against dealer 10, otherwise don’t surrender (revert to hard totals).

Splits:

  • Always split aces.
  • Never split tens.
  • A pair of 9’s splits against dealer 2 through 9, except for 7, otherwise stand.
  • Always split 8’s
  • A pair of 7’s splits against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 6’s splits against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 5’s doubles against dealer 2 through 9, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 4’s splits against dealer 5 and 6, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 3’s splits against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 2’s splits against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit.

Soft totals:

A soft total is any hand that has an Ace as one of the first two cards, the ace counts as 11 to start.

  • Soft 20 (A,9) always stands.
  • Soft 19 (A,8) doubles against dealer 6, otherwise stand.
  • Soft 18 (A,7) doubles against dealer 2 through 6, and hits against 9 through Ace, otherwise stand.
  • Soft 17 (A,6) doubles against dealer 3 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 16 (A,5) doubles against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 15 (A,4) doubles against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 14 (A,3) doubles against dealer 5 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 13 (A,2) doubles against dealer 5 through 6, otherwise hit.

Hard totals

A hard total is any hand that does not start with an ace in it, or it has been dealt an ace that can only be counted as 1 instead of 11.

  • 17 and up always stands.
  • 16 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 15 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 14 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 13 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 12 stands against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 11 always doubles.
  • 10 doubles against dealer 2 through 9 otherwise hit.
  • 9 doubles against dealer 3 through 6 otherwise hit.
  • 8 always hits.

Blackjack Terms

We’ve been talking about blackjack and its rules in the previous sections, but are you familiar with the terms used in Blackjack? If you find it hard to understand and/or remember certain terms in blackjack, check the following glossary:

Term

Definition

Bankroll

The amount of money you’ve deposited into the game. You can use these funds for betting

Burn Card

The first card drawn from the top of the deck

Bust

A hand that is worth more than 21

Card Counting

A system of tracking the cards to determine the outcome

Deck Penetration

The percentage of cards that have been played in the previous game

Double Down

The option to double your original bet. This option limits you to accept exactly one more card

Face Cards

The Kings, Queens, and Jacks in a deck

Flat Betting

Betting the same amount for each hand

Hard Hand

A hand that can have one value

Heads Up

A blackjack game that has only one player

Hit

Asking for another card from the dealer

Insurance

When the dealer has an ace, you can choose to place a side bet of up to half the value of the original bet

Natural

Getting 21 in the first two hands - a Blackjack

Push

A tie - the player and dealer have hands with the same total below 22

Soft Hand

Any hand that has one or more Aces that can be worth 1 or 11

Surrender

The decision to abandon your hand and have half of your bet returned to you

Split

If you receive two cards of the same rank, you can choose to play them separately and place two different bets

Stand

Stop asking for more cards

Up Card

The dealer’s card that is face-up

 

Free Blackjack vs. Real Money Blackjack

If you’re not sure that you’re ready to play real money blackjack, you can try playing free blackjack first. The online casinos that we recommend here on SlotsWise offer demo versions of different blackjack variants. 

Free Blackjack doesn’t require you to register and deposit at the casino, so you can play immediately. It’s a great opportunity to try your luck without losing real money. And once you’re comfortable with your gameplay and ready to play, you can switch to real money blackjack, where you can win real money.

Check our table that will help you decide whether to start with Free Blackjack or Real Money Blackjack.

Free Blackjack

Real Money Blackjack

No sign-up required

Requires you to sign up and deposit

You cannot win or lose real money

You can win or lose real money

Practice strategies without risk

Potential to win bonuses and promotions

Ideal for those who want to play blackjack only for entertainment

Chance to play Live Blackjack with live dealers

Fewer blackjack variants available

More blackjack variants available

 

Blackjack Tips

Blackjack, like other games including Roulette, is a game of chance and luck. Therefore, there isn’t a special formula that will tell you how to win. It all depends on your luck and the cards that you and the dealer will receive.

Before you play Blackjack, make sure that you’ve understood all variants and rules that we’ve shared above. It’s important to learn how this game works and which variant is ideal for you. As we’ve already said, you can always start with Free Blackjack and get to know the game better.

Blackjack is a game that involves placing real-money bets. For that reason, you must be careful with your gameplay and place smaller bets, in order to be comfortable with your play. You can also set a betting limit and ensure that you have safe gameplay.

And of course, when it comes to blackjack, always choose to play at reliable and trusted online casinos only! Like the ones we recommend here at SlotsWise.

So, to conclude our Ultimate Blackjack Guide, here are the best Blackjack Tips you can ever ask for!

  • Start with playing Free Blackjack;
  • Play some basic strategy;
  • Don’t play insurance;
  • Check the dealer’s Up Card;
  • Experiment with betting combinations;
  • Place smaller bets if you want to play longer;
  • Set a betting limit;
  • Never play with more than what you can afford;
  • Play only at reliable and trusted online casinos.

Best Online Blackjack Sites

We’ve come to the end of our Ultimate Blackjack Guide. We covered everything that you need to know about this popular game, like its history, rules, variants, strategies, terms, and tips.

So now, it’s time for you to play this game yourself.

Check out our featured casinos and register today. When you make your first deposit, there are some incredible treats in store for you. From free spins to deposit bonuses, there really is something for everyone!

Play Blackjack today and if you’re lucky, you could end up with some lucrative prizes!

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