Just as popular online as in hardcore establishments, blackjack is one of the favourite casino games of igamers, with millions of fans worldwide. Do you want to join this large community by starting to play blackjack online on a regular basis? You already play and want to improve your gambling skills to win more and more often? This guide is for you! You will find all the ingredients to get off to a good start as a beginner, but also strategies and tips to play like a pro and beat the casino.
History of the game
What better way to start this exciting adventure than with a bit of history? Blackjack is somewhat complex, just like other casino table games. Indeed, like roulette and baccarat, the origins of blackjack go back several centuries. And as with these games, it is difficult to say with certainty, its country of origin. There are several theories on the subject, but the most likely one is the one that establishes the sources of blackjack in Italy. The game would have made its appearance there in the 14th century.
It would then have evolved over the centuries, notably through, from the 17th century onwards. Games such as the Chemin de Fer and the Ferme Française would have notably influenced its original rules during this period. Then, thanks to the migrations towards the United States, blackjack would have landed on the American coasts at the end of the 18th century.
But the game is not enjoying the popularity expected in Nevada’s casinos. Considered uninteresting, it is not much in demand by gamblers. Some American gaming establishment owners then create a special bonus built into the game that allows the player to pocket 10 times his bet if he has an initial hand consisting of an ace of spades and a jack of spades. Thanks to this bonus, the game quickly gained popularity and took on its current name: Black Jack, which means “Black Jack”, in reference to the Jack of Spades, which gives the game’s big payout.
Despite the removal of this bonus, blackjack has kept its name and is now the most famous card game in casinos. The advent of online casinos has only confirmed this success, which is now spreading all over the world.
Rules of the game
Blackjack is so popular with players largely due to the simplicity of its rules. Indeed, you don’t need to have any special knowledge before understanding them and there is not really much to remember.
Basically, the object of the game is to build a hand that is stronger than the dealer’s hand, but without exceeding 21 points (or “buster”). This 21 points is the maximum winning score in the game, and any hand of this value is called… blackjack!
But how do you calculate the value of a hand in blackjack? It’s quite simple! Simply add up the value of each of the cards that make up the hand based on the following calculation rules:
- all small cards (2 to 10) keep their face value, regardless of their suit. Thus, all 2s are worth two points, all 6s are worth six points…;
- all tricks (Kings, Queens and Jacks) are worth 10 points, regardless of their colour;
- aces are worth 1 point or 11 points depending on what is most advantageous to the player at the time of scoring.
For example, a hand consisting of a King and a 7 would be worth 10 7, or 17 points.
In Blackjack, the main bets must be made before the start of each game. They are placed on your game in the hope that you will beat the dealer. The limits imposed vary from table to table. Please read them before you start playing.
As for the payout for these bets, keep in mind that in the event of a single win (your hand is stronger than the dealer’s without reaching 21 points), you will receive a 1-to-1 payout, which means that you get your original bet back plus one time your original bet. For example, if you bet €100, you will get €200 back.
If you beat the dealer with blackjack (your hand is worth 21 points), the payout is better. In other words, you get your original bet back, plus 1.5 times your original bet. Considering an initial bet of €100, this amounts to a payout of €150, for a total of €250 cashed out.
In addition to these standard bets, several blackjack variations also allow two other types of bets. These are :
– bets “behind”: These are bets that are provided for in various variants of blackjack to allow players who have not been able to find a seat at the table to participate in the game anyway. In this case, the bet is placed “behind” the hand of one of the players seated at the table. The payouts offered in the event of a win by the main player depend on the variant concerned, but are usually lower than for standard bets.
– secondary bets: these are optional bets that are provided for in some blackjack variants. For example, you can bet that your first two cards will be the same (Perfect Pairs) or that, combined with the dealer’s card, they will form one of the winning hands in 3-card poker (21 3). If your prediction comes true, you will then cash out an additional win regardless of your main bet.
In any case, we recommend that you consult the help section of the online blackjack game you are playing to find out what types of bets are allowed and the associated payouts.
Example of an online blackjack game
A game of online blackjack is played against the computer system that acts as the casino’s dealer. The game is played around a table that normally holds up to 7 main players, each occupying a seat, with between 1 and 8 decks of 52 cards. As mentioned above, the game starts with the players’ bets.
Once this prerequisite has been validated, a first series of cards is dealt. Each player is dealt a card whose face is visible. The system also assigns itself a card whose face is open. A second round is completed, except that this time the dealer’s card remains face up against the table, while the players’ cards are still face up. Each player thus has his or her initial hand.
Based on this hand and the dealer’s open card, you must make a decision to ensure that when the dealer reveals his second card, you will have a stronger hand than him, but not more than 21 points. There are 5 possible actions:
- Draw (or Hit): If you consider the value of your hand to be too low, you may request an additional card. You may ask for as many cards as you wish, as long as your hand does not exceed 21 points;
- Stand: This is the action of not taking an extra card. This is the case as soon as you consider that the value of your hand is sufficient to beat the dealer or that there is a risk of exceeding 21 points;
- Doubling: If you consider your initial hand to be very interesting and you have a good chance of winning the game, you have the opportunity to double your initial bet. In this case, you will only be able to draw one additional card;
- Making a Split: If your initial hand allows it, you can split it into two separate hands and continue the game individually on each of them. This can be a good way to increase your chances of winning. But beware! This can also result in significant losses.
- Take insurance: If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, there is a good chance he will win the game by playing blackjack. All it would take is a 10 or any other trick to make that happen. In this case, you have the possibility to take an Insurance. This consists of sheltering up to half of your initial bet. If the dealer does blackjack, you will receive a 2-to-1 payout, otherwise you will lose the insurance bet regardless of the outcome of the game.
At a blackjack table, players act one after the other starting from the one furthest to the left of the dealer. When everyone has made their final hand, the system reveals the card that was face down. The dealer then acts according to the value of his initial hand: he draws a card as long as his hand does not exceed 17 points.
At the end of these actions, the point of the game is made individually for each player:
- players with a hand stronger than the dealer’s without exceeding 21 points are declared winners and receive a 1-to-1 payout.
- if the dealer’s hand exceeds 21 points, all players who did not also exceed this value in the previous stage win and receive a 1-to-1 payout.
- if your hand and the dealer’s hand are the same value, it’s a draw and you simply get your bet back.
Strategies to win at blackjack
Blackjack is certainly a game of luck, but it is possible to significantly impact the outcome of the game by applying certain strategies that have already proven themselves. Every good blackjack player should know these strategies.
Tips to win at online blackjack
To make sure you have the best possible odds in your online blackjack sessions, there are also a few practical tips that we recommend that you combine with the strategies described above. Here are the 5 that we consider the most useful and relevant:
1- Train in free mode
All online casinos offer a demo mode with free blackjack tables. Feel free to take advantage of this mode to make sure you have understood the rules of the game. This is also the place to try out the different risk-free strategies and refine your practice before you start betting real money.
2- Dealer’s got a weak card, let the buster..
If the dealer’s first face-up card is a 4, 5 or 6, he must draw a third card unless his face-down card is an Ace. Chances are he will exceed 21 points after this draw. Unless you yourself have an Ace in your starting hand, don’t run the risk of taking an extra card. Stay on your hand and simply let the dealer “buster” to win the game.
3- Split Aces and 8s; never 10s!
It’s another golden rule that every good blackjack player knows. If your initial hand consists of two 8s, you start with a total of 16 points. This is a strong hand. But rather than staying on this hand and taking the risk of being beaten, you can take advantage of it by splitting and giving yourself twice as many chances to win. All you need to do is get two tricks to get two hands of 18 points each. If you have two Aces, it’s all the same. You start out with a high potential and the ability to make at least one blackjack. So make a split to maximize your winnings.
On the other hand, if it’s a pair of tens that you have at the start, there’s obviously no question of making a split. Your starting hand is already worth 20 points, so you already have a good chance of winning the game. There’s no need to take an extra risk.
4- From 17 points, don’t shoot anymore !
As soon as your hand reaches a value of at least 17 points, regardless of the number of cards in your hand, do not draw any more cards, otherwise you risk busting and losing the game.
5- Use insurance sparingly
When the dealer’s first card is an Ace, you have the opportunity to protect yourself against a dealer’s blackjack by taking out insurance. But beware! If the dealer does not have a blackjack with the opening of his second card, you will automatically lose the amount insured, whether you win the game or not. So don’t abuse this option and use card counting as much as possible to assess the risk before taking out insurance.
Many online blackjack variations are nowadays offered at virtual casinos. They are all based on the same main rules, but incorporate a few subtleties in the way they are played or in the game options they incorporate. Here is a small overview of the most common ones:
- Single Deck Blackjack (or 6:5 Blackjack): This variant is played with a single deck of 52 cards. The house advantage is therefore reduced and you can apply blackjack strategies more easily.
- Double Exposure Blackjack: How would you like to see the dealer’s second card right at the beginning of the game? This is what this variant offers, which gives players a certain advantage by making it easier to make a decision.
- Blackjack Free Bet: Here you can split or double your initial bet for free, without having to pay extra money. It’s on the house.
- Multiplayer blackjack: Unlike traditional blackjack where players face the dealer individually, here they are pitted against each other. The table accommodates a maximum of 5 players.
- Blackjack Surrender: Quite similar to classic blackjack, blackjack surrender offers the possibility for players to use the surrender rule to save half of their initial bet.
- Switch blackjack: in this blackjack variant invented at the end of the 2000s by Geof Hall, the player is given two different cards between which he can freely switch (hence the “Switch”) the cards as he sees fit.
- Blackjack 5 Hand: Following the same logic as the previous variant, Blackjack 5 Hand allows you to play with 5 different hands simultaneously!
- Spanish 21: this is a variant developed in 1995 by an American company. It is played with 6 or 8 decks of 48 cards. The four tens of each deck of cards are removed from the deck.
- Super Fun 21: A single deck of 52 cards is used to play Super Fan 21. Here, if you manage to make a hand of at least 6 cards totaling 20 points, you automatically win the game, even if the dealer has blackjack.
- Progressive Blackjack: By making certain side bets on a progressive blackjack table, you can hit a jackpot that is fed by losing bets and grows as you play.
Match Play 21, Caribbean 21 and Pontoon are some of the other blackjack variations you may encounter at online casinos.
The best online blackjack software
Many software publishers now offer online blackjack tables. On virtual casinos, the choice is therefore quite wide, with several exclusive variants. The most prolific softwares in this field, are in particular :
Advantages of playing blackjack online
There are several obvious advantages to playing blackjack online rather than at a land-based casino:
- easier and less strict access: before, to play blackjack, you had to go to a hardcore casino. Now you can play online blackjack from anywhere, from any connected computer or mobile device. Plus, you don’t have to follow any dress code or discipline during your games. You can stay relaxed and enjoy each of your game sessions at your leisure;
- the possibility to play full-time: in hardcore casinos, blackjack tables usually only open in the evening and close a few hours later. Online, you can play whenever you feel like it, since almost all games are available 24/7;
- access to exclusive variants: As mentioned above, there are a multitude of blackjack variants. Many are offered in hard casinos, but many are only available in online casinos;
- bonuses: you won’t easily find bonuses for playing blackjack in a hardcore casino. On line on the other hand, this commercial practice is very frequent and allows the players to start well.
Play free online blackjack
There is also another major advantage of online blackjack. This is the ability to play for free. All online casinos worthy of the name offer a demo mode that allows you to play a variety of games without having to bet real money. No need to make a deposit at the casino, or even open a player account in most cases.
Usually, all you have to do is open the relevant online casino page, launch the blackjack game you are interested in and start playing. The casino will automatically provide you with a virtual sum of money that you can use to wager on the game. This virtual jackpot is usually quite large. This makes it possible to play long enough and to test the most daring game scenarios. The other good news is that there is no limit or time limit to enjoy it. You can play and replay as long and as often as you like.
This form of play is ideal if you are a beginner. Since the game takes place under the same conditions as at a pay table, you will be able to take the time to assimilate the rules and the course of the games. You can also take the opportunity to practice the various blackjack strategies described above to make sure you are familiar with them.
And as soon as you’re ready, you’ll be able to start in real mode to win real euros!
Bonuses available for playing blackjack at online casinos
Blackjack is part of the category of table games. As such, bonuses for playing it in online casinos are clearly less frequent than for slot machine games. Moreover, even though some common bonuses can also be used at online blackjack tables, the bets made on these games do not usually participate 100% in the fulfillment of the betting conditions imposed by virtual casinos. Before starting to play online blackjack with a bonus, please read the bonus conditions carefully beforehand.
On the other hand, many virtual casinos frequently organize online blackjack tournaments with special bonuses and cash prizes. Don’t hesitate to sign up and participate in these competitions where blackjack is king!
Is it possible to play online blackjack on a mobile phone?
Yes, as with all other table games, online blackjack software development companies have adapted to today’s requirements and offer games with interfaces that are compatible with both PCs and MACs, as well as mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). On the latter, the menus are well calibrated and the display is optimized for a comfortable rendering and handling.
Blackjack Live: for more realism
Do you want to enjoy all the benefits of online blackjack without sacrificing the user-friendliness of having a dealer present? Live blackjack is for you. At these blackjack tables, which are streamed live from studios set up like real live casinos, you play against real live dealers. They are in front of real tables, with real chips and real card games. For your part, you experience the game in real time, with sounds and images. It couldn’t be more realistic!
Publishers specializing in the design of these types of blackjack tables include Evolution Gaming, Ezugi, NetEnt Live, Vivo Gaming and many others.
So here we are at the end of this guide to online blackjack, which we hope has given you a better understanding of the game in its entirety, but also through its subtleties. We hope that it will be particularly useful to you and that it will make you a better blackjack player, capable of beating online casinos more often. If you are also a fan of baccarat, we have also put together a complete dossier on this other very popular online card game. Feel free to consult this guide to add a new string to your bow and increase your chances of winning real money by playing at online casinos.
Want to learn more and get better at online casino games? Why not read our other guides on the subject:
Online Blackjack FAQ
✅ How do I win at blackjack?
To win at blackjack, you must first master the rules of the game and then learn the blackjack strategies that we present in detail here.
✅ How to double at Blackjack?
In Blackjack, doubling is the same as doubling your initial bet after getting the cards in your starting hand. For more details on this game action, see the blackjack rules in this folder.
✅ What’s the insurance in Blackjack?
Blackjack insurance consists of putting a portion of your initial bet in a pool to protect yourself from a possible dealer’s blackjack. For more details, click here.
✅ Can I get a bonus for playing live blackjack?
Yes, even though they are rare, there are online casinos that offer bonuses especially for playing live blackjack. Read more about them..