Blackjack is one of the most popular games at online casinos in the UK. The aim of the game is to get as close to the number 21 as possible, without going over that figure. If the dealer’s number is over 21, or you get closer to 21 than the dealer, you win – it’s that simple!
Popular Blackjack Games
There are numerous different types of blackjack games to play. The basic rules are generally the same, with some minor variations in each which you need to learn before playing.
The most popular blackjack variants are as follows:
The most popular game is traditional or classic blackjack. It can be played with just one or up to eight decks of cards. You and the dealer are both dealt two cards each – one of the cards is face down for the dealer. This is known as the hole card. You win the hand if the card total is equal to 21 and also higher than what the dealer has in their hand. If your card total is over 21, you have bust and your hand is a loser.
The European version of online blackjack is played with two decks. The two cards dealt to the players are face up, while one card is dealt face up to the dealer. Their hole card is not dealt until the player makes a decision on how to play their cards. It can be to split, hit, stand or double the cards. You can also double down for a hand whose total equals 11, 9 or 10.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
Vegas Strip is one of the most widely played types of online blackjack. This is an American version of blackjack, which allows the dealer to peek at his hole card. The dealer must stand on the soft 17. Played with four decks, doubling down is allowed after splitting the aces. Player can re-split the cards up to three times.
This is similar to traditional blackjack, but with the difference that it allows the player a chance to win an increasing jackpot. There is an additional £1 bet, which has to be placed to win the progressive jackpot. All the other rules are the same except for slight variations in when the cards can be doubled, split, hit or stand.
Experience the thrill of visiting a real-life casino without leaving the comfort of your own home by playing online blackjack with live dealers. It’s almost like playing right at the table, with the rules the same as the traditional version of the game.
The main aim of blackjack is for the player to create a hand whose point total is nearer to 21 than the dealer’s hand without going over.
Once the player has placed his/her bets, the dealer hands out one card face up to the player and another one to himself. Another round of cards is then dealt face up to the player, but the dealer takes his second card face down.
If your initial two cards are an ace and a 10 (or a picture card) it gives you a total of 21 – this is known as a natural or blackjack. You automatically win unless the dealer has the same score. If you don’t have blackjack there are a few decisions you must make. Firstly, examine the two cards in your hand and the dealer’s face-up card before making one of the following choices:
- Hit: Ask for another card. You can ask for a hit until you decide to stand or bust
- Stand: Decide that you take no additional cards. The dealer can then play their hand
- Double Down: Double the amount of your bet plus an extra card plus stand
- Split: If you have two cards of the same value, you can split them into two separate hands. The bet is the same as the original bet, so you are effectively doubling your wager
- Surrender: You may surrender half your bet if you think you are more likely to lose the hand
- Insurance: If the dealer’s up card is an ace, you can take insurance, which is a bet that is half the value of your original bet. You are essentially wagering on the dealer getting blackjack
With regards to the dealer’s hand, they automatically win if you bust or surrender. The dealer also wins if their total hand value is closest to 21.
- If the dealer has a total of 16 or less, he must hit
- If the dealer has a total of 18 or more, then he must stand
- If the dealer has a hard 17, he must stand
- If the dealer has a soft 17, the dealer must hit
How To Play Like A Professional – Best Blackjack Game Tips
Online blackjack is relatively simple to learn, but there are numerous methods you can employ to tip the odds in your favour. Familiarise yourself with terms such as basic strategy, table selection, table limits and bankroll, doubling down and splitting pairs, before parting with your hard-earned cash.
If you want to play like a professional, the best tip is to stick to the basics. Master the techniques that the pros use on a daily basis, eliminate the weaknesses in your game at the play for free tables and you’ll become a better player in no time at all.
The best game tips to help you play like a professional are as follows:
Learn Basic Strategy
Learn basic blackjack strategy for online blackjack and don’t deviate from it. This gives you the best way to play in most situations. If you play your hunches, you’re simply going to be wasting money.
Perfect basic strategy cuts the casino’s edge to 0.5%, significantly increasing your chances of winning at blackjack. Basic strategy applies a number of questions to answer when playing a hand including can I/should I surrender, can I/should I split, can I/should I double and should I hit or should I stand?
The last thing to think about when it comes to basic strategy is whether or not to take another card. If the other options above are not appropriate for your hand, then you would choose to hit or stand. Memorising the key elements of basic strategy will improve your play and reduce the number of mistakes you make.
Set a sensible bankroll level
Don’t play online blackjack at a table where the betting limits are more than 5% of your bankroll. For instance, if have £100 and decide to play at a table with a betting minimum of £10, you could be bust in only 10 bets.
Betting 5% of your bankroll at any time means it will take you 20 straight losing hands to lose. The more hands you play, the more likely your wins will mirror the expected payout of the game.
Learn when to double down. Blackjack is a game of increasing your odds when they are in your favour and limiting your losses when the odds are against you. Doubling down allows players to increase the gamble on certain hands where the odds favour them.
Players can double down when they are initially dealt a pair of cards of the same rank. Always double when you have an ace. Double when you have 10s and the dealer is showing a 9 or less. Double with 9s. Double with 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 when the dealer is holding a 4, 5 or 6.
Splitting pairs allows you to double your bet by playing two advantageous hands at once, instead of just one. Make sure you only split pairs when it is in your favour to do so. Don’t split a pair of 5s, 10s or face cards.
Always split aces. Split 7s or 8s if the dealer is showing a card equal to or lesser than your card, but never when they are holding a 9, 10, face card or ace. Splits 2s and 3s, but only when the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6.
How To Win At Blackjack
As with most online casino games, you are constantly battling against the house edge when playing online blackjack. However, follow these simple tips to reduce the advantage the house holds over you.
- Find tables where the stakes fit your bankroll
- Stand when you have a hand that could bust against a dealer’s card
- Pick a table that offers the double down option
- Always split aces and eights
- Search for tables where the dealer stands on soft 17
- Double down with any ace against the dealer’s six
- Have a basic strategy in place
- Set a gambling limit and stick to it
There are always minimum and maximum bets in online blackjack. Let’s say that you bet £20. If you win, you get your original £20 back, plus the dealer gives you another £20. If you lose, the dealer keeps your £20. If you draw (or push) you keep your bet money. If you get blackjack, you get your original £20 bet back, plus £30 from the dealer because for blackjack, you generally receive 1.5 times your bet.
It is important to check out the odds at a blackjack table before placing a bet. Most operators offer 1.5 times your bet for blackjack – 3 to 2 – but some have started to payout at odds of 6 to 5. In this case, 6 to 5 is smaller than 3 to 2 – which means that the house holds a greater advantage.
When playing blackjack in the UK it is important to familiarise yourself with the various terminology associated with the game. We’ve compiled a handy list to help you along the way:
- Hit or Draw – Request another card from the dealer
- Double Down – Make the original bet twice as much
- Stand – Continue the game without drawing any extra cards
- Split – To split a pair that consists of two equally ranked cards in order to make two separate hands
- Insurance – Place a side bet that will pay out in case the dealer has blackjack
- Surrender – Give up a losing hand in order to retain half of the original bet
- Dealer – The person who represents the casino and is responsible for dealing the cards
- House Edge – Measured in percentage and used to indicate the built-in advantage the casinos have
- House – Another word for a casino
- Hole Card – The face down card of the dealer which players cannot see
- Up Card – The card of the dealer which can be seen from all of the players
- Face Cards – The cards that have pictures on them – Jacks, Queens and Kings
- Soft Total – A hand that consists of an ace that is valued as eleven
- Hard Total – A hand that contains no ace or a hand in which the Ace is counted as one
- Push or Tie – A situation in which the dealer and the players have the same total
- Blackjack – The highest winning hand in the game which is comprised of an ace and a 10-valued card
- Bust – When the total value of a hand goes over 21 and the result is an instant loss
- Basic Strategy – This suggests the best possible move that can be made in a certain situation
- Card Counter – A player who keeps track of the cards in the game to gain advantage over the casino
- Bankroll – The funds that players have decided to play with
- Betting Limits – The minimum and maximum amounts that blackjack table allows to be placed for each hand
Blackjack is one of the most popular games in the world, with around 150 countries featuring casinos that offer the game. Here are a few interesting blackjack facts.
- Blackjack originated in French casinos around the 1700s where it was called “vingt-et-un” (twenty-and-one)
- The proper name of the game is “21”; “blackjack” came into fashion during the 1920s
- The real object of the game is to beat the dealer
- The dealer will win generally win 48 hands, the player 44 and there will be eight ties out of every 100 hands. This mathematical advantage is due to the dealer playing their hand last
- There is a Blackjack Hall of Fame located at the Barona Casino in San Diego, California
- One of the biggest fans of blackjack was Napoleon Bonaparte. He would often be found playing the game after he was exiled
- Blackjack has regularly been featured in the movies, including in the 1988 film, Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. Raymond (Hoffman’s character) uses his mathematic and mnemonic skills to win at blackjack
You should now be equipped with all the information you need to successfully play online blackjack. Keep an eye on CasinoBillions.com to find out all you need to know about the best online casinos. Good luck at the tables!