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What is blackjack?
Blackjack is a table casino game played with cards. It’s played between two or more people, with one dealer and at least one player. As the player, you’ll be playing against the dealer, and the objective of the game is to beat them.
At the start of the game, you’ll place your bet, and then the dealer deals you two cards. You can choose to either keep your cards without placing a bet, ask for another card or increase your bet. Most game types will also let you choose to fold your cards and receive back half your stake. The dealer also deals themselves two cards. Depending on the exact game type, you might be able to see their cards or just see one card.
Every card has a point value, and the aim of the game is to have a higher point total than the dealer, without going over twenty-one. If you hit twenty-one, you win. But you can also win with a lower total if the dealer goes over twenty-one.
If you win, you’ll get back double your stake. If you hit a Blackjack, that’s twenty-one with an Ace and a ten-point card, you’ll win back your stake plus 1.5x the stake. There are lots of different versions of Blackjack which we’ll get more into later in the guide. Some of these versions can introduce different rules, extra hands and new winning conditions, so it’s important to understand the rules fully before you play.
Why play blackjack?
You might be wondering what sets Blackjack apart from most other casino games. If you’ve never tried the game out before, here are a few things about the game that might interest you:
- Skill-based – Unlike a lot of casino games, to get good at Blackjack, you’ll need to master the game. This means that you won’t have to rely on good luck to win. But can definitely start to win consistently if you practice and get good at the game.
- High RTP – Blackjack is usually one of the highest RTP games you can find at any online casino. This means that the odds are in your favour more than with most other games. Check out the RTP before you play, most games have a rate of around 98% with some even higher.
- Easy to get into – Despite being difficult to master, Blackjack has really straightforward rules, and anyone can pick it up and play without much reading. You can still get lucky and land some wins, just remember that winning consistently will take time.
- Different variations – Blackjack is a very old game with simple rules, meaning there are loads of different variations out there. If you get bored of playing classic Blackjack, you can always try out multihand, fast play, high stakes or any number of different versions of the game.
- Fast-paced – Blackjack isn’t just popular because of the need for skill, it’s also very fun to play. Blackjack is a fast-paced game that you can quickly sit down and play multiple hands in a short space of time. With the speed of the game, big wins are always possible.
Blackjack is one of the online casino games with the lowest house edge, making it one of the most player-friendly games out there. Usually, the house edge will be around 3%, but you can get it down even lower to around 1% or less if you know how to play effectively. Being able to shave a few percent off the house edge may not seem like a lot, but if you’re playing over a long period of time that could be the difference between hundreds of dollars.
Like Poker, Blackjack is a casino that’s heavily based on skill as well as a bit of luck. Without following a strategy, you can still have fun playing. If you want to win big, however, you’ll have to get smarter about how you play.
We’ve collected these tips that will help you improve your online Blackjack game and hopefully land some big wins:
- Prepare carefully – Before you begin playing make sure your bankroll is set up and you know which type of game you’re playing. Set yourself some time to play and don’t get distracted by external factors.
- Know the rules before you begin – This seems obvious, but a lot of players will rush into a game thinking they know how to play already. Even if you’re already familiar with Blackjack, check the rules as many variations will have different rules to take note of.
- Follow a strategy – Unfortunately card counting doesn’t work online, even when playing live Blackjack because continuous shuffling is usually used. That doesn’t mean you should abandon all strategy, however. Follow a plan and stick to it
- Don’t lose your cool – When you’re gambling losses are inevitable and it’s important to remain calm while you’re playing, The last thing you need is to lose your cool and start chasing losses, leading to further losses.
- Change bet sizes – Your bet sizes should ideally always be a percentage of your bankroll. This means that when you’re winning, your bets should be bigger, and when losing, they should be smaller. Managing your bet size is how you can manage your bankroll effectively.
- Set limits and stick to them – Before you begin, it’s important to set both a win and loss limit. Make sure you stick to them carefully and don’t get carried away. It can be tempting to keep going sometimes, but if you want to maintain consistent success, you need to be consistent about your limits.
While playing Blackjack, there is actually a basic strategy you can follow. This gives you a guideline of how to react for each card you’re dealt. If you follow this strategy, you can quickly increase the number of your online Blackjack wins. Remember that the aim of the game isn’t to hit twenty-one but to beat the dealer. A lot of new players always go for twenty-one, which inevitably leads to more losses than wins.
Knowing when to hit
To take a hit in Blackjack is to request the dealer for another card. The following are all times you should take a hit when playing Blackjack:
- If the dealer’s face up card is seven, eight, nine, ten or Ace and your hand is between eight and twelve.
- If the dealer has an Ace as the face up card and your total is eleven.
- If the dealer’s face up card is a ten and your total is ten.
- If the dealer has a seven, eight or nine face up and your total is nine.
Knowing when to stand
A stand in Blackjack is when you hold onto your hand and end the turn. Use the following rules to determine when you should stand in Blackjack:
- Whenever your hand totals seventeen or above, you should always stand.
- If the dealer’s face up card is a six or below and you have a total of thirteen or above.
- If you have a pair of tens or face cards. Don’t split them, stand.
Knowing when to split
In Blackjack, when you have a pair of cards of the same value, you’re able to split them into two hands. You’ll get a second card for each hand and will need to place an equal bet to cover both hands. The following are rules relating to when you should split while playing Blackjack:
- You should only split twos and threes if the dealer has a face up card between four and seven.
- Never split fives. Either double down or take a hit if the dealer’s card is a ten or a Ace.
- If a dealer has six or below, you can split sixes or sevens.
- Always split a pair of eights, no matter which card the dealer has.
- If the game rules allow, you should always choose to split Aces, no matter what card the dealer has.
Knowing when to double down
In Blackjack, you can choose to double your bet if you’re confident of a win. The following are all examples of times when you should double down:
- You should always double down if you have a total of ten unless the dealer has a ten or Ace.
- Always double down with a total of eleven unless the dealer has a visible Ace.
- You can double with a total of nine but only if the dealer has either a three, four, five or six showing.
Playing blackjack for free
Blackjack is a skill-based game, so the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Of course, there’s still an element of luck involved in the game, but unlike other casino games like Roulette or slots, your wins can be affected by your skill.
This is one of the main reasons why Blackjack is so popular. Good Blackjack players are able to master the skills needed to land consistent wins. If you follow our tips and tricks, you’ll be halfway there, but all the strategy in the world won’t help you without practice.
If you’d like to practice Blackjack, there’s no substitute for playing the real thing but playing risk-free is also a great way to build your skills. Many online casinos will offer free to play demo versions of popular casino games that you can play. All you need to play is a casino account, and you won’t need to stake any real cash.
Demo games are a great way to build up confidence and get to know the game. You can try out different strategies and experiment with new rules and game modes. At CasinoComparison, we always recommend trying out the demo version of the game before playing for real cash, it’s just good common sense.
Most top online casinos offer players some kind of bonus, either as an incentive for signing up or to reward loyalty. Unfortunately for fans of table casino games, it’s a lot rarer to get bonuses that can be used on games like Blackjack. Free spins on slot games are a lot more commonly seen. That doesn’t mean that Blackjack bonuses don’t exist, however.
Here at CasinoComparison, we’re always on the lookout for the best online casino bonuses, including those that can be used when playing Blackjack. We publish all the best and latest online casino bonuses on our top bonus page. Here you’ll discover the latest bonuses and bonus codes that can help you get started playing Blackjack online.
A lot of casinos that offer live casino games are starting to give out free bet tokens to players as an incentive to get them playing. You can bet that if there’s a new casino bonus out there, you’ll be able to find it here at CasinoComparison!
To stay up to date with the latest casino bonuses and promotions, you can check our site regularly. We always keep our lists up to date so you can discover the latest bonuses. To get news of special casino promotions directly in your email inbox, you may also want to consider opting into your casino’s promotions. There should be an option for this in your profile.
Types of blackjack
Now you know a bit more about Blackjack and how to play, you’re almost ready to start playing! First, you might want to familiarise yourself with the different types of Blackjack on offer online. There’s no one type that’s better to play than others, it’s really a matter of preference which you choose, but we’ve put together a list of the different game types available.
We’ve also included some details about the differences between Blackjack at a traditional, land-based casino and online Blackjack. If you’d like to know more about live Blackjack and Blackjack tournaments, that’s also all included.
Online blackjack vs blackjack in a land-based Casino
Although the rules of Blackjack remain unchanged between land-based casinos and their online counterparts, there are a few key differences. For starters, online play is far more convenient to the players. You don’t have to leave your home and travel to a casino to play. You only need to load up the site and sign in to your account. On top of this, there’s no need to wait for space at a table, and you can play at all hours of the day.
Of course, playing at land-based casinos isn’t without its advantages. For example, at an online casino, there’s usually very little social interaction. At a land-based casino, you can chat with other players and the dealer and go with all your friends. While some online casinos do offer chatrooms for players, it’s not quite the same.
One of the biggest advantages of online casinos over land-based ones is the sheer number of games on offer. Most online casinos have a big collection of table games, including loads of different variations of Blackjack. You might only find one or two different Blackjack games at a land-based casino. So for those who prefer variety, online casinos are better without a doubt.
Online blackjack vs live blackjack
At most online casinos, there will be two main ways to play Blackjack. First off, there’s the standard games which are played against a computer that uses RNG to determine the cards being dealt. The other way is by playing live Blackjack.
Live Blackjack is a way for online casino players to get the full casino experience from the comfort of their home. Rather than playing against a computer which deals you cards from a virtual deck, live Blackjack pits you against a real dealer, using real cards. The dealer is working in a studio and being recorded while playing. Their actions are live-streamed to the players at the table, allowing multiple players to join in the action.
Live casino games are an excellent way to bridge the gap between real casinos and online casinos. They provide a social element, allowing players to chat with each other and the dealer and it’s generally more exciting playing against a real person than against a computer.
If you want an authentic casino experience, live Blackjack is a great choice. The only downside is that games don’t take place 24/7 and usually buy-ins are a little higher than regular online Blackjack.
Online blackjack game types
There are hundreds of different variations and rule types of Blackjack, partly thanks to the fact that it’s a very old and popular game. We’ve made a list of the most common types you’ll come across online and the defining features of each. You don’t have to learn the full rules of every game, only the game you’re most interested in playing.
Classic blackjack – This is undoubtedly the most common type of Blackjack you’ll find online and probably the most common table game too. Most strategy guides you’ll find online will be referring to Classic Blackjack. Remember that you’re trying to beat the dealer while not going over twenty-one.
European blackjack – This is almost exactly the same as Classic Blackjack. The only difference is that the game is played with two decks. The dealer’s second card is only dealt after the player has decided on their choice of action.
Free bet blackjack – In this game type, special actions like doubling down and splitting are actually free in certain circumstances. This makes for a very fun and potentially highly rewarding game. All pairs except for tens can be split for free. A double down can be made for free if your hand has a value of nine, ten or eleven.
Blackjack switch – In Switch a player can choose between two different hands. The player is dealt all four cards face up and can decide on which hand to choose from. Payouts in Switch are a maximum of 1x our stake rather than 1.5x.
Blackjack double exposure – In double exposure, both of the dealer’s cards are visible from the start of the game. This allows you to choose your actions better and can hopefully lead to more wins. However, payouts aren’t as high as in regular Blackjack, and you can only split once.
Multiplayer blackjack – This usually plays out similarly to Classic Blackjack with players around a table playing against a dealer. However, the player who does the best at the table is also crowned the winner and can win extra cash.
Single deck blackjack – This is pretty much identical to Classic Blackjack only it’s played with just one deck rather than multiple decks.
Progressive jackpot – This usually follows standard Blackjack rules, but there’ll also be a chance of winning a big progressive jackpot. Progressive jackpots build up over time as each player bets, and eventually, one winner will get their hands on the entire prize.
Blackjack aurrender – In this game type the player can fold or surrender their hand to give up a bad hand and recover half of their bet.
Blackjack multihand – This usually plays out like Classic Blackjack except for the fact that you’ll have multiple hands to play with at once. This can range from two hands all the way up to five or more. You can choose between hands or play with multiple at once, depending on the exact game type and rules.
Caribbean 21 – Here, the Aces have a value of one rather than eleven or one in regular Blackjack. The best hand possible is two tens and an ace which is known as the Caribbean Blackjack. Make sure you check out the full rules before you play as there can be differences in surrendering, splits and doubling too.
Super Fun 21 – This game type has a rule where the player’s twenty-one always beats the dealer’s. On top of that, a diamond Blackjack, a diamond face card and diamond ace will pay out 2x your stake rather than 1.5x.
Spanish 21 – Here, you’ll play with either six or eight decks, and all ten-value cards are removed. Because of the removal, the game actually has a higher house edge. The dealer can also look at their hand, giving them an added advantage.
Pontoon – In Pontoon, both of the dealer’s cards are face down, making it harder to decide on a strategy. Pontoon introduces another way to win called the five-card trick. This is where you collect five cards while staying under twenty-one. Landing an ace and ten-point card will give you 2x your stake rather than 1.5x.
A lot of online casinos offer tournaments where players can join and compete against each other for big prizes. Some charge entry fees while others are free and occasionally you can also find invite-only tournaments too.
You won’t just be trying to beat the dealer, but also to beat other players in the tournament. At the end of the set amount of time, the players who collected the most points from playing will get their hands on some amazing prizes.
If you want to find where the latest casino tournaments are being held, we regularly feature tournaments here at CasinoComparison. You can find out full details like how to enter and the prizes on offer.
Here are some of the Blackjack tournaments you can expect to find online:
- Sit’n Go Tournaments – These types of tournaments are usually the most common online. They feature a set number of players and will only begin once the required number has been reached. You can join provided the tournament isn’t already in progress. You’ll get a pop up when the tournament is ready to begin, and you’ll be given a set amount of tournament credits. The objective is to beat other player’s hands to rank at the end of the competition.
- Elimination Tournaments – In these competitions, you’ll be trying to actively knock other players out of the tournament in each consecutive round. While other types of tournament use a leaderboard to decide the winners, the players at the final table will all have an equal chance of winning the top prize. Knock out the other players to bring home the money.
- Freeroll Tournaments – These competitions are a bit less serious and are free to enter for all registered players. Prizes tend to be a lot smaller, but it can still be a lot of fun to compete against the other players on the site.
- Mini Tournaments – Similar to the free play tournaments, these competitions are less serious but still good fun. They usually have a small entry fee, but the exact amount will depend on the site.
Best blackjack game providers
Casino software developers are the companies behind the games that you play. Not all game providers develop Blackjack, but we’ve put together a list of some of the best ones that do. All of these developers produce high-quality games that can be found at any good online casino. Check out games from these developers if you want to have the best Blackjack experience online.
- Evolution Gaming – Evolution Gaming is the best in the industry when it comes to live casinos. If you want to play the best live games around, look out for games from this studio. The company offers eleven different variations of live Blackjack, giving you plenty of variety. Most top casinos that offer live games will use games produced by Evolution Gaming. Games from this studio can be played on tablets, mobiles and PCs.
- NetEnt – NetEnt is one of the best and most popular casino software developers out there. The company is perhaps better known for its quality video slots, but the studio has also released a great selection of Blackjack games. You can play live Blackjack by NetEnt at some of the best online casinos around.
- Microgaming – Microgaming is one of the biggest casino game producers in the world. The studio has an extensive collection of top-quality games including Blackjack. You can find twenty-five different version of Blackjack produced by Microgaming. While the studio clearly has a preference for developing slots, it also produces high-quality table games. Check out Microgaming’s Blackjack games at some of the best online casinos.
- Betsoft – When it comes to online casino game developers, Betsoft are up there as one of the best in the business. You can find seven different versions of Blackjack from Betsoft, including Pontoon, European Blackjack and Single Deck Blackjack. For now, the studio hasn’t released any live casino games, but the collection of regular Blackjack games is enough for the majority of players.
- Play’n GO – While Play’n GO doesn’t offer as many Blackjack titles as some of the other developers on this list, the studio is committed to providing the very best casino experience. All of Play’n GO’s games are of extremely high quality and include great gameplay and special features. Play’n GO ensures that mobile players are catered to, and you can enjoy these Blackjack games no matter where you go.
- Yggdrasil – Yggdrasil has been in the casino software industry for a while but only recently started to release Blackjack titles. Yggdrasil is a highly innovative studio, and both of the Blackjack games it has released so far have combined elements of both live and regular online casino games. Featuring 3D graphics and an immersive environment, these games bring players the best of both worlds. As you would expect from an innovative developer, both of Yggdrasil’s Blackjack games are compatible with all types of devices, including mobiles.
- Felt – Felt is a relatively small casino developer which has been in the business since 2013. The studio focuses entirely on table games, as it aims to give players the very best casino experience possible. Games from Felt include the likes of Caribbean Blackjack, Perfect Pairs, High-Hand and Six in One.