Blackjack entices and excites millions of people all over the world as a staple at most casinos. It has also made a smooth transition into the world of blackjack online casinos, where playing blackjack online for real money becomes more popular by the day. Our guide to online blackjack will have you covered in every possible way.
Walk into any casino and you’re likely to see a very busy blackjack section. That can be intimidating if you don’t know the rules, the protocol, or even the etiquette of how to play blackjack at a casino, let alone playing blackjack online.
The good news is that it’s not that hard to learn how to play blackjack online, which people sometimes call “21” due to rules of blackjack. Once you learn how to play blackjack online, you’re going to find out that it’s a game that actually provides solid payback to those who play it with the right strategy.
On top of that, playing blackjack online is something you can do from the comfort of your own home. Just settle in with your connected device and play blackjack for real money online.
In our guide to online blackjack, we have sections that will talk about the history of the blackjack and how to play with proper strategy. We’ll also be looking into how you can play blackjack games online for free and for real money. Click on one of the buttons below to get started learning about online blackjack.
The Origins of Blackjack
As is the case with many types of online casino games, there’s no clear path that shows how blackjack began then traveled through the ages. Yet there are some examples in history of games that certainly had an influence on the various types of online blackjack as we know it today.
Depending on your source, you might find Italy, Spain, and France all listed as possible sites where modern blackjack originated. In the case of the Italians, they featured a game where the goal was to reach a value of 31 without going over, which is similar to blackjack. There are references to this game that are over 500 years old.
All of these games had similarities to what we now know as online blackjack, but there were many differences as well. It wasn’t until the 20th century, when casinos took hold in America, did the modern rules of blackjack develop.
As for the name blackjack, well, that came from the early 20th century practice of casinos offering 10 to 1 odds for any hand where 21 was reached with a jack and the ace of spades. Eventually, those rules were fine-tuned to create the version of modern blackjack online we all love today.
How to Play Online Blackjack
When asking someone about how to play blackjack online, you’ll hear many people make the mistake of saying that the goal of blackjack is to have the value of your cards reach as close to 21 as possible without going over. But that’s technically incorrect. The goal of blackjack, which is to win money in return for what you wager, can only be achieved when you beat the dealer.
Keep in mind as we give you these online blackjack basics that there are many different blackjack games, in casinos and on the internet, that have slightly different characteristics. But for the sake of these instructions, we’re going to stick to the most common version of the game as you learn how to play online blackjack.
Blackjack Card Values
First, it’s important to know the point value of each card you can receive in a hand of blackjack online. Let’s take a look.
- Two = 2
- Three = 3
- Four = 4
- Five = 5
- Six = 6
- Seven = 7
- Eight = 8
- Nine = 9
- Ten = 10
- Jack = 10
- Queen = 10
- King = 10
- Ace = 1 or 11
Online Blackjack can be played with just a single gambler at a table against the dealer. Most tables house spots for as many as seven players.
In the case of land-based casinos, the dealer will deal cards to each player from a “shoe,” which is a kind of automatic card dispenser holding multiple decks. Each player receives two cards face up, while the dealer gets one card face up and one face down.
Winning or Losing a Blackjack Hand Online
There are three ways you can win a hand of blackjack.
- End up with a value in your hand higher than the dealer without exceeding 21
- End up with 21 based on the two cards that you’ve dealt before the dealer can make 21 with more than two cards
- Have the dealer go over 21 with the value of his cards
When #1 or #3 occur, you’ll win the value of your bet. If example #2 occurs, which is known as a blackjack, you will be paid off at odds of 3 to 2. A “blackjack” can only occur with an ace (11 points) and a ten, jack, queen, or king (10 points) as the two cards you’re dealt.
In that case, you get your bet back but no real money winnings. That will occur also if you and the online dealer both have blackjack with your two-card deals.
You will lose your online blackjack wager if you end up with a lower point value than the dealer with neither of you going over 21. In addition, you’ll lose if the value of your cards eventually goes over 21, which is known as a bust.
Playing Your Blackjack Hand
When you receive your two cards, you’ll add up their value. For example, if you receive a king and a three, the value is 10 + 3, or 13.
After receiving the two cards, you’ll have several options to complete the hand.
- Hit: You could add to your point total by asking for another card. Keep in mind that you can hit multiple times and keep doing this as long as you don’t go over 21 and bust.
- Stand: You can refuse any other action on your hand and stick with the point total you have. A stand, also sometimes called a stick or a stay, can happen after your two-card deal. Or you can stand at any point after you’ve just hit in a game of online blackjack.
- Split: If you receive two cards with the same point value on the deal, you can split them into two different hands. This requires doubling your original bet. When you split, you’ll receive another card for each of these two new hands then continue to play out the hands in any manner you wish.
- Double: You can double the size of your initial real money blackjack bet for the hand you’re playing. When you do this, you will receive just one more card from the dealer to complete your hand.
- Insurance: This is a separate wager of up to half of your original bet that guards against the dealer having 21 on his first two cards. An insurance bet pays off at 2 to 1.
- Surrender: This allows you to recoup half of your original wager and surrender the other half. You might surrender if you thought you had a poor hand compared to the online blackjack dealer.
Find out more about blackjack surrender and insurance here.
What the Online Blackjack Dealer Does
Once you’ve made your decisions and played out your part of the hand (and all other players at the table have too), the online dealer will complete their hand. The dealer’s only options are to hit and to stay. This process will begin once the dealer flips over the hidden card in their hand.
If the online dealer’s cards add up to less than 17, they must hit. At any point that the dealer’s cards add up to at least 17, they must stay. The dealer could bust as well if their value goes above 21 following a hit, in which case, you would win your hand as long as you haven’t busted yourself.
Keep in mind that the dealer can’t split, double, or do any of the other things open to the player. The dealer gains their advantage in online blackjack from the fact that the players don’t know the value of the hidden card. And the dealer also gets to play last, which means that they can win the hand based on the player’s busting first.
Online Blackjack Strategy and Tips
Blackjack Strategy Charts
When you play blackjack online with proper basic strategy, you greatly increase your chances of winning real money. Basic blackjack strategy is derived from computer simulations which show the ideal plays for every possible deal. This information is crucial when learning how to play blackjack online and winning more often.
These charts recommend whether you should hit, stand, or commit to any of your other options based on the two cards you receive on the deal and what card the dealer has showing. If you can memorize the information on these charts, you can improve your online blackjack odds and decrease the house edge.
Many blackjack players want to go beyond basic blackjack strategy. If you want to take this a step further, you might want to consider learning how to count cards in blackjack.
While counting cards does not always apply to every version of online blackjack, the idea behind card counting is that the gambler’s chances improve once certain cards with lower values have already been played and are out of the deck. By contrast, the dealer’s chances improve when more face cards (jacks, queens, and kings) and tens have been played.
Card counting only improves potential payback slightly and only if you do it right. Casual players might not find much use for learning how to count cards. But it can be a valuable tool for those who plan on making blackjack their regular casino game.
Online Blackjack Bankroll Management
You should also consider bankroll management in online blackjack to be an important part of your strategy. The smartest players know good online blackjack betting strategy and how much of their digital bankroll to devote to a given session. They also know when to call it quits, either because they’ve made a satisfying profit or because they’ve lost a certain amount.
Pick up Some Tips From Our Casino Blogs
Become a more well rounded online blackjack player by picking up some tips and tricks from the world of casino gambling. We have a wide variety of different casino blogs that are often related to playing blackjack online. Find out how to gain an edge over your favorite games today.
7 Blackjack Tricks That Professional Gamblers Use
Reasons Why You Should Play Casino War
Top 2 Gambling Destinations in the World That Aren’t Vegas or Macau
10 Things to Avoid on Your Next Visit to a Casino
4 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Winning Money on a Casino Trip
What Does It Mean When a Casino “Backs Off” a Player?
Ways to Play Blackjack Online
As we mentioned above, blackjack has become one of the most popular of all online gambling games. You can wager and win real money and enjoy gameplay that’s exactly the same as you would if you were in the casinos. Check out some of your options below.
Real Money Online Blackjack
You’ll find no shortage of blackjack online casinos offering up the chance to play blackjack online for real money. These online blackjack casinos often allow you to play the game through a browser, while some others might require a download. In any case, you should always check the rules for each particular online blackjack game to make sure you’re playing with the right strategy.
Blackjack Apps for Real Money
It’s a mobile world these days, and blackjack apps can provide you with the ultimate in gambling convenience. They allow you to play as long as you have a phone, tablet, or another connected device with you. You’ll find that both apps provide blackjack tips, offer free blackjack games, or are tied into blackjack online casinos that allow you to play for real money.
Live Dealer Online Blackjack
Many online blackjack games use simulated dealers that reshuffle the decks after every single deal. But games with live dealers who interact with players online are becoming more and more prevalent. Expert blackjack players prefer this style because card counting can be utilized.
Playing Blackjack Online in the US
Blackjack, for a long time, has been one of the most popular casino games in the United States. Whereas once upon a time that meant you’d have to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, that’s not the case anymore.
In the past few decades, most other states in the United States have legalized casino gambling. That means there’s probably a live blackjack table not too far away from where you live waiting for you.
As far as playing blackjack online for real money, that’s a bit trickier. Laws seem to be always changing concerning whether or not blackjack online casinos in the US are okay.
The most important thing you have to realize as a gambler is that you will not get prosecuted for gambling at blackjack online casinos. Instead, the hosts of the sites are the ones who assume legal responsibility for real money blackjack games.
At worst, you might find that your preferred method of payment is denied as you try to use an online blackjack casino. But since most legal casinos in the United States now have online operations as well, you really shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a real money online blackjack game that takes care of all your gambling needs.
FAQs About Playing Online Blackjack
Can I Play Blackjack Online Without Knowing a Lot of Strategy?
You can definitely play the game of blackjack online even if you don’t know too much about when to hit, when to stand, or any of the other options. And the great thing is that, in a short session, you can still get a lucky streak that can help you overcome your lack of blackjack strategy. But in the long run, you should really try to learn all the right plays if you want to maximize your potential real money winnings.
What Are Some of the Differences Found in Online Blackjack Games?
Depending on where you play, either online or in a casino, the game you find might have slightly different rules for blackjack that can affect play. Differences include:
- The amount of decks in play
- Varying blackjack split rules
- Whether you can double on any two-card deal
- Whether the dealer has to use to stay on a “soft” 17 (one achieved with an ace valued at “11”)
- Whether a reshuffling machine or program is used
These are just a few of the differences you might encounter. Each will have a slight impact on your blackjack odds online and in the casino.
Is Blackjack Card Counting Illegal?
Blackjack card counting is technically not illegal in the sense that you won’t be arrested for it. In the case of land-based casinos, they are within their rights to try to stop you from doing it, either by shuffling the decks more often or simply asking you to leave. You have to know how to be subtle with your counting efforts to avoid this happening to you.
Start Playing Blackjack Online Today
We hope that this blackjack guide will get you started on the road to many hours of gambling enjoyment with this game. You’ll find blackjack games online are not too difficult once you get the hang of it. But more important than that, you’ll start to realize just how lucrative the game of online blackjack can be if you, quite literally, play your cards right.