Online Blackjack: The Whole Story
Blackjack originated in French Casinos as far back as the 1700s and is still going strong.
Blackjack is definitely one of the most famous and popular casino games of all time, with over 140 countries around the world offering blackjack in their casinos. Blackjack is the only casino game that can be won and it is actually very easy to play.
The game is played with a deck of 52 cards and up to 8 players, who play not against each other but against the dealer. In front of each player there is a space to place bets, each table will have its own minimum and maximum bets. The object of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible, while having a higher number than the dealer but never going over 21.
At the end of each hand you can either lose, where the dealer will take all, or win and take as much as you bet. The average house edge is 8 percent, but players with skills and knowledge can turn that edge into just 0.5%.
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Blackjack Rules and How it Works
- Firstly, each player in the game must decide how much he or she wants to bet on the game. Minimum and maximum bets differ from site to site but usually accommodate for a range of different players.
- At the beginning of the game each player is dealt 2 cards, usually face up. The dealer also deals two cards for himself, with 1 facing up and 1 facing down. The best possible cards to be dealt would be an Ace and a 10 point card, this is a natural 21 or a ‘blackjack’ and results in an automatic win for the player.
- The game carries on by each player deciding whether they would like to stand (keep their cards as they stand) or hit (receive another card from the deck). Players can hit until they feel their hand is strong enough or until they go over 21 points which will result in a bust (an immediate loss).
- Once all the players have made their final calls, the dealer turns over his face down card. If he has blackjack he will obviously win and if not he can choose to stand or hit until he feels comfortable of busts. The dealer must hit if his points are lower than 17.
- If the dealer goes bust, all the players left in the game win. If not, the player with the closest score to 21 wins while all the other players lose.
Blackjack Strategies and Systems
Surrender Strategy– Once you have been dealt your original 2 cards and the dealers up turned card has been considered, you have the option to surrender or forfeit and thus get to keep half your bet. This is a good strategy to go for if you think your chances of winning are slim. When you surrender, the dealer will remove half your bet and take away your cards and place them in the discard pile.
Pair Splitting Strategy- If you are dealt two cards of the same value you have the opportunity to split them. The two cards will become two separate bets if you decide to split them and you will need to wager the same amount for your second bet that you did for your original hand. It is important to know that know that not every opportunity to split pairs should be used.
Doubling Down- Doubling down involves the player opting to double their bet after their initial 2 cards have been dealt. If a player doubles down they will only be able to receive 1 draw card. This is a good strategy to use if it seems as if the dealer may bust as you have the opportunity to potentially double your winnings.
Insurance- Whenever the dealer deals an Ace as upward facing card for himself he may offer for the players to make a separate insurance bet. The players that choice to bet will be betting that the dealer’s second card will be a 10 or picture card. If the dealer does not have a 10 or picture card the bet is lost. This insurance can save you from losing your original bet if the dealer does get a natural 21.
Before you start beating blackjack you need to learn a thing or two. There are some basics strategies that are good for start if you play with a single deck.
If you have 8 then you should double on 5 to 6 or hit
If you have 9 then you should double on 2 to 6 or hit
If you have 10 then you should double on 2 to 9 or hit
If you have 11 then you should always double
If you have 12 then you should stand on 4 to 6 or hit
If you have 13 to 16 then you should stand on 2 to 6 or hit
If you have 17 to 21 you should always stand
If you have A,2 to A,5 then you should double on 4 to 6 or hit
If you have A,6 then you should double on 2 to 6 or hit
If you have A, 7 then you should double on 3 to 6, stand on 2, 7,8 or A, or hit on 9 or 10.
If you have A,8 you should double on 6 or stand
If you have A, 9 always stand
If you have A, A always split
If you have 2,2 you should always split on 3 to 7 or hit
If you have 3, 3 you should always split on 4 to 7 or hit
If you have 4, 4 you should double on 5 to 6 or hit
If you have 5, 5 you should double on 2 to 9 or hit
If you have 6, 6 you should split on 2 to 6 or hit
If you have 7, 7 you should split on 2 to 7, stand on 10 or hit
If you have 8, 8 you should always split
If you have 9,9 you should split on 2 to 9 except 7, stand on 7, 10 or A
If you have 10, 10 you should always stand
If the casino allows doubling down after pair splitting you should follow these rules:
For 2, 2 you should split on 2 to 7 or hit
For 3, 3 you should split on 2 to 7 or hit
For 4, 4 you should split on 4, 5 or 6 or hit
For 6, 6 you should split on 2 to 7 or hit
For 7, 7 you should split on 2 to 8, stand on 10 or hit
Top 5 Blackjack Tips
There are also a couple of rules that you need to master when you are playing online and they are as follows:
- Learn when to hit
- when to stand
- double the chips
- Learn how to count cards slowly
Online Blackjack Variations – A Game Of Diversity
Since blackjack is a very popular game there are dozen different variations which follow the same rules but with a few twists. Some of these variations have become casino games such as Double Exposure Blackjack, Double Blackjack, Pantoon, and Elimination Blackjack just to name some. Along with poker, blackjack is probably the most popular type of card game in casinos around the world. However, when we say blackjack, we don’t really just refer to one game, as there are quite a few different variations of the game being offered.
With the casino games moving more and more to the online world, different blackjack variations have also found their place in the online casino lobbies. Today, you will find the likes of Spanish, European and Pontoon Blackjack in the lobbies of most online casinos on a regular basis.
We are introducing you to the most popular varieties of online blackjack, the rules of the games and providing you with some expert tips on how you can make the best of playing online blackjack.
Spanish Blackjack is a variation of the game you may not have encountered and it’s really unlikely you will have encountered it in a brick and mortar casino. The game is played with a deck of 48 cards and 8 decks are used in a shoe. The 4 missing cards are the Tens, which are excluded from the decks.
The dealer will always check his hole card for blackjack if his up card is ten or ace. Additionally, the rules of Spanish Blackjack dictate that the dealer will always hit a soft 17. The player is allowed to double down on any number of cards and re-double down once. The player can also Surrender at any time, including once he has doubled down.
You can Split up to three times total, to make up to four hands and you can Split and Re-Split Aces. You can also Draw or Double Down when Splitting Aces. The best thing about Spanish Blackjack is the added bonuses you can earn when you get certain hands. For instance:
- 5 Card 21 pays 3 – 1
- 6 Card 21 pays 2 – 1
- 7 Card 21 pays 3 – 1
- 777 of Spades pays 3 – 1
- Suited 777 when dealer is showing 7 pays 50 – 1
This all makes for some very interesting spots and you will generally see players gamble it up a bit more in this game than other Blackjack variations, hoping to hit some of these special payouts. Our best tip for the game of Spanish Blackjack is to keep your strategy card close and not deviate from it, as you may be increasing the house edge dramatically with some plays.
The game has a house edge of just 0.38% when the player plays optimal strategy, which is very low and close to a break even proposition. This is why you will see much more wins in a game of Spanish Blackjack and the game is generally much more player friendly. The place where the casinos probably win the most in this game is from risk-taking players who try to defy the odds and strategy.
Hi-Lo-13 is a very specific variety of the game of Blackjack. The game really plays like a regular 2 deck Blackjack where the dealer Stands on 17 and draws on 16. However, the game comes with an additional twist as additional bets can be placed on the sum of your first two cards.
The way the game works in online casinos, there will be three additional betting circles in front of your regular betting circle. Once you place your normal bet, you can place a bet on Lo, Hi or 13. This means you are betting that the score of your first two cards will be lower, higher or exactly 13. These bets pay as follows:
- Winning Hi or Lo bet pays 1 – 1
- Winning 13 bet pays 10 – 1
While this type of blackjack is extremely entertaining and exciting to play, the reality is that this is one of the worst blackjack games in terms of house edge and odds. On some casinos, the game is played with more than two decks, making the odds even worse. Betting on Hi, Lo or 13 will increase the house edge by a whopping 6 to 10% depending on the exact game variety and the number of decks as well as the bet that you make.
The only real advantage of playing Hi-Lo-13 Blackjack is that the game carries with it some additional excitement but with such an enormous house edge, it is really hard to stick around for long as the side bets are a real bankroll drainer. If you wish to try the game out and test your luck, there are plenty of online casinos that offer it, but be sure to stay conservative with your bankroll and careful to quit in time.
Pontoon is a game very similar to your other Blackjack variations and is often considered to be an early version of Blackjack. You can normally find Pontoon on many Playtech casinos and Microgaming casinos online. There are some similarities and some differences between Pontoon and the more common Blackjack variations. The basic rules of Pontoon include:
- 52 card deck
- Same card values as in Blackjack
- No dealer face up card
- Player can stand on 15 or when he has 5 cards of any value
- Dealer hits soft 17
- Ties lose
Instead of Blackjack, a player can hit a Pontoon in this game, which consists of an Ace and any card valued 10 points. Pontoon is the strongest combination of cards you can get, followed by a five card combination that has not busted. If neither the player nor the dealer have a Pontoon or Five Point Trick, hands under 21 are compared and the higher hand wins. Any hand that exceeds 21 is busted immediately.
If you want to minimize the house edge, you should be sure to use a strategy card while playing the game. When you play optimally, the house edge in the game of Pontoon is 0.38% while this edge can increase with a casino lowering the number of decks used to play, or lower if the dealer is forced to stand on soft 17 etc.
Overall speaking, Pontoon is one of the most player friendly Blackjack games with solid odds and a low house edge and one we definitely recommend giving a try as you can expect to have great fun and win with just a little luck.
Online casino operators such as Casino.com and Royal Vegas Casino offer Pontoon to players along with big bonuses you can claim with a simple deposit using one of the many offered deposit methods.
Double Exposure is another form of Blackjack often offered by the online casinos that includes some major rules changes when compared to your more common Blackjack variations. The number one difference with Double Exposure is the fact that both dealer cards are exposed right away. The most important rules of Double Exposure include:
- Both dealer cards exposed
- Dealer wins ties
- Blackjack pays even money
- Only one split allowed
Other rules are variable, but they are all set in place to accommodate for the dealer’s disadvantage of showing both cards. When all is said and done, Double Exposure usually comes with a slightly bigger edge than normal Blackjack games, but the edge is still reasonable and the game is among the better ones to play in an online casino.
Double Exposure strategy is not one you need to learn by heart, especially when playing online as you can always use the strategy cards to make the best decisions. As always not deviating from optimal strategy is the way to go.
The online casinos also offer a number of other Blackjack games including Surrender, Switch and Progressive Blackjack variations. Every new casino you register with will usually offer a new Blackjack variation you may not have tried in the past and the likes of Royal Vegas Casino and All slots NZ Casino offering dozens of Blackjack variations.
Reasons to love online blackjack
- Blackjack is easy to learn and enjoyable to play.
- Blackjack offers a low house edge and players can further lower that edge if they use blackjack strategies.
- There is always a blackjack table to play available online.
Blackjack is a very popular game among players because it is not just gambling that matters here. This is a game of skill, a game that is challenging and exciting at the same time. The only thing that is left unsaid is that you should decently visit our recommended NZ online casinos and see for yourself. Join any of the featured casinos and start playing the various Blackjack variations right away with massive deposit bonuses and free cash offers available with each new online casino NZ you sign up at.