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The Ultimate Guide To Playing Online Blackjack – Online Casino Gems
As one of the most popular casino card games in the world, Blackjack is a top choice for many beginners who are looking to make their debut into the gambling world. It's more accessible than Craps, less intimidating than Poker rooms, and more familiar than Baccarat.
Because it is seen as an easy game to learn and play, it’s unsurprisingly to see so many people are eager to give it a go.
Many people are familiar with how modern-day blackjack works but the game has a rich history, of which you’re probably aren’t aware.
Although it is thought to have originated in Europe, slight variations of the game are played in countries such as Spain, France, Italy, and England today.
Online casinos stick to the modern-day version of blackjack that was outlined by the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen in 1956.
This is the method this ultimate guide will help you understand. In addition to providing you with all the terminology, we’ll present you with the best strategies to help you successfully play online blackjack regardless of your level of expertise.
The Basics of Online Blackjack
You may be reading this to learn how to develop a blackjack gaming strategy that will make you a winner from the beginning but such information is practically useless unless you understand how the game works.
By gaining an understanding of the basics first, you will learn the impact of the decisions you will make on your game and what to do if things don’t go according to plan.
Possessing a deep understanding of the basics will also help you learn advanced features of blackjack games more quickly.
The Objectives Of Online Blackjack
When it comes to playing online blackjack, most people erroneously assume that the object of the game is simply to get as close to a total hand value of 21 as possible.
While this is partially true, it doesn’t go far enough for those hoping to play the game well.
Let us be clear, the actual objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand. This means you are playing directly against the house and not so much against the other players at the table.
You achieve this objective if the value of your hand is higher than the dealer’s by the end of the round, or if the dealer’s hand value goes over 21 and your’s does not.
How To Play Blackjack
The first step to playing online blackjack is to decide how much money you want to bet on the game.
The amount you are allowed to bet generally depends on the casino where you are playing. you are most commonly given the option of $1, $5, $25, and $100.
In general, the amount of money you are allowed to bet depends on the casino you’ve chosen. $1, $5, $25, and $100 are the most common options.
After all, bets have been placed, the croupier (or dealer) will deal 2 cards to all players. In most online games, they will also deal 2 cards to themselves; one facing upwards, and the other facing down.
It is important to remember you’re playing against the dealer now because the decisions you make later in the game could be influenced by the details of the card you cannot see.
The game begins once you’ve received both cards. From here, you have a couple of choices for your course of action.
The first choice is to ‘stand’. You do this when you are happy with the hand you’ve been dealt. If you choose to ‘stand’, you will not receive any further cards.
The other choice is to ‘hit’. If you choose this option, you will receive another card. You then repeat this as many times as it takes for you to become satisfied with your hand.
If you exceed a total hand value of more than 21, you bust’. When you bust, you have lost that round and will then wait for the other players to finish their hand before another round commences.
Once all the players have finished, it’s the dealer's turn to get involved and win the game.
They must reveal their unturned card to create a hand, and keep hitting until they reach or exceed a total hand value of 17.
As mentioned before, you will win the game of blackjack if the value of your hand is higher than the dealer’s, or have 21 or less when the dealer busts.
Although playing blackjack online usually results in a game like the one detailed above, there is an exception to this rule; the blackjack.
“Blackjack” is called when a player or dealer is dealt with a face card and an ace, which equals 21. At this point, the game is over and the player in question is rewarded.
If you’re lucky enough to strike a blackjack, most casinos will pay you 1.5x the original stake you put on the game.
For example, if you bet $25, you will immediately be paid $37.50 without having to do anything else.
The Value Of The Cards
Having an in-depth understanding of the way playing cards are valued is an essential part of blackjack.
This understanding will shape every decision you make after being dealt your first two cards and help you reach sensible decisions for your next moves.
Although this might seem extremely complicated, it’s not.
There are only three points you need to remember when it comes to each card’s value. They are as follows:
- All face cards (Kings, Queens, Jacks) are worth 10 points
- Ace cards are either worth 1 or 11 points, depending on your current hand
- Cards between 2-10 are simply worth their face value
To simplify things even further, you’ll be glad to hear that card suits like diamonds and hearts don’t mean a thing in blackjack.
This means that the total value of your hand can simply be tallied up as 4+3+8=15, regardless of the different suits they come from.
Things get slightly more complicated with ace cards, but not by much.
All you need to remember is that in most blackjack games, the ace card is valued at 11 points, except in circumstances where the total hand value would exceed 21 if this was to occur.
The Rules of Blackjack
One thing that makes blackjack an attractive game to beginner gamblers is how easy it is to play it. However, there are some rules with which you should be familiar.
The main rule you need to remember is that blackjack moves in clockwise starting on the dealer’s left.
This does make sense considering that, regardless of whether it’s in-person or online blackjack, it’s played around a semi-circular table where players are seated along the edge facing the dealer.
The other rules you need to know when playing blackjack online can be generalized into two categories: player rules and dealer rules.
As a player, the first rule you must commit to memory is that you should place a bet in line with the maximum amount allowed for the game you’re joining based on the appropriate betting space located on the blackjack table. This should be done as soon as you enter the playing room before the start of the game.
During the span of the game, all players will have the opportunity to utilize the same betting options.
If there is enough room at the table, players can play more than one hand. Some casinos limit this to two hands after someone has split; others will allow several more provided there is enough space on the table at the time.
The main rule blackjack dealers must remember is that they must wait for all other players to take their turns before they take theirs.
They must also adhere to specific rules regarding whether they stand or hit.
A dealer must hit when the total of their hand is less than 17 and must stand on anything of 17 or over.
When it comes to a soft 17, which means a player has an ace card that can be utilized as an 11 or 1, the rules regarding whether a dealer should hit or stand will differ depending on which online casino website you’re playing.
Online Blackjack Terminology
Due to the fast-paced nature of online blackjack, there really isn’t such a thing as easing yourself in as a beginner. This is why you need to know the main terminology inside and out the moment you enter your first game.
Depending on the different online communities that cater to different audiences, there may be additional blackjack jargon but most will make allowances there.
Here is a list of the common terms you absolutely must know if you want to join the world’s most popular casino card game.
Face cards is another term used for picture cards: Queens, Kings, and Jacks of a deck are face cards. These are extremely valuable and are worth 10 points each. There are 12 face cards in each pack.
The hole card refers to the first card the dealer places in their hand. This term refers to the card that remains face down until all players have had their turn.
If the dealer’s face-up, the player is able to place an insurance bet to safeguard themselves in case the dealer has drawn a blackjack. If the said player takes this bet and they are right, the player will automatically win twice the insurance bet.
In blackjack, push happens when both the player and the dealer have the same number of points. If this occurs, the initial bet is returned to the player and the game is treated as a draw.
If you draw a 17, you are considered to have a standing hand. This is because a dealer cannot stand until his total hand value reaches 17.
A hard hand is usually used when the total value of a hand doesn’t contain an ace. It can also be used when an ace is used as a 1 and not an 11.
If someone has a picture card, a 7 and an ace, for example, they would have a hard 18 hand. This is because the ace cannot be used as an 11 without exceeding a total value of 21.
A soft hand is the opposite of a hard hand and refers to any hand that has an ace card used as an 11. If you have an ace and a six, for example, you would have a soft hand because you have the flexibility to choose the value of your hand.
When you are dealt your two cards at the start of the blackjack game, you have the option to ‘split’ the hand, meaning you have two chances to win.
In online blackjack games, you will often be offered the option to surrender. If you do this, you may get a portion of the initial bet back, though this is dependent upon the house rules of each individual business.
Busting, or ‘to bust’ as it is sometimes referred, simply means that you have exceeded the maximum hand value total of 21. On some casino websites, this may also be called a break, but it refers to the same thing.
An Overview of Basic Blackjack Strategy
After learning the terms and general gameplay of online blackjack, you must understand the most basic strategy available. This ensures that you don’t come across as a total newbie to other players in your first few games and give you the right footing to beat the dealer.
At a high level, this strategy is essentially made up of a specific set of rules that tell you the best moves you can make when you play your initial two-card hand.
It accounts for whatever the dealer’s upwards facing card shows, and uses mathematical principles to provide solutions to almost any situation you may face during your first few games.
To familiarize yourself with this method, we recommend trying it yourself in free blackjack games before transferring over to paid ones once you are feeling more confident.
Examples Of Basic Blackjack Strategy
Although there are graphs that explain this basic strategy are easily accessible on the Internet, sometimes the best way to learn is to see how the examples play out in real-life situations. Here are a few examples of situations in which you could find yourself during your first few games:
When You Should Hit
You have a face card and a card that is worth two points. The dealer’s upwards facing card shows a card worth three points.
When You Should Split
Your hand consists of two cards that are worth a total of 9 points in value. Your dealer’s card is also showing as nine.
When You Should Double
Your hand consists of an ace and an 8. Your dealer’s upward-facing card shows a 6 in a game where they must hit a soft 17.
Popular Blackjack Strategies
Basic blackjack strategy is the only thing that you must know before beginning to play online blackjack. As you immerse yourself further into the game, it’s natural to want to grow your current skill set to build success. Read on for more elevated blackjack strategies that are useful to know.
Always remember that the house will always have the advantage in all casino games and blackjack is no exception to this rule.
This means that you must take advantage of any and all opportunities that present themselves to you, one of these being the doubling down strategy.
Doubling down means you’ll be able to place an additional bet of equal value to the one you have already placed as long as you don’t take any more cards.
This means that when doubling down, you will only be able to take one more card, and won’t be able to continuously ‘hit’ until you’re satisfied, as is the case with normal blackjack.
When you’re doubling down, you will only be able to take one more card and therefore won’t be able to continuously ‘hit’ until you’re satisfied with your hand, like with normal blackjack.
If you’re going to employ this strategy, it is best to do so when there’s a clear sign that the dealer might bust from the start-when the dealer has a low-value hand.
Most blackjack players will avoid doubling down on soft hands, but you don’t necessarily have to follow suit. In fact, doing so can allow you to have more money on the table when the dealer does go bust.
If you’ve played other casino games, it’s likely you’ve already heard of the Paroli Betting strategy, which is commonly used in all card-based betting games.
For those who are unfamiliar with this method, it is essentially a positive progression cycle, where you increase your bet by a certain number of units every time you win.
The first part of the betting cycle, otherwise known as the single unit bet, can be any price you desire. In blackjack, it’s often a good idea to start with the table minimum, or an amount that you would be happy to greatly increase based on your personal bankroll.
If your single unit bet wins, you double your next bet.
You will do this for three consecutive winning hands before returning to the original single unit bet. Although slightly complex, this is what makes the Paroli method less risky and more economical than other progression betting strategies.
If you are doing this cycle and you lose during one of the first two games of blackjack, however, you instantly go back to the beginning of the cycle and again begin to build.
Admittedly, card counting is extremely controversial in the blackjack world.
This is mainly because most people don’t understand how it works, with many assuming you have to memorize an entire deck of cards in order to deploy it.
In all fairness, you just need to understand when a blackjack deck contains low-value cards and when it contains higher value cards.
This information will tell you when to hit and stand. It will also give you an idea of whether you should be placing higher bets or sticking to lower ones.
Although there are several different options for you to choose from, one of the most popular and easier card counting strategies is the Hi-Lo system.
For this method, you need to:
- Use +1 for cards with a value between 2 and 6.
- Use -1 for face cards, ace cards, and the number 10 cards.
- Use 0 for cards with a value between 7 and 9.
Using these classification systems, you should know that all cards with a +1 rating are considered low-value cards. This means that -1 cards are high-value cards, and 0 value cards are middle-value cards.
Surrendering in blackjack is used when you think your chance of winning is extremely poor, it’s a way to avoid losing your entire bet.
In most online casinos you will lose half your bet, but websites are completely within their right to take more or less than this amount.
When it comes to using this strategy, the most common option available to you is the late surrender.
This is where you surrender your hand after the dealer has looked at their hole card to determine if they have a blackjack, before the fact of whether they do or not is revealed.
This method might sound overly complex, but it’s actually quite straightforward to use. Here are some examples of how you can calculate whether a late surrender is a good idea:
For instance, if you are playing a single deck game with a hard 17 where you hold 16, and the dealer’s upwards facing card is 10, for example, you should surrender.
Equally, if you have a six-deck game with a soft 17 and you’re holding 16 while your dealer’s upwards facing card is 9, you should surrender.
If you deploy this method properly, it will reduce the house edge by 0.07 percent.
If the online casino follows the European or Asian rules, you may also be able to use this strategy in something known as early surrender.
When you choose early surrender, you have the option to surrender your hand before the dealer has checked to determine whether or not they have a blackjack.
As we said, this method isn’t particularly popular, with most online blackjack websites sticking to the mainstream methods for the sake of unity.
You’re Ready To Play Online Blackjack
Now that you have an understanding of the fundamentals of playing online blackjack, including general gameplay and strategies you can use once you become comfortable with the workings of the game, you are ready to go and place your first bet. Whether you jump straight in and play for money or try a few free online games first, we wish you the best of luck with your endeavors.