With its low house edge and relatively simple rules, blackjack is a favorite casino game for several generations of gamblers around the world. Since players rely on both luck and skill to win in this game, learning the basic rules and strategies is crucial for long-term success on the blackjack table. In this blackjack guide, beginner players will find simple rules and useful tactics for playing this casino classic the best way possible, depending on the variety of Twenty-One they have chosen.
Furthermore, online blackjack comes with its specific features that require a different approach. Playing blackjack in online casinos is, in many ways, much simpler than playing against the dealer in a brick-and-mortar establishment. Still, it is important to know the differences between the most popular variations and between the releases of the largest software providers.
In the following sections, we have listed the basic rules of online blackjack, several simple strategies, as well as short descriptions of the versions created by leading gaming studios. This blackjack guide is recommended for all beginners but even seasoned players may find useful information for improving their skills and strategies.
How to Play Blackjack
1A Brief Introduction
Blackjack aficionados will tell you that with the correct strategy, they can cut the house edge in blackjack to nearly 0%. And while this may be true, especially when playing online, it also requires good knowledge of the rules of the game. So, before diving into the endless ocean of blackjack strategies and myths about card counting, let us start with the basics.
Blackjack is a classic casino game that is played with anywhere from 2 to 8 standard decks of cards. While in land-based casinos, multiple players can play against the dealer, the virtual form of the game is available in only single-player mode. Still, you would be often allowed to play with up to 5 hands simultaneously against the dealer. The game starts when the player places a bet and chooses the Deal button. The dealer then gives two face-up cards to the player and draws another two for himself – in classic, Vegas-style blackjack, the dealer’s second card is face-down. He is allowed to peek (without showing to the players) only if his first card is an Ace.
The aim of the game is quite simple – to beat the dealer by having a hand that is as close to 21 as possible without busting. Cards from Two to Nine count as their face value, while cards from Tens to Kings count as 10. A hand of an Ace, which counts as 1 or 11, and a 10-value card is called blackjack, the strongest hand in the game, which pays 3:2. A regular win over the dealer pays 1:1. If the player’s cards total more than 21, he or she busts and loses the round. If the dealer busts, the player wins, while if their hands are the same, it is a push and the player receives his bet back.
Popular Blackjack Games
Is Online Blackjack Different from Games in Land-Based Casinos?
Online blackjack differs than the traditional game in land-based casinos but not in terms of rules or payouts but in terms of gameplay. For most players, the automated, virtual blackjack is much easier to master than if playing against an actual dealer in a casino. The online version of the game is also much more affordable as some games accept bets from $0.10 per round.
Is It Possible to Reduce the House Edge in Blackjack?
Yes, blackjack is a game with a very low house edge (less than 1%) but it is possible to reduce it even further by incorporating Basic Strategy. Players can also learn how to effectively eliminate the house edge but this requires combining Advanced Strategy and different card counting techniques.
Can I Play Online Blackjack for Free?
Yes, most online casinos offer demo versions of blackjack games that are practically identical to the real-money play. The only difference is that there is no actual risk when playing blackjack for fun – it is the best way to practice your Basic Strategy and even your card counting skills.