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Blackjack is considered the most popular card game in the world, and all casinos offer a selection of online blackjack games. Most people know more or less what the game is about, but quite a few also misunderstand what the aim of the game actually is. It’s well known that 21 is the highest score you can get in a hand without going bust, but many people also think the aim is to get 21 points. This is wrong because beating the dealer without passing 21 is the goal. However, if you get 21 with only two cards, this is the best hand you can get, and this is what’s known as Blackjack. In this casino guide from GoodLuckMate, we’ll take you through how to play blackjack, as well as teaching you all the rules and the best blackjack strategy.
When you play blackjack online, you play against a dealer. On a normal blackjack table, there will be up to seven players and one dealer. Your battle is strictly against the dealer's hand, and the other players’ results are irrelevant to you since they won’t impact whether you win or lose. The course of the game and which blackjack rules apply depend on the version of the game you’re playing. The steps are simple:
- Open the game.
- Place a bet.
- Select your action - stand, hit, double up, or split.
- Complete all your actions.
- Wait for the dealer’s hand to complete.
- Take your winnings or lose your bet.
This is a general overview of the typical blackjack action. If you want to learn more about the concept, make sure to read our beginner’s guide on how to play blackjack.
In blackjack, the best hand you can end up with is when you get 21 with the two first cards that you’re dealt. If that happens you have a ‘Blackjack’, and this has its own payout. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily win over the dealer since the dealer could also get 21, either as a ‘Blackjack’ or with more than two cards.
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: Same value as the number on the card
- 10, J, Q & K: 10
- Ace: 1 or 11
The dealer is the last one to play their hand, so the players always start. There are several different moves you can make to play your hand, and each of them has its own name. Here’s an explanation of each of the options you’ll have, along with some other terminology:
- Hit – get a new card
- Split – play with multiple hands
- Insurance – in case the dealer has blackjack
- Double Down – double your bet and get one more card
- Stand – stop with the hand you have
- Push – it’s a tie
- Bust – you just lost
- Surrender – give up your hand
Players can play blackjack in almost any way they choose, which means the player is the one who decides how the hand they’re dealt will be played until they bust or choose to stand. For the dealer, it’s different, though, because they have to play by the house rules, which are usually the standard rules for the blackjack game that is being played. They can never split or double down since the only option they have is to hit until they reach the limit set by the house blackjack rules.
To come out on the winning end of a game of blackjack, you’ll need to beat the dealer. There are several ways to do this. You can get a higher valued hand than the dealer, without passing 21. You know the dealer will always get either a minimum of 17 or bust out since the dealer can’t stand before this value is reached. You can still win by standing at less than 17, but then you’re basically betting on the dealer busting. There’s of course much more to learn when it comes to cracking the game. That’s why we also have an in-depth guide on how to win at blackjack for those who want to learn more.
Since this card game is a game of skill, you should always make sure you use a blackjack strategy when you’re playing. No matter what strategy you use, you’re never guaranteed to win every hand you play, but you’ll be sure to win as often as possible. You can, of course, also just trust your luck and your gut feelings; this might work for a while, but in the long run, it will make you lose. There are several strategies you can use, but all of them are based on a blackjack strategy chart.
There are many online charts for blackjack, and you should know that not all of them will work optimally for all blackjack games. For instance, you can’t use the same chart for American Blackjack as you do for European Blackjack, Double Exposure Blackjack or any other kind of the game. Since each version has its own rules, you have to use a chart made especially for the game you’re playing.
Perhaps the most common and best-known blackjack strategy is counting cards. However, unless you have a photographic memory, trying to count every card will be impossible. Therefore, if you want to learn how to count cards in blackjack you should instead try to count high and low cards. This means you don’t have to keep track of every card, just whether the card is high or low.
Since blackjack is not just a game of luck but also very much a game of skill, there’s never a fixed house edge. The minimum house edge you can get, if you play with a perfect strategy, is 0.5%. However, if you don’t use a blackjack strategy but instead just play according to your gut feeling, the casino’s edge over you can be 2% or even more.
The payout you’ll get if you win in blackjack is 2:1, meaning you’ll double your money if you win. The standard payout for a “Blackjack” hand is 3:2, but here, as well, some versions may give you more or less.
There are so many different versions of blackjack that it’s almost considered more of a game type than just one game. But, if you find a game marked only with Blackjack at an online casino, it will be the American Blackjack version that’s played. The payouts for different games are usually found on the table felt or in the game information. Here are some common picks:
- European Blackjack
- Double Exposure
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Blackjack Switch
If you wonder if there’s some juicy online blackjack bonus waiting for you at one of our recommended casinos, the answer is - probably. There’s one tricky thing about online casino blackjack games - they have a low house edge. That’s why casino sites tend to exclude them from bonuses or minimize their wagering contribution. So, if there’s a standard deposit match bonus that you can use for playing online blackjack for real money, expect a rollover contribution between 2% and 15%. Alternatively, there may be exclusive blackjack online casino bonuses and promotions.
If you are always on the move and prefer entertainment from your smartphone, that’s not an issue. Online mobile blackjack is a reality because most games these days are built in HTML5. This means that they work perfectly on any device, regardless of their display size. Mobile blackjack online offers the same quality as desktop play. The same applies to the different blackjack varieties, bonuses, and everything else.
Online blackjack for real money is a huge hit. However, we can’t conclude this guide without mentioning live blackjack online. The live dealer casino concept has been gaining popularity over the past years and has become a must-have section. Unlike blackjack online, whose outcomes are RNG-generated, live dealer blackjack offers real action in front of your eyes. These games have human hosts who lead the games and socialize with players.