Guide to Playing Online Blackjack

Blackjack is a popular table card game available at all UK casinos. Since the birth of online casinos, blackjack games have also gone digital. This means you enjoy the thrills of real money blackjack from home or anywhere in the UK! People love to play blackjack both due to its simplicity and use of strategy.

In this ultimate blackjack guide, we provide a comprehensive overview of this casino classic. We also teach you how to play blackjack online and offer strategies to win. With our help, you can start making real money playing blackjack online today.

What is Online Blackjack?

Blackjack is the most popular card game at land-based casinos. The earliest versions of blackjack started back in France in the 1700s. Back then, the casino game was referred to as “Vingt-et-Un” which translates to “twenty-one” in French. This relates to the basic premise of blackjack games. You want your hand to total as close to 21 as possible to win. But go over and you’re out. Indeed, blackjack is still sometimes referred to as 21 today.

The game got picked up by retail casinos worldwide and quickly became a fan favourite. One of the main reasons for its popularity is the game’s simplicity. With few rules, it is easy to learn and a great option for beginners. Players also love their ability to apply a strategy. Moreover, it is relatively easy to count cards in blackjack to maximise your profits.

Later, online casinos then opened their virtual doors. Many software developers then started developing online blackjack games. This meant you could now play blackjack online and win real money from the comfort of your own home.

The online version is identical to the classic blackjack game and relies on strategy and skill. Yet, is it’s impossible to count cards online. The gaming software automatically shuffles the cards using RNGs after every hand. This means you cannot gain an advantage. The same is true if you play blackjack at the live casino. The live dealer shuffles after every hand to eliminate any edge you could have gained.

How to Play Online Blackjack

Object of Online Blackjack

When you play blackjack online, the object of the game is simple. You want to beat the dealer by getting cards that total as close to 21 as possible. But you cannot go over 21! If you do this you go “bust” and lose that hand.

How to Play Online Blackjack

Many players love this game because of its 1 vs 1 style. You don’t need to worry about what anyone else on the table has in their hand. The only person you need to beat to win is the dealer.

Online Blackjack Setup

When you play blackjack online, betting always starts before the cards are dealt. The online blackjack table you are playing will have a set maximum and minimum stake. You need to bet an amount within this bracket for the game to start. All players are then dealt two face-up cards. Conversely, the dealer is dealt one face-up card and one face-down card.

Blackjack players should start by working out the value of their two-card hands. Each card is worth its pip value while all face cards are worth 10. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11, whichever is best for your hand. Remember, the aim when playing online blackjack is to have cards that total as close to 21 as possible.

If anyone has an ace and a ten-card (10 or face card) they already have a count of 21. This is famous as a “natural” or a “blackjack”. The blackjack player with a natural receives 1.5x the value of their initial bet back. The hand then ends and new cards are dealt.

Gameplay of Online Blackjack

Assuming no one around the table has a natural, play can begin. The player to the left of the dealer will start. There are five options to choose from when you play blackjack. Make your choice by clicking on the appropriate button when playing online blackjack:

  • Stand: Do not take any additional cards. Stick with your hand as it is.
  • Hit: Ask the dealer for another card in an attempt to get closer to 21. Players can hit multiple times until they decide to stand or go bust.
  • Double Down: Double the value of your initial bet and gain one extra card.
  • Split: Split two cards of the same denomination into two separate hands. For example, two threes or two queens.
  • Surrender: Give up half of your bet if you think the hand will lose.

After all the players have gone, it is the dealer’s play. The dealer must follow slightly different rules for players. They start by turning their face-down card over. If their two cards total more than 17, they must stand. If the two cards equal 16 or less, they must hit until the cards total 17 or more. Whoever has the hand closest to 21 at the end of play wins the bet.

Online Blackjack Variations

There are over 100 variations of blackjack available at online casinos. Each of these online games tweaks the standard rules slightly. This makes real money blackjack even more enjoyable. There is always a new online blackjack game for you to try.

Yet, every minor rule change impacts the payout odds and house edge. Classic blackjack pays 3:2, but this can vary substantially. If you’re enjoying free blackjack games, this isn’t as important. But this is crucial if playing real money blackjack as it will impact your winnings. You want to be aware of these differences so you can find an online blackjack game with top payout percentages.

BLACKJACK VARIANTDESCRIPTIONPAYOUT ODDS
Double Exposure BlackjackSame as traditional blackjack but both of the dealer’s cards are face-up.1:1
Blackjack SwitchPlayers start with two hands with a bet on each. They can switch the second card of both for a more favourable hand.1:1
Spanish 21Played with either 6 or 8 decks of 48 cards (10s are removed). Several additional rules help players beat the house advantage.3:2 on five-card hands

 

 

2:1 on six-card hands

3:1 on seven-card hands

Double AttackPlayed with 48-card decks (10s are removed). Players can double their initial bet after seeing the dealer’s first card.1:1
Blackjack Perfect PairsPlayers can place a side bet on landing a pair with their first two cards. This is in addition to the regular blackjack bet.3:2 for blackjack

 

 

25:1 for same suit pairs

15:1 for same colour pairs

5:1 for mixed colour pairs

Here is a look at some of the best online blackjack games and their payout odds. The best blackjack casinos will stock all of these casino games and more!

BLACKJACK VARIANT DESCRIPTION PAYOUT ODDS

Double Exposure Blackjack Same as traditional blackjack but both of the dealer’s cards are face-up. 1:1

Blackjack Switch Players start with two hands with a bet on each. They can switch the second card of both for a more favourable hand. 1:1

Spanish 21 Played with either 6 or 8 decks of 48 cards (10s are removed). Several additional rules help players beat the house advantage. 3:2 on five-card hands

2:1 on six-card hands

3:1 on seven-card hands

Double Attack Played with 48-card decks (10s are removed). Players can double their initial bet after seeing the dealer’s first card. 1:1

Blackjack Perfect Pairs Players can place side bets on landing a pair with their first two cards. This is in addition to the regular blackjack bet. 3:2 for blackjack

25:1 for same suit pairs

15:1 for same colour pairs

5:1 for mixed colour pairs

Rules that Increase the House Edge

For classic blackjack games, the house edge sits at around 0.5%. But some online blackjack rules help an online casino up their house edge. Here is a quick look and how they can impact your winnings:

  • Double Downs: Some online blackjack games only allow you to double down on totals of 9 through 11. When this rule is in place, the house edge is increased by just under 1/10%.
  • Splits: In some blackjack games, players are not allowed to double after splitting. In others, only one split is allowed per player per game. Both of these rules increase the house edge by just over 1/10%.
  • Muti-Deck Games: The more decks used in blackjack games, the harder it is for the player. Thus, the house edge increases with each additional deck.

How to Win Online Blackjack?

Blackjack games rely on strategy and skill. Based on the probability of cards dealt, there is only one correct play every hand. This is always based on a combination of the dealer’s up card and the value of your hand. Here we look at the basic strategy for the game and other tips to help maximise your winnings.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

There is always a “correct” way to play blackjack online. This is based on probability. You can find a full blackjack strategy chart further down this page. This shows your best move based on the cards you can see. Yet, it can be difficult to memorise precisely what your best move is for every hand. It can especially seem overwhelming and overcomplicated for beginners.

So, here are some general easy-to-remember rules that should come in handy. Remember this basic blackjack strategy and playing blackjack online can be fun and rewarding:

Important Rules For Blackjack

  • If the dealer’s up card is high (7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, or A) there is a good chance their hand is greater than 17. Thus, players should keep drawing cards until they get at least 17. Stop at 17 to avoid going bust.
  • Players should stop drawing when they total 12 if the dealer had a low face-up card (4, 5, or 6). Or stop at a total of 13 if the dealer’s face-up card is a 2 or 3. This should protect you from going over 21 while hoping the dealer goes bust.
  • If you have a soft hand, keep drawing cards until you hit a total of 18. This is irrespective of the dealer’s up card. Alternatively, hit until you reach a total of 19 if the dealer has a 9, 10, J, Q, K or A face-up on the table.
  • Always double down if your hand totals 11. Players should also double down with a total of 10 unless the dealer has a ten-card (10, J, Q, K) or Ace. They with a total of 9 should double down if the dealer’s up card is less than 7.
  • Players should never split a pair of 4s, 5s, 8s, identical ten-cards, or aces. Pairs of 2s, 3s, and 7s can usually be split. The exception is if the dealer’s up card has a value of 8 or higher. A pair of 6s should only be split if the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

Online Blackjack Strategy Chart

The below chart summarises the basic online blackjack strategy. It is essentially a summary of the points detailed above. If this looks too complicated, ignore it! If you find it easier to follow the written rules, then don’t stress over understanding the visual chart. It’ll take players years of practice to implement this information into their gameplay. Start with the basics and build your knowledge over time.

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Blackjack Card Counting

To master blackjack and win real money, many players use advantage-player tactics such as card counting. This is the only way that the casino advantage can be eliminated. Yet even players that do count cards are not guaranteed to win every time.

Unfortunately, card counting is not possible when you play blackjack online. This is because the tactic only works with cards that are out of play. At an online blackjack casino, the computer shuffles the cards after every hand. This means all cards always remain in play, so card counting is impossible.

The same is true when playing live dealer games. Despite using real dealers, the deck is shuffled more than in land-based casinos. This means any card counting you can do is quickly made redundant. The best way to win online blackjack is to play with the blackjack tips detailed above.