Playing Online Blackjack

Blackjack has the benefit of being a great game for all players. The rules are easy so you can play instantly, but at the same time, the more you practice and master an optimal strategy, the better off you’ll be. Even with the most basic strategy, the house edge is less than 1%, so if you want to make some serious money, blackjack is perfect, especially compared to other casino games. Most casinos also now include blackjack in their wlcome bonus offers or offer bonuses specific to blackjack players.

For the best casinos to play blackjack (updated for 2014), simply refer to the table below, or continue reading to learn how to play:

Recommended BlackJack Casinos

reviews table

Objective: Beat the dealer. You do this by getting as close to 21 (blackjack) as possible without going over (busting).

How to Play Blackjack Online

  1. Place a Bet. Some variations also allow you to place a side bet right after placing your main bet.
  2. Press Deal and receive two cards. The dealer also receives two cards, one faced down and one faced up.
  3. Depending on the sum of your cards, choose to Hit, Stand, Double, or Split.
  4. If you haven’t settled on a number or busted, you still have the option to Hit or Stand.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until you settle or bust.

Card Values

Cards 2-10 = Face value (2-10)
J, Q, K = 10
Ace = 1 or 11

Available Actions

  • Hit- Accept an additional card.
  • Stand- Don’t accept any more cards and stay with the sum you currently have.
  • Double- Double your initial bet and receive only one more card.
  • Split- When you have two of the same cards (2-2, K-K, 10-10…) you have the option to separate them  into two hands, doubling your chances to get as close to 21 as possible.
  • Insurance- Some variations allow the option to buy insurance. For example if the dealer is showing an Ace, you have the opportunity to wager half your original bet in case the dealer has blackjack. Insurance usually pays 2:1.

Online Blackjack Variations

The typical things that can vary between versions include the number of decks used (1-8), odds, the option to surrender, whether it’s live, high or low limits, multiple hands, and whether or not the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17 (where an Ace is used). There are many variations, so we’ve decided to include a few of the most common.

European Blackjack: This is another 2 deck variation with a 3:2 blackjack payout and 2:1 for insurance. The main difference between other games is that it offers an “other win” for a 1:1 payout. The dealer also stands when holding a soft 17.

American (Las Vegas) Blackjack: This variation allows splitting, doubling but only on 10 or 11, and purchasing of insurance if the dealer shows an Ace. It’s customary that the dealer must continue drawing cards until he gets 17, though he hits on a soft 17.

Double Exposure: The benefit of this variation is that you can see both of the dealers cards instead of just one. This gives you a better idea of whether to hit, stand, or double your bet. However there are still 6-8 decks (depending on the software), the payout for blackjack is often even money (1:1) instead of 3:2 and the dealer hits a soft 17. All of these factors offer you worse odds and less money for winning.

Pontoon: Pontoon stands in the place of a normal blackjack. So when holding an Ace and a card worth the value of 10, you have pontoon, which pays 2 to 1. Also twist means hit, stick means stand, and buy means double. If you get pontoon or a 5 card trick (5 cards without busting, aka Charlie), you get a 2 to 1 payout, the same as pontoon.

Blackjack Switch: One of the newer variations, deals two hands to the player instead of one and the player is then allowed to switch two cards from the hands, giving them a chance to improve a weak hand if they have one. Blackjack pays 1:1 instead of the usual 3:2 in this variation. Six decks are customarily used.

Spanish 21: The main difference is that instead of using 52-card decks, you use 48-card “Spanish decks” without 10s. The benefit of this variation is that if a dealer is showing an Ace, he has a 25% smaller chance of actually having blackjack since there are no more 10s.

We recommend you also check out our Blackjack strategies and tips page for some pro tips and our bonuses page to start with an advantage.