Blackjack is a card-based game between players and a dealer. In online blackjack the dealer is the computer so you are playing against the machine.
The aim of the game is to collect cards until you get cards that total 21 or as close to 21 as possible.
• If you go over 21 you ‘bust’ and lose the game.
• If your cards are higher in total than the dealer (without going bust), you win.
• If the dealer’s cards are higher in total than yours (without going bust), you lose.
• If your cards and the dealer’s cards are the same, it’s a draw and nobody wins or loses.
Online blackjack – terms and jargon
When you sit at a blackjack table you will hear a number of terms being used. These are the most common ones.
Hit – instruction to the dealer to give the player another card.
Stand – instruction to the dealer that the player does now want another card.
Bust – a player’s cards total over 21.
Natural Blackjack – an ace and a ten or face card to make 21.
Basic rules of Blackjack
Blackjack is played with a full deck of cards excluding any Jokers. Casino blackjack uses a number of decks at the same time to stop card counting.
Each card has a value. One to ten cards of any suit are worth what is on the card (one = one, two = two, etc.)
Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth ten.
The ace (one) can be worth either one or 11 depending on your other cards.
Play starts once everyone has placed their bets.
Dealer deals cards to the left. Each player receives one card face up. Dealer takes one card face up. Each player receives a second card face up. Dealer takes a second card face down.
Player to the left of dealer starts.
Players must decide if they want to take extra cards to try and get closer to a total of 21 (hit), or whether they think the cards they’ve got can beat the dealer’s total (stand).
If the player’s cards add up to more than 21 it is a bust and they lose.
Once all players have chosen their cards the dealer turns over their face down card and chooses whether to take more cards or not.
If the dealer’s cards add up to more than 21 it is a bust and all the remaining players win.
Double down – You can choose to take only one extra card if you think you’ll get a winning hand by ‘doubling down’. This allows you to double your bet but only receive one card in return.
Split – if you get two matching cards (two Kings or two sevens, for example) you can choose to split your hand and play each card as a separate hand with separate (but equal) bets on each.
Insurance – if the dealer’s face up card is an ace, you can choose to take a side bet that the dealer will get a natural blackjack. This means putting down an amount equal to half your original bet. This insurance side bet normally pays 2 to 1.
Surrender – if you really do not like your cards after the first deal, you can surrender. This means you lose half your bet amount and are out of the rest of the round.
If you beat the dealer with higher cards you win a 1:1 payout.
If you beat the dealer with a blackjack you get a 3:2 payout.
If you choose insurance and the dealer draws a natural blackjack you get a 2:1 payout on your insurance amount.
Tips for playing online blackjack
Card counting is somewhat notorious in the casino business as it gives the player a mathematical edge over the house odds. However, in online blackjack, card counting is negated by having continuous random shuffling after every hand.
These tips depend entirely on what cards you have and what cards the dealer is showing. It is a good idea to research blackjack strategy online if you want to really become a pro.
• It is generally a good idea to split 8’s and aces to give yourself more chance of winning.
• Rules change between games and between casinos but most games have the dealer automatically stand on 17.
• Most strategies are to play to get a hand of 17 or higher. Try to avoid pushing to get 19 or higher as this makes a bust far more likely.
• If the dealer is showing an ace or ten it is going to be very difficult to beat.
• If the dealer is 7, 8 or 9 the chances of them busting is high. This means you can stand on 17+ but should risk hitting on anything lower.
Top online casinos for playing online blackjack
Try these hand-picked online casinos for a fantastic blackjack experience.