Also known as 21, blackjack is one of the top table games across multiple betting platforms. The game offers a quick-paced betting action and a war of wits and luck. But unlike most table games that let you compete with your co-players, online blackjack makes you go against the house. Your goal when playing the game is simple—to assemble the best hand and beat the dealer—all without going over 21. Sounds easy? Here is everything you need to know about this game.
Online Blackjack Card Values
While some variants of the game use one or two decks of cards, most online casinos have six to eight decks in play, excluding Joker cards. Before knowing the game proper, you must learn the value of each card used in online blackjack. Colors or suits do not hold any value in your hand. Numeral cards with 2 to 10 values are played as their actual rank while the face cards—Jacks, Kings, and Queens—are valued at 10.
Aces, on the other hand, hold a special position in the game. They can be played as 1 or 11, depending on which value you choose to make the best hand. If you use Ace as an 11 card, you have a soft hand. For instance, if you are dealt an Ace and 6 of Spades, then you have a soft 17. Meanwhile, all hands that have Ace cards valued at 1 are considered as hard hands.
Online Blackjack Gameplay
Playing online blackjack is simple. In fact, you can know your way around the game in only four steps.
Step 1. Make Your Initial Bet
Online blackjack begins when you place your initial wager, which buys you into the game. You will then receive two cards face-up. At the same time, the dealer will also get two cards—one face-up whilst the other is face-down.
Step 2. Play Your Hands
After assessing the strength of your hand, you can play your cards as they are or improve your hand. Remember, your goal is to beat the house without going beyond 21. From this point, you have several options for your next move.
Hit or Stand
If you have weak cards or if you are not satisfied with your cards, you must opt for a hit. This gives you an additional card to improve your initial hand. You can hit as many times as you please, so long that the value of your hand does not go beyond 21 or a bust.
On the other hands, standing means you are playing your initial cards as they are. By doing so, you will not receive an additional card. Do this only when your initial cards are strong.
If your starting cards are a pair, you can split and play them as two separate hands. Simply place an additional bet amounting to your original stake. Additional cards will then be dealt to complete your hands. You can draw as many cards as you like except when your first two cards are a pair of Aces. Only one additional card is dealt for a split A’s.
In the event that you get another pair (for non-Ace cards), you can split your hands further. Depending on the rules of the online casino, you can split your card up to four hands.
Got a lousy hand? The most viable move would be to surrender your cards. This option requires you to retreat by giving up half of your stake, which forfeits your hand. Think of this process as folding in online poker. Just take note that not all online blackjack variants offer this option.
Step 3. Turning the Dealer’s Hand
After everyone had his or her turn, the dealer will flip his face-down card. His next move could be any of the following:
- Hit if his hand values 16 or less
- Hit if his hand is a soft 17
- Stand if his hand is hard 17
- Stand if his hand values 18 or more
Online blackjack rules may vary from casino to casino. Once the dealer completes his turn, the winner will be determined. If you have a stronger hand than that of the dealer, you win. If the dealer has a blackjack (first two cards amounting to 21) or has a better hand, the dealer wins. In the event that you have the same hands as the dealer’s, the game results in a push or a tie. Once all bets are paid accordingly, another round of betting will ensue.
Online Blackjack Side Bets
You can double our winnings in multiple folds by tossing some of your chips on side wagers. Most online gaming hubs allow you to place double down and insurance bets before you play your hand. Here are more details about these bets.
After receiving your first two cards of the round, you have the option to double down. A double down allows you to place another bet amounting to about twice the amount of your initial stake. Note that you can get only one additional card to your hand.
If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you can place an insurance bet. This side bet gambles on the possibility that the dealer will have a blackjack hand. So if the dealer’s face-down card is any 10-value card (10, J, K, Q), your insurance bet wins a 2-to-1 payout.
Note that the insurance bet is independent of your original wager. As such, you need to place an additional bet that amounts to half of your initial stake. Consider playing on online betting sites that offer rewarding bonuses you can use from the get-go. Placing your bets using bonus money lets you get a chance to win without risking your bankroll.
Online Blackjack Tips: When to Hit, Stand, or Split
Choosing your next move when playing blackjack can be fun, but you must know the best circumstances to hit, to stand, or to split. Most bettors refer to a blackjack strategy chart that contains the recommended move based on your cards at hand and the dealer’s face-up card. Note that these rules may vary from player to player.
When to Split
Knowing when to split in online blackjack can be tricky, but there are scenarios that doing so holds the highest chance of getting a good hand. One popular splitting rule in online blackjack is to always split a pair of Aces. Two aces can be either a bust (22) or a soft 12, which is a weak hand. But when you split two A’s into two hands, you have a chance to get a hand higher than a soft 12 or a blackjack (or at least closer to 21) when you draw high-value cards.
When to Hit
Hit is typically done in the hopes of improving a weak or average hand. Here are some of the viable circumstances to opt for a hit:
- If your cards total to 8, 9, 12, to 16 and the dealer’s face-up card is 7, 8, 9, 10 or an Ace
- If your cards total to 10 or 11 and the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace or a 10
- If your cards total to 12 and the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, 2, 3, and 7 to 10
Another viable situation for you to hit is if you have an Ace plus a card with a value ranging from 5 to 6. Remember, an Ace can be valued as 1 or 11. If you have an Ace and a 6, then you have a soft 17, which is a good hand.
When to Stand
You stand if you have strong cards or if you think the dealer has a bust or a low-value hand. Standing is commonly recommended if:
- Your hand totals to 17 and above
- You have an Ace and an 8
- You have a pair of 10s or a pair of face cards.
It is best to opt for stand when the sum of your cards is near 21. The probability that you will draw a card that might lead to a bust is significantly high.
Now that you know online blackjack’s card values, gameplay, and some tips, you can make the most out of your game. After all, playing smart is always a better start than betting haphazardly. Place your first bet and hit with ease today.