Rules of Blackjack
The beauty of online blackjack is that - unlike most casino games - it is not just a game of chance and can be won consistently as long as you are aware of what you are doing. Although the game is simple, you do need to have a proper understanding of its rules to improve your odds of winning. Therefore, here is what you have to keep in mind:
First, as mentioned earlier, the objective of blackjack is to get a hand that is higher than the dealer’s without exceeding 21. While multiple players can play the game simultaneously, it is important to remember that they are not playing against each other as with other card games. Each player, in fact, is only playing against the dealer.
The dealer deals two cards for his/herself, one of which is face up whereas the other one is face down. Number cards are counted for their numeral value, while face cards are all counted as ten. An ace either counts as a one or eleven. The player is also dealt a two hand card, and if they have a blackjack, they win and are paid 3:2.
However, if the total points are less than 21, the player can either ask the dealer to ‘hit’ and take another card or stand where they are. There is no limit to the number of cards you can take, but if they exceed 21, you lose, so it is important to be cautious. After the players are finished with playing their hand, the dealer turns over the card that was dealt face down.
Depending on what the card is, the dealer has to decide whether to hit or stand. Once he/she has completed their turn, any player that has a hand higher than theirs, but less than 21 wins. Note that if the dealer has a hand that goes over 21, any hand that did not will be the winner. Besides these basic rules, players also have a number of other options available.
For instance, if the first two cards are a pair with the same numeral value, players may split them into two hands. Since this increases the chances of winning, it is usually recommended. In addition, after the first card is dealt, players have the option to double down, which doubles the bet - but if they do, they can only take one more card. This is a great blackjack strategy if the first card is an ace.
Odds in Blackjack
To get into the game of blackjack, it is important to understand - and master - the odds and house advantage of blackjack. Learning how the casino gets their edge, and more importantly, how it helps them win is very crucial. Blackjack has one of the lowest house edges as compared to other casino games, like online roulette.
This is simply because of the fact that blackjack is not just a game of chance, but also requires a strong element of skill, which can help increase your odds of winning. Players that stick to the basic blackjack strategy would typically play a game with an average house edge of 0.17% when it comes to a single deck game, and up to 0.66% in an 8 decks game.
The fewer the decks are, the lower the house edge is. Single deck games normally have for hitting a blackjack so that the casino has some edge over the players. You should always check the house edge of the blackjack variant you choose as some of them have rules that favor the casino more than the player, increasing the house edge to 1% or even higher.
Blackjack has a basic strategy that ensures you have the best possible odds. Calculated mathematically based on the cards you are dealt and the card the dealer is showing, this strategy will tell you what you must do in every situation you are likely to encounter during the game. The basic strategy in blackjack, unlike most other betting strategies, is based on mathematically probabilities of each situation.
However, it is important to remember that even with this strategy, the house still has the edge. When learning the basic strategy, one challenge that you will encounter is that there is a different ideal strategy depending upon the rule of that particular blackjack game. For instance, if a game does not allow you to split pairs, it will have a different basic strategy as opposed to a game that does.
Besides that, the basic strategy will also be affected by the number of decks being played. More often than not, a chart is used to learn the basic strategy for the game you are playing. The challenge, though, is that the casino rarely allows players to carry this chart with them while they play. Therefore, this means that you will have to memorize it, and that is undoubtedly a major task. Keep in mind, that playing live dealer casino games can come to your advantage since you can see the dealer on the screen, but the leader can't see you.
Top 5 Blackjack Tips for Playing Online
1. Play the Practice Mode
When you are playing blackjack online, you should start out by learning the game on practice mode. All online casinos provide players with freeplay version of their real blackjack games. In fact, even if you have been blackjack online for quite some time, playing on practice mode will allow you to become more familiar with the interface.
2. Choose the Right Table
Finding the right game is extremely important, whether you are playing on an internet site or land-based casino. You must know the rules and sit at a table with bet limits that are suitable for your payroll. The maximum bet should not be more than 5% of your bankroll, so that you will not be betting too much on the outcome of one hand.
3. Memorize Strategy Chart
Print out a basic strategy chart for the blackjack game of your choice and take out some time to memorize it properly. Although this may prove a tough task, doing so will give you the strategic advice you need, regardless of what situation arises in the game. Remember the chart cannot be carried as you play!
4. Have a Bankroll
It is also important to have a bankroll before you start playing a game. By having a certain amount of money set aside, you can ensure that you do not spend more than you can afford to. Sure, gamblers want the fun to continue as long as possible, but make sure to stay within your determined bankroll when you enjoy playing a game of blackjack online.
5. Play Classic Blackjack First
Blackjack has many exotic variants, but you should consider learning and mastering classic blackjack before moving on to the other versions. Classic blackjack has the best house edge than all other variants, and this is exactly why it is still the most popular version of blackjack until date.
Not all blackjack games are equal. Some variations are good for the player, while others are bad. Although the difference in house edges may seem small, they do have a huge impact on the player’s expected return. Here are some blackjack game variations you should know about as they will affect house advantage:
- Blackjack pays 6-5
- Double downs after splitting pairs
- Dealer hits soft 17
- Re-splitting of aces
- Double downs limited to hard 11 and 10
- Early surrender
- Later surrender
If you love games that require forward thinking, strategy and a fair bit of luck, then you should definitely give online blackjack a go! Don’t know which casinos to play at? Head over to TopOnlineCasinos blackjack table at the top of the page to find the best casinos for online blackjack.