Blackjack is one of the most popular games at any online casino and there is no doubt that it will remain that way for many, many years to come. You’ll generally find a variety of blackjack games on offer, with options that might include tables with different limits, games with small rule variations, completely new games based on the 21 concept - and in some cases, progressive jackpots. In recent years live online casinos have made an appearance too, so you’ll be able to play the game against a real life dealer via a streamed real-time feed.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about playing online blackjack for the first time. Many players might have played a form of blackjack at home in the past and will know that the general idea of the game is to try and get close to 21 without going over, however, this isn’t actually the aim of the game. The aim of the game is a simple one- ‘Beat the Dealer’ and you will win.
In this beginners guide I’ll walk through all of the options you’ll find when playing online blackjack and explain exactly how you’ll win, what you’ll win and how the betting actually works.
Where to Find the Best Beginners Blackjack Games
The table below contains my top recs for the best online blackjack games for 2020. You'll find lower stakes tables, as well as some very entertaining variations there.
Blackjack Basic Rules
To beat the dealer at blackjack, the first thing a player has to do is not bust – busting achieved by going over 21. Having done this, the player will win if the dealer either busts or if the player has a higher total than the dealer. Blackjack is a game where it is simply you against the dealer, so even if there are other players at the table, they will be playing against the dealer too – another player winning or losing will have no effect on your hand.
You’ll start a hand with betting. Online tables will have both a lower and a higher limit, so you have to ensure that your bet size is somewhere between the two. You’ll find a range of tables online, so enter the game where the limits are indeed suitable for your own bankroll. To place a bet you’ll simply click on a chip denomination and then click again on the table to put the bet down. With the betting now complete, you’ll hit ‘deal’.
You (and the other players if there are any) will be dealt two cards face up while the dealer will be dealt one card face up and the other face down. You’ll know now the value of your hand – any picture card or a ten is worth ten points, a card with a value of 2 to 9 is worth exactly that, while an Ace is counted as either 1 or 11 points. The best hand at blackjack is indeed ‘blackjack’ which is achieved by hitting both an Ace and a card with the value of 10 (any picture or a 10). At this point the dealer will check his face down card (known as the ‘hole card’) if blackjack is possible and if the dealer does indeed have blackjack, he will turn the cards over immediately, winning the hand unless the player also has blackjack, at which point it will be a push.
If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack (which will obviously be the majority of cases), the player will have the following options:
Stand – The player is happy with their cards and sticks with them.
Hit – The player draws another card and can continue drawing cards for as long as they wish, unless of course the total is over 21, which will mean they bust.
Double – The player doubles the size of the bet and receives exactly one more card.
Split – If the player has a pair or any two 10 point cards, then the player may split and double his bet size. Each of the two cards will now be joined by another card to form two separate hands which will be played out individually. If splitting Aces, players will only be allowed to receive one more card. Individual games may have different rules when it comes to splitting, so consult these when playing.
Other options which might be available include ‘surrender’, where the player will give up immediately after seeing the initial 2 cards and receive half of their stake back and ‘insurance’ which can take place when the dealer is showing an Ace, where the player wins twice the value of the insurance side bet if a card valued 10 is the hole card.
When the player has finished making their decisions, the dealer will now reveal their hole card. If the dealer has 16 or less they will draw another card and will stand if the total is 17 or more (some sites will allow a dealer to hit on a ‘soft 17’ which is 17 scored with an Ace and a six). If the dealer goes over 21 they will bust and any player still in the hand will win. If the dealer doesn’t bust, the higher total between the player and the dealer will win. If both the dealer and the player have the same total, the hand is a push and the stake will be returned to the player.
At blackjack, the vast majority of wins come at even money, so if you wager $5 and win the hand, you’ll win $5. This makes blackjack one of the most straightforward betting games you’ll find online. However, should the player hit blackjack, they will be paid out at odds of 3 to 2. The same $5 stake here will see the player therefore pocket $7.50 when hitting blackjack.
Beginners Guide to Blackjack – Overview
One of the reasons blackjack is so popular is because it has a large element of skill in it. A good player will therefore be much more likely to have a winning session than a bad player. By fully understanding all of the options available at the game you are on the first step to indeed becoming a skilled player and start to understand the reason why blackjack is loved by so many players worldwide.