Blackjack is up there with casino players’ all-time favourite games. Online blackjack brings the excitement of the casino floor to wherever you are, and let’s be honest, blackjack is all about you and the dealer you’re trying to beat anyway.
The aim of the popular card game is to have the highest hand on the table either:
- When you or the dealer have chosen to hold
- When you or the dealer have gone ‘bust’
Going bust in blackjack means that the most recent card the dealer ‘hits’ you with has taken your card tally over 21 (a number by which the game is also known). See below for legitimate ways to avoid going bust with a hand, and even turning a possible bust into a win.
As an all-time favourite that most online casinos and gaming sites offer, you would imagine blackjack bonuses are pretty easy to find… and they are. The question then is: “Which casino bonus works best for the strategy I employ?”
But the good news is, bonus blackjack offers aren’t meant to stump you, they’re there to give you a boost, or even raise the stakes a little to keep things exciting (and increase your rewards on winning). For example, optional side bets can be placed alongside a live game.
Side bets are interesting, as they have the potential to give the house an even stronger advantage than the 2 percent house edge held in standard blackjack. A little more risk spent on a game you know, however, may hold the key to greater profits to the uninhibited blackjack expert, but as with any higher level strategies, start small and grow big.
Where should you play blackjack
Blackjack traces its roots back to Northwest Europe in the 18th century, and has been played in (and out of) casinos throughout the world since long before the online revolution. The bonus blackjack online offers over some other digital classics, is that the games and variations match those you would find in a casino, with very little to learn if you’ve played offline before.
If blackjack is your game of choice, check out the great casinos below, and take the opportunity to focus on the welcome package, bonus blackjack plays, and overall vibe you get, rather than new rules, or having to learn complicated rules to games you’ve never played before.
Rules of blackjack
As for blackjack’s rules, these are the main ones you need to know to get started. After the deck is shuffled (or multiple decks shuffled together at larger tables):
Gameplay, mechanics of the game
- Each player is dealt two cards (clockwise from the player to the dealer’s left). The first card for each player is dealt face down, the second card is dealt face up.
- The dealer receives the last first card dealt (also face down), and the last second card dealt (also face up).
- If the dealer’s second card, dealt face up, shows an Ace, the players are each offered the opportunity to buy ‘insurance’ against the dealer hitting 21 (i.e. having a 10-card or a picture card; a jack, a queen, or a king).
- Players who choose to buy insurance pay half their original bet again, but the hand itself is now played in parallel (see below for more details).
- If the dealer’s second card is not an Ace, each player takes it in turn to build their best hand, from blackjack (10+11) to a multi-card combination of 21, and down from there.
- The highest-ranked card combination held by you or the dealer wins.
- A player blackjack beats a dealer blackjack and still wins one and a half times your original bet.
- Generally, if the dealer and player finish on the same number, as tallied across their cards, the player will earn back their original bet, although there are some exceptions.
Odds in blackjack
As with any casino game, blackjack is set up to give the advantage to the house. That said, blackjack offers the player a near 50-50 chance of winning in an individual hand, and the house edge (a percentage or ratio of the casino’s advantage in a given game over extended periods of playing time) is just 2 percent.
In a traditional casino, only the ‘best’ card-counters can overturn the house advantage entirely in blackjack. That said, the house edge in blackjack is lower than say, Roulette, which sees the house maintain a 6 percent edge over time, and far friendlier than some Keno or lottery odds.
As with any card game, blackjack also involves luck and unknowns. But with the house edge in mind: paying attention, reading the open cards and reactions of those at the table, and using what you notice to guide when you bet, and how much you bet is the best general strategy. Get bonus blackjack advanced strategies here, or enjoy the blackjack tips below:
Top 5 blackjack tips
- Insurance: To buy or not to buy? Well, the first thing to consider is how many decks are in the dealer’s shuffled deck. The aim of insurance is to protect yourself against the dealer getting 21 as blackjack (i.e. in two cards). The insurance will kick in if the dealer gets a 10, a jack or a queen. In a single deck, there are four of each, giving 16 cards.
Assuming none are showing, and that your face down card does not count as 10, it’s probably best to take the insurance.
- On the other extreme, if you yourself have blackjack, don’t bother with the insurance — you’ve already won one and a half times your bet on the cards you have, whether the dealer hits 21 with his face down card and open Ace, or not.
- If, however, the table is showing several of the 16 possible 10-value cards, the dealer is less likely to have a 10, jack, queen or king, and it may make sense to save on the insurance. Doing this just twice gives you a third similar-sized bet for the ‘price’ of two, assuming the dealer does not have blackjack when you skip accepting insurance.
For example, three players have a 10 or a picture card, and you have another 10 under your face down card — this means four out of the 16 blackjack-making cards the dealer needs are accounted for, and the chances of them having blackjack drops significantly, so insurance is less necessary by probability.
- Interestingly, two Aces is not the top 2-card hand in blackjack, as it is in poker Bonus. Instead, only one of the Aces in the 2-card hand can be used at full value (11 in blackjack). Two Aces being used as 11 add up to 22 and would be an automatic bust, and players cannot choose this addition.
- But a player (or dealer) with two Aces still has the flexibility of the pair counting as 2 or 12 as further cards are dealt. Likewise, using an Ace as an eleven at first, but being flexible enough to accept risk of having to turn it into a one, can pay off if your other cards are low and you’re taking several cards.
For quick reference, apart from single-hand and multi-hand games, some of the most popular blackjack variations include:
- Spanish blackjack, which uses a 48-card deck with the 10s removed
- Pontoon, which is similar to the Spanish game, but removes the dealer’s hole card
- Double exposure, which exposes both of the dealer’s cards for a very open game
Blackjack is a great game to understand quickly, and then continue learning with every hand you play. Follow hands carefully, get insurance when it makes sense, and bet wisely, and you could build a string of wins that double your bets, allowing you to build an impressive stash from very little, very fast. Sound like a plan? Visit casinobonusonline.ca to play blackjack online now.