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Blackjack is one of the most common games you can play at both online casinos and land casinos. The rules are simple and easy-to-learn, which makes the transition to playing online seamless.
Whether you’d like to learn how to play blackjack online for beginners or just need a little refresher, this guide will teach you the rules of online blackjack and give you some strategies and tips on how to beat the dealer.
The objective of the game is simple. Get a higher total value than the dealer with your cards without going over 21, also known as busting.
Each card is worth a different numerical value. Numbered cards are worth the number they display, so the 2 card is worth two points, the 4 card is worth four points, and so on. Face cards, like the jack, queen, and king are all worth ten points. Lastly, the ace is worth either one point or eleven points, depending on whatever helps the player out more.
The game begins with the dealer giving you two cards face up. The dealer gets two cards but only has one of the cards face up. Once the cards are dealt, it is the player’s turn to make a move. The player has a couple of options. They can either hit or stand.
Hit: When you hit, you get another card. A player can hit as many times as they want, but if they go over 21, they bust and lose that hand.
Stand: When you stand, you keep the cards you currently have. Once a player stands, you are not able to hit again.
After the player is done hitting or standing for the round, the dealer begins making their moves. The dealer must continue hitting if they have a total score of 16 or under. They also must stand when they have 17 or over.
If the player busts or the dealer has a higher number than you without going over 21, the player loses the round. If the player has a higher number than the dealer without going over 21, the player wins the round. If the player and the dealer have the same number at the end of the round, a push occurs. In this instance, no one wins, and the player gets their stake back.
Both the player and dealer can win the round instantly if they get what is called “blackjack.” A blackjack occurs when you have an ace and a card that is worth ten, which totals 21 exactly with only two cards. This instant win pays out 3:2, so if you wagered $10, you would win $25.
Blackjack Special Moves
The player also has some special moves that they can use rather than just hitting and standing, which the dealer does not have the ability to use.
Insurance: At the start of the round, if the dealer is showing an ace, the player can get insurance. With insurance, the player is essentially betting that the dealer has a face card hidden which would result in a blackjack and an instant win for the dealer. This is a separate bet from the game and normally pays out 2:1, so if you wager $10, you will win $20.
Surrender: Similar to insurance, players can make this move if the dealer is showing an ace. When players surrender, they forfeit half of their bet immediately and keep the other half. You lose the round, but you only lose half of what you originally wagered.
Double: A double can be made on any hand. A player can double their original wager, but they only receive one more card before being forced to stand. This gives the player a bigger payout if they win the round.
Split: A player can split their hand when they have two cards with the same numerical value. This essentially allows you to play two hands at once. An equal stake is added to the second hand. If the player wins both hands, they will have doubled their earnings. If the player wins one of the hands, they will end the round even. If the player has two aces and splits them, they generally only get one card drawn per hand.
Another reason why blackjack is so popular is that it is a game which can be mathematically figured out. Each hand has a “correct” move for the player to make based on what they have as well as what the dealer is showing. Here is a Blackjack strategy chart that shows the move that a player should make to give them the highest probability of beating the dealer and winning the round.
Blackjack Tips to Beat the Dealer
Remember, the goal of the game is not necessarily to get the closest to 21 without busting. The goal is to beat the dealer. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish that goal.
Don’t Use Insurance
Insurance is an option that players can use when the dealer is showing an ace. While it seems like it would be a safe bet to get money back if the dealer does have blackjack, the player ultimately gets back what they originally wagered. The return you get back is not worth it, especially in the long run.
Don’t Split Two Cards That Are Worth Ten
It can be tempting to split two face cards when you have them. You can double your wager and have two strong hands that would start with at least ten. That certainly could happen and be beneficial to the player. However, you already have a score of 20 which gives you a high chance of winning the round.
Why risk it and take a chance of having two hands that are less than 20? Long term, it is beneficial for the player to not split two cards that are worth ten.
Hit on a Soft 17
A soft 17 is when you have an ace and a 6. You technically have a good score of 17, but the ace can either be worth eleven points or one, so it is best to hit again to see if you can get closer to 21.
Don’t Be Afraid To Stand When You Have a Score in the Low Teens
It is important to pay attention to what card the dealer is showing. If it is a low card like a 3, 4, or 5, the dealer likely has a ten not showing. This would require the dealer to hit again since the dealer would be showing a 13, 14, or 15. The dealer can then potentially get a bust card that would put him over 21. While it would be great to get 19, 20, or 21 every hand, you can still win with a 13 or 14 if played correctly.
Set Your Bankroll and Stick To It
Never bet more than you can afford. Bet a single unit for each hand. This will give you a good chance to stay positive and not get down too deep into a hole.
Online vs. Live Blackjack
The biggest difference between online and live blackjack is the ability to count cards, or lack thereof. Each round in online blackjack is automated, so it is not possible to keep track of the cards that have been played already in between each shuffle.
Another difference is that online blackjack is quicker. As a player, you do not need to wait for the dealer to shuffle the cards, and you do not need to wait for other players to make decisions. It is just you against the computer, so the games go by a lot faster than if you were to go to a land casino.
Online casinos offer much lower stakes per hand. When you go to a land casino, you will see minimums of $15, $20, or even $50 per hand. With online casinos, you can play $5 per hand. Some even offer $1 per hand.
How to Master Online Blackjack
When you open up an online casino app and select blackjack, you will see a variation of the picture at the top. You then select how much you would like to wager and drag that token onto one of the three spots that say, “place your bets here.” Then the round begins.
You will get dealt your two cards face up, and the dealer will get his two cards. One will be shown and the other will be hidden. Hit one of the buttons at the bottom to make your move. You can either hit, stand, double, split, or surrender in this example. The player has a hard 14 in this picture, and the dealer is showing a 9. The blackjack strategy chart says to hit in this instance.
How to Play Blackjack Online FAQ
How do I play blackjack online for real money?
There are a number of casino apps and sites that will let you play blackjack online for real money including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars.
What are the basic rules of blackjack?
The main goal of blackjack is simple, you need to get a higher total than the deal with your cards without going over 21. This is known as busting and you will automatically lose the game if you bust.
Can I play blackjack online for free?
Yes, there are many apps and sites that offer blackjack online for free.
What are some common strategies for playing blackjack online?
You can read our section on blackjack strategy on this page to find out which strategies are best for blackjack online.
What is the difference between online and live dealer blackjack?
The primary difference is the overall pace of the game. Online blackjack is typically much faster than live dealer blackjack and there is less opportunity to stop and think as there can be when you're playing live. You also can't count cards in online blackjack as everything is computer-generated.