Blackjack can be played with one to eight decks of 52 cards. As many as 7 players can take a seat at a casino’s Blackjack table.
The main objective of every Blackjack game is for players to achieve a hand which is closer to 21 than that of the dealer. This is can also be called a “blackjack” or a “natural”. However, one must be cautious about the total value of their hand, for the latter is determined by the cards in it. If at any point throughout the game the value of a player’s hand exceeds 21, his hand is “bust” and he will lose his wager.
It is also essential for beginners to become familiar with how cards are valued or scored when you play blackjack. Every card has a value which is equal to the number of the blackjack card, aside from face cards and aces. Gamblers may choose to treat the ace as if it has a value of either 11 or 1 in this card game, for if you are using the value of 11 and then stumble across a card which would put the value of your hand over 21 all you have to do is change the value of your ace to 1 in order to continue playing. The King, Queen and Jack however all have a value of 10.
Each and every blackjack table in a casino has its own minimum and maximum betting limits within which one must place their bet before the dealer draws out the cards. Once all players have wagered, the cards are shuffled in a shoe before being distributed between the players face-up working in a clockwise rotation. Each player – the dealer included – will receive two cards. The dealer typically will have one face-down and one face-up card, as opposed to the other players involved in the Blackjack poker game. The action at a blackjack casino table usually begins with the person on the dealer’s left and moves from one player to the next in a clockwise motion. When it is your turn, you will need to decide if you want to “stand,” which means not asking for another card, or “hit,” which means requesting another card to bring the overall value of your hand closer to 21. When you hit, you will receive one card at a time until your hand equals 21, you are satisfied with your hand’s total or your hand goes “bust.” If your hand goes bust, it means the value of your hand exceeded 21 and you have lost your bet.
After the players have bet, the dealer will give two cards to each player and two cards to himself. One of the dealer cards is dealt face up. The facedown card is called the “hole card.” Once your cards have been drawn, there are several different actions called in-play options you can take. Let’s have a look at the most important ones:
- Hit: This is one of the main options you are presented with when playing on Blackjack sites or in land-based casinos. Basically, the player is requesting another card from the dealer to increase their hand’s value. One can do this as many times as they wish, as long as it does not cause the player’s total points to go over 21 – otherwise, he busts!
- Stand: This is essentially the opposite of the previous option, in which the player simply refuses to take another card and stands pat with his cards.
- Double: The player doubles his bet in exchange for an extra card. When choosing this option, keep in mind you cannot hit again.
- Split: This consists in the player separating his cards into two individual hands if he finds himself with a pair of cards – two sevens for example. The dealer will then give each card a second one. Following this, the player can hit, stand or double as he normally would. Keep in mind you must then match the initial bet to that of the new one, meaning this can be a risky yet potentially rewarding move when you play blackjack online for money.
- Surrender: This rule allows the player to forfeit half their wager while keeping the other half. Hence, he will not play out his hand.
- Insurance: If the dealer’s first card happens to be an ace and the player is dealt a Blackjack, half their original stake may be placed as an “insurance wager”. This ensures that if the dealer then draws a Blackjack, this “insurance” will be paid at the ratio of 2:1, while the original hand ties.
- Soft 17: This rule applies when an ace dealt to the dealer would increase the total points of his hand to a total of 17. According to standard casino Blackjack rules, as we have discussed above, an ace may be counted as either 11 or 1. In this case, it will be counted as 1 if this rule is applied, giving him a score of 7 rather than 17.
The vast majority of games of chance reflect the mathematical concept known as “the law of independent trials”. According to the latter, past events do not affect future events, as can be witnessed with games such as some casino card games – take the dice roll you make in craps-, Roulette, or even online video slot games. Unlike several other games commonly played in casinos, the Blackjack card game is not subject to the law of independent trials. It is a mathematical game solely based off odds and probability. On top of this, the house edge, or the percent advantage the casino holds over the player is not static, it is constantly shifting from the player back to the casino and vice versa. This is because in 21 blackjack, each and every card has a value associated with it which adds to or subtracts from the original house edge. To make winning at blackjack possible, it is fundamental for one to have a good understanding of what the odds and probabilities of every potential scenario at the table are.
The words probability and odds are often used as if they meant the same thing, however in reality both terms have a different meaning. Probability, for example, is often described as being the backbone of gambling mathematics. In short, it is a branch of statistics which calculates the chance that a certain situation will result in a specific outcome. Probabilities being numeric values, they are always expressed as a number between 0 and 1, whether it is as a percentage, a fraction or as odds. Probability cannot however be used to calculate the exact outcome of something like a hand in a blackjack poker game. It can only show the likelihood of an event happening. It is rather simple to calculate the probability of a certain outcome happening – all there is to do is to divide the number of ways to win by the total number of potential outcomes; You may then use this to evaluate the probability of several outcomes, such as the likelihood of receiving a blackjack following a reshuffle. In order to do so, the probability of pulling an Ace must be multiplied by the probability of pulling any card which holds a value of 10, such as a face card (J, Q, K) or as one may expect, a 10. The result is then to be multiplied by 2 due to there being two possible shifts of cards in a hand. Keep in mind that the more decks are introduced into the blackjack card game, the less likely it is for you to get a 21 Blackjack.
The odds, unlike probability are often expressed as fractions rather and as percentages. They differ from probability for they illustrate the ratio between the number of desired outcomes occurring and the number of ways in which the latter may occur. Here is an example: What are the Blackjack odds of pulling out the Kind of hearts? Let’s say you are playing blackjack online for money and are sitting at a live blackjack table. In such case, it is common for 8 decks of cards to be used. Since there is only one King of hearts per deck, the odds of receiving such a card are of 1/51. This corresponds to implied probability of 1.96%.
Aside from your set of skills, your knowledge of the game and the blackjack strategy you apply, your bankroll plays a big role in learning how to win at Blackjack. To put it in simple words, your bankroll is the money you save solely to play blackjack online or in a land-based casino. It is important for one to keep both feet firmly on the ground when deciding how much money you wish to allocate to your gambling activities, especially when you play Blackjack online for money. You should only use your disposable income rather than the money you use to pay important bills, such as rent and utilities. Firstly, one must settle down for a fixed sum of money and fixed amount of time for playing blackjack. The ideal bankroll should be in-line with your revenue, alongside with the type of player you are. Moreover, your bet size should be matched with the size of your bankroll. One must also keep an eye out for the sum of the max win permitted when playing with a Blackjack bonus.
Blackjack strategy: play blackjack cleverly
One can take advantage of the fact that Blackjack is not subject to the law of independent trials by improving one’s playing skills. Just like bankroll management, using some sort of strategy can significantly lower the house edge – it all depends on the strategy you are using, for what truly affects the outcome of the game is the skills of the player. There are a variety of different strategies one can use when playing a Blackjack online game. As you may know, the house edge is, by definition, the probabilistic advantage a casino – the “house”- has over the player. Playing with a blackjack strategy does not affect odds of winning, however it may enable a player to achieve optimal play. Now that you are familiar with Blackjack rules, you may want to take a look at the two main strategies we have explored below. If you wish to practice these strategies before using them when playing blackjack for real money, there are several free blackjack games available online. One may also make use of a blackjack simulator for this purpose.
Basic Strategy Blackjack
What makes the basic strategy interesting is the effect it has on the house edge, for it considerably lowers it. Since blackjack already has one of the lowest house advantages amongst all casino games, especially card games for adults, this makes it an interesting game with plenty of potential. The basic blackjack strategy is, at core, a mathematically calculated set of decisions which one can memorize for optimal play. Unlike the dealer, the player is free to decide what he shall do with every hand he plays. This strategy advises when to hit, stand, split, etc in order for you to maximise your chances of being successful when playing blackjack for money. Learn the blackjack strategy card below by heart and you will always know the right move when you play.
Another important tool which can serve players is the blackjack card counting strategy, also known as the advanced strategy. The reason behind this is that it is used to determine who will have an advantage in the next hand. Therefore, players who are able to figure out whether there are more high valued cards left in the deck have a valuable advantage on the other players sitting at the blackjack table with them. This type of play goes beyond basic strategy and may be adapted to various blackjack games with differing amounts of decks and complicated hand situations- which is why there is no blackjack strategy card for this strategy. The only downside to it may be that it is far more complicated to memorize and use correctly than basic strategy. To get started with card counting, begin with assigning values to every card. Cards between 2 and 6 shall be assigned a value of 1, whilst 7, 8, and 9 are worth 0. The 10, jack, queen, king, and ace count as -1.
Begin with a “running count” of zero at the start of the shoe. As the dealer reveals the cards, it is essential for you to keep count of the cards both you, the dealer and other players sitting around the table are receiving. It may take you some time to become rapid enough to do this, however several cards cancel each other out. In case you are wondering why you must do so and especially why such coveted high cards are associated with such low values, it is simply because this reveals what the cards left in the deck are worth. The blackjack cards you count have been taken out of the deck, therefore every time a card such as a 10, J, Q, K or ace comes out, the deck is less favourable to you and your advantage decreases.
If you are playing with more than one deck of cards, it is essential for you to divide the running count by the number of decks remaining if you want to get what is commonly called the “True Count.” This may come across as a hard exercise, however there is no need for it to be exact. Just an estimation is more than enough. Let’s say the running count is +3 and there are 4 decks remaining. In such a case, the true count would be 3/4 = 0.75, which can easily be rounded up to 1 not to complicate things. As you become more familiar with how to play blackjack, doing this will become a second nature. One may wonder why this is such an important part of this blackjack betting strategy, yet the answer is quite simple. What the true count reveals is the relative house edge – the greater it is, the more important your bet should be, for as the true count rises so does the player advantage. All you have to do is match your bets to the true count – if it is rising, then your bets must rise with it, if it is falling, then your bets should be reduced. Keep in mind card counting is legal both when playing online casino Blackjack and the land-based version of this card game, yet most casinos do not appreciate players who use this strategy.
Blackjack online and live blackjack
The emergence of online casinos has allowed players to try their luck at an ever-increasing amount casino games including several adult card games such as Blackjack. Nowadays, one can join a table and play blackjack online anytime, day or night. Moreover, it also offers a wide variety of different and innovative variants to play. Online casino blackjack however has one major drawback – it is far from being as exciting or realistic as the experience a land-based casino offers. It is not uncommon for players to miss the atmosphere of real casinos when they play online, even on the best blackjack sites. This is why the appearance of live casino was truly revolutionary for gamblers all around the world – nothing beats the intensity of live Blackjack! Video blackjack casinos bring the excitement of land-based casinos into your home. This means anyone can play blackjack now while enjoying the comfort of their own dwelling. Rather than playing against a computer, you will be faced with a blackjack dealer streamed directly from a recording studio or from some of the most renowned casinos around the world.
Live Blackjack by Evolution Gaming
Evolution Gaming is undeniably the leader when it comes to live casino offer. As a matter of fact, it is the operator which has the most important offering (live Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Casino Hold’Em, Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em or even Live Dream Catcher). For its live Blackjack offer Evolution Gaming has developed several functionalities which make the game even more interesting:
- Bet Behind
Launched towards the end of 2014, the Bet Behind feature allows a great number of players to play at the same table. There are only 7 seats per table, therefore there cannot be more than 7 players, however thanks to the Bet Behind if those 7 seats are taken you still have the option of playing behind one or more players who are seated by wagering on their play. This functionality is perfect to make you wait until one of these 7 seats becomes available. The Bet Behind does not allow one to take decisions, yet it offers players the option of playing even if there is no room around the blackjack table. The number of players is thus no longer limited! Moreover, the Bet Behind may also be used by the 7 seated players who also have the option to Bet Behind one or more players at the table. In order for you to distinguish the hot players who have obtained the best results till this point, Evolution Gaming uses a notation system with medals, ribbons and stars.
- Perfect pairs
The Perfect Pairs, which has existed since 2013, can allow you to increase the sum of your winnings if luck is on your side. By activating the Perfect Pairs, your winnings will be raised if your two first cards form a perfect pair (payout = 25 :1), a coloured pair (payout = 12 :1) or a mixed pair (payout = 6 :1).
- 21+3 Side Bets
Since 2013, the software provider also offers the 21 + 3 Side Bets functionality may also offer a chance at making more winnings. For this, one must obtain a specific combination thanks to their two first cards and the dealer’s up-card: Suited Triplet (Pays 100 :1), Straight Flush (Pays 40 :1), Three or a Kind (pays 30 :1), Straight (pays 10 :1) and Flush (pays 5 :1).
Available since summer 2014, the Pre-Decision option allows gamblers to play without awaiting their turn. In fact, they can indicate whether they wish to Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split as soon as it is the turn of the first player at the table. Thanks to the Pre-Decision option, the game play is much faster. The live casino leader estimates that with this feature, a player can take part in up to 10% more games per hour.
Live Infinite Blackjack: an Evolution gaming exclusivity
In order to fulfil players’ expectations, the provider launched in October 2018 the first live blackjack game with an unlimited number of players on a single game table and a single dealer, called the Live Infinite Blackjack. In practice, when the live dealer distributes the cards, the same initial hand made up of 2 physical cards is distributed to all the players at the table. Each of them then has the option of making their own choices as regards to the unfolding of the game, the software then distributes virtual cards to them. The low bets limits are the other particularity of the software provider’s unique offering. All the players have the possibility of chatting with the dealer who hosts this table which is lived streamed from Evolution Gaming’s live studio, found in Latvia’s capital city, Riga.
To make the game even more captivating, the operator has added several options to its Infinite Blackjack:
- Any Pair Side Bet: payout if you obtain a pair with the 2 cards of your initial hand
- 21 + 3 Side Bet: payout if you obtain some poker-style card combinations in the first two cards you are dealt
- Hot 3 Side Bet: payout if the total of the player’s two first cards + the first card of the player’s hand adds up to a total of 19, 20 or 21.
- Bust It Side Bet: payout if the dealer busts with 3 cards or more.
Live Blackjack by NetEnt Live
The NetEnt Live branch is specialised in live casino games, more specifically in mobile live casino for the operator is aware that nowadays, smartphones have become players’ favourite tool. It is from studios placed on the small island of Malta that the live dealers accompany you as you play. Whether we speak of live Roulette or of live Blackjack, you should know that the NetEnt live offer is available in 25 languages and is compatible with just as many currencies. The games are perfectly adapted for smartphone screens in order to be used in both portrait and landscape modes.
The Swedish operator has put in a great deal of effort on the quality of the graphics and of the streaming in order for players to experience the same sensations as they would if they set foot in a land-based casino. Players will also find game statistics on the screen alongside the history of the dealer’s 10 latest hands to ease their decision-making process.
With NetEnt, players have the choice between several types of live blackjack: The Common Draw Blackjack, the Beyond Live Blackjack and the Perfect Blackjack.
NetEnt Live Common Draw Blackjack
Surely you have already experienced the frustration of wanting to join a table before realising there was not a single free seat left and having to wait patiently until a player left the game before being able to take his seat. This is precisely why Netent has developed the Live Common Draw Blackjack, for it is a live Blackjack table for which the number of seats is unlimited. All players may therefore take part in the game, and this regardless of the currency they are using to play. They all receive the same hand, which promises even faster games. Each player then takes his own decisions during the remainder of the game.
Players usually go through the Live Common Draw Blackjack as they wait for a seat to become vacant at one of the classic Live Blackjack tables all the more so since the games are not very expensive. In fact, this game displays low minimum bet limits (generally starting at £1). Players can interact with the live dealer as they play thanks to the live chat at their disposal.
NetEnt Beyond Live Blackjack
NetEnt is the first online operator to have launched a virtual casino in which one can find both live blackjack and live roulette tables. Unlike all other live casino games offered by other operators, this is a 3D game. Another particularity is that when you are at a game table you also see what is going on at other game tables as if you were in a land-based casino. With Netent Beyond Live Blackjack, you are as close as one can get to reality, prepare yourself for a unique experience!
NetEnt Perfect Blackjack
Launched in 2019, the Perfect Blackjack by Netent is a live casino game which promises a high RTP (Return To Player) percentage of 99.5%. For even faster games, players receive cards automatically according to the Perfect Blackjack strategy, they then pre-select if they wish to auto-split or double-down. This game is aimed both at beginners and at more experimented players.
In the first instance, this game was launched exclusively on the Grosvenor Casino site.
Blackjack promotions: Which casino to choose?
You will find a selection of the best online casinos to play both blackjack and live blackjack below:
On these online casinos you will benefit from blackjack promotions. These blackjack promotions will allow you to play with a bonus, however one must pay attention to the terms and conditions they are associated with. We also invite you to enquire about the wagering requirement, the minimum bet allowed when playing with a bonus and about the sum of the maximum win. Our casino selection takes all these criteria into account, we have only retained the sites which offer the best Blackjack promotions with the most advantageous conditions for you!
History of Blackjack : from where is it from ?
The roots of blackjack lie in the French game “Vingt-et-un” or “Vingt-un”, a widely popular game across the whole of Europe during the 18th century, so much so that it was even played by the Royal Court during Louis XV’s reign. However, even this version seems to have been predated by several other games which originated in the 15th and 16th century. Examples of the latter include the French “Quinze” (meaning “Fifteen”), the Italian game of “Sette e Mezzo” (“Seven and a Half”) and perhaps the earliest ancestor of blackjack, the Spanish game “Trente-un” (“Thirty-one”). What made Vingt-et-un became such a hit however may be attributed to the element of skill it involves – instead of simply relying on luck, players need a certain amount of know-how to succeed in the game.
Brought to the Americas by French colonists during the 18th century, the game was commonly named 21. In 1931, the state of Nevada legalised all sort of gambling in a bid to promote tourism. Following this, “21” gained massive popularity since some casinos offered an interesting payout of 10:1 when a gambler scored 21 points with the ace of spades and one of the blackjacks. Even though this high payout was short lived, the name “Blackjack” stuck to the game. In present times, blackjack remains one of the most popular casino card games around.