Blackjack. The very name of this epic game will send chills down any passionate card player’s spine. This seemingly simple game has been the rise and fall of amateur and professional gamblers alike and has been glamorized more than any other casino game. Blackjack has been featured in dozens of movies and TV shows and boasts of being the most popular card game in the world. Advances in online gambling technology have made blackjack hotter and more accessible than ever before. Thanks to the internet, you and your card-crazed friends can now play blackjack online anytime. Not only that, but you can play free blackjack at a number of reputable gaming sites. Of course if you want to get in on some real cash game action there are money versions of online blackjack too that cater to everyone from the timid amateur to the high roller.
How to Play Blackjack Online
Learning how to play blackjack online is easy; it’s learning how to stop playing that eventually gets hard! Once you get comfortable with playing blackjack online, you’ll find yourself screaming “Hit me!” at the virtual black jack dealer as you sit at your computer for hours. Because many sites offer free blackjack too, all it really takes to play a blackjack game online is a computer with an internet connection. As with any other online game, to play online blackjack you will need to join a casino that offers it. Joining requires little more than a few minutes of your time and some basic information. For your efforts, you will get your own player account. At some sites you may even get free money just for signing up which you can then use to try your first online blackjack games or any number of other casino games including poker or slots (depending on the site). Additionally, some online casinos will ask you to download their game software. This is only to ensure that you get the best experience, but if your computer lacks the speed, space or software most casinos also offer no-download Flash versions of their sites.
You are now ready to play your first blackjack game online. To begin, you will enter the blackjack section of the online casino. This includes a lobby where other players chat while they wait for tables. It also includes a list of tables, which is where the action starts. Click on a table that appeals to you (and has availability), and a new screen will load showing an animated version of a blackjack table. There may be a live dealer, animated dealer, or no dealer at all depending on the table type. You can choose to play alone or with as many as five other players. All players will use the same game screen buttons to make their bets. Once the bets are in, the dealer will deal two cards to every player and then two to themselves. If you beat the dealer’s hand then you win, and the appropriate sum of money will be added to your stack of chips. If you lose then your bet will be subtracted from your stack. Play continues in this way until you leave the table.
The classic blackjack rules remain the same for online blackjack. Each table is comprised of a dealer and as many as five players. Each player bets with chips and has the same betting and playing options. The players will build individual hands which they will use to compete with the dealer’s hand. In both live and online blackjack games the players never compete against each other. The dealer draws from the usual 52-card deck. In most cases, they are actually drawing from several decks to prevent card counting and increase randomization; this group of decks is called a “shoe.” After the dealer gives each player two cards (face up), they deal themselves two cards (one up, one down).
Blackjack rules give players a limited set of moves. Each player has the option to hit, stand, double down, split, or forfeit. To hit is to request a single additional card. To stand is to accept your current hand. To double down is to double your bet when your first two cards equal 9, 10, or 11. To split you must be dealt two cards of the same value; you may then double your bet and split the cards to form two separate hands with the dealer adding an additional card to each. Blackjack is often called 21. This is because 21 is the highest possible combination—giving you an instant win—making it the most desirable hand you can get. All number cards are worth the value of the number displayed while all face cards are worth 10. An Ace may be played as a 1 or an 11. A “natural” is when a player receives an Ace and a ten or an Ace and a face card for an instant blackjack or 21. The purpose of online blackjack then is to build a hand closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over (or “bust”). Learn more.
In this section Casino Gaze touches on advanced blackjack strategies and concepts that you might have heard about elsewhere on the web.
Beyond Hit or Stand
Most people look at their blackjack options as black and white: you either hit or stand. But there are two other choices players can make, and making them at the right time can be quite profitable. Beyond hit or stand, players may also choose to split or double down. Doubling down is usually limited to hands with a value of 10 or 11; even if the casino allows you to double down on other hands, these are the only two it is advisable to double down on. Likewise, you can split any pair, but that doesn’t mean you should. As a general rule, Aces and 8’s are the only pairs a player should always split on. Other weak pairs like 9’s, 7’s and 3’s should only be split if the dealer has a weak up card.
Card counting is a concept that gets a lot of blackjack hopefuls all hot and bothered. While card counting has been a profitable strategy for some live pros, the unfortunate truth is that in online blackjack it’s almost impossible to effectively count cards making odds-based strategies a better choice if you want to win blackjack online.
Blackjack Strategy Trainer
A blackjack strategy trainer is a computer program that simulates blackjack odds. The blackjack strategy trainer deals you each hand, allows you to make your move, and after the hand has finished advises you on what you should or shouldn’t have done based on real blackjack odds.
Blackjack System for Betting
A blackjack system is something that goes totally beyond logical blackjack strategies because it’s not about playing, it’s about betting. A blackjack system won’t actually help you to win blackjack because it gives no consideration to actual odds or strategy. Many online sites promote these betting systems, but there is no real proof that a blackjack system can increase your winnings. On the contrary, many systems inspire players to bet and lose more than they would have had they been playing or betting randomly.
Speaking of improving your skills… There is no better way to do it than to take advantage of free blackjack games online. If you’re just learning how to play blackjack, these fun-only versions of the actual game give you an open opportunity to test your skills and refine your blackjack strategy, plus at many casinos you can win points that can be redeemed for fun prizes. Once you have mastered a casino’s free blackjack games, you may feel more confident playing the game for money.
The great thing about online blackjack tips is that they offer information you can apply to your game strategy instantly. Most of these tips will save or make serious players a lot of money in the long run.
Eliminate the Blackjack House Advantage
It goes without saying that if you are going to make money playing blackjack you need to eliminate the blackjack house advantage. The funny thing is that many players coming to the blackjack table from other casino games just assume that blackjack is also a game of luck, but it doesn’t have to be. If you play a perfect strategy—that is, if you make the best choice with every hand—then you can genuinely overcome the blackjack house advantage and put yourself in a position to win consistently.
Use a Blackjack Odds Chart
The easiest way for beginners to eliminate the blackjack house edge is with a blackjack odds chart. A blackjack odds chart lists every possible player and dealer hand and tells you what move you should make in each scenario. You can buy a blackjack odds chart in any decent card shop, but why bother when they’re also available for free online? Print one out, or keep it minimized to the side of your game screen, so you can use it while you play online.
Don’t Use Blackjack Systems
Here’s a blackjack tip that tells you what NOT to do! Never fall for the big promises made by blackjack systems. Blackjack systems advise players to bet a certain way. The idea behind these systems is that increasing your bets as you go will allow you to get your money back should you win once after several losses. The downside to blackjack systems is that they don’t include an actual strategy, so you’re back to square one betting your money on luck. It’s much smarter to bet modestly and use a good strategy.