The game is mainly so popular because it is easy to learn and yet appeals to all players of all experience levels. Even as a beginner, you can quickly sit down at the table and challenge the dealer. More experienced players often have ingenious blackjack strategies that are calculated in a clever way and it is not uncommon for players to keep lists or use color-coded tables to improve their odds. However, here we will look at the basic rules and variations to help you get started playing Blackjack online.
No matter how many players sit at a table, you always play against the dealer. The goal is to get as close as possible to 21 points or exactly 21 points. Whoever holds more than 21 points in his hand automatically loses his bet. The exceeding of 21 is called “BUST”. As a second condition to win, you must have more points than the dealer or the dealer must have more than 21 points in his hand. Blackjack is played with up to six packs of French playing cards in 52 hands, i.e. with up to 312 cards. In online casinos there are also variants with only one pack and everything in between.
Card values in online Blackjack are the same as in many card games. All pictures count 10 points, an ace either 11 or only 1 point. The other cards count according to their numbers.
How To Play Blackjack
At the beginning of each game room each player gets to use two cards where it is placed in his bed. The one that is the last two cards of which work or one is face up. Even if, as in the live casino, several games are sitting at the table always plays against the dealer. Now you have to decide whether you are satisfied with the sum of the two cards or you want another card. For example, if you have a 3 and a 4, which adds up to 7, you can request another card without hesitation, because even with an ace you get a maximum of 18 points and you stay far away from 21. Requesting cards is called “HIT” or “DRAW”. If you are satisfied with your score, you do not request another card. This process is called “STAND”, “STAY” or sometimes “HOLD”. Now the dealer reveals his second card. In online casinos, the dealer is bound by fixed rules. In most casinos, the dealer must take more cards until he reaches at least 17 pinks. Even if they are at 14 points and do not request a card (Hold), but the dealer has 16 points, so that more than them and would have actually won, he must take another card according to the rules, which increases the probability of a “Bust” for the dealer and would make them a winner. Since many online casinos use the English language in Blackjack, this rule is: “Dealer must stand on 17 and must draw/hit to 16”. If you have a tie after the dealer draws the last card, it is called a “DRAW” or “PUSH”.
If you lose with a “BUST” or the dealer is closer to 21 than you are, you have lost your bet. If you lose with a “Push” or “Draw” you get your bet back. If you win the game round against the dealer, you get a 1:1 win. This means nothing else than that you bet 10 Euros and get your bet plus 10 Euros profit back.
If you win 21 points with 2 cards, this is “Blackjack” and you get 1.5 times your bet paid out as a win (3:2), unless the dealer also has Blackjack. Then it is a “push” and you only get your bet back. There are some variants where there is only a 6:5 win for Blackjack. This is clearly visible on the game board.
In addition, the rules for each table also determine whether the dealer must draw more cards if the player has a 17. This can be the case with a “SOFT17”. That means that the 17 is formed with an ace and a 6. Here the ace then counts only one point and the dealer draws more cards. Theoretically, he can have all 4 Aces and must still draw more cards. If he reaches 17 and all the aces in his hand count one point, he can stop.
So far everything is clear, right? It is exactly this simple game play that makes this card game so popular. Only with this knowledge you can participate in the game. It becomes more interesting, however, when you know and understand the other variation possibilities and can use them to your advantage. We have listed the most common ones for you here.
Insurance – If the dealer has an ace on his first card, you can “insure” yourself against a blackjack from the dealer. If you place a bet on the insurance line, the dealer receives a picture as a second card or a 10 pays the insurance as a 2-1 win, but if the dealer does not get Blackjack, the insurance premium is collected by the bank and is lost.
Split – If two of the same cards are dealt, the hand can be split. You then continue playing with two separate hands and bets. Of course, you must place the original bet on the board again for the second hand. You now play with both hands independently. However, there is no more Blackjack, because it is only possible with the first two cards. For example, an Ace-King combination would count 21 points and would be inferior to the dealer’s Blackjack. When to split to increase the odds of winning depends on your own cards and the dealer’s first card. Some casinos allow split hands to be split again if possible.
Double Down – After the first two cards you have the option to double down if you think you have a good chance of winning. After that you will only be dealt one more card. Some online casinos allow the double down on any total, while other casinos only allow it on 9 and 11, and some also allow it on 10.
Surrender – Often you have the option to surrender after the first two cards if the dealer has an ace. If you do so, you get half of your bet back, thus minimizing your loss. ´
Bust – Bust is a side bet where you bet that the dealer has more than 21 points, i.e. overbought.
Insurance and Bust don’t really make sense, as they only increase the house edge. However, the two side bets provide additional excitement at the gaming table and this thrill can also cost you a little.
Player Profit Playing Blackjack
One of the biggest advantages for the player is, of course, that he can decide whether to take, split or surrender more cards based on his hand and the dealer’s first card. However, the dealer must play according to fixed rules. As mentioned above, this may mean that he has to take one or more cards because he is under 17, even though he already has a better hand than the player. This increases the risk of a “bust” for him.
The player can double his bet if he has a promising hand and thus automatically forces the dealer to continue his game with double the bet. The dealer, on the other hand, does not have the option to “Double Down”.
The same applies to sharing. There are certain card combinations where the odds of winning are sometimes greatly increased by the possibility of winning with two hands against the dealer. Some casinos even allow doubling after splitting or multiple splitting.
In Blackjack, you win at a ratio of 3:2; if the dealer has Blackjack, you lose only your bet, which means the dealer wins only at a ratio of 1:1.
There is only one mathematical advantage for the bank. As soon as a player exceeds 21 he has lost immediately. For example, if there are 4 players at the table in a live casino, you will immediately lose your “bust” bet, even if the dealer has a “bust” later in the same game round.
Of all the classic casino games, the payout ratio in Blackjack is the highest. The bank advantage is just 0.475% if you play according to international standard rules. Even in roulette, the bank advantage in the European version with a “0” is almost three times as high as 1.35%. In American Roulette with “0” and “00” the bank advantage is 2.7%.
The small advantage in Roulette naturally presupposes that the mathematical probability of each game round is used to make the best possible decision.
To give complete beginners an idea when to take a card (Hit or Draw) or better stay on their points we have put together a few examples which show the best chances of winning. However, the rules listed above are required. If the rules are different, you must also deviate from these strategies.
In this very simple setup we distinguish between a “Hard Hand” and a “Soft Hand”. In the hard hand, the points are formed by pictures and numbers and are thus irrevocably fixed. In a soft hand, you have an ace in your first two cards. Since this can be either a 1 or an 11, it is more flexible and is called a soft hand.
HIT OR STAND WITH HARD HANDS
If the dealer has an ace, 7, 8, 9 or 10 as an open card, you should buy another card with your own 16, but stop with a 17
If the dealer has a 4, 5 or 6 and you have a 12 or higher you should stop. If your score is 11 or less you must buy.
If the dealer has a 2 or 3 you buy at 12, but stop at 13 or higher.
HIT OR STAND WITH SOFT HAND
If you have a soft hand with 19 points or more, you should never count the ace as 1 and buy more cards. Stay where you are.
A soft hand with 3 cards that brings 18 points should be held. Unless the dealer has a 9, 10 or an ace as an open card, the mathematical chances are better if you buy.
If you have 17 or less with three or more cards, you should buy regardless of the dealer’s card.
Since the “split” and the “double down” require a slightly more extensive discussion, we will discuss this in a separate online Blackjack strategy article.
Blackjack Card Counting
Of course, card counting immediately comes to mind. This is – other than relevant rumors that are repeatedly false – NOT prohibited by law in real casinos in both Germany and the USA. However Casinos reserve themselves the house right and can give well-known “card counters” a house prohibition.
In on-line Casino this is usually anyway differently handled. Here they can count cards as much as they want. However, at the electronic Blackjack tables each game round is started with a complete deck of cards. At the live Blackjack tables, most providers use a special card sled, a so-called shuffle star, which automatically shuffles the decks before each game round. In addition, the cards played are added back to the entire deck after each round. This takes the wind out of the sails of card counting. There are a few exceptions. Some online casinos deliberately offer Black Jack with fixed card decks. Often there are then but also other odds or special rules.
Who of course at home with his friends the time with a cozy round of Blackjack and play only with one deck can be with the right strategy and card counting already a good advantage.
If you have never played Blackjack before, you should try it. The card game is not for nothing one of the most popular card games in online casinos and real casinos around the globe. At most of the online casinos tested here, they can try Blackjack for free and without registration. Surely they will have a lot of fun and who knows, maybe we meet somewhere at one of the live Blackjack tables, if they decide to play at one of the providers for real money.