Online casino gaming may be getting more and more innovative, but the truth is that the most popular casino games aren’t going to go away anytime soon. And blackjack does indeed seem to have a very special place in the world of online casinos – but getting around might be a bit tricky at first. Here we have a look at online blackjack – how and where to play, different varieties of the game and the latest innovation on the scene, live dealer blackjack online.
Play Blackjack Online at These Casinos
Blackjack might be one of the most popular casino games of all times, but it can’t hurt to go through the basics again, so here they are – in the shortest and simplest possible version, of course.
The objective of the game is to get a score that is as close as possible to 21 without going over – your hand would be bust in that case. After the players place their initial wagers, everyone receives two cards – the players have to reveal them both, while the dealer has to show only one of them.
You can then choose from a range of options in order to maximize your chances of winning – you can either stay and pass to the dealer, hit and get more cards, or double your initial bet and get one – and only one – additional card. If you get lucky and hit 21 with your two starting cards, you automatically win one and one-half times your initial wager (unless the dealer reveals 21 as well, which automatically cancels the current hand).
Whenever you are dealt matching cards, you can also decide to split your hand into two and play each of them separately, which can be a very profitable move in some situations (if you have a pair of eights or aces, for example).
After you are done with your actions, the dealer reveals his second card and then proceeds to either stay – if his overall score is 17 or higher – or draw more cards – if his overall score is 16 or lower. Whoever has the better hand after that wins an amount equal to his or her bet (unless there is a tie that would automatically cancel the hand) and the game can start all over again. Blackjack is simple, quick and action-packed – and that is exactly why everyone loves it so much!
Since blackjack isn’t exactly the most complicated game around, it is actually rather easy to calculate the ideal strategy. However, unless you are a mathematical genius, you will probably be unable to remember what the correct play is in every single situation. Thankfully, it is possible to narrow everything down to a fairly simple set of rules that will allow you to play without giving too much edge away. Let us try to sum things up in a few easy-to-remember points:
- With no aces in your hand, you should hit on everything up to 11.
- With no aces in your hand and the value between 12 and 16, stand if the dealer has a low card and hit if the dealer has a high card.
- If you have an ace in your hand, you should hit on everything from 13 to 18.
- Stand on everything from 17s upwards (unless you have an ace in your hand, in which case you should proceed as above).
- Always split eights and aces, never split 4s, 5s, or 10s. Split the rest only if the dealer has a low card.
But why should you – with blackjack being one of the most accessible casino games around – actually decide to play online instead of experiencing everything first-hand?
Well – apart from the obvious stuff that comes with brick-and-mortar casinos – there are plenty of things that you can take advantage of online. First of all, gameplay is always very smooth and flawless – no dealer errors, no waiting for the others to finish their turns, no card-shuffling, etc.
Secondly, you get massive bonus offers online that no casino off the internet will ever match – unless you are a particularly high-rolling player. And, last but not least, the nature of online gaming is such that you are simply never going to get bored – getting a refreshing break with another game is always a matter of just a few mouse clicks.
Where to Play
With so many online casinos out there, newcomers might actually find it tough to identify the best possible option straight away – after all, every single online casino offers a blackjack game. So what sets the different versions apart?
The Net Entertainment’s version of the game, which can be found at casinos like Mr Green and Leo Vegas, can probably be accurately described as the slickest of the bunch. For one reason or another, the game just flows very quickly and seamlessly. The graphics are also very easy on the eyes, with the icons being both stylish and elegant, which means that you won’t ever confuse them with each other. And there are numerous flavours to choose from as well – there is a single deck version for those who love simplicity, a classic version that allows you to play with up to five hands at the same time, and a double exposure version that forces the dealer to reveal both of his cards (there is, of course, a catch – outright blackjacks will pay less and the dealer will also win all ties except tied blackjacks). To top things off, there is a pro version that allows players to place a very intriguing Double Jack side-bet.
Meanwhile, Playtech’s version of the game can be enjoyed at online casinos like Bet365 and Paddy Power – and you can once again choose from a number of specialties, including a blackjack game with a progressive jackpot and the so-called switch version, which allows you to place prop bets on whether your next hands are going to match each other. There is only thing that we didn’t really like over at Playtech – namely, the fact that the action icons don’t really differ that much from each other, which is something that could confuse you at first.
Finally, there is the Microgaming’s version, which can be accessed through the likes of UK Casino Club and Ladbrokes. It also comes with a nice range of variations – and the good thing is that it is incredibly easy to swap between them through an in-game menu. The visual side of things is rather rich, which should come as great news to many a player – and we shouldn’t forget to mention the superb music and sound effects either. Given that and the multitude of variations that should allow everyone to find his or her very own ideal version of the game, we would actually say that the Microgaming’s design could appeal to the widest range of audiences – therefore, our recommendation for you is to give it a try straight away and then either stay, swap to the NetEnt’s design (if slicker gameplay would fit you more), or go to a Playtech casino (if you would like to try some of the different versions of the game).
Traditional online blackjack might obviously not be everyone’s cup of tea – and that is why many online casinos have stepped up to the plate by offering a more realistic version of the game in the so-called live casinos.
In short, you can get live casino action streamed directly to your screen – yes, that’s is exactly right, there are real cards and real dealers to play against, so you are going to feel just like in a real casino. If that sounds like fun straight away, we can assure you that you are going to love it. However, if you’ve already fallen in love with the classic versions of online blackjack, you might actually find the live version a bit overreaching.
For example, the social aspect of the game – you can interact with the dealer in real time – can sometimes distract you from the game itself. This is something that goes hand in hand with the nature of the game and the interface, which is more cluttered than in the non-live versions of the game. Moreover, the overall gameplay is also a touch slower – which might be a good or bad thing, depending on your preferences.
At the end of the day, the world of online blackjack is as colorful as the world of a card game could possibly be. There’s simply so much to do and so much to choose from that, once you decide to jump in, you are going to forget about the casinos you’ve enjoyed to visit. Unless you absolutely love the atmosphere of a brick-and-mortar casino, you really should give online blackjack a try, it’s a superb gaming experience if you play with a reputable online casino.