Learn how and where to play online blackjack in the US

How to Bet (Play) on Blackjack

The workings of Blackjack

When it comes to excitement and simplicity, online casino card games don’t come much better than blackjack. It was first introduced as one of the original land-based casino games and has since grown into one of the most popular casino games in the world today.

What’s more, the influence of the internet age has only fuelled its popularity surge further still. But, before you hit the tables and claim your slice of the action, live or online, the smart play is to ensure that you fully understand the rules and how to play blackjack. You will then be pleased to know that you have come to the right place.

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How To Play Online Blackjack

Blackjack is played using one or more standard decks of 52 cards, divided into four suits and 13 ranks. For this game, though, we can discount the relevance of suit independence. Instead, we are concerned purely with the numerical aspect of the cards. 

This is because blackjack is all about numbers and one number, in particular, 21. The object of the game is to make the number 21 with the cards you are dealt.

The Format and Layout

One of the first things you might notice is that, while playing with two decks or eight decks is the most common way to play, different casinos use a different number of decks to host their blackjack games. 

The main reason for this is that the more decks you are playing with, the more cards in the game and the higher the house edge becomes. It is also worth noting that the house, represented here by the dealer, is your opponent. Naturally, then, the best situation for players is to play with just one deck.

At a live table, you will see a dealer on one side plus seats for up to seven players on the other. Obviously, this is not needed for online games, but play remains essentially the same. 

First, you will need to be aware of house and game rules, such as betting limits, payout amounts for hitting a blackjack, and what happens if the dealer gets a soft 17 (more on this below).

Gameplay

On the table, you will see with a circle where you will place your bet before the game gets underway. The dealer will give out two cards to you (and the other players) while taking two cards for themselves also. 

One of the dealer's cards will be facing up, meaning players can see the value of the card. The other will be facing down, meaning players have no idea what the value of the other card is.

Once the cards have been dealt, the dealer will check to see if they have a natural blackjack, which means to have instantly made a 21 with their two cards. If they have, that's it! The hand is over, and you have lost. 

Unless, that is, you also have a blackjack, which means that the hand ends in a push instead. A push simply means to tie and, while you won't win any money, you don't lose any money either as your stake is returned to you in full. 

If you have a natural and the dealer does not, then you will win the hand, and most casinos pay 3/2 for this.

This occurrence is, of course, rare, and most of the time, play keeps going with the players making decisions based on what they think their hand is worth. The decisions that players face at this point include stand, hit, double down, split or surrender.

Stand means to stick with what you have and take no further cards, while a hit is to request an extra single card as many times you like before deciding to stand or, unfortunately, going bust. If you opt for Double down, you will receive exactly one additional card before standing as well as doubling the size of your bet.

Finally, splitting is only an option when you are holding two cards of the same rank and requires you to place an additional bet and play two hands. These two new hands are constructed of your original two cards, which have now each been paired with new partners after the dealer gave you two new cards, one for each hand. 

Or players can choose to surrender, which is a bit like folding in poker; you forfeit your bet and drop out of the hand. If you're playing online, there are buttons for you to make your choice.

As we said, these decisions are all made when players have decided what their hands are worth and what their hands are worth all comes down to the card values. So, for reference, Aces are worth one if it's a hard rule game or 11 points if it's soft, face cards are each worth 10 points, while all other cards are ranked by face value.

We know that a hand with a total of 22 or more will bust, so when it's your turn to play, and 21 still looks distant, the idea is that you continue to hit until you are close enough to 21 that you decide to stand. Otherwise, eventually, you will bust. 

As soon as your turn is over, the dealer takes their turn and must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 or higher. Because of this, each hand typically plays out quickly. 

Players will either win, lose, or push. Winning means you get paid, losing means you don't, and pushing means you get your money back. See? Like we said, simple.

The Insurance Bet

In blackjack, there is a chance to make a side bet called an insurance bet. It is entirely optional, but only when the dealer is showing an ace. 

Should you decide to take this side action, your insurance bets must be equal to your table bet - the one that started the game - and pays 2/1 if the dealer has a Blackjack. By the way, the dealer making a natural still means you lose the main game's hand.

Dealer's Soft 17

What is a soft hand in blackjack? Any hand in a game of blackjack that contains an ace valued as 11 rather than 1, is labeled a soft hand. 

So, an Ace-5 hand is a soft 16, while a soft 17 can be made up of an Ace-6. Likewise, Ace-3-3 can also be a soft 17. 

But what if the dealer deals themselves a soft 17? Well, some casinos enforce dealers to stand when they have a soft 17, while others require dealers to hit. One way (to hit) is better for you, the player, while the other (to stand) raises the house edge.

In Summary

  • Blackjack begins when players make their table bets
  • The dealer deals two cards to the players and two to themself, 1 of which must be face-up
  • According to standard Blackjack card values (below), the hand value will be the sum total of your cards
  • Players can then choose to stand, hit, surrender, double down or split
  • Going last, the dealer must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21
  • To win, a player's hand must total higher than the dealer's or make a 21 or if the dealer busts by going over 21

Blackjack Card Values

CardValue
Jack, King, Queen, 1010
2-9Face Value
Hard Ace 1
Soft Ace 11

Strategies And Tips For Playing Blackjack

When getting started with blackjack, there are a few certainties that we can apply right away to help you enjoy success. One is to remember that we always know what we are holding, while we also know that the highest two-card total we can have is 21, as well as the value of one of the dealer's cards.

Given that information, some decisions are obvious, while others not so much. Here are a few pointers that will help you to play blackjack and win at the blackjack table. Again, there is no such thing as a guarantee, but these pointers, which can differ between soft and hard hands, are just about the best way to play blackjack.

Rules of Thumb

Where To Play Online Blackjack

The first thing you need to do is to choose an online blackjack room. Many of the popular bookmakers offer online casino platforms and any online casino worth its salt will offer blackjack options.

Note, we said blackjack options. This is because there are many fun variations that offer exciting twists on standard blackjack which is the subject of this page.

As you can see, most online bookies have online blackjack available to play in their games portfolio and most of the time it is extremely easy to use your account balance to play blackjack. It is also very easy to make a deposit using the method of your choice such as e-wallets, credit or debit cards, etc. 

With your account ready to go, by which we mean verified and with some funds deposited, you then need to navigate your way to the lobby where you will find plenty of Blackjack tables to join.

General FAQ for Blackjack

Is My Personal Information Safe And Secure At Online Blackjack Sites?
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Yes, of course. In most cases, sites will display their registration, certification, and what encryption service they are employing. If they don’t, then it would wise to give them a pass and find one that does.

Is Online Blackjack Fair?
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Yes, it is, but the best way to ensure this is to choose an excellent online Blackjack Casino and one that is regulated by an international gaming authority.

What Is The Best Website To Play Blackjack Online For Real Money?
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This is entirely your choice. If you are still learning your game, then it would be a smart move to try and play blackjack online free first. Then, when you are ready, you can start to play blackjack online for real money.

Is Online Blackjack A Challenging Game?
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Yes, there is a great skill to blackjack, and it does provide a test to its players, but it is also simple to learn, exciting to play, and, if done right, it can be very rewarding.

Are There Many Differences Between Playing Blackjack At A Casino Or Online?
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Sure, there are some subtle differences, in particular, playing alone with a dealer or with others, but so long as you know how to play online blackjack, you will know how to play blackjack at a casino.

About Tyler Vaysman
Tyler Vaysman author profile

Tyler has a true passion for sports, DFS & sports betting in particular. Combine his love for sports with his journalistic background and you have a great guy to cover the latest industry news. He also enjoys disc golf, fishing and traveling in his free time.

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