How to play online blackjack
How to play online blackjack
Online blackjack can be played 365 days of the year, with many of the best online casinos stocking both live blackjack games and RNG titles. This means you can play on everything from your computer, smartphone and tablet to your Smart TV — the possibilities with online blackjack are endless in 2019.
Online blackjack is one of the most popular games on offer at gambling sites, with much more variety and affordable wagering limits than you’ll find in a land based casino. Learn everything you need to know to successfully play blackjack online, starting with our best blackjack sites:
Best real money blackjack sites
* The above table is geo-targeted and will only show blackjack sites that you can sign up at, based off your location. This means you will never see blackjack casinos shown that don’t accept players from United States.
Why play blackjack online?
There are many reasons players should consider making the switch to online play. First and foremost, the selection of different types of blackjack games available online trumps the small selection you’re forced to choose between at land based casinos. The wide variety online gives you the chance to choose games with more favourable rules, rewarding side bets and affordable betting limits.
Table games at most land based casinos don’t provide players with nearly as much diversity, usually only offering one or two variants of the traditional European Blackjack version most of us punters have become accustomed to. Register for an account at a Web casino and you immediately gain access to several unique 21 game types unavailable anywhere else in the country. With single deck games, multi-hand games and other player-friendly rules, if you follow basic strategy, your chances of winning are much higher than at a land based casino. Plus, online casinos offer the option of playing for free in practice mode, so you can scratch up on your skills and test out some strategies before laying down any of your own money.
Additionally, land-based venues tend to require a minimum wager of $5 or $10 per hand, restricting blackjack to those who have bigger bankrolls. However, when playing online you can stake a minimum wager of $0.25 to $1.00, which is convenient for those who have smaller bankrolls, or wish to stake less as they learn the tricks, strategies and different rules of the game. Online blackjack also caters to high rollers, with VIP games which allow you to bet up to $500 per hand.
The accessibility factor of playing on your computer, mobile phone or tablet is a huge drawcard. Your options for playing real money 21 have never been this plentiful, with online blackjack now available to play via downloadable software, directly over you Web browser with instant-play, on smartphones and tablets, and even on smart TVs. Travelling to your closest land based casino takes time, and parking can be a bitch, not to mention the additional costs of drinks can eat away at your bankroll. Although a night out at the casino with your mates is always thoroughly enjoyable, the convenience of online gambling is unparalleled – what’s better than being able to win real money playing blackjack from the comfort of your couch?
And let’s not forget the bonuses. Online casinos offer all kinds of incredible welcome packages, loyalty reward programmes and exclusive bonus offers you simply won’t find in a real life casino, so your money goes a lot further when playing on the Internet.
Blackjack classic online rules
While online blackjack rules can vary from casino to casino, you generally will find a pretty standard rule set
Blackjack is played using a shoe that’s made up of some number of standard 52-card decks. Depending on the particular game you’re playing in, a shoe might have anywhere between one and eight decks. The object of the game is to finish each hand with a higher score than the dealer.
The game begins with the player making a single bet. The dealer will then give the player two cards face up, while the dealer will usually get one card face up and another (the hole card) face down. Scoring hands is simple: numbered cards are worth their number, face cards (kings, queens and jacks) are worth ten points, and an ace can be worth either one or eleven points, depending on what most benefits the player.
The best possible hand is a natural: a starting hand of both an ace and a ten-point card. If the dealer is showing an ace or ten, they will check for a natural before the hand begins. If they have a natural, all players lose (except for player naturals, which push). Assuming no dealer natural, all player naturals immediately pay out at 3-2 odds.
Once the naturals are handled, any other players may make decisions about their hand. Players generally have four options during play, as follows:
- Hit: Players may hit and take another card, adding its value to their hand.
- Stand: Players may stand, announcing that they are happy with their current hand and will take no more cards.
- Double Down: On a player’s initial two-card hand, the player may double down, making a second bet equal in size to their initial bet. The player then receives one additional card, after which they must stand.
- Split: If a player has two cards of the same rank to start a hand, they may split them into two distinct hands. Each hand is played for a single bet and retains all the normal options (except when splitting aces, when players will normally be given just one additional card for each hand and then must stand).
Players may also choose to surrender, forfeiting half of their bet to end the hand immediately.
If a player’s hand ever goes above 21 points, they have busted, and immediately lose all bets on that hand. Once all players have stood or busted, the dealer reveals his hole card. The dealer then follows the house rules on how to play their hand: they will stand on all hands of 18 or more and hit on all hands of 16 or less. On a hand of 17, house rules may vary: all dealers will stand on a “hard” 17, but in some cases, dealers may be told to hit on a “soft” 17 – one that contains an ace that still counts as 11 points.
If the dealer busts, all players remaining in the hand will win even money on their bets. If the dealer stands, all players with higher scores win their bets, while all players with lower scores lose their bets. If the player and dealer tie, bets on that hand will push.
For those reading this on your mobile, give blackjack a go at:
Mobile and tablet gameplay
Online casinos have made their software compatible with all the latest smartphones and tablets, along with older data-enabled phones like those using the Symbian operating systems and WAP-based devices. If you’re reading this on your mobile device, tap on any of our recommended casinos and you can play 21 instantly via your mobile Web-browser (Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, etc.).
Mobile casino apps such as Royal Vegas’s are fully legal to download and install on both the Google Play and Apple App stores (Android and iOS devices). All mobile casino apps function exactly the same as playing at the casino in your mobile’s Web browser, just with the added convenience of having a dedicated blackjack app installed on your home-screen for quick access. All mobile casino apps allow practice mode for free play before you put down real money.
Casino software and live dealer blackjack
Blackjack games at our recommended casinos are created by some of the leading online software developers in the world, with a dedication to innovation and player entertainment. The best online blackjack games belong to such game studios as Microgaming, Net Entertainment, BetSoft, Evolution Gaming, Ezugi and Extreme Games. All of these providers offer top quality gameplay and are trusted and tested by independent gaming industry regulatory bodies, such as eCOGRA.
Innovation in Flash, Java and HTML5 software ensures blackjack games from each of these game providers are available for instant-play directly over your Web browser, with no additional downloads required.
Where can I play live dealer blackjack?
Live dealer blackjack games are available in most of our recommended casino sites in the table at the top of this page, which all come highly recommended to experience the excitement and interactive entertainment of live croupier gameplay. Live dealer blackjack games are hosted by real professional trained people, from real high-end casino studios, with games streamed to your computer or mobile in real time using HD video.
Royal Vegas, which utilises Microgaming software to host its live dealer games, offers players the choice of betting with the traditional and elegant dealers, or the gorgeous Playboy Bunny croupiers.
Live blackjack games are based on the actions of real people as opposed to the Random Number Generation (RNG) technology used by standard online blackjack games, making live gaming ideal for those who are sceptical about computerised blackjack. Find out more about live blackjack here.
Casino bonuses and playing online 21
Our recommended casinos offer some fabulous welcome bonuses as an incentive for new players, matching the amount of your first deposit with bonus credits so you can try real money 21 for less costs to you. Many venues also offer a certain number of free spins, so you can try your luck at the online pokies.
It’s important to be aware of any wagering requirements on bonuses, as blackjack generally doesn’t clear a bonus amount as quickly as playing a luck based game like pokies would do. What this means is if you get a casino bonus such as a matched deposit (i.e. you deposit $100 and get a 100% bonus, so in total you have $200 to bet with) you have to reach certain goals before you are able to withdraw the bonus money from your account. For instance, you might have to wager the money x35, so in essence you need to make $3,000 in wagers before you can withdraw the bonus. Clearing a bonus in blackjack is generally tougher with some casinos only accepting 10% of wagers made with your bonus amount to clearing the credits, unlike other games like pokies which clear at 100% of your bonus each wager.
Banking and accessing your money
All the casinos we recommend happily accept real money players using the highest standards of encryption technology to protect our financial transactions. Depositing and withdrawing real money is made simple, with each site owning a dedicated banking page to facilitate all our money requirements. The following methods are the most popular banking services on offer:
MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards, Neteller, Skrill (formerly Moneybookers), bank/wire transfers, Paysafecard (now incorporating Ukash), ecoPayz, EntroPay and cryptocurrency methods like Bitcoin and Litecoin. The deposit options for USA players are limited, with Visa and MasterCard gift cards, bank wire transfers and Bitcoin usually accepted.
While most deposit services are instant, withdrawals can take from 3 to 5 business days to be processed.
It’s not uncommon for a casino to request you provide some form of identification documents before making your first withdrawal. Documents such as a driver’s license or a utility bill are accepted, and are dealt with the utmost care by the security team of each company.
Helpful online blackjack guides
For more helpful hints and guides to playing online blackjack, read up on the following:
- How to play online blackjack for free
- Why online blackjack is better
- Betting limits in online blackjack
- How to play soft hands in blackjack
- When to split in blackjack
- Card counting in blackjack
- Basic blackjack strategy charts
- Playing the Lucky Ladies side bet in blackjack
- Blackjack rule variations
- How to play mobile blackjack for iOS
- How to play mobile blackjack for Android
Keen to see what online blackjack is all about? Our top-rated blackjack sites are listed in the casino table at the top of this page. We recommend Raging Bull Casino as our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players along with a great range of blackjack variants, online slots, roulette and other exciting table games.
Blackjack is one of the most skill-dependent games in the casino, making it a favourite among gamblers who like to have a little more control over their bets. Not only is this a hugely popular game around the world, but it has also spawned many great online variants. Tap/click any of the online casinos below to begin playing a host of fantastic online blackjack games, with plenty of blackjack variants you’d be unable to find anywhere at a land based casino.
Best real money blackjack sites
Blackjack strategy and tactics
Blackjack strategy varies depending on the exact rule set and number of decks being used in a particular game. However, there are plenty of strategy cards available that can tell you the mathematically correct basic strategy for a given blackjack game, allowing you to know exactly when to hit, stand, double or split on every hand. Blackjack strategy considers both what the player holds and the dealer’s up card, which provides crucial information for the player.
Assuming the player uses proper strategy on every hand, the house edge in blackjack tends to be quite low. In most common rules, the house advantage on blackjack will be somewhere between 0.5% and 1%. For a complete run-down of all the rule changes which affect the house edge read our blackjack rule variations article.
For more information about honing your blackjack skills, check out our helpful guides:
- Playing blackjack side bets
- How to play Perfect Pairs in blackjack
- Basic blackjack strategy chart
- Counting cards in blackjack
- How to play hard hands in blackjack
- How to play soft hands in blackjack
- When to split and when not to split in blackjack
Blackjack is so popular that there have been many spin-off versions created and many different rule variations passed down through players. In Australia, there’s a particularly popular blackjack variation known as Pontoon, which is similar in many respects to another common casino game known as Spanish 21, as both Spanish 21 and Pontoon feature decks that don’t include the tens in the deck, making each deck 48 cards rather than the standard 52.
Besides using a slightly different deck, the game also features a number of rules that you won’t find in regular blackjack. In Pontoon, the player wins immediately on any 21 (including natural), and may surrender even after doubling down. There are also payout bonuses if the player receives a hand of 21 after taking several cards: five-card hands of 21 pay 3-2, six-card hands of 21 pay 2-1, and seven or more cards that total 21 will earn you 3-1. There are also special bonuses for hands of 7-7-7, 6-7-8, and especially a 7-7-7 in which all sevens are of the same suit, which can pay up to $5,000 to a player in bonus money.
The lack of the tens in the deck is a downside (tens are good for the player and bad for the dealer), but the other rule changes generally favour the player. Overall, this game often has a lower house edge than blackjack games found in the same casino, with a typical Pontoon house edge being around 0.4%.
Blackjack online has changed the game
Playing blackjack online is a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with fun variants of 21 you may never have heard of before. Here is a run-down of some of the different types of blackjack games you’ll find at our recommended casinos:
The range of blackjack variants differs from venue to venue, but all you need to do is follow our links to one of the leading blackjack sites and click the ‘blackjack’ or ‘table game’ category to see which variants of 21 the casino has to offer.
How to play blackjack online
With the growing popularity of online casinos, blackjack has now become a very popular game to play for real money online and can be found at many of the world’s best casino sites.
For more information about online blackjack, see also:
- Online blackjack strategy
- How to play live dealer blackjack
- No Download Blackjack
- How to play blackjack on Facebook
- Playing blackjack with Google Glass
Commonly asked questions about online blackjack
Can USA citizens play online blackjack? The United States has more restrictive online gambling laws than most countries, and while the laws are slowly starting to relax as some US states begin to legalise online gambling on a local level, the online casino choices are still limited for US players. Luckily, there’s still a handful of reputable offshore casino sites that continue to service the US market, so players from the USA can play real money blackjack online using US-friendly deposit methods. The top rated blackjack sites for US players include:
A selection of blackjack variants including live dealer blackjack can be found at these casino sites, with sign-up bonuses available for USA players.
Our top-rated blackjack sites are listed in the casino table at the top of this page. We recommend Raging Bull Casino as our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players and some great blackjack variants to choose from.