Free Blackjack Simulator: Try Our Demo
If you want to play online blackjack, we recommend trying a demo game before you play with real money. It is simply the best way to get to grips with the rules with absolutely no risk involved. There are tons of free blackjack variants available online. Try them out with play money and you can find the game that best fits you. To get you started, try playing a classic blackjack game for free here.
Best Site to Play for Real Money:
How to Play Blackjack
Blackjack is a casino game where you play against the house. Also known as a banking game, the main aim is to score closer to 21 than the dealer without exceeding that value. If your hand goes over 21, you have busted, and you lose your bet immediately, regardless of the dealer’s hand. Or if the dealer’s hand is higher than yours at the end of the round, you lose. You can beat the dealer by drawing a hand value of 21 with your first two cards when the dealer does not. You also beat the house if the dealer busts or if you draw a hand higher than the dealer’s hand value.
Blackjack is one of the few casino games where strategy can make a difference. By considering all the possible actions and choosing the move that statistically gives you the greatest expected return, you can impact your chances of winning. As such, the better you know the rules, options and features of blackjack game variants, the better your chances.
Basic Blackjack Rules
In blackjack, you play against the dealer. When you play online, you alone will go head to head with the dealer. Whereas if you play blackjack in a land-based casino, up to 7 players can join the table and simultaneously play against the house. Casino blackjack is commonly played with six to eight standard decks of playing cards. To play the game, you place a bet, which must fall within the limits specified on the table. Two cards will then be dealt to each player and two to the dealer. Players then have the choice to receive extra cards, or to stick with the hand dealt. Once each player has completed their turn, play passes to the dealer, who will draw cards according to the game’s rules. For a player to win, their hand must have a higher total value than the dealer, without exceeding 21. If the dealer busts, the player also wins. If there is a tie, the result is a push, and the player’s bet is returned. The best hand in the game combines an ace with a 10, Jack, Queen or King totalling 21. This is known as a blackjack or natural.
- Buy-In – To exchange your cash for chips to be used at the blackjack table;
- Blackjack – The best hand in the game, made up of an ace and a 10-value card (i.e. 10, J, Q, K);
- Bust – When the total value of a hand exceeds 21;
- Push – A tie; the player and dealer have hands with the same total;
- Hole Card – Dealt to the dealer face down, it isn’t revealed until the players’ turn is over.
You can play many games online that follow standard blackjack rules. Yet you can also find numerous online blackjack game variants. Such games feature small variations to basic rules, creating a twist on classic gameplay for a different kind of playing experience. The rule variations can impact the house edge, making a particular game more or less favorable for players. Further differences between blackjack variants can be found in the number of decks the game is played with. Shuffling rules can also differ between variants.
- Hit after split aces – The common rule is that only one card will be dealt to each hand when you split aces and you cannot split, double or take another hit on a hand.
- Double after split – Standard game rules allow you to double down on the new two-card hands.
The traditional blackjack table has a semi-circular shape. It usually has a surface made of green felt with various markings embedded on it. You will see the table limits and game payouts printed on the table. You will also see the game rules, namely the fixed rules the dealer must follow when drawing cards. On the table, you will see a position where the player can place their bet. Various chip sizes are displayed on the bottom of the table, and the player selects the size of the bet by clicking on the chip, then clicking on the bet position to make the wager.
The position assigned to the dealer is located at the top of the table facing the player. To the dealer’s left is the card shoe, where cards are dealt from. To the right is the discard tray, where discarded cards are moved to once a game round is completed. Once bets have been placed, the player’s cards are dealt face up just above the betting spot. The dealer’s cards are dealt with an up card and a hole card, which is not revealed until the player has completed their moves. If the dealer’s up card is an ace, players are given the option to place an insurance bet. When playing blackjack online, the actions the player can take are highlighted on the screen, with options to hit, stand, split or double as appropriate.
Blackjack Card Values
|10, J, Q, K||10|
Given the wide range of blackjack variants that you can play online, there are some variations to the table layout that can be found. If the game variant has optional side bets, you will also see a section marked where you can place the additional bet. However, the basics usually stay the same, so it is quite easy to adjust to the table variant.
You should see the payouts for side bets displayed on the table since those vary greatly. Many online variants offer multi-hand gameplay. As such, you can place numerous bets by clicking on the other player betting positions on the table.
Understanding the value of the cards in blackjack is pretty straightforward. The number cards, 2 – 10 score their respective value. The face cards, Jack, Queen and King count as 10. The ace, on the other hand, can count as either 1 or 11. The ace’s value will always work in the favor of the player.
When a hand includes an ace, it is known as a soft hand, as there are two possible scores for the card. Most online games automatically assign the ace a value giving you the best possible hand. A hand with no aces has only one possible score and is known as a hard hand – you don’t have a choice there.
Player’s Turn: Options & Decisions
Once the cards have been dealt, the player has various options of how to play their hand. If you are satisfied with your cards, you can stand. Alternatively, you can hit and receive an additional card. You can hit as many times as you like, provided the total value of the cards does not exceed 21.
Hit and stand are the two basic options, yet there are other possible moves depending on the two cards you have been dealt, including splitting and doubling down. Also, if the dealer’s up card is an ace, you will have the option of taking insurance against a dealer blackjack.
- Hit: To ask the dealer for an additional card. If the additional card makes the total over 21, the player busts and loses their wager.
- Stand: To stop asking for more cards, ending the player’s turn.
- Split: When the player is dealt two cards of the same value, you can place an additional wager of equal value to the original bet and play the cards as two separate hands.
- Double: After the player’s cards are dealt, you can place a wager, equal to the original bet. You will then draw one more card only to your hand.
- Insurance: When the dealer’s up card is an ace, you can place an insurance bet against a dealer blackjack. A payout of 2:1 is made if the dealer does have blackjack, otherwise the bet is lost.
- Surrender: An option not available in all blackjack variants, it allows the player to forfeit a weak hand that is unlikely to beat the dealer, losing just half of the original wager.
Blackjack Dealer Rules
Whilst players have the freedom to choose what actions to take with their hand, the dealer, on the other hand, must play according to set blackjack rules. This ensures consistency when playing the game of 21 and protects the house advantage over the long-run. It is important for players to understand dealer rules to be able to make the best strategic moves for optimal success. The common rule is that the dealer must hit when the total of their hand is 16 or less. The dealer must continue to hit until their hand totals at least 17, or until he busts.
- Dealer hits up to 16 – the dealer will draw cards if the total value is less than 16
- Dealer must stand on 17 or more – the dealer will stop drawing cards when the value is 17 or more.
- Dealer hits on soft 17 – this rule means the dealer must hit if their hand totals 17 and includes an ace.
Given that there are many variants of online blackjack, you will find that there are different rules that apply to the actions the dealer can take. In some games, when the dealer has a soft 17, that is, a hand totaling 17 which includes an ace, they must hit again. In most variants, the dealer will stand on a soft 17. This is the more common rule as it slightly raises the house edge. The rules regarding the dealer standing or hitting on a soft 17 impacts the best action for the player to take.
Depending on the game variant, there are a variety of side bets that you can place when playing blackjack. Such optional bets can add an extra element of fun and entertainment to traditional gameplay. Although, it is worth noting that payout rates for side bets are generally lower than regular bets. Whilst some of the side bets boast the potential for big payouts, they are riskier bets and are unlikely to increase your profits in the long run. As such, they are best avoided. That being said, if you want to add a little extra excitement to your blackjack game, there are plenty of side bet options to try your chances on. Below you can find out some of the most common blackjack side bets.
The 21+3 side bet is one of the most commonly found in online blackjack games. Payouts are made based on the player’s first 2 cards and the dealer’s up card. The player wins if the 3 cards contain three of a kind, or a flush, straight, or straight flush. Payouts range from 5:1 for a flush up to 100:1 for suited trips. Based on a six-deck blackjack game, the expected RTP of the 21+3 side bet is 96.77%.
The Perfect Pairs side bet is available in many blackjack variants and is a simple, yet popular bet. To win the bet, the player must be dealt a pair. There are different payouts for different types of pairs. A payout of 5:1 is made for a pair of mixed color and suits. Same color and mixed suits payout 10:1. A pair with the same color and suit pays 30:1. This bet has an RTP of 94.21%.
Super 7’s is a side bet based on the player’s first three cards. The player wins a payout of 3:1 if the first card dealt is a 7. The returns increase for 2 or 3 consecutive 7’s, with suited 7’s boasting the highest payout. The biggest payout of 5000:1 is achieved when you get three consecutive 7’s of the same suit. In a six-deck game, the RTP is 88.6%.
The aim of the hi-lo 13 side bet is to guess whether the player’s first two dealt cards will total more than, less than or exactly 13. If you correctly bet on whether the hand will total less (lo) or more (hi), you will receive a payout of 1:1. A winning bet on a hand total of 13 pays out 10:1. Based on a six-deck game, the RTP is around 93.5%.
The Lucky Lucky bet wins based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. Payouts are made when the total across the three cards is 19, 20 or 21. The highest payouts are reserved for a suited 7-7-7 and 6-7-8, with a return of 200:1 and 100:1 respectively. With a payout rate of 97.34% in a six-deck game, it is one of the more favorable blackjack side bets.
The High Streak side bet awards a progressive bonus payout when the player wins several hands in a row. Win two hands in a row for a payout of 1:1, with payouts for the 3rd, 4th and 5th consecutive win rising to 2:1, 5:1, and 10:1. If you lose a hand, the streak ends. For a push, you keep your spot in the sequence, but do not win a payout. The RTP is around 95.45% if the side bet is included.
This simple side bet pays out if the player’s first two cards are of the same suit. The payouts vary depending on the two cards. Get a pair of suited aces and the return is 50:1, whilst a suited blackjack will pay 10:1. A pair of the same suit pays 5:1, suited eleven pays 3:1 and any other combination pays 2:1. In six-deck games, the expected RTP is 96.59%.
Despite its relatively low RTP of 86.66%, the Lucky Ladies side bet has the potential for high payouts, making it a popular choice with blackjack fans. You win the bet if your first two cards total 20, with the best hand comprised of two queens of hearts. The payout for this outcome is 200:1, and it is boosted to 1000:1 if the dealer also draws blackjack.
Best Site to Play Blackjack with Side Bets:
Odds and Probabilities
Blackjack odds are percentages that represent the probability that you will win or lose a game. They are mathematically calculated and give players a better understanding of their chances of winning a game. There are various odds that give an insight into how advantageous any given situation is in the game and which, in turn determine the optimal action to take. It is these probabilities and odds which form the basis for blackjack basic strategy. The probability of being dealt a natural blackjack is just 4.83%. In the first table, you can see the odds of the dealer busting based on their up card, and the advantage the player has in each scenario. When the dealer’s up card is a low value (2-6), the odds of the dealer busting are higher, improving the player’s chance of winning. Yet when the dealer has a high card (7-A), the odds are more favorable for the house.
|Dealer’s Up Card||Odds of Dealer Busting||Player Advantage %|
|10, J, Q, K||21.43%||-16.9%|
The next table shows the probabilities of the player busting when hitting. You can never bust with your initial two cards as the highest possible hand total is 21. Of course, if you have a hand total of 21 and you opt for another card to be dealt, then there is a 100% probability of your hand busting. Whereas a hand value of 11 or less cannot bust by being dealt another card. In essence, the higher the player’s total hand value, the higher the odds of busting.
|Player’s Hand Value||Chance of Busting|
|11 or less||0%|
After players have completed their turn, it is the dealer’s turn to play. Once they have completed their turn, all hands are compared to the dealer’s. If the player beats the dealer with a higher hand total, a payout of 1:1 is awarded. So, if you bet $10, you will win another $10 and the $10 stake is also returned. If you hit a blackjack, that is, an ace with a 10-value card, the payout is 3:2. So if you bet $10, you win another $15. If the player and dealer hands are equal in value, the result is a push and the original bet is returned to the player.
When you take into consideration the difference between the probability and the payouts, you find the house edge. Casino games are calculated in a way so that the house always has a small advantage, hence the expression, the house always wins. Another way of expressing this is return to player, or RTP. Whilst the house edge expresses the percentage of all bets on a game that in the long run are kept by the casino, the RTP expresses the percentage of money bet that is paid back to players. Blackjack is one of the casino games with the lowest house edge, providing favorable odds for players. You can see how the house edge of blackjack compares to other casino games below.
|Casino Games||House Edge|
|Blackjack||0.08% – 1%|
|Slots||2% – 15%|
|Roulette||2.70% – 5.26%|
|Video Poker||0.46% – 5%|
|Baccarat||1.06% – 14.36%|
|Craps||0% – 16.67%|
|Keno||25% – 29%|
|Casino Hold’em||2.16% – 6.26%|
|Pai Gow Poker||1.46% – 2.85%|
|Sic Bo||2.78% – 33.33%|
|Three Card Poker||3.37% – 7.28%|
|Red Dog Poker||2.34% – 2.67%|
|Caribbean Stud||2.56% – 5.22%|
|Dream Catcher||4.66% – 9.19%|
|Scratch Cards||4% – 6%|
If you take a look at our list of the best online video poker games, you will notice that with the proper strategy, those can rival blackjack in terms of low house edge. You should also keep in mind that changes in the classic blackjack rules can be found in different variants of the game. It is useful to know that such changes can have an impact on the player’s expected return. Below you can see some of the rules that affect house edge and to what extent they increase or reduce the advantage the house has over the player in a standard game played with 8 decks.
- Blackjack pays 2 to 1: -2.27%
- Single deck: -0.48%
- Hitting split aces: -0.19%
- Player may re-split aces: -0.08%
- Dealer hits on soft 17: +0.22%
- Blackjack pays 6 to 5: +1.39%
- Blackjack pays 1 to 1: +2.27%
The Best Online Blackjack Game Variations
Whether you are new to casino games or are an experienced player, there are plenty of options to suit your personal preferences, and we encourage you to first test your luck and strategy for free in online social casinos. You will find that blackjack games online differ in terms of rules, layout, and number of decks. Across the numerous blackjack game variants, you will also find a range of different side bets, which offer you the chance of winning large payouts, adding an extra element of fun. When you play blackjack online, you get a choice of classic, traditional games as well as plenty of modern, innovative variants. Such games feature slight tweaks to the game rules, creating a different kind of playing experience. They can also have an impact on the RTP, with some variants offering more favorable odds for players. Below, you will find more details about some of the best blackjack variants that you can play online.
|Vegas Single Deck Blackjack||99.69%||Microgaming||1|
|Atlantic City Blackjack||99.65%||Microgaming||8|
|Vegas Downtown Blackjack||99.62%||Microgaming||2|
|Hi Lo 13||99.60%||Microgaming||2|
As you can see, blackjack games come from a variety of different software providers, who bring their own style of graphics, interface and side bet features. Most casino fans usually pick a provider they like and stick to their titles, but it is always a good idea to keep your options open and register at a site offering a rich variety.
Casino With the Best Blackjack Game Selection:
Blackjack Switch is one of the most innovative game variants. You play with two hands simultaneously and have the option to switch the top cards. This unique twist on the game rules gives the Blackjack Switch one of the highest RTPs you will find in a blackjack game.
Vegas Single Deck Blackjack
This classic blackjack game variant is played with a single deck, which reduces the house edge slightly, providing better odds for the player. The other rules that makes the game favorable for players is that the dealer must hit on a soft 17. The lack of side bets keeps the gameplay simple.
Blackjack Surrender is played with 6 decks and you can play up to 5 different hands per round. The key feature of this blackjack variant is the option to surrender. If you think your hand is too weak to beat the dealer, you can give up your hand and get half of your bet back.
This standard blackjack game variant uses 4 decks and can be played with up to 5 hands simultaneously. The dealer must stand on all 17s. You can split any pair, but re-splitting is not permitted. Insurance is available, but no side bets are featured in the game.
Vegas Strip Blackjack is a classic game with straightforward rules and a low house edge. The game is played with 4 decks and with a single hand. The dealer must stand on all 17s and players have the options to hit, stand, split, double down and take insurance. There are no side bets available.
Atlantic City Blackjack
This popular blackjack game variant is played with 8 decks and a single hand. Re-splitting is permitted up to 3 times and doubling down is also allowed on split hands. The game includes the option for late surrender, giving you the option to sacrifice just half your bet when you have a weak hand.
Pontoon is a variation of classic blackjack with some significant differences. Firstly, the dealer’s cards are dealt face down, with the dealer having the option to peek. The player can win with a Pontoon (ace and 10-value card), which pays 2:1. A 5-Card-Trick (any 5-card hand that does not exceed 21) beats any hand other than a Pontoon. The player cannot stand until they have a hand of at least 15.
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Downtown Blackjack is played with two 52-card decks. The player can bet on up to 5 hands per round. In a change from traditional rules, the dealer must hit on a soft 17. This is reflected in the high RTP. Hands can be split up to twice, and only one further card is drawn per hand on split aces. Doubling down is available, as is the insurance bet against the dealer having blackjack.
Hi Lo 13
This variant is played with 2 decks and follows classic European rules. The game features 3 side bets that offer a shot at extra payouts. You can bet that your initial hand will be higher or lower than 13, for an even payout, or that the hand will equal 13, with a payout of 10:1. The dealer must stand on all 17s and players can split only once.
Perfect Blackjack is played with 6 decks and with up to 5 hands per game round. The dealer must stand on all 17s. The game variant features the Perfect Pairs side bet. You can win a payout of between 6:1 and 25:1 depending on the type of pair in the player or dealer hand. You can split any pair although re-splits are not permitted.
How to Win at Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the few casino games where strategy can make a difference. With a little bit of knowledge, you can learn how to boost your chances of winning. Whilst the house will always have an advantage, there are well-known strategies that can help you to reduce this to an absolute minimum. And when you bear in mind that there are professional blackjack players, people who make a living playing the game, it is clear that there must be tricks and techniques that you can use to win in the long term. In the following sections, you will learn all the tips, strategies and systems that you can use to win at blackjack.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
When you play blackjack, you make a series of decisions regarding how to play your hand. Yet how do you know which is the best action to take? Blackjack basic strategy is a set of rules which tell you the best action to take based on your two-card hand and the dealer’s up card. Given the numerous possible hand combinations that you can be faced with, you can use a simple blackjack strategy chart to be sure you make the optimal move. A blackjack strategy chart is based on mathematical principles that maximize your chances of winning. Below, you can see a blackjack basic strategy chart. You will see that it contains every possible combination for a player’s starting hand and the dealer’s up card. Follow the chart and you can be certain that you take the best action to boost your chances of success – however, keep in mind that the different variations of blackjack rules can lead to some minor differences.
By playing using a basic strategy chart, you can secure the lowest house edge. It takes away any need to guess what decisions to make and ultimately provides you with the best move mathematically to play your hand. Yet there will still be a house edge when you follow the basic strategy. As such, if you want to maximize your chances of winning in the long-term, you need to combine it with other techniques.
Blackjack Card Counting
By combining basic blackjack strategy with card counting, you can reduce the house edge as low as possible. Card counting is a system that gives you an overview of the balance of high and low cards left in the shoe. When there are more high cards left, the situation is more favorable for the player. As such, you can adjust your bet size according to the ratio of high to low cards to optimize your chances of profits. Card counting does not require you to keep track of each and every card that is dealt. Instead, a positive, negative or neutral value is assigned to the cards, and you keep a running count as they are dealt. The most basic method of card counting is the hi-lo system. Yet there are other optimized systems which have been developed. You can see some of the best-known card counting systems below.
The basic principle of card counting is to keep a running count of cards as they are dealt. If the running count increases, the advantage shifts to the player. This is because the shoe will have a higher concentration of 10s or aces. This, in turn, means that more blackjacks will be dealt and that there will be more chance of the dealer busting. On the other hand, when the running count is negative, the casino’s advantage increases. This is because more low valued cards mean less chance of blackjacks being dealt and that it is less likely for the dealer to bust. When using card counting systems, players also need to calculate a true count, which adjusts the positive/negative running total according to the number of decks remaining.
Whilst card counting can boost a players’ chance of winning in the long run, it is worth keeping in mind that cards are shuffled after every round in most online blackjack variants. As such, card counting will not work in such games. However, you can apply the strategy when playing live blackjack. And, of course, you could try using card counting when playing in a brick and mortar casino. Contrary to popular belief, it is not forbidden to count cards in a casino. However, many casinos frown upon the practice, and will often ban players they suspect to be using such systems to try and gain an advantage over the house.
Blackjack Betting Systems
Blackjack betting systems are another strategy that can be used when playing the card game. Such systems relate to how you make your wagers, changing the bet amount under certain circumstances. There are two main types of systems, positive progressions and negative progressions. With positive progressions, you increase your bet amount after wins. Negative progressions, on the other hand, involve raising your bet to compensate for losses. There are many different betting systems based on these principles. Here you can find some of the most commonly used blackjack betting systems.
- Martingale: A popular and well-known betting strategy. The Martingale system works by doubling your bet following a loss. If you bet $10 and lose, your next bet would be $20. You continue to double your bet with each loss until you win a round, at which point you return to your original bet size. This system means that you recoup all losses and make a small profit when you win a game. This is, however, a risky strategy as bet sizes can quickly increase following a run of losses, and you may reach the maximum bet limit or exceed your bankroll before you are able to win back any losses.
- Fibonacci: This system is based on the Fibonacci Sequence, whereby the next number in the sequence is equal to the sum of the previous two numbers. The sequence is as follows; 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 and so on. To use the negative progression system to play blackjack, with each losing bet, you will increase your original bet multiplied by the next number in the sequence. When you win a bet, you would move down two numbers in the sequence.
- Oscar’s Grind: Also known as Hoyle’s Press, this betting system involves increasing bets by a factor of one for every win. This continues until any losses have been recuperated and you win a profit matching the base bet. You then start the cycle again, with the aim of winning one unit of profit per cycle.
Shuffle tracking is a technique used in conjunction with card counting to try and gain an advantage. It is an advanced technique that involves the player tracking certain cards or sequences of cards through a series of shuffles. To use shuffle tracking, the player keeps track of how cards are put into the discard tray and shuffled, to try and help predict which cards will be dealt in the next shuffle. By keeping tabs on certain clusters of high or low cards, the player can then adjust their bets when more advantageous cards are likely to be dealt.
It is a hard skill to master, yet it can squeeze the house edge even lower when done right. When playing blackjack online, cards are automatically shuffled, and it renders shuffle tracking ineffective. Although, in a similar way to card counting, you can put the technique into use when playing live blackjack. However, it requires vigorous training. If you want to learn how to play blackjack with shuffle tracking – just put the necessary time into training, and consider the free blackjack games available online to get a better grip of the speed involved.
Play Online Blackjack for Free
For all the different blackjack strategies and systems to help you win, the most important factor is to understand the rules of the game. There is a vast amount of game variants that you can play online, each with their own variations of the rules. As such, you should use blackjack demo games to your advantage. By playing free blackjack, you can familiarize yourself with the rules of the game, with absolutely no risk involved. You can also try out some of the strategies we have covered on this page to get to grips with how they work. In short, playing blackjack for free in demo mode ensures you have the best chances when you play with real money.
You will find that most blackjack games are available in play money mode. To get you started, you can try out the free game above and play for as long as you like without spending your own cash. Most online casinos offer blackjack online for free – in demo mode, of course. So, if you fancy trying your hand either at a classic blackjack game or if you want to try out an innovative variant, you will find plenty of options available to you at the best casino sites. You can try out different demo games to find the one that suits your preferences and style of play. Playing games in demo mode will prepare you fully to play confidently with real money.
There are some basic rules you can follow to ensure that you have the best chances of winning at blackjack. Unlike simple games of chance, you can use your skills to improve your odds. For your convenience, we have made a list of blackjack tips that can help you to up your game. You won’t become a pro, but you also won’t need a blackjack trainer just yet!
- Use a basic blackjack strategy chart;
- Play with a casino bonus with good terms and high blackjack contribution
- Employ a card counting strategy
- Don’t play side bets if they lower your odds too much
- Choose a game with high RTP
- Don’t use progressive strategy
- In live blackjack: learn to shuffle track
- In live blackjack: read dealer tells
The Best Blackjack Sites for 2020: Play for Real Money
If you want to play blackjack for real money online, you will no doubt want to know which is the best site to choose. When choosing where to play, there are several factors to take into consideration. For starters, you need to be certain that the operator is trustworthy and licensed, with high payouts and fair games. Also important is the game selection, with a solid choice of interesting blackjack variants available. The best sites will also boast generous bonuses with favorable conditions for playing blackjack. We have compared operator reputation, safety, game variety, payouts, and bonus offers to bring you the best blackjack sites.
|Blackjack Site||Welcome Bonus||Pros and Cons||Test Score||Trusted Link||Terms|
|Betway||£1500||Great Platform, Established Reputation, Low Blackjack Contribution||4.9/5||www.betway.com||Full T&Cs apply. New customers only. Opt-in required. 100% Match Bonus up to £250 on 1st deposit of £20+. 50x bonus wagering applies as do weighting requirements. Credit Card, Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Irregular gameplay may invalidate your bonus.|
|Mansion||£500||Playtech Software, PayPal Deposits, Few Mobile Live Games||4.8/5||www.mansioncasino.com||Full T&Cs apply. New customers only. Min deposit £20 max bonus amount £500. First deposit: 100% up to £200. Second deposit: 50% up to £300. Wagering 40x for each bonus. Game weighting applies. Cashback: 5% cashback on first and all other deposits during week 1, 10% cashback on all additional deposits taking place in week 2 only. Bonus betting limits: slots - £5 all other games - 10% of bonus amount.|
|Grosvenor||£20||Small Wagering, Top UK Brand, Small Game Selection||4.8/5||www.grosvenorcasinos.com||Full T&Cs apply. First deposit only. Min £20 deposit. 5X wagering. See the operator's promotions page for full details. Always gamble responsibly.|
How to Find the Best Blackjack Bonus
Playing blackjack with bonuses is at the heart of advantage play. Casino bonuses boost your bankroll, giving you more playing time and as such, more chances to win. Blackjack bonuses come in all shapes and sizes, and the amount of the bonus is not the only thing to consider when identifying the best deals. Just as important is finding a bonus with favorable conditions for the game. All bonuses come with a wagering requirement, which indicates how many times you need to turn over the bonus before you can withdraw any winnings you make with it. The lower the wagering requirement, the better the offer.
|Casino||Bonus||Wagering Requirement||Blackjack Contribution||Min Deposit||Validity||T&C|
|Mansion Casino||£500||40x bonus||20%||£20||30 days||Full T&Cs apply. New customers only. Min deposit £20 max bonus amount £500. First deposit: 100% up to £200. Second deposit: 50% up to £300. Wagering 40x for each bonus. Game weighting applies. Cashback: 5% cashback on first and all other deposits during week 1, 10% cashback on all additional deposits taking place in week 2 only. Bonus betting limits: slots - £5 all other games - 10% of bonus amount.|
|888Casino||£1000||30x bonus||10%||£10||90 days||Full T&Cs apply. No Deposit Offer: New players only. £88 is granted in FreePlay (FP). FP must be claimed within 48 hrs of receiving the email and expires after 14 days. FP wins are credited as bonus and capped at £15, exc. JP win. Deposit Bonus Offer: £20 min deposit. 100% up to £100 Bonus. Bonus wins are capped at £500. To withdraw bonus & related wins, wager 30x (bonus amount) within 90 days. Restrictions apply to deposit until wagering requirement fulfilled.|
|Grosvenor||£20||5x bonus||100%||£20||30 days||Full T&Cs apply. First deposit only. Min £20 deposit. 5X wagering. See the operator's promotions page for full details. Always gamble responsibly.|
|William Hill||£300||40x bonus||20%||£10||7 days||Full T&Cs apply. Opt in required. Available 1x per customer. First deposit only. Minimum £10 deposit. Maximum £300 bonus. 40x wagering. Bonus expires 7 days from issue. New customers to casino page only.|
|Betway||£1500||50x bonus||8%||£20||7 days||Full T&Cs apply. New customers only. Opt-in required. 100% Match Bonus up to £250 on 1st deposit of £20+. 50x bonus wagering applies as do weighting requirements. Credit Card, Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Irregular gameplay may invalidate your bonus.|
You also need to take into consideration the blackjack wagering contribution. As the game has such a low house edge, casino operators compensate for this by only counting a certain percentage of any wagers made on the game towards clearing the wagering requirements. The higher the blackjack weighting, the better the deal.
Playing blackjack on mobile phones and tablets has never been more popular. It is a super convenient way to play. You do not have to tie yourself to a desktop pc to play, you can simply grab your mobile and indulge in real money game play anytime and anywhere you fancy. The best casino apps feature a rich selection of popular blackjack games, which have been optimized for mobile play. You will find that such apps are compatible with most iOS and Android devices, making them widely accessible to many players. You can even play directly in your mobile browser, without the need to download a native app.
Best Mobile App
When you play blackjack on the go, you will notice that there are subtle differences in the display and the gameplay. Given the smaller screen display of mobile devices, particularly phones, the layout is adapted and simplified to avoid cluttering. As such, you will find only the essential gaming functions displayed on the main screen. Playing on the go also means that the gameplay has been adapted for touchscreen operation. This can actually make playing blackjack on mobile more engaging and immersive.
Game & Software Developers
The quality of the blackjack selection at a online gambling site is greatly influenced by the software developers that provide their games. The biggest software and game developers in the online casino industry boast some of the standout titles. Playtech feature a rich variety of blackjack game variants, with many innovative titles such as Blackjack Switch and Blackjack Surrender, as well as classic versions. Microgaming likewise have a rich portfolio of game variants, including Atlantic City Blackjack and Super Fun 21. Felt Gaming provide a wide range of authentically styled games, each featuring its own side bet. You will find variants including Buster Blackjack, Lucky Ladies Blackjack and Suit’em Up Blackjack featured in their game portfolio. Below, you can see at a glance the casino software developers that offer the best blackjack games and variations.
- Play’n GO
Live Dealer Blackjack Online
Whilst some people love the convenience of playing blackjack online, there are others that miss the real casino atmosphere of playing in a brick and mortar casino. Yet live blackjack bridges the gap between the two. You can play with real dealers and chat with other players, with games streamed from specialized live studios. You will find mostly traditional blackjack variants featured at live casinos. Yet there are a variety of side bets and bet behind options available if you want to add an extra element of fun to your live gaming experience. Playing live blackjack also offers the opportunity to try out advanced strategies, including card counting and shuffle tracking.
Blackjack Trivia: Beyond Online Casinos
So far, we have concentrated on all things related to playing online blackjack. Yet there is much more to blackjack than merely playing the game on the internet. In the following sections, you will find a diverse overview of the game of 21. We will delve into the game’s history and fill you in on everything you need to know about playing the game in the best land-based casinos. We have also listed movies and books inspired by blackjack. Read on for an interesting insight into blackjack trivia.
History of Blackjack
The game of blackjack is steeped in history. However, its origins are not clear-cut. In fact, it seems that blackjack has evolved from other card games over the years to become the what we know today. The commonly accepted theory is that it is derived from the French game of Vingt-et-Un (21), which was popular during the reign of King Louis XV and was regularly played at the Royal Court. Yet there are other games that can be seen as precursors to Vingt-et-Un, including the Italian Sette e Mezzo (seven and a half) and the Spanish game Trente-un (31), which had similar objectives.
French colonists later took the game to America, where it became known as 21. Since then, the game’s popularity boomed. Mathematicians and statisticians produced strategies for optimum play and card counting were introduced in the 1950s. This, in turn, increased the popularity of the game as players flocked to casinos to put the theories into practice to try and beat the house. The popularity of blackjack continues to thrive to this day, as the internet makes the game accessible to many more players worldwide. In the following timeline, you can get a glimpse of the rich history of blackjack.
|1723 – 1774||The French card game called Vingt-et-Un (21) is played in the Royal court during the reign of Louis XV. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer without exceeding 21. This is considered by many as the most likely origin of the modern game of blackjack.|
|18th Century||Vingt-et-Un is brought to America with French colonists, and its name changes to 21. Changes to the basic rules see the dealer start to follow mandatory blackjack rules rather than making his own decisions on how to play blackjack.|
|1820||Legalized and house-banked games began to appear in New Orleans. 21 begins to gain increased popularity across the whole of Northern America.|
|1931||Casinos are legalized in Las Vegas and 21 becomes a hit house-banked game. Game standards and controls are introduced by the Nevada Gaming Commission to ensure set blackjack rules are applied to the game.|
|1931||To make 21 more appealing to players, some casinos introduce bonus payouts of 10:1 for getting 21 with an ace of spades and a black jack (spades or clubs). This leads to the game being known as blackjack rather than 21. The 10:1 payout is soon removed, but the name remains.|
|1950s||Advantage players began to use card counting to try and gain an advantage over the house. Jess Marcum is one of the first known players to develop a basic strategy and card counting techniques. His tactics are recognized by casino management and he is banned from numerous casinos.|
|1957||Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel and McDermott release the book Playing Blackjack to Win which references basic strategy and keeping track of cards for optimal gameplay.|
|1962||American mathematician Edward O. Thorp releases his book, Beat the Dealer, which details betting and playing strategies showing how to win at blackjack. His book marks the birth of card counting. Blackjack gains huge popularity as players flock to Las Vegas casinos to try out Thorp’s strategies. Casinos start to add extra decks of cards to try to reduce the effectiveness of card counting.|
|1966||The second edition of O. Thorp’s book is released, including the hi-lo counting system that was introduced by computer scientist Dubner and optimized by Julian. The system allows for card counting with any number of decks in play.|
|1971||Card counter Al Francesco uses team play with his brother to signal when it is advantageous to place big bets, whilst avoiding the attention of pit bosses for card counting. Francesco becomes the first big player in blackjack and begins to train other players, including Ken Uston, to use team play tactics.|
|1977||Ken Uston publishes the book The Big Player detailing the playing style, which goes on to influence others to use the team play style.|
|1979||The MIT blackjack team is formed in 1979 and uses team play card counting techniques to beat the house. The MIT team trained new members and played at casinos worldwide until the beginning of the 21st century.|
|1982||Ken Uston wins a lawsuit against Atlantic City casinos, which prevents them from banning card counters.|
|1996||The first online casino is launched in 1996 enabling players to play blackjack on the internet.|
|1996 – present day||The online casino industry booms. The convenience of playing on the internet gives blackjack a surge in popularity. Innovative game variants such as Blackjack Switch and 21 Duel are developed. Advancements in technology also see the introduction of live blackjack, which can be played in real-time with a real dealer.|
Blackjack at Land-Based Casinos
If you visit any big casino, you will find that they offer multiple blackjack tables. There are different table limits, ensuring that all types of players are catered for, from beginners and casual players to experienced high rollers. Playing blackjack at a real casino has its perks. The atmosphere of a land-based casino is buzzing with excitement. It makes for a truly engaging and fun playing experience. You can encourage others as they play and enjoy the praise and congratulations that will come your way if you have a winning streak. If you fancy the idea of taking a trip to a real casino to play a few games, you should keep in mind that there are certain differences to playing online. Be sure to brush up on table etiquette and the signals and actions you can use to play your hand before you venture to the casino. This is one of the subtle things that the free blackjack games you will find online fail to capture.
Best Real-Life Blackjack Casinos in the World
If you stop to think about the best land-based casinos that can be found around the world, Las Vegas no doubt springs to mind. Sin City is jam-packed full of prestigious casinos where you can play the game of 21 in the most impressive of surroundings. Yet aside from Vegas, there are top casinos that feature blackjack to be found all over the world. We have done the research to find the best real casinos for playing blackjack. To pick the crème de la crème, we have taken into account the number of tables and their betting limits, as well as the location of the casino. Whether you want to play in the USA, Europe or Asia, we have got you covered. Check out details of the top blackjack casinos in the table below.
|Real Casino||Location||Blackjack Tables||Table Limits||Official Website|
|Ceasar’s Palace||3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA||50||$5 – $10,000||www.caesars.com|
|Excalibur Casino||3850 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA||32||$10 – $3000||www.excalibur.mgmresorts.com|
|The Venetian Macau||s/n Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca, Macau||59||HK$50 – HK$10,000||www.sandscasino.com|
|Hippodrome Casino||Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH London, United Kingdom||15||£5 – £10,000||www.hippodromecasino.com|
|Casino Baden-Baden||Kaiserallee 1, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany||10||5€ – 1000€||www.casino-baden-baden.de|
There are certain rules of etiquette that blackjack players adhere to at real casinos. As such, it is a good idea to brush up on the basics to avoid any embarrassment at the table. For starters, it is customary to ask whether you can join the game if there are already other players at the table. Whilst there is little doubt that you will be invited to join, it is still polite to ask. As for changing your money into chips, you can buy chips from the casino cashier or directly from the dealer. If you buy them from the dealer, be sure to wait until the end of the current round, then place your money on the table, rather than into the dealer’s hands. Make sure you do not place the cash on the betting circle either to avoid any confusion. You can play blackjack only if you are seated at the table. When you are ready to play, place your chips on the betting circle in front on you. Once cards have been dealt, do not move or touch the chips that you have bet. And a final note on etiquette, it is a common custom to tip the dealer at the end of your game, regardless of whether you win or lose.
Signals When Playing at Real-Life Casino
When it is your turn to play your hand, you can use hand signals to state your decision as well as, or instead of actually saying the words. It can be noisy in real casinos, so using hand signals is a good way to emphasize your decision. It also has the benefit of being seen by the casino security cameras. So, if there is ever any dispute or mistake made by the dealer, your actions will be clear to see on a video replay. There are four basic blackjack hand signals that you can use when play in a real casino.
- Hit: Tap table once or twice with finger or point at your cards
- Stand: Wave your hand from left to right over your cards without moving your arm
- Double Down: Place an extra wager next to your original bet then hold up one finger
- Split: Add a second bet outside the betting circle beside the first wager, then hold up two fingers.
Real Casino Tips
There are a few blackjack tips that can help you up your game when playing in a real casino. Unlike online blackjack, the cards are not shuffled after every round. As such, this gives you the opportunity to use card counting to your advantage. You should keep in mind, however, that although not strictly forbidden, card counting is frowned upon by casinos. As such, if you plan to use the system to your advantage, be sure to do it as discretely as possible. Another useful tip that could help you gain an advantage is to look for dealer tells when they peak at the hole card. You may pick up on subtle gestures as to what the hole card is, which you can then exploit for your benefit.
Where Is Blackjack Legal?
When it comes to the legality of playing casino games, it varies according to different jurisdictions. Some countries, such as the UK have a fully licensed and regulated gambling industry, where it is legal to play blackjack both in land-based and internet casinos. Whereas other countries place restrictions on some forms of gambling. Always check the legal situation of playing blackjack where you are based to be sure the game is permitted where you are. In the table below, you can see an overview of where it is legal to play blackjack in different countries around the world.
|Country||Real Casino Blackjack||Online Blackjack|
Blackjack is one of the most popular games in the world. So, naturally, there are many references to the game in popular culture, especially when it comes to movies. There are countless films which are based on blackjack, with both fictional and real-life stories providing the storyline. Take for instance 21, which is based on the infamous MIT blackjack team. There are also plenty of films which feature some unforgettable scenes. A great example here is Rain Man, when Dustin Hoffman’s autistic character Raymond counts cards, enabling the brother duo to clean up at the casino. Below, you can see at a glance some of the best blackjack movies.
|Movie Title||Year Released||IMDB Score||Metacritic Score||Amazon Link|
|Stacy’s Knights||1983||4.7/10||–||Watch Here|
|Rain Man||1988||8.0/10||65||Watch Here|
|The Cooler||2003||7.0/10||69||Watch Here|
|Breaking Vegas||2004||7.2/10||–||Watch Here|
If you are wondering if watching movies will improve your game, then it depends on the type of film you watch. Some films are made purely for entertainment, and whilst they feature the game, they provide little to help you improve your chances of winning. Yet there are also plenty of blackjack films that provide an insight into card counting and other such strategies that can help build your understanding of how to play blackjack with an advantage.
As with movies, you will find many blackjack books available. Yet whilst there are fictional stories that incorporate blackjack within the storyline, the bulk of blackjack books are fact-based, focusing on mathematical strategies, systems, and theory. There are books that cater to players of every skill level, from beginners to the most experienced professionals. There are hundreds of blackjack books and we have selected some of the most popular titles for your perusal in the table below.
|Book Title||Author||Year Published||Amazon Score||Amazon Link|
|Beat the Dealer||Edward O. Thorpe||1966||4.3/5||Read Here|
|Bringing Down the House||Ben Mezrich||2003||4.3/5||Read Here|
|Blackjack Bluebook II||Fred Renzey||2017||4.5/5||Read Here|
|Professional Blackjack||Stanford Wong||1994||4.2/5||Read Here|
|The Theory of Blackjack||Peter A. Griffin||1999||4.0/5||Read Here|
Blackjack is a game that combines skill with luck. It is based on mathematical probabilities and as such, the more you understand about strategy for optimum play, the better your chances of profits in the long run. Reading blackjack books can improve your game significantly, as they delve into the theories and principles that players can use to up their game. With detailed guides to card counting and other blackjack tips, blackjack books are a valuable resource for those players who want to take their gameplay to the next level.
Blackjack is one of the most popular games in the world and for good reason. It offers a good balance of luck and strategy, giving you the possibility to win real money. The house edge in blackjack is one of the lowest of all casino games, making it an appealing option for players. Plus, there are various systems and strategies that you can use to reduce the house edge to an absolute minimum to further boost your chances of profits. If you want to play blackjack online, then be sure to check out our top recommended blackjack site:
Frequently Asked Questions About Blackjack
This detailed blackjack guide covers everything you need to know about the game, how to play and how to win. Yet, for your convenience, we will now answer again the most popular questions about the game. From rules to strategies and everything in between, check out our answers to the most frequently asked questions about the game of 21.
What are the basic rules of blackjack?
The basic blackjack rules are to get a hand closer to 21 than the dealer without busting. At the start of the game, the player places a bet and is then dealt 2 cards face up, whilst the dealer is dealt 2 cards, one face up and one down. The player then makes decisions on how to play their hand and play then passes back to the dealer. Once the round is completed, the player's hand is compared to the dealer's and any payouts are made accordingly.
Can you look at both cards in blackjack?
At the start of a blackjack game, the player is dealt 2 cards, which are normally dealt face up. The dealer gets one card face up and one card face down (the hole card). If the dealer's up card is an ace, he will peek at the hole card to check for blackjack.
Is it legal to play blackjack online?
The legality of playing blackjack online varies according to different jurisdictions. For instance, the UK and Ireland have a fully licensed and regulated online casino market, making it legal to play blackjack at British and Irish gambling sites. Whereas in the USA for instance, the laws vary across each state.
How is blackjack played?
Blackjack is played at a table with a dealer position and up to 7 player positions. Players place a wager in the betting spot and cards are then dealt to players and the dealer. Each player takes their turn, after which the dealer plays their hand. Any payouts are made, then the next game round commences.
Can you win at blackjack?
Can you count cards in online blackjack?
Counting cards in online blackjack is not always possible as casino sites use continuous shuffle machines, with decks shuffled after every round. The exception to the rule however is live blackjack. As the decks are not shuffled after every game, you can count cards when you play blackjack with a real dealer.
Can you play blackjack online for money?
There are hundreds of casino sites where you can play blackjack online for money. On this page, you can see a list of the top online blackjack casino sites where you can bet and win real money in a safe and secure setting.
What are the odds of winning at blackjack?
Can you make money playing online blackjack?
If you understand the game rules and follow the correct strategy for your game variant, you can win money playing blackjack online. Provided you play at a safe and reputable casino site, you can be sure you will get your hands on any money you make playing blackjack.
Can you make a blackjack with any card?
A blackjack is an ace with any 10-valued card, namely 10, J, Q or K. As such, you can only make a blackjack when you have an ace and a 10 or face card dealt as your first two cards. If you split aces and are dealt a 10-value card, this counts as 21 and not as a natural blackjack.
What is a soft 17?
A soft 17 is a blackjack hand containing an ace valued as 11. As an ace can count as 1 or 11, you can hit a soft 17 and the hand will not bust, as the value of the ace will become 1, making the total below 21. A hard 17 on the other hand does not contain an ace.
What is the best online blackjack site?
The best online blackjack site is safe and secure and boasts a solid selection of blackjack game variants. The best blackjack site also features bonuses for the card game, as well as fast, hassle-free payouts. You can discover the best online blackjack site here.
When should you hit or stay in Blackjack?
You should use a basic blackjack strategy chart to know when to hit or stand. Some of the basic rules are as follows; always hit a hard 11 or less, always stand on hard 17 or more and always hit soft 17 or less.
How do you play blackjack card game?
To play blackjack card games, you need to understand the basic rules. The object of the game is to beat the dealer's hand by getting closer to 21 without exceeding that value. You start by placing a bet, then you will be dealt 2 cards. You then make decisions on what actions to take and then it is the dealer's turn to play their hand.
How is blackjack played at a casino?
Blackjack is played against the dealer at a casino. The player first places a bet on the table and then two cards are dealt to the player with two cards dealt to the dealer. The player makes decisions on how to play their hand, such as whether to hit or stand. Once the player's turn is over, the dealer plays their hand according to set rules. Hands are then compared, and payouts made where appropriate.
What is the house advantage in blackjack?
The house advantage for blackjack can be 1% or lower played using basic blackjack strategy. The house always has a slight edge, given that the dealer has one card dealt face down, so the player must make assumptions on whether his hand will be the dealer's. Playing blackjack online for fun is a good way to study the odds.
What casino game has the best odds?
Can a blackjack dealer hit after 17?
According to standard blackjack game rules, the dealer must hit until the cards total 17 or more, at which point they will stand. At many tables, the dealer must also hit on a soft 17, that is, a hand totaling 17 that includes an ace.
How many times do you bet in blackjack?
To play blackjack, you place a starting bet, after which you receive two cards. Depending on the hand you are dealt, you may have the opportunity to place further bets. For instance, if you have a pair, you can split these into two separate hands by placing an additional bet, equal to the original wager. Doubling down also involves placing an additional bet after which you are dealt just one more card. If the dealer's up card is an ace, you will also be given the option to place an insurance bet.
Do dealers have to hit on 16?
In most blackjack game variants, the dealer must hit on 16. The difference in dealer rules usually comes when the dealer has 17. In some variants, the dealer must stand on a soft 17, whereas in others, the dealer must hit on a soft 17.
When should you double down in blackjack?
You can double down in blackjack after your first 2 cards have been dealt. It is most statistically advantageous to double down if your hand totals 10 or 11. If you have a soft 16, 17 or 18 and the dealer has a low card (2 – 6), it is also advantageous to double down in this situation.
Do you hit on a 12 in blackjack?
The decision on whether to hit on a 12 in blackjack depends on the dealer's up card. Generally speaking, if the dealer has a weak up card (2-6), you should not risk busting by hitting. However, if the dealer's up card is a 3, it is less weak, so you are more likely to win the hand if you hit rather than stand.
Do you hit or stay on 16?
According to basic blackjack strategy, if you have a soft 16 (i.e. without an ace), you should hit. If you have a hard 16 on the other hand (i.e. without an ace), you should only hit if the dealer's up card is high (i.e. 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K or A) and stand if they have a low up card (i.e. 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6).
What happens if you get 2 aces in blackjack?
A pair of aces will either value 2 or 12, which gives you a problematic starting hand. As such, the optimum move for the player is to always split a pair of aces into two separate hands, which gives you two chances to hit 21.