Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games out there. It has a long history and it has earned the love of players all around the globe. Nowadays it has a place at every land-based and online casino, bringing fun and excitement to everyone who places a wager.

Due to the popularity of the game, we would like to provide you with a fair bit of information before you head out to place a few bets. In this article, we will cover all important information which you should take into account, such as the rules of blackjack, software providers, basic strategy, and frequently asked questions.

History of Blackjack

history iconBlackjack is based on a game called Twenty-One, whose origin has not been made known so far. The game quickly spread throughout Europe during the Renaissance period and it has remained popular ever since then. Over time the game evolved to what we now know as blackjack. Eventually, the game made its way to the United States where it quickly rose to prominence and became one of the most important game genres in the casino scene.

Originally, the American version of blackjack included all manner of side bets, which have gradually disappeared over time and are now featured only in certain blackjack games. The name blackjack possibly comes from a hand which included an Ace of Spades and a Jack of Spades or Clubs (a black Jack), which also offered a 10:1 payout. Nowadays, blackjack has settled into a uniform type game, where you can easily learn to rules of the different variations and can basically jump in any game and start playing.

Blackjack Explained

rules iconBlackjack is quite a simple game to understand and even more so to play. The main goal of any blackjack game is to have a better hand than the dealer without going over 21 points. Depending on the variation in question, blackjack is played with anywhere between one and eight 52-card decks. All cards between 2 and 10 feature their face value, whereas the Jack, Queen and King count for 10. In the case of the Ace, it can be either 1 or 11. The Ace’s value changes based on the current value of the hand. If it would exceed 21 points, an Ace card will count as 1 and in all other cases, it will be 11.

blackjack layout

To play the game you would naturally have to place a bet. The size of it is dictated by the table’s minimum and maximum limits. Once you win a hand, you will receive a 1:1 payout or, in other words, even money. However, if you hit a blackjack, a hand consisting of an Ace and a 10-value card, the game will offer you a larger payout. Depending on the game, that would be either 3:2 or 6:5. As a rule, we recommend that you only play on 3:2 tables. Every now and then you will have a hand equal in value to that of the dealer. This is referred to as a Push and your money will be returned to you.

Once you get to playing the game, you will receive two cards from the dealer. From this point on, there are several choices which you can make. Standing or hitting are the most likely of the two. Hitting means that you are signaling the dealer to give you one more card, whereas standing indicates that you are fine with the state of your hand and would like no more cards. There are a few others decisions which you make, but we will go over them in the next point.

Common Features

Each blackjack game comes with its own unique set of rules and payouts. While each game will feature a different combination of rules, most of them are pretty much the same and only appear in certain games.

Insurance

Insurance is available at nearly all blackjack games, regardless of the type. This is a side bet offered whenever the dealer draws an Ace. It is a form of safety that the casino offers you in case the dealer hits a blackjack and causes you to instantly lose your bet. The Insurance bet is worth half of your original wager. In the event that the Insurance bet wins and the dealer does hit a blackjack, the side bet will pay 2:1, thus allowing you to recoup your loss and keeping your balance at its original state.

blackjack insurance

While this might sound like a good deal at first, statistically, Insurance is not a good bet to take. Judging by the numbers, it is more likely that the dealer will draw a non-10-value card, thus making the side bet pointless. Moreover, since you make no profit from this bet it is in effect pointless and in the long run, it may prove to be a waste of money. Therefore, we recommend that you do not take this bet in the vast majority of cases.

Splitting

Splitting is another common feature of blackjack and you will be able to use it whenever you are dealt a hand of two identical cards. When this happens, you will have the option of splitting them into two separate hands. Each card will serve as the base card of one hand and you will be dealt one more card to each new hand. Additionally, you will have to place an additional bet for each new hand. From this point on, each hand will be independent of the other and the end result will be unique.

blackjack split

If one of your new hands is made up of two identical cards again, the game may allow you to split them again, though this is on a case by case basis. Some games may prohibit you from hitting on a new hand if the new card is an Ace, though this too also varies. You should read about the rules of each game regarding splitting and more before you put down any money on it.

Double Down

Doubling down is one of the most important features of any blackjack game to learn if you wish to succeed and turn a profit. When you are dealt your original hand, you will have the opportunity to double your bet. If you take this option, the dealer will provide you with one more card and that will be your final hand. The end result will determine whether or not you win.

blackjack double down

Taking the double down option entails high risk and high reward, as you could potentially double your winnings or your losses. It is only recommended that you double down on a hand that is likely to bring you closest to 21 without going over. For example, you should double down of a 10 or 11, rather than on 15 or 16.

Surrender

Surrender is not as common as the other options listed above but it is still featured in a good number of blackjack games and thus, it is worthy of being discussed. Surrender is an option which you can take whenever you feel that your hand is not good enough to beat that of the dealer. When you choose to surrender, you forfeit half of the bet value and you get back the other half.

blackjack surrender

Variations

Blackjack has gone a long way since its inception and many different sub-genres have emerged over the years, making blackjack one of the most diverse casino game type out there. Each game variation comes with its unique set of rules, allowing you to experience the game in a different way each time. Below, we will cover some of the most popular blackjack variations that you can find on the Internet.

European Blackjack

european blackjack screenshotEuropean Blackjack holds to the most traditional rules and it is as close to the original game as possible. It is said that most blackjack variations are developed from European Blackjack, making this game the groundwork for most blackjack sub-genres. European Blackjack is usually played with two 52-card decks and a blackjack hand pays 3:2.

The dealer typically does not have a hole card, meaning that they cannot peek for blackjack and they have to stand on a soft 17. Moreover, the option of Surrender is usually not available, but Insurance is. Splitting can be done only once and to double down after a split is not allowed.

Atlantic City Blackjack

atlantic city blackjackAtlantic City Blackjack originates from the establishments in Atlantic City. Unlike most other blackjack sub-genres, this one is regulated by the Atlantic City gambling authorities which enforce particular rules on the game which casinos have to follow. Therefore, it is relatively easy to spot if a game claiming to be Atlantic City Blackjack has the same rule set.

Atlantic City Blackjack is played with eight standard 52-card decks and a blackjack pays 3:2. Furthermore, the dealer has to stand on a soft 17 and they are dealt a hole card, meaning that they can peek for blackjack. Splitting is allowed up to 3 times in a single game, while Surrender is an option if you believe your hand is not up to par. Doubling Down can be done on any two cards even after splitting. Overall, Atlantic City Blackjack is very favorable to players which also directly contributes to its popularity.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

vegas strip blackjackVegas Strip Blackjack is not too much different from the Atlantic City version, but it is still worth talking about. This version of the game is offered at land-based establishments located on the Vegas Strip in Las Vegas.

Vegas Strip Blackjack is fairly liberal and you will be able to take full advantage of that. Some of the rules dictate that the dealer has to stand on a soft 17 and blackjack pays 3:2. Moreover, you can double down on any hand and you can also do that after splitting a hand. Insurance is offered, but Surrender is not allowed.

Software Providers

Provider
Rating
Casinos
531
583
123
86

The games that you find at online casinos are not created by the websites themselves, rather by companies that specialize in the development of online casino software. These companies are known as software providers and they play a significant role in the online gambling industry. Over the years, many different companies have risen in popularity and their games are enjoyed by millions of players around the globe.

Typically, an online casino will be powered by one or several software providers. As a general rule, the more software providers that work with a casino, the more diversity in games can you expect to find. Below, we will list some of the major software development companies in the online casino industry that have proven their merit and value to the market.

Playtech

Playtech is arguably the company with the largest selection of games in the whole industry. This software provider traces its origins back to 1999 in Estonia, when it first opened for business. Since then, this company has created hundreds if not thousands of top-quality online casino games and it is the primary provider for many gambling websites around the world. Playing at a Playtech-powered online casino is one of the best decisions that you can make.

Microgaming

While Playtech is one of the largest software providers, Microgaming is a close second. This company is one of the first to get into the business of creating online casino games, going back as far as 1994 when the online gambling industry was still young. Microgaming has created games in every genre imaginable and it is still going strong today. Its games are audited constantly, which serves as proof that they can be trusted.

NetEnt

NetEnt has had a long and successful history where development of online casino software is concerned. This company was established in 1996 and it has not stopped providing us with top-quality games ever since. NetEnt’s games are characterized by the high graphical fidelity and their inherent entertainment value. The company’s growth over the years has only had a positive effect and their games have never been better.

Play’n GO

Play’n Go may not be as large nor as popular as Microgaming or Playtech, but the company certainly knows how to make great casino games. The gaming selection of Play’n GO is relatively small when compared to those of other companies, but what they lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality. Play’n GO is responsible for some of the greatest hits in the online gambling industry and their games are now hosted at a wide array of online casinos.

Betsoft

Betsoft is a company that does not receive the credit that it deserves. Founded back in 2006, this software provider has created numerous top-quality casino games, ranging from slots to table games and more. The company’s work features excellent 3D graphics and some of the most fun and engaging gameplay that you can find on the Internet. Nowadays, Betsoft has a presence in some of the most high-profile gambling websites available and you can enjoy their games for hours on end.

Basic Strategy

Players’ Hand Dealer’s Up Card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
8 H H H D D H H H H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
10 D D D D D D H H H H
11 D D D D D D D H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
16 S S S S S H H H H H
Ace-2 H H H D D H H H H H
Ace-3 H H D D D H H H H H
Ace-4 H H D D D H H H H H
Ace-5 H H D D D H H H H H
Ace-6 H D D D D H H H H H
Ace-7 S D D D D S S H H H
Ace-8 S S S S S S S S S S
Ace-9 S S S S S S S S S S
Ace-Ace SP SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H
2-2 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
3-3 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
4-4 H H H SP SP H H H H H
5-5 D D D D D D H H H H
6-6 SP SP SP SP SP H H H H H
7-7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
8-8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
9-9 SP SP SP SP SP S SP SP S S

Basic strategy in blackjack refers to a simplified method of knowing whether to hit, stand or double on every hand imaginable. The strategy is formed by taking each hand combination and calculating the probabilities of winning or busting. Of course, this takes into account the payouts, the number of decks used and the probabilities of each card appearing.

Basic strategy is meant to be utilized in the long term and it will not bring you guaranteed success only after playing a few hands. Each game comes with its own unique basic strategies since every blackjack variation uses its own set of rules. Basic strategy can be the perfect way to enter the blackjack scene even if you know next to nothing about the game.

*SP=Split; H=Hit; S=Stand; D=Double Down

Best Blackjack Deposit Methods

Naturally, when you play at an online casino you will need to have prepared an online payment service to utilize. Since you cannot deposit in physical cash, you will have to make due with one of the several supported payment methods. Luckily, online casinos try to include as many payment services as possible. Below, you will find the most common payment methods available at gambling websites.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are the most commonly available payment service, not only at online casinos but on the Internet in general. They are convenient to use and easy to acquire. Anyone with a bank account will be able to receive one. The best thing about credit cards is that any transaction will clear immediately, giving you instant access to your money. With a credit card, you will not have to wait for long processing times or for a human to approve the transaction.

Additionally, you will also be able to withdraw your winnings under most circumstances, unless you are using a MasterCard, in which case you will need to resort to a different transaction method, such as a bank transfer. The most commonly support credit card brands are Visa and MasterCard, but some websites also accept Diners Club and Discover.

eWallets

Electronic wallets have long been a favorite transaction method for members of the online gambling community. Most online casinos support at least a couple of them at any given time and you can use such a service to fund your casino balance and claim your winnings after you are done.

Deposits made via an eWallet will be processed in a matter of seconds, while withdrawals will only take about an hour after the casino has approved them. The most common eWallets out there are Skrill, Neteller, ecoPayz and a few others.

Prepaid Services

Prepaid services are a great means of depositing to your online casino balance if you have no other payment method at your disposal. Payments made via one of these services will be processed instantly and you will be able to immediately start wagering your money after you confirm the transaction.

Unfortunately, withdrawals are not possible due to the simple nature of prepaid services. A common prepaid card is Paysafecard and you will be able to easily acquire one at a wide variety of retail locations.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are becoming ever more popular with the general user base and now players can use them to fund their online casino balance. A cryptocurrency is a type of money that only exists on the Internet. It has no real-world form and can only be used online.

As of late, more and more online casinos have started to accept deposits via this payment service. Deposits usually take no more than a couple of minutes, while withdrawals are also as quick once the casino approves them. Something you should note is that some online casinos may not pay out your winnings in the form of a cryptocurrency, rather than in fiat currency.

FAQ

This would entirely depend on your online casino and whether or not it supports mobile play. Generally, most software providers in the industry support mobile devices for their slots and table games, which also includes blackjack. In short, you will be able to play the game on your smartphone or tablet in the vast majority of circumstances.

Blackjack is one of the most favorable games in terms of odds that you can play online and at land-based casinos. The house edge of most blackjack games is typically lower than most other casino genres and it is only rivaled by video poker. In this sense, blackjack is as fair as they come and fairer than most.

What you should absolutely know about blackjack and any casino game in general, is how to control your bankroll. Financial management may not seem as glamorous as winning huge sums of money, but the two go hand in hand. After all, you would not want to run out of cash before you even had the chance to start really playing.

Typically, this would depend on the software providers that power the online casino, but most companies offer a Practice Play mode of all their games so that users may try out the game and see if they like before they put down real money on it. This will allow you to find the perfect blackjack game for you without feeling pressured to wager money on a title that you are not sure about.