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Online Blackjack – Game Overview & Best Sites to Play

While most casino games are all about pure luck and devising a strategy for them is next to impossible, there is one game that is the exact opposite. The game in question is none other but blackjack – one of the most popular casino games and one of the few which allow you to create a winning strategy and actually beat the dealer. Blackjack is the game of choice for many successful gamblers and quite a lot of people have managed to win a lot by playing it, utilising their skills and a bit of luck. Before we go into detail, here are the best casinos for blackjack.Read More

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When it comes to online blackjack and wagering real money, every player should carefully assess the situation. What casino are you playing at? What are the exact rules of the game? Is it fair? This article aims to be a thorough guide to online blackjack. That’s why we will go over the game rules and variations, the side bets, the special options, and the best blackjack game developers. If any of these topics interests you more than the others, feel free to jump right to it using the navigation.

Game Overview – The Rules of Blackjack

The game initially known as ‘twenty-one’ is of unknown origin. The earliest recorded evidence shows that the game was being played in France and Spain as early as the 17th century. When it arrived at the US, the name gradually changed from ‘twenty-one’ to ‘blackjack’ – the latter being the best possible hand that you can have. While there are many different variations and extra rules, the core of blackjack stays the same. The game is generally played with 1-8 decks. You and the other players play against the dealer, who represents the casino. The player(s) and the dealer get two cards each. But while the player’s cards are revealed, the dealer has one of their cards face-down. The goal of the game is to get a better combination than the dealer, without exceeding 21 (also known as a ‘bust’). All face cards count as 10 points, aces can be either 1 or 11, and the rest of the cards have value equal to their number.

Online Blackjack Comes in Many Different Versions

After everyone receives their cards, players must decide on what action to undertake in order to get as close to 21 as possible. If you are satisfied with your opening hand, you can simply Stand and wait to see what the dealer’s total is. If you want to take another card, you can choose to Hit. Those are the two basic moves you can make at this renowned game. Some more specific ones we’ll comment below. In some cases, you’ll also have the chance to surrender, which means you’ll still get some of your bet back and not lose it all to an excellent dealer’s hand.

Special Moves & Variations

Aside from the basic moves mentioned above, there are a few other actions that a player can perform upon receiving their hand. Split allows you to, well, split your two cards into two separate hands. Here is where the variations start appearing – depending on the casino where you are playing, you may be able to split any two cards, or only cards of the same value. On some tables, you can only split identical cards. Also, each casino decides how many extra cards are allowed to go to the newly formed hands.

Another options that you’ll have is to double down. This means that you double your initial bet and will receive only one extra card from the dealer. In some variations of the game, you can double on any combination of cards you receive, while in others you can only perform this action when your cards total 9, 10, or 11. Once you double down, you won’t have any other options but to see what the dealer hand is like. However, there are some variations, such as Super Fun 21, where you have the option to surrender after a double down and get half of your bet back.

Insurance is a special side bet that becomes available when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. It is an additional bet that the dealer has a blackjack and it pays 2:1 if you are, indeed, right about the dealer hand. This side bet is treated independently of the main wager and the payout might be different across casinos and game variations. It is a great chance to get a good payout despite having a weaker hand. In case you have a blackjack yourself, the dealer’s blackjack will win unless you buy insurance.

Blackjack Variation Gameplay RTP Rating Interface Settings Overall Score RTP Software
Blackjack Switch 5 5 4.9 4.9 4.95 99.92% Playtech
Blackjack Surrender 4.9 4.9 4.9 5 4.93 99.66% Playtech
Pontoon 5 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.93 99.64% Playtech
Progressive Blackjack 5 4.8 4.9 4.9 4.90 99.53% Playtech
Multihand Balckjack 4.8 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.88 99.60% Microgaming
Perfect Blackjack 4.9 4.8 4.9 4.9 4.88 99.58% Playtech
Double Attack Blackjack 4.9 4.8 4.9 4.9 4.88 99.53% Playtech
Hi Lo 13 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.7 4.85 99.60% Microgaming
Blackjack Peek 4.9 4.7 4.9 4.9 4.85 99.42% Playtech
Blackjack Pro 4.8 4.8 4.9 4.9 4.85 99.53% Playtech
Blackjack UK 4.8 4.7 4.9 4.9 4.83 99.47% Playtech
Vegas Strip 4.9 4.9 4.5 4.7 4.75 99.65% Microgaming
Atlantic City Blackjack 4.9 4.9 4.5 4.7 4.75 99.65% Microgaming
Vegas Downtown Blackjack 4.9 4.9 4.5 4.7 4.75 99.62% Microgaming
Super Fun 21 4.9 4.7 4.5 4.9 4.75 99.10% Microgaming
21 Duel Blackjack 4.9 4.5 4.9 4.7 4.75 98.38% Playtech
Vegas Single Deck Blackjack 4.8 4.9 4.5 4.7 4.73 99.69% Microgaming
High Streak Blackjack 4.9 4.8 4.5 4.7 4.73 99.59% Microgaming
Spanish Blackjack 4.9 4.8 4.5 4.7 4.73 99.51% Microgaming

Al live blackjack tables, you’ll have the exclusive opportunity to bet on another player’s hand. It’s called Bet Behind and may help you when you’re new to the game or aren’t sure what you should do. It takes out the decision out of the game and lets you enjoy your winnings. Certainly, if the player you’re betting behind loses, you’ll lose as well. So, make sure you choose the player to bet behind wisely.

The more restrictions there are in the game, the bigger the house edge. This eventually leads to lower winnings for the players. Before you start wagering real money on blackjack, make sure you are not playing a game that is chock-full of restrictions – or at least make sure you know what the restrictions are. Even though blackjack has a low house edge in comparison to other popular casino games, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to bring it further down.

Side Bets in Blackjack

Apart from the main bet and the insurance, some blackjack games may feature additional side bets. They allow you to place separate wagers on a variety of things and win extra cash. Those side bets work differently from one casino to the next and there are many blackjack tables that do not feature any of them at all. Let’s take a look at the most common side bets found at online casinos.

The most wide-spread side bet must be Perfect Pairs, which is heavily featured at many casinos. You can bet on whether the hand of a player (or the dealer) contains cards that have something in common – it can be colour, suit, etc. If the two cards turn out to be a perfect pair – that means identical to one another – you might end up winning 25 times your wager. While cards of the same value but different colour and suit may not give that great a payout, it’s still pretty exciting to bet and get a pair.

Side Bets Are Usually Available at Live Blackjack Games

The second side bet, which is quite popular with players and casinos, is 21+3. It is inspired by the game of poker and bets that the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up-card will form a poker combinations, such as Three of a Kind, Straight Flush, Three of a kind Suited, etc. The odds for some of those combinations are very small, which means that if they do happen, you could win really big.

This one doesn’t appear in every other game but if you see it you’ll probably be curious to find out what it is about, so here we go. Hi/Lo is a side bet that allows you to wager on whether or not your initial hand will value more than 13, less than 13, or exactly 13. Of course, the biggest payout is if you manage to hit exactly 13 – but you will be surprised how rarely that happens.

Top Developers of Online Blackjack Games

Blackjack has always been a very popular game – that is why gambling software developers have created an astounding number of games, both RNG and live dealer. There are a lot of companies that create online blackjack games out there, but several of them truly stand out as being the best in the business. Here they are, presented with a little bit of information for those of you who aren’t familiar with their history, services, and portfolio.

Top Online Blackjack Developers
  • NetEnt always come up when talking about excellence in online casino games. They have several blackjack games in their catalogue, all of which are stellar in terms of visuals and gameplay. Among the classic ones, there are some interesting variations, such as Double Exposure Blackjack, in which the dealer wins all ties except for a tied blackjack, and you can see both his cards. There is also Pontoon, where both dealer cards are placed face down, and there are additional rules and moves available. The other variation worth mentioning is Single Deck Blackjack – the name pretty much explains what it is all about.
  • Microgaming have one of the biggest game libraries in the industry, largely due to the fact that they have been around since 1994. As far as blackjack goes, they have a great variety of well-designed and fun games. Aside from a few versions of classic blackjack, there are many variations – Multi-hand, Bonus Blackjack, Single Deck, etc. Many of the games feature the side bets we talked about earlier. Also, if you go to any Microgaming-powered casino, you’ll have the chance to try otu the game sin practice mode, which is a great advantage and allows you to get to know them before risking real cash.
  • Playtech is one of the biggest players on the online gambling software scene. Their collection of games is vast and they manage to keep it fresh and entertaining. Their blackjack games are top-notch, and there is a good number of interesting variations available. Every player should try out games like Blackjack Surrender, 21 Duel, Multi-hand Blackjack, and Double Attack. We should also mention the popular game Blackjack Switch, to which Playtech holds the exclusive rights. In this variation, you play with two hands instead of one, and you are allowed to ‘switch’ the top two cards between the hands.

Blackjack Is The Best Casino Game

Blackjack is the preferred game of many players nowadays. And while it does benefit from implementing skills, a strategy, and some thinking, there is the element of luck to consider. Also, don’t be put off by the the thinking part as you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to improve your game. However, if you want to become really good at it, you’ll need a lot of practice. That’s easy, though. Pick one of our recommended casinos, claim their welcome bonus offer, and start practising. And if you want your heart pumping faster, try out blackjack with a live dealer, which is the best way to experience this classic game these days. It provides the genuine casino atmosphere, while you are in the comfort of your own home. Nothing can beat that. So, go out there and start playing.