How to Play Blackjack

Even if you've played blackjack before it's always helpful to remind yourself of what to expect when playing this popular game.

It shouldn't take long as blackjack can be a fairly simple game, especially when you're playing it in an online casino without the distractions of a busy casino floor.

Blackjack basics to know

  • Online blackjack allows you to get to grips with the game at your own pace
  • It's an easy game once you know the basics
  • Take time out to learn basic blackjack strategy; it works and makes the game much more enjoyable.
  • The differences between blackjack versions are mainly the amount of decks, the payout on a natural blackjack and when the dealer has to draw and side bets
  • As the game includes a relatively large amount of skill, there's simply no better feeling than coming out of a blackjack session up on the house

Blackjack Game Play Narrative

Once you've found your casino, loaded your account and got a bonus, you're ready to go. Below is a brief guide that takes you through every step of playing a blackjack hand online.

  1. Select the amount that you want to bet by clicking on the chips or appropriate buttons.
  2. Click deal and watch as your two cards are dealt as well as the dealer's first card face up and second card face down.
  3. You will then be given the option to hit or stand and, where applicable, split or double. At this point consult the basic blackjack strategy table.
  4. Repeat this process until you stand, bust or win blackjack or the dealer gets blackjack or busts.
  5. Watch as the dealer reveals their second card and continues to draw cards (depending on the version you're playing) to 16 or stand on [soft] 17 etc.

Selecting a Blackjack Game

Example Blackjack versions Example of the different versions of blackjack you might come across at an online casino - believe us, this is just a small sample!

As it's so simple, actually playing the game can be the easy part. The fact that there's such a great variety of games available in online casinos is without doubt a good thing. However, it can create confusion when it comes to selecting which game you want to play.

Just to confuse things even more, online casinos can have different names for what are essentially the same blackjack games. Simply finding a game of straightforward blackjack can be tricky.

For casinos that don't have a game under that name then Classic Blackjack, European Blackjack and Las Vegas Blackjack are likely to be the most familiar options and in our opinion the best.

To help find the ideal blackjack game for you, we've compiled a short list of different versions of the game, where to find them, rules for those games and blackjack variations to stay away from.

Blackjack games we recommend you play

  • Single Deck
    • Even though the Intercasino version of this game the dealer draws to soft 17s and stands on hard 17s and has a hole card (second card dealt face down), it still represents one of the best value blackjack games out there.
  • Vegas Strip Blackjack
    • Played on four decks, dealer stands on soft 17, has a hole card but allows resplitting up to three times.
    • Excellent version with a small house edge.
    • The Microgaming version can be found at 32Red and Ladbrokes casino.
  • Atlantic City Blackjack
    • Played on eight decks the dealer stands on a soft 17
    • Player doubles on any first two cards and like Vegas Strip, resplitting up to a maximum of three hands is allowed.
    • This game can be found at 32 Red and Ladbrokes casino.
  • European Blackjack
    • Another classic from Microgaming.
    • European blackjack is played over two decks
    • The dealer standing on soft 17s the fact that you can't resplit and only double on 9, 10 and 11
    • Still gives this game a house edge of just 0.39%.
  • Blackjack Switch
    • Players can switch their top two cards on each hand, double on any hand, resplit up to four times, but the dealer hits soft 17.
    • The payout on a natural is a meagre 1 to 1.
    • However, the extremely low house edge of 0.16% makes this game a ‘must play'.
    • Play this game at Bet365.

Blackjack games and rules to steer clear from

  • Double Exposure Blackjack
    • Double Exposure doubles the house edge...well nearly.
    • The dealer draws on a soft 17 and you can resplit up to four hands and doubling after splitting is allowed.
    • However, this good news is tempered by the evens payout on all wins including a natural.
  • 6 to 5
    • Any version that pays 6 to 5 isn't worth looking at.
    • This contemptible payout pushes up the house edge to 1.39%! Take a hike.
  • Dealer Hit on Soft 17
    • Unless it's tempered by something in the players' favour stay away from any blackjack variation where the dealer hits on a soft 17.
  • Only Double on 10 and 11
    • Any blackjack variation that has this rule isn't worth its salt. Stay away.

There's no doubt that the games listed in our play category will help your pocket compared to other less ‘player-friendly' games. That said, we recommend you also consider game speed, live blackjack, 3D, HD, table layout, colour and multi player variations. Of course gambling is about winning, but there's also a lot to be said for just enjoying yourself and if you lose what you can afford to lose (not what you can't) and have fun, we're sure blackjack will become one of your favourite casino games.