Online Blackjack

Objective of Online Blackjack

In online blackjack card games, the dealer will be your sole opponent.  Your overriding objective is getting a higher hand then the dealer’s but no more than 21.  Should the combined point value of your individual cards exceed 21, then you immediately lose the hand, irrespective of the dealer’s hand value.  A cumulative  point value over 21 is commonly referred to as a “bust.”

online blackjack
   
1 or 11
FACE
VALUE
10

 

Example of a dealer’s
initial online blackjack hand; the upcard (here a Jack)
with the hole card (right).

How to play online blackjack

Like traditional blackjack games, your hand must be higher than the dealer’s but no more than 21.  If it exceeds this amount, you automatically lose.  If your hand is below this total, then whomever has the highest total wins.  Your goal is to get as close as possible to 21 without exceeding that sum.

Blackjack tables online typically seat six players.  Between 6 and 8 decks of cards are electronically “shuffled” and inserted in random order into a holder called the “shoe.”

You must make bet prior to being dealt a hand.  After placing the desired amount in a small marked area directly in front of your seat, you will receive two cards face-up.  The dealer will then take card from the shoe face-up and another one face-down.  Next, players take turns  by order of seating position to take additional card(s) or stand on their existing hand.  Every player’s goal is to comprise a hand that is higher than the dealer’s without busting (going over 21).  All players who have not busted then wait until the dealer plays his or her hand.  Once all players have finished playing their hands, the dealer reveals the face-down card.  If the combined point value of it and the face-up card is 17 or more, the dealer must stand.  If, however, it is less than 17, the dealer must draw from the shoe until their hand is 17 or higher.  If the dealer draws cards that exceed 21, all remaining players win. If the dealer’s final hand is less than 21, any players with lower hands lose.

If your first two cards total exactly 21 (an Ace and a 10, King, Queen, or Jack), that is called a “blackjack” and you immediately win.  lackjack hands win one and a half the amount of your initial wager.  Unless, of course, the dealer’s first two cards also equal exactly 21.  Such a hand is treated as a tie (“push”) and you keep your bet.

All other winning hands are paid an amount equal to the original bet.  Players whose online blackjack hands total less than the dealer’s hand lose, while players with higher hands of 21 or less win.  As in conventional casinos, online blackjack rules also include other types of bets such as Double Down, Splitting, Surrender, and Even Money.

STANDING

Players “stand” by declining any additional cards.

HITTING

Players may “hit” their hand by taking one ore more extra cards.

DOUBLE DOWN

Players double down by doubling their original wager and receive only one additional card.  A player must double before adding any card(s) to the first two they were dealt.

SPLITTING

A player may “split” an initial hand of two cards with the same point value into two new hands.  In order to split a hand, players must place a new bet on the resulting second hand.  When a player splits a pair of Aces, they get only one additional card on each separate hand.  If the one additional card dealt to either split Ace has a 10-point value, that is not considered a blackjack and is paid only 1 to 1 if it wins.  Both new hands from two split cards win or lose regardless of the other split hand outcome.

SURRENDERING

Players may “surrender” before playing a hand by forfeiting half of their original wager.  Only the first cards may be surrendered.

Basic Online Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack has been around for more than three centuries.  During this long existence, players have devised various strategies for maximum wins.  Strategy effectiveness is based on the rules listed below:

– Dealer must draw until their hand is 17 or better;

–  Upon equaling or exceeding 17 points, dealers may not draw, regardless of the player’s hand total;

–  A Blackjack hand that wins 1 1/2 times the player’s initial bet always contains an Ace and a 10-point card;

–  Aces may count as 1 or 11;

–  Ten-point cards comprise the biggest portion of the deck.

–  Players may double down on initial two-card hands that total 9, 10, or 11 points.  While this is often profitable, be careful to keep track of the dealer’s face-up card.  You cannot double down if one of your first two cards is an Ace.  If you do opt to double down, you get just one more card;

–  You may split two initial cards of identical value to double your odds of winning;

– If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you can make a side wager of one-half your initial bet called “Insurance” to protect you from losing if the dealer has a blackjack. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, you lose the insurance bet.

–  All online blackjack casinos allow players to set their own pace.  Do not be concerned if you need a few seconds to think about whether to stand or hit your hand.

–  Rules for online blackjack games vary widely among casinos, although basic play is the same.  Rule variations impact the casino’s edge and appropriate playing strategies.  Following are common rule variants and their respective impact on house edge.

Rule Variations In Online Blackjack

1)  Number of decks

Blackjack games online may use from one to eight decks.  More decks mean a higher casino edge.  In the relatively few one-deck games available, adjustment of other rules offset lower house advantage.

2) Whether dealer stands or hits “soft” 17

It is more favorable for players if dealers must stand on soft 17s.  This rule is prevalent throughout the Las Vegas strip and Atlantic City.  By contrast, it favors the house when the dealer must hit soft 17.  This is the most common rule in single and double deck online blackjack games.  (A “soft” 17 is a hand that includes an Ace value of 11 points.  It is called “soft,” because the Ace may also be played as a 1-point card.  A soft 17 example appears below:

online blackjack uk SOFT 17:A soft 17 in online Blackjack indicates the
presence of an 11-value Ace in the hand. It is “Soft” because the Ace can also assume the lower value 1. Example of a soft 17 is shown here.

 

3)  Double Down Options

Restricted to 9, 10, 11, or unrestricted;
Double down after splitting – Yes/No

Limiting double down options increases the casinos’ edge.  Players in same online blackjack casinos may double down on just 10 or 11 hand values.  In others, they may not double down on a new hand resulting from the split of two matching cards.

4. Split hand rule variations

Maximum number of splits:  1, 2, or 3
Some games prohibit re-splitting if a player draws a new card with the same point value as either split card.  Some online blackjack casinos do not allow Aces to be split at all.  Both of the above rules disadvantage players.

5.  Late Surrender Rule Variations

Late surrender permitted:  Yes/No
Players may late surrender only on the first two cards.  Those who do surrender will lose half of their original wager in exchange for not having to play the hand.  Late Surrender lets players opt out of further play even after the dealer checks their hand for a Blackjack.

6.  Peek/No-peek rules

No-Peek | Peek  | Full No-Peek

Dealers in the majority of blackjack online games check to see if they have a Blackjack immediately after getting a 10-point card or Ace for the face-up card.  This rule (Peek) is not good for players.  In other games, however, the dealer does not immediately verify whether they have Blackjack if the face-up card is a  10 or face card (No Peek).  In still other virtual blackjack games, the dealer will not verify a blackjack even if their face-up card is an Ace (Full No Peek).  Online blackjack No-Peek and Full-No-Peek rules disadvantage players, as they can lose more than the initial wager by doubling down or splitting hands if the dealer indeed has a blackjack. Read more about online blackjack.