Everything You Need to Know About Online Blackjack
Blackjack is the most popular of all online casino games in the USA. Also known as 21 Blackjack, the game has been around since the late 16th Century and is one of the oldest known gambling games in the entire world.
Blackjack is as popular as it is because the house edge is often less than 1% on average, which gives players better odds of making money than with other casino games. This being the case, we plan to give you a complete rundown and cover some of the finer points of the game to help you improve your chances when playing online. Some of the most popular varieties of online blackjack include:
- Classic Blackjack
- Live Blackjack
- Progressive Blackjack
- Spanish 21 Blackjack
- Blackjack Double Attack
- European Blackjack
- Atlantic City Blackjack
- Blackjack Switch
- Vegas Strip Blackjack
- Pontoon Blackjack
- Super Fun 21 Blackjack
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Online Blackjack Rules
As with traditional blackjack, online blackjack in the USA sees players competing against the house to reach a score as close to 21 without going over. Players don’t play against each other and are dealt two cards, face up. The dealer receives two cards as well, with one facing up and one facing down. The card that’s facing up is known as the ‘up card’ and the down card that you cannot see is the “hole card.” Each card is worth its face value, with jacks, queens, and kings being worth 10. Aces are worth either one point or eleven points.
Players can choose to receive additional cards in turn. ‘Hitting’ is the act of receiving another card and players stand when they don’t want any more cards. If a player exceeds 21 points, they bust and lose their bet. The dealer has to ‘hit’ when they have a hand totalling 16 points or less and stand when they reach 17 points or more. If the dealer and a player tie, the player’s bet is ‘pushed’ and is returned.
Players can also buy ‘insurance’ if the dealer’s up card is an ace. This means that the player bets on the dealer also having a face card. When a player buys insurance they place a bet that’s half of their starting wager. If the dealer has a blackjack then insurance bets are paid out. If, on the other hand, the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack then insurance bets are collected and the hand proceeds as usual.
Surrendering and Doubling Down
Many online blackjack games also let players ‘double down’ or ‘surrender.’ When you surrender you can save half of your initial wager if you think you have a losing hand. If, for example, you have 16 points in your hand right off the bat and the dealer’s up card is a face card, it’s probably a good bet to surrender. Doubling down allows players to receive only one additional card after the draw while also doubling their wager. If the player beats the dealer at this point, they’re paid twice their original wager.
Differences Between Online Blackjack and Casino Blackjack
While the basic rules of blackjack doesn’t really vary between online blackjack and traditional casino blackjack, there are a few key differences between the two. A lot of this comes down to being able to play online blackjack in the USA from the comfort of your own home.
Faster Pace of Play
Because the shuffling, dealing, and collection of cards is performed automatically in online blackjack, each hand progresses significantly faster than it will at a land-based casino. You also don’t usually have to wait for other players to make a decision when you’re playing online, which also helps speed things up.
This is only really true of online games that don’t feature a live dealer in real-time, but is still a solid rule of thumb. A traditional dealer in a casino can usually get through up to 50 or 60 hands per hour, while an online casino can deal over 200 hands per hour.
Higher Potential Gains or Losses
Because the rate of play is faster at an online casino, you can effectively make more bets and potentially win more money in the same amount of time. That being said, the opposite is also true and you can potentially lose money at a faster rate as well. These losses are offset to a certain extent because you don’t have to pay transportation costs when you’re playing from home. Online blackjack players also aren’t expected to tip the dealer or other casino staff, which means their earnings are all theirs.
Traditional casinos don’t usually offer the same amount of bonuses that online blackjack sites do. Online blackjack sites and casinos will usually give players a free bonus amount when they sign up, along with other bonus incentives as they continue to play. Many times, sign up bonuses see the site matching an initial deposit amount, allowing players to easily double their money right off the bat. These bonuses do have different wagering requirements, however, which can see players lose their edge over the house more often than not. For all the latest and best online bonuses and promotions, check out our page here.
Better Odds Online
Winning at blackjack is all about mastering basic strategy. Once you learn that, you can easily take advantage of online casinos. This is because their rules are less strict and more favorable for the players. Online casinos and blackjack sites are able to pull this off because they have a lower overhead than traditional casinos. The online blackjack market is also ridiculously competitive, so sites need to go all out to attract new players or maintain their current players.
Lower Online Stakes
Another key advantage to playing blackjack online is that online casinos and blackjack sites offer significantly lower stakes than land-based casinos. This is due once again to online sites having a lower overhead, allowing them to offer lower stakes without taking a hit themselves.
Online Blackjack Tournaments
When you’re looking to play online blackjack for real money, an online blackjack tournament could be right up your alley. These tournaments require different strategies than standard casino blackjack games. This is because you’re technically playing against other players to earn the most chips.
One fairly reliable strategy is to do the opposite of what other players are doing as far as your betting strategy is concerned. This could easily put you ahead of the game, although it can backfire if you aren’t careful. Most solid players will start with small bets and slowly build up to making larger bets as they gain momentum, especially during hands when they act last.
Finding online blackjack tournaments is a relatively easy process, although you should thoroughly vet the sites you frequent ahead of time, just in case.