The Ultimate Casino Experience

But there are still a few rules you need to know about before you play for real cash, which is why we recommend playing for fun first. Remember that you do give up something for being allowed to increase your bet: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance. Just because lots of players will lose in the long run, doesn't mean you have to! Just pay attention to what other players are doing and you will fit right in.

Part 1 – Blackjack Basics

Your Guide To The Best Blackjack Online Casinos

We absolutely love real money Blackjack and free games too! We've been playing the game live for well over three decades, and over the last dozen years or so, we've been playing a lot online too. While our goal is to win some real cash, our focus is on offering our expertise to a world of online blackjack players.

The game offers some of the best value in the casino to the player, but only if you use the correct strategy and play with your head and not your heart. It's well worth trying online blackjack for free first, so you get a feel for the game.

Here are a few tips which everyone should take into consideration before approaching the virtual blackjack tables:. Our downloadable basic strategy guide will give you lots of pointers as to when you should hit and when you should stand or double down. However, here are two pointers to keep in mind whenever you sit down at a blackjack table, either online or in a brick and mortar casino:. This is a common mistake made by rookie players, who think that splitting face cards and tens in blackjack online games can double their profits.

This is a no-brainer when you play blackjack online, or at least it should be! A pair of 8s gives you the dreaded 16, and by splitting these you are banking on at least one face card showing up to give you a good hand.

Even a 1, 2 or a 3 are all good cards to draw to an 8, meaning that you have plenty of chances to make a winning hand. Ever wonder why the Blackjack tables at casinos are always so jam-packed?

It's because Blackjack is ridiculously easy to play. The goal is simple - to get as close to 21 without going over, and to have a higher hand than the dealer. If the dealer goes over 21, he busts. The same goes for you. But there are still a few rules you need to know about before you play for real cash, which is why we recommend playing for fun first. Let's walk through a typical game so you know how it all works:. But there are a few more rules to know about if you're thinking about playing blackjack online or live:.

Apart from the original version of Blackjack, many casinos offer variations on the game, with the following being among the most popular:. This version of the game is played out in the same way as the original version, except with Blackjack Surrender the player has the option to surrender after the first two cards are dealt. Blackjack Switch is an interesting option with some quite novel twists on the basic game. In this game the player plays two hands at the same time, and after the first four cards are dealt has the option to switch the top card from each hands to try and improve the chances of winning.

There is also a Super Match side bet which pays out if the first four cards dealt to the player contain a pair, two pairs, or three of a kind. This variation on the game of real money blackjack allows players to make a side bet on whether either they or the dealer or both will be dealt two of the same cards. Once you have decided that blackjack is your game of choice, the next step is to find the best online blackjack casino for your needs.

We cover some of the factors to take into account below, so make sure that your chosen casino ticks the right boxes before you make your first real cash investment. Many online blackjack casinos entice players by offering huge welcome bonuses for signing up with their site. Most of the larger bonus offers you will see involve the casino matching some or all of your initial deposits, sometimes up to as many as your first five deposits to the site.

As you can imagine, this can lead to some pretty hefty bonus packages, although it does rely on the player making equally large deposits to get the maximum out of the offer. Not all casinos pay out the same. Almost all casinos payout these bonuses over time based on how much you wager, so it's a good idea to check these "Wagering Requirements" before signing up. Look for casinos with big sign-up bonuses and low wagering requirements to maximize the amount of real money you have available to play.

When you come to play blackjack online, it is very important that you are playing at a trustworthy casino. There is not much point in winning big at the blackjack tables to find that the casino is reluctant to pay out, for example. Any reputable online casino will be licensed and regulated to ensure that the games are fair and that the casino must act in a fair and honorable manner to its clients.

Check the bottom of the page to see where a casino is regulated, and also check to see whether it is eCOGRA approved, as this means that the games on the site have been independently tested to ensure fairness.

All the sites recommended on these pages are credible and trustworthy casinos, so you can rest assured that we only ever direct our readers to the most reliable of online betting sites.

The bigger online casinos will usually have a selection of different blackjack games on offer, so real fans of the game will be on the lookout for casinos offering options such as Surrender, Perfect Blackjack, Pontoon, Switch, and Multi-hand games. The original form of blackjack offers plenty of excitement on its own, but variations on the game allow players to profit from different side bet options, as well as offering alternative gameplay features such as the ones mentioned on this page.

Blackjack is a game with one of the lowest house edges of all online casino games, which is why it remains a favorite with canny gamblers. By using the correct strategy players can reduce the casino edge to almost zero.

It is important to be wary of some of the side bets on offer though, as these may not provide the same value as the original game. It is quite possible to find blackjack games with a house edge of just 0.

You should never even consider sitting down at a virtual blackjack table until you are absolutely certain about how the game works. A good knowledge of the mechanics of the game is an absolute must. Playing for fun initially will help you in the long run. Most of the card values in blackjack are self-explanatory, but there are a few cards which can trip up newbies when it comes to their value. Aces are the cards which have a unique value in blackjack, as they can be worth either 1 or 11 depending on which is liable to benefit you in a given situation.

A starting hand of A5 will have a value of 6 or If the next card drawn is a 9 then the Ace becomes a 1 for a total value of If you draw a 3 instead, then the Ace will be used as an 11 to make a strong hand of We told you that you'll have to make a decision with every hand you're dealt.

Figuring it all out can be a bit tough, but there's good news. We actually have a Blackjack strategy cheat sheet that tells you exactly what to do if you're unsure. Before you print this out, you should know that most land-based casinos won't welcome this cheat sheet to the table. It's not against the rules to know this information, but casinos don't like players bringing this kind of helpful information to the table.

However, that is not a problem when you are playing at online Blackjack casinos. No one will know that you're using a Blackjack strategy guide, so go right ahead. You've probably heard that counting cards in Blackjack is illegal. Well, you've heard wrong. It's actually not against the law to count cards in Blackjack, as long as the only thing you use to count is your brain.

If you use a computer or any type of electronic device, that's called cheating - and that could get you tossed out of a casino, thankfully, you don't have to worry about that when you play online blackjack for real money.

Never heard of counting cards? Most casinos, but not all, require at least double the table minimum on each spot. Usually, when a novice player buys in at a blackjack table, he will try to hand the money directly to the dealer. Most seated blackjack players get annoyed when another player takes a seat, immediately puts money on the layout to buy in, and then makes a bet.

Of course the latter is hogwash; nevertheless, I suggest you do one of the following before you enter a game in mid-shoe:. When you want to make a bet using different colored chips meaning chips of a different denomination , always put the larger denomination chip on the bottom of the stack of chips that you place in your betting spot.

Also, you should never place or leave two stacks of chips in the betting spot; place only one stack there. If you want to let your initial bet and the winnings ride on the next hand, stack your chips in one pile, with the lower denomination chips on the bottom of the stack. Additionally, always keep the cards that are in your hand over the table where the dealer and the surveillance cameras can see them. And, with the exception of when the dealer shows an ace and you are considering insurance, if you are playing two or more hands, do not look at a hand until you have played the prior hand to the right to completion.

Many casinos have implemented no smoking areas or non-smoking tables and have signage stating this. If you are a smoker, before you light up, be sure your table allows smoking. Additionally, if are a smoker, be courteous to your fellow players because some might be non-smokers , and to blackjack dealers, by not blowing smoke in their faces. Drinks are all right as long as you secure your drink in the drink holder provided by the casino.

If you happen to be losing, using loud and abusive language is verboten. It makes it easier for you to carry a few large-denomination chips rather than a bunch of smaller-denomination chips plus it helps prevent the table from running out of the latter. Once you place chips in your betting spot and the dealer starts dealing the cards , do not touch those chips.

In other words, you can't draw a card and then decide to bail out! Even when surrender is available, it is rarely used by players. Often, the rules posted at the table won't mention it even if the casino allows it. And many players just don't like the idea of surrendering a hand. But for a smart player, it is a useful option, and reduces the house advantage by about 0. When surrender is available, make sure you know the correct strategy for using it.

Most players who use the option surrender too many hands. If your game offers surrender, I recommend reading my complete explanation of blackjack surrender. In the most common variety known as "late" surrender , a player cannot surrender until after the dealer has checked for blackjack.

If the dealer has blackjack, you will lose your entire bet with no chance of surrendering for half the cost. Generally, the dealer in blackjack must hit if he has a total of 16 or less, and stand if he has 17 or more.

Seventeen is a weak hand, so if the dealer is allowed to try to improve the soft 17 hands, it makes the game tougher. When a dealer is allowed to hit soft 17, it adds about 0. Almost all other areas used the better rule of standing on all 17s. Over the years, more and more casinos have switched to hitting soft 17, and there are now far more H17 games than S17 games.

You can still find some games where the dealer stands on all 17s, even in casinos where some of the tables use the H17 rule. After splitting a pair, many casinos will allow you to double-down on a two-card hand that arises as a result of the split.

For example, if you split a pair of eights, and draw a 3 on the first hand, it is valuable to be able to double-down on the resulting hand of As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces. You will receive only one card on each Ace after splitting. Some casinos will allow you to resplit if you draw another Ace, and some will not. That's true even if the casino allows resplits of all other pairs.

Many casinos in Europe, and some in other parts of the world, handle the dealer's second card differently. In these "European No Hole Card" games, the dealer only deals himself one card at the beginning of the round.

After all the players have completed their hands, he deals his own second card and completes the hand. Contrast that with the normal US style of play.

There, if the dealer has a ten or Ace card up, he checks the other card immediately to see if he has a blackjack. If he does, the hand is over. This process of "peeking" under the hole card to check for blackjack means that players can only lose one bet per hand if the dealer has a blackjack. In a No-Hole-Card game, a player might split or double and have multiple bets at risk to a dealer blackjack, because the dealer cannot check ahead of time.

This changes the optimal strategy, and means that players should usually not split or double against a dealer ten or Ace upcard. An exception is splitting Aces against a dealer ten.

Note that there are a few no-hole-card games where the rules specifically say that only one bet will be collected from a player if the dealer has a blackjack. In those games, although there is no hole card, you can play the game as if there were.

That means you should play it as a Peek game, even though there's not really a peek! It's all a bit confusing. When the No-Hole-Card rule is in use, and all bets are at risk to a dealer blackjack, it costs the player 0. Use the "No-Peek" option at our Strategy Engine. Ok this one's an extremely rare variation which I doubt you will see in any casinos today but I thought I'd mention. Similarly there is a rule variation whereby the player automatically wins when drawing 7 cards without busting which is called a "Seven Card Charlie".

The most important item is the sign declaring betting limits. Both the minimum and the maximum allowable bets should be on a sign on the table-top. Look around to find a table that suits your bet sizes. Make sure that the table you have selected is actually for blackjack, and not another of the many kinds of table games that casinos offer.

Look on the table for the phrase " Blackjack pays 3 to 2 ". Avoid any games that say " Blackjack pays 6 to 5 " instead. See 6 to 5 Blackjack? Beginners should start off playing the shoe games. The advantage in this style is that all of the players' cards are dealt face-up, so the dealer and other players can easily help you with playing questions and decisions. Once you become proficient at the game, you may want to switch to a game with fewer decks since that lowers the casino's advantage.

The dealer will exchange the entire amount of cash for the equivalent in chips, and drop the cash into a box on the table. Take a quick look at the chips to make sure you know the value of each color. If you have any questions, just ask the dealer. Part of his job is to help players learn the game. Once you are ready to place a bet, wait for the current hand to be completed, then push your bet into the betting circle.

Your chips should be in one stack. If you are betting multiple denominations of chips, place the larger valued chips on the bottom of the stack, and the smaller value chips on top. Once the cards have been dealt, you are not allowed to touch the bet in the circle.

If you need to know how much you have bet for doubling or splitting explained later , the dealer will count down the chips for you. Once the hand is over, the dealer will move around the table to each position in turn, paying winning hands and collecting the chips from losing hands. After the dealer has paid you, you can remove your chips from the circle, and place your next bet.

If you want to let your winnings ride, you will need to form one stack of chips from the two or more stacks on the table after the dealer pays you.

Remember, higher value chips should be placed on the bottom of the stack. When you are ready to leave the table, you do not cash in your chips the same way you bought them. The dealer cannot give you cash for the chips at the table. To do that, you must take the chips to the casino cashier. If you have a lot of low denomination chips in front of you at the table, you should trade them for the equivalent higher value chips instead.

In between hands, just tell the dealer you want to "color up", and he will have you push your chips into the middle of the table. He will count them down, and give you a smaller stack of chips that amount to the same value. This makes them easier to carry for you, and for the dealer it maintains his supply of smaller chips.

Now you can take those chips to another table for more play, or head to the casino cashier where you can exchange them for cash. So, if you have made it this far, congratulations. You should have a good idea of what to expect when you sit down at a blackjack table in the casino. What we have not talked about is how to actually make the best decisions while playing the game.

That is a whole subject all its own. To have the best chance of winning, you should learn and practice "basic strategy", which is the mathematically best way to play each hand against each possible dealer upcard. For a free chart that shows the right play in every case, visit our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. If you are looking to play from the comfort of your home, you can visit our online blackjack or live dealer blackjack sections for further resources. Hopefully I've covered just about everything you need.

But if you have other questions, feel free to post a reply at the bottom of the page. Our free blackjack game lets you play at your pace, and the Strategy Coach provides instant feedback on the best strategy. To find the best strategy, use our most popular resource: The Blackjack Strategy Engine provides free strategy charts that are optimized for your exact rules. If you prefer a plastic card that you can take to the table with you, we have those too: Blackjack Basic Strategy Cards.

The original version of this explanation of the rules of blackjack has a very long history here at BlackjackInfo. I created and published it here sometime in It was widely copied by other sites, and it has appeared without my permission on literally hundreds of sites over the years. When I relaunched BlackjackInfo with a new mobile-friendly design in , I took the opportunity to write this all-new version.

Hmmm seems I have been making some bad calls for years now, I thought splitting tens against anything but an ace or 10 was a good move: If a player decides to stand on 15 for whatever reason and the dealer has 16, must the dealer still draw another card since it is less than 17? Is there any significance in blackjack when you have a black jack paired with a black ace, same suit? The question came up on the multiple choice question on Millionaire.

I guessed 16 but the answer was 32??? In playing 21 with one deck off cards aND two people playing, in playing Blackjack with one deck of cards and two people playing what is the most black jack show up. Ken, This may not be the most appropriate page to post this, but let me explain the situation. I aspire to hopefully gather a group of trustworthy guys together to form a blackjack team.

Team play is complicated and far more involved than a group of friends pooling resources. There is not much published on team play. The following book may be helpful. The strategy does not change, but the player is worse off by around 0. As the dealer I get up to Can the dealer chose to stay and take the chips bet from player on the left. But pay the player on the right? His rules are fixed. He must hit until he has 17 or higher, and then he must stand.

Even if all the players at the table have 18, the dealer must stand if he ends up with a Most casinos now deal games with an extra rule about soft This is covered in detail in the article above. I have a question. I signed up on an online casino and I was getting ready to play blackjack for real money and I asked the live chat help person how many decks were being used and she said 24 decks.

Casinos, both online and land-based, can deal the game pretty much any way they like, including increasing the number of decks to a ridiculous 24! Fortunately, once you get to 8 decks, the game does not get much worse for the player by adding even more decks. Eight decks is the most typically seen in brick-and-mortar casinos, but in most jurisdictions, land-based or online, there is no legal requirement for any specific number of decks.

Is there any standard in the way a dealer deals from the deck? You are describing a CSM continuous shuffle machine , where after each hand the dealer immediately puts the used cards back into the shuffler. As you note, this eliminates the ability to count cards, or to even observe a useful bias. Since used cards can return into play immediately, the penetration is effectively zero. These machines have spread widely. The only recourse is to see if your casino also still offers regular games either hand-shuffled, or machine-shuffled but with a normal discard tray.

If not, voice your discontent and look elsewhere. Should I be able to ask a casino to provide a copy of their rules? I assume you are talking about online casinos.

I didnt catch it at first but sure enough when I drew another card I busted. This particular game would not count both my Aces as one.

Is this ever done at a casino? Who knows what else they are doing wrong! To answer your question, no, this is never done at any casino I have visited. Is this a good bet? What is the house percentage? Yes, there are outstanding opportunities afforded by some sidebets under some circumstances, but if you are able to figure out how to beat them, you no longer need to ask about them.

So, the answer to that question is always no. I read the following in the Casino Verite Software: Can you help me with this? There you can find: This works because of the unbalanced nature of the count. Or do I need to count them equally? Treat them independently, and reassess after each drawn card changes the hand. Here are some examples: You will draw each of those hands about once every hands or so.

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