Many players know the game of blackjack as a game they have seen in movies or even played at home. In fact, it is a casino game that as grown to be one of the most popular card games at any casino – land-based or online. The game originated in Europe hundreds of years ago and while it has been adapted from the original game, new variations have also been introduced. The game has straightforward rules making it simple to learn and basic strategy that can significantly reduce the house edge. This makes the game popular with new players, as well as seasoned pros.
When the first online casinos were launched, blackjack moved online and quickly grew to be a favourite option at online casinos. Online players have access to a whole suite of online blackjack games with a whole range of betting limits, making sure there is something to suit all types of players and all sizes of bankrolls. There are many advantages to playing blackjack online including the ability to play for free in the fun mode of the casino, the ability to claim bonuses to boost your bankroll and the convenience of being able to play your favourite game from the comfort of your own home.
Blackjack originated from a French game played in the 17th century. Vingt-et-Un (literally meaning “21” in French) also required players to aim for a hand total of 21. However, there are noticeable differences between this game and the game we know as blackjack - there were betting rounds, the dealer was able to double down, but not the players and there was no concept of going bust. The concept of going bust most likely came from the Italian game, Seven and a Half, that was played around the same time. The game spread around the world after it was brought to the United States after the French Revolution.
Its move online when online casinos were launched in the mid-1990s made it available to even more people. New variations were developed creating dozens of unique blackjack games. Online players now had access to a wide selection of options from the comfort of their own homes. Players could enjoy the games at any time of the day or night, choosing games to suite their bankroll and playing style.
In order to play blackjack online successfully, it is important to understand the button options in the game which will help you understand how to play.
Deal: Start a new game by dealing cards.
Double: Double all bets currently on the table.
Undo: Undo the last action that was taken – remove the last wager that was placed or put back the last wager that was removed.
Clear Bets: Take off all bets from the table.
Once the bets have been placed and the hand has been dealt, you will have these game buttons available to you:
Hit: Get one card into your hand.
Stand: End your turn without receiving any more cards.
Double: Double your original bet and be dealt one more card to end your turn.
Insurance: Place an insurance bet against the dealer having Blackjack. This will only become an option if the dealer’s up-card is an Ace.
Split: Divide two identical cards into two separate hands. This will only become an option if your original two cards are equal in value.
Once a game has been completed and you have been paid out for any wins, the following buttons will become available:
New Game: Begin a new game.
Rebet: Bet on the new game with the same bet as in the last game.
Rebet and Deal: Bet on the new game with the same bet as in the last game and deal the cards.
The rules of online blackjack are straightforward. The aim of the game is to build a hand with a total value of closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, without going bust. To do this, players must collect cards and combine their values to get a total hand value. Cards two through ten are valued as their face value; face cards have a value of 10 and Aces have a value of 1 or 11 depending on the value of the rest of the hand.
Each variation of blackjack is slightly different with some distinct rules and nuances. Make sure to understand the rules of the game you choose to play before you begin as it will impact how you play the game.
In a game of classic blackjack, players must place their bets to begin the game. Cards will then be dealt – 2 face-up to the player and 1 face-up and 1 face-down to the dealer – and players will need to play their hand. There are a number of actions that the player can choose from:
Surrender: This allows the player to quit their hand at the cost of half their bet. The option is available in some variations of classic blackjack. In most cases, only late surrender is available, meaning the dealer has already checked he does not have blackjack. Early surrender is available in some games, which allows the player to surrender without the dealer checking for blackjack.
Insurance: Insurance is a side bet that becomes available if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. It is a bet against the dealer having blackjack. If the dealer has blackjack, the insurance bet wins 2:1.
Split: Available if your original two cards are of the same value, this allows you to divide your cards into two separate hands with separate bets and play them independently. Some games may allow you to split again after splitting. Some games may allow you to receive only one more card in each hand if you split two Aces.
Double Down: Available on your first two cards, you can double your bet to receive one more card and end your turn. Some games allow this only with specific hand totals.
Hit: You will be dealt one more card. You can continue to hit until you go bust or you choose to stand.
Stand: End your turn.
Once you have ended your turn, the dealer’s hand will be played according to the house rules of the game. Generally, a dealer will be required to hit on a hand total of 16 and stand on a hand total of 17. Once the dealer’s turn has ended, the two hands will be compared and you will be paid out for any wins.
The odds of the game and the house edge can vary depending on how you play. The house edge in a game of online blackjack can be as high as 7-8%, but if you play with optimal strategy, you can reduce it down to as low as 0.5%. The dealer always plays last in the game which contributes to the high house edge; however, because it is a game of skill and the dealer must play according to the house rules, this can be significantly reduced.
Understanding the odds of each action you take will also help you understand how to play. If you hit with a hand total of 12, there are 31% odds of you going bust. This can be compared to 92% odds of going bust if you hit on a hand total of 20. Rather, you should stand on a hand total of 16 or 17 considering that the odds of going bust if you hit on those hand totals are 62% and 69% respectively. The dealer has 28.36% odds of achieving a hand total of 16 (the hand total with the highest probability of being achieved) so that if you stand on a hand total of 15, the odds dictate that the dealer will probably beat you.
Online blackjack is a game of skill, meaning that if you play with basic strategy, you will reduce the house edge and increase your odds of winning. There are blackjack strategy charts available that when you are playing online, you can set up right next to the computer for easy and quick access. These charts dictate how to play your first hand based on the card combination you hold compared to the dealer’s up-card. These charts should be memorised for optimum play.
There is also basic strategy you can memorise which will help improve your odds of winning.
Never split 2 tens. Never split 2 fives.
When playing blackjack, also remember important basic tips for online casino games:
To help you understand how to play the game and feel comfortable with the different blackjack variations, make sure to understand the terms used in playing the game.
Blackjack: A two-card hand that values 21.
Bust: A hand total going over the value of 21.
Double Down: An option available on your first two cards, you can double your bet to receive one more card and end your turn.
Face-Card: A Jack, Queen or King in the deck.
Hit: Receive one card.
Hole Card: The dealer’s face-down card.
House Edge: The advantage the casino has over the player.
Insurance: A side bet that can be placed against the dealer having blackjack. It is available if the dealer’s up-card is an Ace.
Split: To divide your hand into two separate hands, with two separate bets, to be played independently. This is an option when your first two cards are of the same value.
Stand: To end your turn without receiving any more cards.
Surrender: To give up your game at the cost of half your bet.
Up-Card: A card that is dealt face-up on the table.
If you decide you are ready to play for real money you will need to register a real money account and fund it. This can be done by following these steps:
Fund your account: Once you have an account you will need to transfer funds to it. There are many payment methods available for New Zealand players in the cashier section. Your financial information will be protected via data encryption technology. Choose your deposit method, enter your deposit amount, verify the transaction and wait for the funds to become available.
Claim your bonus: You will be able to claim your bonus once you have made your first deposit. Casino.com New Zealand offers a 3,200 bonus for new players.
Play: All games are accessible via the lobby of the casino. Select the blackjack suite of games and choose from the many variations available. These include progressive blackjack, American blackjack, blackjack surrender, perfect blackjack, pontoon, lucky blackjack, blackjack switch, 21 duel blackjack and blackjack multi-player.