Online Blackjack Guide and Tips 2024

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Perhaps no card game is as synonymous with casinos as Blackjack. It’s been around for centuries without too many changes. That is until it came to the online casino. Now there are dozens of online Blackjack variants that you can play for real money.


Order of Play

The game begins by placing an ante bet. The dealer then deals the cards, giving the player two face-up cards. The dealer will have two cards, one face-up and one face-down, although the order of when the dealer gets the cards will depend on if you’re playing with American or European rules, as will be explained further down.

Card Values

Except for the A and picture cards, all cards are valued at their face value. An A can be worth either 1 or 11 points, whichever works in your favour. All picture cards are worth 10 points.

Hit or Stand

There are two basic options that you’ll have with every hand. If you want more cards, you can Hit, and if you’re happy with the cards you have, you can stand and let the dealer play out its hand.

Advanced Options

Of course, there is more to online Blackjack than hitting and standing; here are some other options that you might have:

  • Double Down: You can double your ante for a chance at a bigger win. The standard rules allow you to double down if you have between 9-11 points showing, and you will receive one more card. European Blackjack and Spanish 21 have different rules for doubling, which we’ll go over them in the Rule Variation section.
  • Split: If you’re dealt a matching pair of cards, you can split them, creating two separate hands. You will need to place a second bet, and then you’ll receive two more additional cards, to complete each hand.
  • Insurance: You can protect yourself when the dealer has an Ace showing by buying insurance. It will payout should the dealer have a Blackjack.
  • Surrender: If you don’t like your odds at the start of a hand, some online Blackjack variants allow you to surrender your hand and receive a portion of your bet back. Most games will only allow you to surrender before you Hit, but there are some games, like Spanish 21, that allow for late surrender.
  • Side Bets (not available in all online Blackjack games): Side bets add an extra layer of excitement to any hand, and they payout regardless of the outcome of the hand. The two most common side bets are Player or Dealer. There are different payouts for just having the same number, same number and the same colour, or matching suits. There is also a 21+3 bet, which takes a look at the 3 face-up cards at the beginning of a game, and if it creates a winning poker hand, you’ll win. Again, the payout is determined by the hand. You can see all the odds and side bet options by clicking on the menu button on the game page.
  • Multi-Hand: Some online Blackjack tables allow you to play up to 5 hands simultaneously.


There are a few different ways to play online Blackjack. Some of the rule changes are regional, while others are based on different Blackjack variants:

European Blackjack

Playing with just two decks of cards, the dealer hands the punters two face-up cards, but only receives a single face-down card. The player then decides to hit or stand and proceeds with their hand. Only when the player stands will the dealer receive the face-up card. Players can only split 10, J, Q and K cards and only one split per hand.  

American Blackjack

The traditional style of Blackjack is played with 6-8 decks. The cards are dealt, giving the player 2 face-up cards and the dealer one card face-up and one face down. If the dealer has an A showing, it will give the player the option to purchase insurance. Then it will check if it has a Blackjack, and if not, the player may start playing. The player can split any matching hand and can re-split a hand if dealt with another matching pair.

Spanish 21

Played with 2 decks, Spanish 21 lowers the odds of a Blackjack by removing the eight 10 cards from the decks. To even things out, there is no push when it comes to getting a 21, the player wins the hand. Another unique rule is that the player can double on a split hand. Lastly, if, at any point, you don’t like your hand, there is the option for a late surrender. 


Blackjack Switch deals two hands on each turn. Unlike a multi-hand game, not only do you only place a single ante bet, you can switch cards between the two hands until you hit. Since it’s much easier to create a Blackjack, it pays out as a regular win, and not a 3:2 payout. 


Similar to Blackjack and originating in the UK, Pontoon has similar rules but different terminology. “Pontoon,” “twist,” “stick,” and “buy” replace  “Blackjack,” “hit,” “stand,” “buy.” More importantly, there are important rules changes as well. You have to Twist if your point total is under 15. All ties go to the dealer, even if you’re holding a pontoon, and the dealer has a 21. A “5 Card Trick” is the second-best hand in Pontoon and can beat any other than a Pontoon.

Double Attack

A version of Spanish 21, this 2 deck game has no 10 cards in play. A player can double or surrender a hand anytime. There is a 4 split limit per hand, except A’s, which have a limit of 2 splits per hand.


Various factors determine the actual odds of winning in Blackjack, such as the number of decks used and what cards have been played. However, generally speaking, it has the lowest house edge of all casino games, at around 1%.

Online Blackjack has a very simple payout structure. All regular wins payout 1:1, meaning if you make a $1 bet, you stand to win $1. There are 2 exceptions, being dealt a Blackjack and purchasing insurance when the dealer gets a Blackjack.

  1. Blackjack: Blackjack has a 3:2 payout ratio. In other words, if you get a Blackjack on a $1 Bet, the payout will be $2.50.
  2. Insurance: When the dealer has an A showing, you will have the option to buy insurance to protect you from a dealer Blackjack. It pays out 2:1 odds. Insurance is usually half the price of your initial bet. So if you make a $2 bet, the insurance will cost $1 and would pay out $3 if the dealer has a Blackjack.
  3. Tie: In most online Blackjack variants, there is no payout or loss after a tie. The chips are returned to your bankroll and the next hand can begin.
Winning HandPays$1 Bet Pays
Regular Hand1:1$2 ($1+$1)
Blackjack3:2$2.5 ($1+$1.5)
Insurance2:1$3 ($1+$2)
Tie $1


The dealer must hit on a hand if it has 16 points or less and stand on 17, regardless of what you have showing when you stand. This allows for an odd-base strategy to work. With four times as many 10 point cards in each deck, you should always assume that the next card dealt will be worth 10 points.

With that in mind, plus the dealer rules of standing on 17 and over, if you have 13 points showing and the dealer has a 6, the smart move is to stand. This is because the strategy says that the dealer has a 10 as its face-down card, and will receive a second 10, busting at 26 points.

Another scenario is if you have 13 points showing and the dealer has 9, the smart money is to hit, even though the odds are good that it will be a 10 and you’ll bust, it a necessary gamble since the dealer would have 19, which beats your 13.

There are some other strategies that you should be aware of as well:


Splitting a matching set of hands can add a great deal of excitement to a hand, but just because you have a matching hand doesn’t mean you should always split. Look at the dealer's hand and gauge what your odds are winning if you just play a single hand. Most Blackjack experts warn against splitting a pair of 10s because the odds of winning are high. Regardless of your cards, if the dealer has an A showing, it’s not a good idea to split your hand.

Your HandWhen to Split vs the Dealer
2's, 3's4 through 7
4's, 5's, 10'sNever
6's3 through 6
7's2 through 7
9's2 through 6 and 8 or 9


As mentioned above, the rules of when you can double vary based on the game you’re playing. But what doesn’t change is when it’s a good time to exercise this bet. If you have a 9, 10, or 11 and the dealer has less points showing than you, go for it. But if you have a 9, and the dealer has a 10, or if you have an 11 and the dealer is showing an A, hold your chips and play out the hand.

Your HandDouble if Dealers face-up card is:
93 to 6
102 to 9
112 to 10
A and 25, 6
A and 35, 6
A and 4, 54, 5, 6
A and 63 to 6
A and 72 to 6
A and 86


This is a great option when available. If you’re in a situation where you don’t like your card versus what the dealer is showing, there is no shame in surrendering. You’ll get back half your wager and a chance at winning the next hand.


Play all your favourite online Blackjack games on Android or iOS mobile devices. The games are designed to adapt to smaller screens and are touch-friendly. This means that you can drag your chips to the table and then tap on the deal button. All you need is a strong internet or wifi connection to play, and the high-quality graphics and animations will guarantee an enjoyable experience.


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Current players can take advantage of the wide range of promotions available at any of the sites listed on ZA. Several promotions are geared specifically for Table Games, such as online Blackjack. Get the full list of current promotions at the ZA promotions page.


There are two factors that you’ll need to win in online Blackjack. The first to beat the dealer by getting more points (or if the dealer busts - holds more than 21). The second is to make sure that you’re under 21 points. You can win a game with just 4 points, as long as the dealer goes over 21.

Counting cards is not a viable strategy in online Blackjack. Unlike a game using real decks of cards, there’s no sense in tracking which cards have already been used. This is because the decks are shuffled after each hand, and the cards used in the previous hand are irrelevant. ZA has scoured the internet to find top online casinos with a robust Live Dealer section. You can play against live dealers while watching the action in real-time thanks to hundreds of streaming video cameras in the casino. There are multiple Live Dealer Blackjack rooms that are available 24/7 for all real-money players. The technology is provided through some of the most reputed live online blackjack providers like the Playtech Eurolive Platform.

After more than a decade of service, ZA has proven time and again that it is experienced and stays up-to-date with the latest news on the online casino landscape. Whether it's identifying the best Online Blackjack game developers that provide South African punters with the best games available, discovering unbeatable Blackjack bonuses, and finding a casino with a top-tier 24/7 Customer Support Team, ZA goes the extra step to uncover the best online Blackjack Casino.


The rules of online Blackjack are pretty straightforward, but it’s not unusual for South African punters to have questions about the game, rules, side bets, payments, deposits and withdrawals. ZA recommends two ways to get the answers you need:

  • In-Game Help Menu: You can find answers to all game-related questions by clicking on the button that opens the help menu. Here you’ll find sections on betting and odds, side bet rules, payouts, game flow, betting history and more.
  • Customer Support: l  We only endorse online blackjack casino sites with a dedicated Customer Support Team that is available to answer any questions via Live Chat, telephone and email. These are  great options if you have questions about your account, making deposits or withdrawals, technical difficulties and more.


With one of the lowest house edges of all casino games, the time to play online Blackjack for real money is now. Select a blackjack casino that complements your taste, register your account today, make a deposit and see if you have what it takes to beat the house. Whether you’re at your computer or on your mobile device, it’s never a bad time to play a few hands of Blackjack.