Net Entertainment Blackjack

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NetEnt blackjack games are online table games produced by Net Entertainment. NetEnt, as they're known in the industry, is a Swedish gaming design company that built a reputation in the land-based casino business before releasing one of the Web's first online casinos in 1996. These days, NetEnt is headquartered in both Sweden and Malta, and is licensed mainly by the Malta Gaming Authority.

Though they're a Scandinavian company, NetEnt's gaming software has an international flavor. Gamblers can choose from fifteen world currencies, playing games that are available in two dozen world languages. The company has been publicly-traded on the Stockholm Exchange since 2007. NetEnt has a great reputation among gamblers and reviewers alike, who recognize the company's concentration on high-quality visuals and games with high replay value. To date, their library includes more than 200 slots, table games, and other casino classics.

This page focuses on NetEnt blackjack variations, including details like house edge figures for each game and ideal strategy.

Games Available

Blackjack is an ideal game for designers looking to create new variants. The game's rules include plentiful opportunities for variation. Designers have responded in kind, creating mini-blackjack games, games with live dealers, and blackjack variants with different arrangements of rules and newly-available side wagers. Often, designers have gone too far, producing games with deluxe graphics or other special effects, or games with a special interface using 3D graphics or some other gimmick.

We think NetEnt hasn't gone quite far enough. The company now hosts five blackjack variants, half of which aren't different enough from the rest of the pack to really warrant their own title.

Here's a list of the blackjack games available via NetEnt's online casino software:

  • Blackjack
  • Blackjack Pro
  • Classic Blackjack
  • Double Exposure Blackjack
  • Pontoon

Each game is available from NetEnt with three wager-size arrangements:

1Low: $0.10 - $5
2Medium: $1 - $40
3High: $25 - $500

This is a nice feature that NetEnt provides that we haven't seen from any other designer. It looks to us like the goal here was to cater to low-rollers, since only the "high" arrangement looks anything like the wager ranges found on other online blackjack games.

The best NetEnt blackjack game in terms of house edge is Pontoon, which gives the house an edge of just 0.38%. The house edge for three NetEnt blackjack variants are the same –Blackjack, Blackjack Pro, and Classic Blackjack all offer a house edge of 0.44%. That's just about average for a Web-based blackjack games. The worst game in terms of odds is Double Exposure Blackjack, which gives the casino a hefty 1% built-in edge against you.

Here's a guide to each of NetEnt's five blackjack variants:

Blackjack

Blackjack is NetEnt's standard Vegas-style variant. NetEnt's basic blackjack game uses four decks, instead of the standard six. The dealer stands on a soft 17 and peeks for blackjack. The player is allowed to double on any two cards, and doubles are allowed after splitting. Like most Vegas-style games, there is no surrender rule. The rules of this basic variant apply to two of NetEnt's other four blackjack games, so once you become familiar with it, you'll be a NetEnt blackjack master.

Blackjack Pro

This is a totally unnecessary "professional" version of the company's standard blackjack game, which differs from the standard version only in presentation. It uses slightly-nicer graphics in a slightly-different layout.

Classic Blackjack

Classic Blackjack is the other blackjack clone that is no different from the company's standard edition except in totally cosmetic ways. Many NetEnt casinos don't host this variant.

Double Exposure Blackjack

NetEnt's Double Exposure Blackjack is a gimmicky game that happens to have the highest house edge of any in NetEnt's blackjack library. In this game, both of the dealer's cards are fully exposed. In exchange for that advantage, all ties are considered player losses, and the payout for all winning blackjacks is just 1:1. Players can double on 9 through 11 only, and no re-splits are allowed. The house edge of 1% is way above average, even for an online blackjack variant.

Pontoon

The best NetEnt blackjack game in terms of odds, Pontoon is a popular game variant in Europe that's not found often in North America. In Pontoon, all blackjacks and five-card hands pay 2 to 1, and there's a special ranking system of card hands. To balance out the edge a bit, all ties are player losses, and the dealer doesn't expose a card. In NetEnt's version, the dealer hits on a soft 17, and the player is allowed to draw and re-split after splitting aces.

NetEnt Casinos

Mr Green Casino Logo Mr Green Casino

Mr. Green Casino was once exclusive to the Swedish market, but is now a major player in both the European and Canadian online gambling industries. Mr. Green's library includes NetEnt titles, but also BetSoft games and titles from a host of other popular online game designers. You'll find nine blackjack variants in their library, including all five NetEnt blackjack variants. Mr. Green offers new members a welcome bonus worth up to $350 at a variable match rate.

888 Casino Logo 888 Casino

888 Casino is an historic property powered in part by NetEnt games. Launched as Casino-On-Net in 1997, the site now called 888 Casino was the godfather of all modern Web-based casinos. 888 offers new members a 100% deposit match as a welcome bonus, capped at $3,000. The site hosts five blackjack variants in their library, though only a couple of them are produced by NetEnt.

Odds Maker Casino Logo Oddsmaker.ag

We wanted to include Oddsmaker.ag as an example of a site that hosts NetEnt games but isn't all that reputable. The site looks good at first, with a varied library of top online games from companies like NetEntertainment and BetSoft. It's only when you start to research their reputation that you find out they've been accused of ripping off their customers. Read our full review for further details on this rogue operator of NetEnt blackjack and other games.

Strategy Tips for Playing NetEnt Blackjack

Our best advice to online blackjack players is to concentrate on two things: managing your money and selecting the game with the best odds.

Money management is a complex topic, but basically, the goal is to take steps to prevent yourself from gambling with money you shouldn't gamble with. The variety of budgeting tactics available online is astounding, but basically, as long as you set a budget and stick to it, you'll enjoy your time spent playing online blackjack. Whether you set a unit bet size by dividing your total bankroll into one percent units, or just set a win and loss maximum, so long as you're thinking about the bets you're placing, you'll stay a step ahead of your wagers.

As far as selecting the game with the best odds, the choice at NetEnt casinos is clear. Their Pontoon game gives the house the smallest edge. In order to enjoy that low-cost gambling, you'll need to follow basic game strategy. Luckily, people much smarter than us have worked out ideal Pontoon game strategy, even taking NetEnt's own special rules into account.

Please Note
Strategy for Pontoon is a bit different from strategy for blackjack. That's because, under Pontoon's rules, the dealer doesn't show any cards. Instead, the dealer checks for a Pontoon (what Pontoon dealers call a blackjack), and if he doesn't have one, play continues. Because a five-card hand outranks even a pontoon, you'll often be working to form a five-card hand even more than a point total of 21.

If you're used to playing blackjack, make sure you give this set of strategy tips the once-over, because it's vastly different from what you're used to reading.

Hard Hands
  • With a hard total of 4-7, always take a hit.
  • With a hard total of 8, take a hit if you hold two or three cards, but double down if you hold four.
  • With a hard total of 9, take a hit if you hold two cards, but double down if you hold three or four.
  • With a hard total of 10 or 11, always double down.
  • With a hard total of 12, 13, or 14, take a hit if you hold two or three cards, but double down if you hold four.
  • With a hard total of 15 or 16, stand if you hold two or three cards, but double down if you hold four.
  • With a hard total of 17, stand if you hold two or three cards, but take a hit if you hold four cards.
  • With a hard total of 18-21, always stand.
Splitting Pairs
  • When holding a pair of Aces or 8s, always split.
  • When holding A, 2 through A, 7, always hit.
  • When holding A, 8 through A, 10, always stand.

About NetEnt

A little history on NetEnt – they were founded in the 70s to provide games to a land-based Swedish casino chain called Cherry. When the laws in Sweden changed, and slot machines were banned, the company known today as NetEntertainment was forced to move their business elsewhere. The group moved to Eastern Europe to provide games for the wide-open Polish and Czech markets, where they stayed for the better part of two decades.

NetEnt's founder, Pontus Lindwall, saw the coming Internet boom as an opportunity to re-enter the larger European marketplace, and used his old connections through Cherry to land a couple of major investors, who spent something like 9 million Euros creating the company's first online gambling presence.

Though NetEntertainment hosts five blackjack variants in its library, the company's strength lies in slot machines. At last count, more than 120 NetEnt slots were available at dozens of Web-based casinos around the world. NetEnt's slots are among the best-looking games on the market, with cinematic visual and audio effects, plentiful licensed themes, in-depth plots, and an overall air of quality to them.

Most of NetEnt's blackjack variants have a typical betting range, with $1 minimums and $500 max bets. Some variants at some NetEnt-powered casinos allow micro-wagers of as little as $0.10, with maximums of $5. These figures can change from casino to casino, so double-check them at the NetEnt-powered casino you've chosen before you launch a game.

NetEntertainment does gamblers a favor by including an info button on every single title. Some NetEnt games post this info button as a question mark symbol. When you click it, you'll read a well-written and concise explanation of the game's rules, as well as any available payout percentage information. Note that some games don't have posted return percentages. Lots of designers include this feature on their slots, and some even include a help section on table games, but none are as well-presented or useful as NetEnt's version.

NetEnt casino signup bonuses are on the conservative side, though of course you can find a few outliers offering welcome bonuses worth up to four or five thousand bucks. The nice thing about relatively-low bonus amounts (most of the top-reviewed NetEnt casinos offer a 100% match bonus worth up to $100 or $200) is that they're easy to earn and they tend to have lower rollover and wagering requirements than the bonuses that promise sexier numbers. As a player, you should be more excited about the prospects of a 100% signup bonus that helps you earn a quick $40 or $50 than a 200% bonus worth up to $4,000 that has a 50x rollover requirement. If you approach the bonus as a wager, you're more likely to clear bonus cash with the simpler offer.

Conclusion

Read enough reviews of Net Entertainment and the games they produce, and you'll read over and over again how the company cares more about their end-user experience than most other online game designers. It rings true – they produce good-looking and responsive versions of casino classics, in a decent variety, at a number of online casinos.

There's something to be said for the fact that most of their member casinos provide welcome bonuses and other offers that are attainable to the average player. It may be easier to market a huge bonus, but the play-through requirement will be so high that your users won't actually be able to earn anything. The fact that NetEnt provides reasonable bonuses is yet another sign that they care about their end-product.

One thing that may be holding NetEnt back as a design firm is the small size of their library.

Their competitors, RTG and Microgaming in particular, boast more than 1,000 games. While it's true that those two libraries are over-stuffed with repetitive games, and that most of their slots and table games don't come close to the quality of NetEnt, players do like variety. If they would double their library, it would be a force to reckon with.

Net Entertainment is one of the best designers working in the gambling industry today. If you're a fan of slots, NetEnt has been blowing their competition out of the water in that area for a decade. If you like responsive and attractive table games in a decent variety, check out a NetEnt casino. It's not the flashiest arrangement of blackjack variants in history, but it more than gets the job done.

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