How to Get Started With Online Blackjack

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Online blackjack creates the kind of casino excitement that you might be craving on any connected device you have in your possession. You can play for real money with the kind of favorable odds that many casino games can’t claim to have. Read all about how to get started with online blackjack.

There is no shortage of online gambling available to you. Top gambling websites offer many of the casino games that people have come to know and love. And they do so with the prospect of paying out actual money to players, just as if you were in the casino.

For those looking to get started with an online gambling option that is easy to play, popular and potentially lucrative, it’s hard to beat online blackjack. If you’ve ever walked into a casino, you know that one of the busiest areas is always around the blackjack tables. And the good news is that you don’t really miss out on anything when playing the game online, other than noise and distractions.

With that in mind, we’re here to show you how to get started with online blackjack. We’ll show you how to set up your account at a gambling website and start playing. From there, we’ll teach you all the rules of online blackjack so that you can begin playing and winning right away.

Getting Started

Whether you know how to play the game and have done so in casinos or informally, or if you’ve never tried it before, blackjack can be the perfect online gambling option. It’s one of the few games where you can legitimately hope to be nearly on even terms with the house, which, in this case, is the site offering the game. And the strategic aspect of it allows players who make the right decisions to improve their chances of winning.

Yet you might be one of many who is a little hesitant to get started with online blackjack. Perhaps it’s because you aren’t sure how to get rolling with online gambling in general. It can be a little intimidating if you’re nervous about the technological aspect of it.

Or you could be worried about the actual game play. After all, if you’re going to play for real money, you should have a good feel for how everything works. And it wouldn’t hurt to have at least a little bit of a background in online blackjack strategy.

With that in mind, let’s take a step-by-step walk through the process. By the end of it, you could be playing online blackjack with confidence.

Choosing a Gambling Website

There are hundreds of different websites which offer gambling for real money. Many of these will also allow you the chance to play online blackjack.

The key is finding the ones that are most beneficial to you. Here are some of the things you should be seeking:

  • Excellent customer service
  • A variety of funding options
  • Great variety of bets available
  • Mobile betting options
  • Reliable deposit and withdrawal processes
  • Aggressive bonuses offered to bettors

Setting up to Play

Once you’ve chosen a site with which you feel comfortable, it’s a really simple process to begin playing online blackjack. You just need to fund your account and allot some money for your online blackjack action, like creating a bankroll if you were playing in the casino.

In addition, you might need to download software to play the game. You might also be able to use a browser in some cases. Some sites might even let you play on an app, which can be useful if you want to play when you’re away from your computer.

That should get you all set up to play the game. From there, you just have to learn the rules of blackjack.

The Rules of Blackjack

First of all, it’s important to realize that, while the general rules of online blackjack are the same no matter where you play, there are little differences in specific rules that you might encounter from site to site. For the sake of learning how to play, however, we are going to give you the rules based on the most common format of the game.

You might hear someone say that the object of blackjack is to get as close as you can to 21 without going over. But, in actuality, the object is to beat the dealer. If you think about it in those terms, it will help you understand online blackjack strategy much better.

Here are the three ways you can win a hand of blackjack:

  • Get 21 on two cards dealt to you on a hand where the dealer does not have 21 on two cards. This is known as a blackjack, and pays you back at odds of 3 to 2.
  • Do not go over 21 with your cards but still have them be worth more than the dealer’s cards. This pays you back the amount of your bet.
  • Do not go over 21 and have the dealer go over 21. This pays you back the amount of your bet.

If you and the dealer both get 21 on two cards or end up with hands of the same value without going over 21, that’s called a push. With a push, you simply get your bet back.

Card Values In Online Blackjack

  • 2 = 2
  • 3 = 3
  • 4 = 4
  • 5 = 5
  • 6 = 6
  • 7 = 7
  • 8 = 8
  • 9 = 9
  • 10 =10
  • Jack = 10
  • Queen = 10
  • King = 10
  • Ace = 1 or 11

With the ace, you get to choose the value. You’ll choose the value which is most beneficial to that specific hand.

Playing a Hand

The first step to playing a hand at an online blackjack casino is to make a wager. How much you can bet, in terms of minimum or maximum, will depend upon the site’s specifications.

Once you do that. You’ll see two cards on your screen, which will be face-up so you can see what the cards are.

The dealer will also receive two cards. One will be face-up and the other face-down.

If you’re playing an online game with other players at the table, they’ll also receive two cards each face-up. Keep in mind that you are never playing against other players. The only hands that matter to you are yours and the dealer’s.

You’ll add up the value of the two cards that you received. For example, if you get a jack and a three, your hand’s value at that time is 13 (10 + 3.)

From there, based on your hand and what the dealer has, you have the following choices in terms of how to play your hand:

  • Hit: You get another card added to your hand and its value will be added to what you already have. Keep in mind that you can hit more than once. But if you hit and the value of your hand goes over 21, you lose the hand no matter what happens with the dealer.
  • Stand: You decide that you don’t want any more cards and are happy with what you have. Once you stand, your hand is complete.
  • Double: You can double after your first two cards only and can do so by adding another bet the size of your first one. Once you double, you are generally allowed to hit one more card and then you must stand. Doubling allows you take advantage of a scenario where you get an advantageous deal compared to what the dealer has showing.
  • Split: Splitting requires you, like doubling, to make a second bet the same size as your first. You can only split when the two cards you were dealt have the same value, like a pair of 8s, or a 10 and a jack. When you split, the two cards you received will each becoming the starting card for a separate hand, meaning you’ll be playing two hands at once.
  • Insurance: You can only get insurance when the dealer has an ace showing. Before the dealer checks for blackjack in that situation, you’ll have an opportunity to place a side bet on whether or not the dealer has blackjack. The insurance bet can only be half of your original wager and pays off 2 to 1 if the dealer does have blackjack.
  • Surrender: You can surrender your hand after the deal if you think that the dealer has a prohibitive edge on you. Once you surrender, half of your original bet is returned to you, and you lose the other half. Surrendering a hand lets you cut your losses in disadvantageous situations.

What the Dealer Can Do

If you should somehow bust on your hand by going over 21, the dealer need only show the hidden card. There’s no need for them to play out the hand, unless there are other players at the online blackjack table still alive in the hand.

Assuming that you don’t bust and your actions are finished, the dealer then plays out their hand. Unlike the player, the dealer has no freedom of choice in terms of how to play the hand. They must act strictly according to the math of the situation:

  • If the dealer has less than 17, they must hit until they reach 17 or bust.
  • Once the dealer has 17 or more, they must stand.

Dealer’s don’t have the option for doubling, splitting, insurance or surrender. It’s either hit or stand.

The Dealer’s Edge

It might seem based on that description that the dealer is hamstrung and the player would have an advantage in online blackjack. But that’s not the case, and it’s because of the way the hand is played out.

First of all, the dealer only is showing one card. That makes the player have to guess at what the hidden card might be. You have to play out their hand without knowing what the dealer actually has.

Second, the dealer gets to play last. The player runs the risk of busting before the dealer does. Having the hammer, so to speak, the dealer gets an advantage.

Learning Strategy for Online Blackjack

Ideally, you could wait on playing online blackjack for real money until you have learned some basic strategy for the game. You should basically know the correct plays for every deal that you receive compared to what the dealer is holding.

How can you do that? Well, there are two popular ways: Strategy lists and strategy charts.

Strategy lists are basically lists of rules for what to do in every possible online blackjack situation. These can be generalized to the point where you might have a list with ten of fewer items capturing every possible blackjack scenario. There are others that get much more involved.

For Example:

An online blackjack strategy list might have an entry on it that says something like “Always split aces and eights.” That will let you know that, when you get a deal of ace-ace or eight-eight, you should split.

Strategy charts provide the same information but they do it different in terms of visuals. Each strategy chart has rows made up of possible deals or card values that the player has and columns based on what the dealer has. When you match up the row with the column, you can find out what to do in any situation.

For example, here is what a portion of one of those charts might look like:

Your Hand Dealer Card: 2 Dealer Card: 3 Dealer Card: 4
Hard 12 Hit Hit Stand
Hard 13 Stand Stand Stand
Hard 14 Stand Stand Stand

Imagine that you’re sitting with a hard 12 (by “hard,” we mean there’s no ace in hand) and the dealer has a 3. According to this chart, the correct play is to hit. A full chart would encompass every situation.

How Learning Strategy Affects the Odds

Strategy charts and lists are based on computer programs that have played out every possible online blackjack scenario over and over again. After analyzing the results, they can say with some degree of certainty what the right play is for you no matter the situation.

If you don’t make that right play, you’ll be hurting your chances of winning. How much?

Well, using basic strategy, you can hope to earn somewhere around 99.6 percent payback. That means that, if you started with a hypothetical bankroll of $1,000, you’d end up with about $996 of it remaining after all of it has been bet. You’d be looking at just a $4 dollar loss.

Those kinds of results are enviable, because such small losses might be overcome by taking advantage of bonuses and rewards offered by top gambling sites. When you factor these in, you could actually make a profit when playing the game, eliminating the house edge in the process.

But making the wrong choices will bring your payback percentage down. For example, one common strategy used by beginners who don’t know better is to assume that the dealer has a value of ten with their hidden card.

This strategy is poor because the dealer’s chance of having a card with a value of ten as their hidden card sits at just 30 percent. If you play blackjack in this manner, your expected payback could drop by around 10 percent or so.

Obviously, you want to avoid doing anything to hurt your chance of winning. That’s why you should get on board with proper strategy before starting online blackjack play.

Online Blackjack Rules Variations

The importance of specific rule changes within each online blackjack game is involved enough to require its own articles. For now, just be aware of some of these possible variations as you seek out the online blackjack most beneficial to you:

  • Dealer with soft 17: Most online blackjack games require that the dealer stand on a “soft” 17, which is one with an ace that is valued at 11. If the dealer can hit in this scenario, it hurts the player.
  • Blackjack payback: The standard payback for blackjack is 3 to 2. However, there are some online casinos which will drop this to 6 to 5 or lower, hurting the player’s payback.
  • Splitting and doubling restrictions: Some online casinos will keep you from splitting more than once. Others won’t let you double except with certain cards. The freer you are to split and double, the better it is for you as a player.
  • Surrender. Some online casinos don’t allow surrender as an option for the player (good for the dealer.) Others might go the other direction and offer the player a chance at “early” surrender (good for the player.)
  • Live dealer vs. automatic dealer: Live dealer online blackjack features less frequent reshuffling than an automatic dealer game does. That opens the door to possible card counting, an advanced strategic technique to help players.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has given you the foundation to learn how to get started with online blackjack. Stay tuned in future weeks as we dig deeper into this exciting game and all its nooks and crannies.

Jim Beviglia

Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog. For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...

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