The use of mobile devices has become insidious and ubiquitous. You can't even drive down the highway without seeing other drivers hard at work doing SOMETHING on their cell phones. Maybe they're even playing mobile blackjack, but who knows?
This method of playing online 21 games is growing in popularity all the time, too. Most Internet casinos offer specially designed versions of their most popular games as apps that you can use on any kind of mobile device, from cell phones to tablet computers.
The first step to signing up for a mobile blackjack app is to look at the tech specs for the casino. Not all casino apps are compatible with all mobile devices. It would be a shame to invest a lot of time and effort into signing up for an online casino only to learn that it won't work with your device.
Mobile compatible casino games come in 2 variations:
An instant play game is one that you play in your browser window. You don't need to download an app in order to play this kind of game, and instant play blackjack games are typically compatible with any kind of mobile device.
Downloadable apps often offer better functionality, graphics, and sound effects. The play is usually smoother, too, even though you have to wait for the website to respond.
Here are some different platforms with mobile blackjack apps:
This is probably where most of our customers are going to get their blackjack game on. That's because this is the most commonly used operating system in the market. Online casinos which offer actual apps you can download are more likely to offer something compatible with Android than anything else. Of course, Android devices are also perfect for instant play games.
The extraordinary graphics available through these Apple products come with a cost. You'll find fewer apps, especially casino apps, aimed at users of these devices. That being said, iPads and iPhones are more common than Mac computers—a few years ago, Mac gamblers had real issues being able to play.
Windows is still ubiquitous on desktop and laptop computers, but mobile devices powered by the Windows operating system aren't quite as common. Still, you can find casinos which offer blackjack apps that are specifically compatible with Windows. Like the other options on this list, you can use instant play blackjack at most Windows devices, too.
This is Amazon's tablet, which actually used to be an e-reader. Being really specific here, we want to point out that the Kindle brand name has now been reserved for its e-readers. The Kindle Fire tablet computer is now properly called just a "Fire". Several online casinos are happy to cater to this market with Kindle blackjack apps, too.
This is the mobile device that we're least familiar with, because it's also the newest. The idea is to combine a cell phone/PDA/table computer type functionality with a wristwatch. We're not convinced that this will catch on. You won't find as many choices for Smartwatch blackjack apps.
Operating Systems and Software Details
It's not so much the type of device you use that affects which apps are available to you as it is the operating system. Most operating systems, though, are tied to a specific device. For example, iOS is used on Apple products like the iPad and the iPhone. Depending on the casino, you're probably going to be needing one of the newer versions of that operating system in order to download the app.
Other operating systems include Android and Windows Mobile. Android is probably the most popular, and it's actually a Google product. That's why you can find Android compatible apps in the Google Play store. You have to go to the Apple store to get apps compatible with iOS.
Of course, you can find blackjack apps right on the casino sites. In fact, if you want to play for real money, that's probably what you're going to have to do. Both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store have restrictions on apps that enable Internet gambling.
How to Play Blackjack on a Mobile App
Playing blackjack on a mobile app is similar in most ways to playing blackjack at an online casino via any other device. You're still dealing with a video game version of the card game, but the random number generator duplicates the odds you would see if you were playing with a real deck of cards. This is true of both the apps that you download and of the instant play games in your browser.
For the most part, your options at each stage of the game will be represented by an icon on the touchscreen. You have all the same options you'd have in any other blackjack game:
You even use the touchscreen to set the size of your bet and to initiate the hand.
Can You Play for Free? Can You Play for Real Money?
It's a standard marketing practice at all online casinos to offer their games for free to potential customers. So yes, you can play free mobile blackjack. The site gives you a bogus account with bogus credits that have no cash value. The rest of the game plays just like it would if you were playing for real money. We like to compare it to playing Monopoly. You don't have any real money on the line when you're playing a free game.
Some readers might question why anyone would want to bother playing any kind of free gambling game. We understand that question. But there are actually quite a few reasonable uses for such a game:
- You can practice basic strategy.
- You can learn how the controls work before risking any real money.
- You can evaluate whether or not you'll enjoy playing for real money at that particular casino.
You can also find apps that aren't necessarily powered by online casinos at all. These apps ONLY offer free games. Other than as a tool to practice counting cards or basic strategy, we don't see a lot of value in that kind of free blackjack game.
If you want to play for real money, you can do that, too. A lot of online casinos operate overseas and still accept United States players, but not all of them. You should make sure the casino you're interested in actually accepts real money players from the United States before deciding to download their app.
You also have to register and account at a real money casino, even if you're going to play exclusively via their app. That's easy enough to do. You just input your name, address, phone number, and some other particular concerning your identity. Then you can just deposit money into your account and start playing blackjack.
Mobile blackjack players have the same deposit and withdrawal options as any other player at an online casino. Most gamblers just use a credit card to fund their casino account, but that's next to impossible in some jurisdictions. For those players, an online wallet of some kind might make a lot of sense. BitCoin, in fact, is becoming increasingly popular with online casino gamblers.
The signup bonuses for players of mobile blackjack are also the same as they would be for the desktop version of the casino. The same kinds of restrictions apply, though, which usually means that wagers on blackjack don't count toward your wagering requirements when you're trying to clear your bonus.
Even at casinos which count blackjack wagers toward your playthrough, they often only count a tiny percentage of your play. Sometimes this is as low as 5% or 10% depending on the game—the better blackjack games—by which we mean the ones with the lowest house edge—count less toward your wagering requirements.
Should You Download a Mobile Blackjack Game?
We think that adults ought to be able to do what they want to with their money as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. That's why we think that gambling laws in the United States which try to forbid gambling for real money on the Internet are an example of the government overstepping its bounds. After all, most states offer a lottery of some kind. So they're not totally opposed to gambling—just gambling that they're not making a profit from.
That being said, the laws related to online blackjack vary from one jurisdiction to another. We don't know of any jurisdictions which have laws related specifically to the game of 21, though. We also don't know of any jurisdictions which have laws related specifically to using mobile devices, either.
But we do know that many jurisdictions have restrictions on the kinds of gambling that can be done. Many times wagers made across the Internet are illegal.
But you should be aware of any potential risks before we make a recommendation about whether or not you should play. Your risk tolerance is something only you can decide.
Of course, mobile blackjack is more convenient than almost any other version of the game. This is both a plus and a minus. Convenience is great unless you're a gambling addict or something. If that IS the case, you want to be careful of how convenient you make your gambling. Total abstinence from gambling is probably your best bet in that case.
One other concern online gamblers have to deal with is whether or not their chosen casino and its app are roguish or not.
A rogue casino isn't necessarily one that cheats at the games. Blackjack already has a mathematical edge against the player in favor of the casino, so cheating isn't really necessary. All the casino has to do is keep playing, and eventually they'll win all a player's money.
But that's a long run perspective. In the short term, players can and do win money—sometimes a lot of it. In those cases, a player might want to cash out his winnings. This is where the integrity of the casino comes into play.
An honest, trustworthy site processes withdrawals in a timely manner. But some rogue casinos delay withdrawals for spurious reasons. Some players report never being able to withdraw their winnings.
Stick with recommendations from trustworthy gambling information portals like the one you're reading right now. We've spent a lot of time investigating the reputations of the sites we recommend here. We're confident that none of the casinos we recommend will cheat you.
That being said, we can't guarantee anything. The Internet is a dynamic place. Websites change ownership and management. A casino that was trustworthy yesterday might have a change of heart tomorrow. Your best bet is to only gamble with money you can afford to lose.
Also, the functionality of mobile blackjack apps doesn't always compare favorably to the desktop software. There's just less computing power to go around, so that makes a difference.
Mobile blackjack apps are a boon for players who are in a hurry and/or on the go all the time. Probably at least 50%, maybe more, of the people who are surfing the Internet are doing so from a mobile device of some sort. It would be foolish of such people to not at least consider playing 21 games via their tablet computer or cell phone.
The only people who should actively avoid these types of apps are people who are concerned with the legal risks, people who have no disposable income for this kind of entertainment, and people who lack normal impulse control. Gambling addiction isn't funny, and you shouldn't make it easy to ruin your life by downloading a casino app.
But if you can keep it firmly in the entertainment category, gambling on mobile blackjack apps can be a lot of fun.