Online Blackjack Guide – Understanding 21
December 8, 2019
Known to many as the game of 21, Blackjack has a long and lucrative history as being a casino game to beat all others.
When it comes to understanding how a game works, there’s none quite as simple as Blackjack. The rules are easy to learn, and the game lends itself to hours of entertainment.
While it can be enjoyed while sitting at a table in a land-based casino, the internet has brought this game closer to home thanks to online casinos!
HISTORY OF BLACKJACK
The origin of Blackjack is a hard nut to crack with its roots seeming to reach out to different continents at different times throughout history.
Linked to the French in the 1700s and the Spanish, there’s even a theory that the Romans were the ones to create the game of 21. While it’s hard to say where Blackjack’s story began, it’s safe to say that it spread like wildfire!
Blackjack games have evolved over time and this meant that casinos would even change bets and payouts to draw more attention to the game.
For instance, the game became very popular in Nevada in 1931 when one of the local casinos offered a special bet. The bet would pay out 10 to 1 odds to anyone who was dealt a black Jack card. While this offer was later filtered out, the name stuck and remains until today.
Fast forward many years and Blackjack is no longer restricted to land-based casinos. You can take this table game on the go via your mobile device or play at your favourite online casino with the simple click of a button!
Why Blackjack is called Blackjack?
All across the globe, there are thousands of people who enjoy playing blackjack on a daily basis. And while this centuries-old game is played by the masses, the majority have no idea where the name ‘Blackjack’ came from.
As it is known the original name of the game is Vingt-et-un (French for 21) and it only, later on, became referred to as Blackjack. The reason for the name change is quite interesting, a nice little factoid to share at your next little blackjack gathering.
When the game 21 was first introduced in American gambling halls they needed a way to promote the game to players. So they offered a range of bonus payouts which included one that paid a little extra when a blackjack was dealt along with an ace of spades. The rules determined that the jack dealt had to be a jack of spades or clubs.
The game became one of the most popular games in casinos even after the bonus payouts were removed. And somehow the informal name of blackjack became the one that stuck and now people refer to 21 as blackjack.
CAN BLACKJACK BE PROFITABLE?
Blackjack has been a popular game for over centuries and for a very long time, players in land-based casinos used blackjack as their main stream of income. These players made use of card counting techniques to generate bigger and more frequent winnings from the game. Casinos soon caught on and put a stop to this by changing the table game rules and replacing bad dealers often.
In online casinos, the card counting technique is not really feasible. Apart from this, you’ll also note that most online casinos don’t have frequent bonuses on their table games such as blackjack and that blackjack awards lower comps. For a new online casino player, this would be translated to blackjack being a bad or unprofitable game. When in reality blackjack can actually be one of the most profitable games at the casino.
Online slots and other casino games award higher comps and get bonus rewards attached to encourage players to play and lose more. Blackjack, on the other hand, is considered to be one of the more well-balanced casino games with a low house edge providing a bigger and more ‘realistic’ chance of winning.
The thing with blackjack is that you have to be willing to put in the work to make it a profitable game. It’s a simple game with basic rules and gameplay even with the many variants available online. On that note, it should be said before trying to make any profits from blackjack you should always look for online blackjack variants with better rules. A lot of blackjack variants have strict or less appealing rules which could make it more difficult to gain profit from your gameplay. Always go through the rules of the blackjack variant before placing your bets.
When you play at a casino with a good comp program using a basic blackjack strategy on a blackjack game with good rules you can still earn some profits. In most cases, it’s inadvisable to try and use blackjack as a means or way of making ends meet.
Are Blackjack Side Bets Worth it?
A side bet like the name suggests is an additional bet placed at the beginning of the round when placing your main bet. In Blackjack, there are a number of side bets you can take advantage of which includes 21+3, Perfect Pairs and Insurance.
Each of these side bets offers different payouts and winning odds with some having better value than others. Each online blackjack variant will provide you with different side bets options but there are a few common side bets options available in most variants. One such side bet is the Insurance Bet which most pro blackjack players will tell you is a bet to avoid whether you are a beginner or a pro.
In most cases, the side bets are not great bets to make. Nearly all online blackjack variants come with a low house edge which makes them among the most player-friendly games available online. A key thing to take into consideration is that without the right strategies and techniques the low house edge won’t do you any favours.
And this is part of the reason why most blackjack pros steer clear of side bets. These bets promise big payouts which can blindside you as they also increase the house edge in the games.
Chances of winning with these side bets are so low it is best to steer clear unless you are confident in using a certain side bet. The side bets available aren’t all bad, in fact, they can be helpful but again these must be used in moderation and only when really necessary and advantageous to certain gameplay techniques.
When playing online blackjack games online side bets can be placed by putting your chips in the specific side bet box after placing your chips in the main bet box.
Types of Side Bets
21 + 3 – This side bet is when a wager is placed on your first two cards and the dealer’s face-up card. The wager is generally to say that the outcome of these cards will result in a Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind or Straight Flush.
Flush – This is a 21+3 type side bet with the lowest payout and odds of 5:1. A Flush is when you get three cards of the same suit.
Straight – A straight is when you get a three-card combination e.g. 3, 4 and 5. In this bet, only the numbers are taken into account and the odds are double that of a standard flush (10:1).
3 of a Kind – This is when you place a wager betting the dealer’s face-up card and your first two cards will be of the same rank. So, for example, all initial cards will be kings or 7s. Any successful 3 of a kind bet will award a 30:1 payout.
Straight Flush – When you bet on three cards of the same suit and in numerical order. So for example 4, 5 and 6 of hearts. Odds for a Straight Flush is 40:1.
Perfect Pairs – When your first two cards are of the same suit, colour or numbers. These are generally different bets (Mixed Pair, Coloured, Perfect Pair) each awarding different payouts. Getting a Perfect Pair e.g. two cards of the same suit and value you will receive a payout of 30:1.
Insurance – This is a very common side bet that is found in most online blackjack variants and provided as a way for players to ‘protect’ themselves against the dealer. However, pro players suggest refraining from using this bet if you’re not used to the game. The Insurance bet can only be used when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. When playing online an option to place an insurance bet will appear online if not already available.
HOW BLACKJACK IS PLAYED
Played with up to 8 standard 52-card decks, it doesn’t matter how many players are seated at a virtual casino table. Whether there are 10 players or only one, the game takes place between the dealer and the player placing the bet.
To get started, a bet must be placed by the player. Once this is done, 2 cards will be dealt to the player and the dealer. The player’s card will be face up while the dealer’s cards will be one face up and one face down.
The aim of the game is to reach 21 points without busting. In order to tally these points, the cards and their values must be counted. All face cards are worth 10 points, while all numbered cards are worth their printed value.
An Ace can either be worth 11 points or worth 1 point depending on how many points you need to continue on your quest for the lucky 21.
If the cards you’re dealt automatically tally 21 points – that’s a Blackjack! The payout odds for this hand are great but they can vary based on game provider.
Blackjacks usually equal an automatic win. Unless the dealer also has a Blackjack, in which case the player will push.
Insurance is also an option when playing Blackjack online. If the dealer has an Ace card showing, they can offer players insurance which cost half of their original bet. In the chance that the dealer is dealt a Blackjack, players who take the insurance will often come out even on the other side.
How Blackjack betting works
The rules of blackjack are quite simple which is what makes this card game so popular among many players. The aim is to get a hand as close to 21 without going over as that is considered a bust. When playing online blackjack or live blackjack at an online casino you will be playing against the dealer or casino. Your objective is to get as close to 21 or 21 on the dot without going over while simultaneously getting a hand higher than that of the dealer.
When playing blackjack the suits of the cards have no value, each card has a number value including the royals that each count for 10. An Ace can be given the value of 11 or 1 depending on your hand. If you have a 9 it would be more beneficial to give the Ace the value of 11 pushing your hand value to 19. An ace can be a determining factor of whether you get a hard or soft blackjack. It gives you a bit of moving space and breathing room as you get to choose the value of the card. A soft hand, in essence, is a hand that cannot be busted by taking one hit.
In blackjack, the table is in the shape of a half-moon or semi-circle and the dealer will be standing on the straight side. You and other players will get to sit or stand around the arc of the circle which when playing online is not really relevant but always a nice to know. Each blackjack variant will have its own betting limits and come with different minimum and maximum betting limits. All you have to do is select the variant you want to play, choose your bet amount and the game will start.
HOW ONLINE BLACKJACK TOURNAMENTS WORK
As online casino technology continues to advance players are given more ways to enjoy their favourite casino games. And one of the best ways to enjoy Blackjack in 2020 is via Online Blackjack Tournaments. Poker tournaments used to get all the buzz but nowadays it seems that many have taken a shine to Blackjack tournaments. Partly due to the simple rules of the game and safer betting options.
An online blackjack tournament is basically an online competition played between you, the dealer and other online blackjack players. In most cases, instant play games are used meaning there is no need to download software and you can play straight from your desktop or mobile browser.
Before taking part in an online blackjack tournament you need to understand what they are and entail. The tournaments are generally hosted by the casino and there are two ways to compete in a blackjack tournament. The first is with multiple players around a table competing in multiple game rounds. When competing in a multi-round online blackjack tournament only the players who win the most money will get to advance to the next round of the tournament. This will continue until there is only one player left in the tournament.
Then there is the second tournament type where you play against the dealer run by the computer software. This is generally a number of one-off games where you earn points based on your wins and these help you progress up the tournament leaderboard.
In these tournaments, you can play as many games as you like to increase your position on the leaderboard. And at the end of the tournament, only a certain amount of players at the top of the leaderboard will be awarded tournament prizes based on their rank. These are generally referred to as leaderboard tournaments and don’t require any human interaction. In fact, these leaderboard tournaments have become quite popular in online casinos especially with online slots and other table games too.
Online blackjack tournaments are not as popular or common as online slots tournaments but you can find them at the top-rated online casinos. It’s important to look for an online casino with a large table game and live dealer offering prone to hosting tournaments and promotions on these games.
WHERE TO PLAY BLACKJACK ONLINE
Blackjack might have started as a simple ruled table game but as the online casino industry has advanced the game has changed. When entering any licensed online casino you will find many different variants of the game. Each variant will follow the same basic rules but offer different side bets and extras, some will even have a surprise twist or two often enjoyed by pro players looking for something new.
When attempting to play blackjack online make sure you play at a trusted online casino and look for a blackjack version with good rules. Most online blackjack variants have a low house edge but remember side bets and bad rules can quickly tip the scales in the casino’s favour.
Find an online casino that has many blackjack variants from industry-leading software providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming and Evolution Gaming. To ensure the casino games are trusted and provide a fair and random outcome.
When choosing your casino make sure it is a trusted and secure Blackjack casino with a great reputation and the right security measure in place. When doing this you can be assured of a superb online blackjack experience.