Mastering Blackjack: Your Ultimate Guide to Playing and Winning in Online Casinos

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Not many card games are enjoyed as much worldwide as blackjack. According to historians, the game was mentioned for the first time in Cervantes' masterpiece, Don Quixote, in the 16th century. However, according to a French card historian, the game appeared in France during the 17th century, where it was called "vingt-un" (twenty one).

In modern times, blackjack games entered pop culture via movies, books and mathematical models for counting cards on single deck blackjack games. Those who play blackjack online know that it's not so easy to count cards now. Still, you can hone your blackjack strategy to improve your chances when playing in a real casino.

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Here's an updated guide on acing an online blackjack game on a platform like Stake.

Blackjack Rules

Gamblers of all risk appetites and levels of expertise love blackjack games. Beginners and high-rollers prefer blackjack because it has a slim house edge. Although you'll need some luck to win real money, your knowledge of the game and its strategies will be vital if you want to beat the dealer.

Luckily, the basic rules of black jack are pretty straightforward. The players' main goal is to beat the dealer, summing up as close as possible to 21 points with a pair of cards. Face cards are worth 10 points each. Aces can be worth either 11 points or one point, while the rest of the deck is worth its face value. Your blackjack hand must be higher than the dealer's, but going above 21 points results in an automatic loss; you "bust."

The classic black jack game uses only one deck of cards. However, increasingly efficient card counting techniques forced modern casinos, both online and land-based, to add more decks. American casino companies, mostly from Las Vegas, went to court for the right to add more decks in the rules since card counting was an unfair advantage for players. Nowadays, the number of decks may vary across online casinos.

It doesn't matter whether you use one or more decks, though, as the basic rules remain the same. Here's how a regular blackjack game looks.

You'll have to place a blind bet before getting your two cards. Betting limits may vary depending on the blackjack table, but this information will be clearly visible on your screen.

All players are dealt face-up cards, and you'll have to decide whether to hit or stand. If you want more cards, you must choose "hit"; otherwise, you must choose "stand." If you receive the same cards, you can choose to split the game or double down your bet at this point. If you think your hand doesn't stand a chance to win, you can also surrender and quit the round. However, not every online casino offers this option.

Once all bets have been placed, it's time to see the dealer's hand. After revealing their two cards, dealers can choose between hit and stand.

The winner will have the highest score unless someone reaches 21 points.

Blackjack Strategy 101

Card-counting techniques can no longer outsmart modern blackjack games. This means there isn't a silver bullet to ensure your success. Yet, if you're lucky enough, a few basic techniques can shift the blackjack table in your favour. For instance, it's safe to assume that the dealer has a 10-point card facing down and plan your next moves based on what you can see.

If you have something between 12 and 16 points in your hand, and the dealer blackjack has a 7, it means the dealer probably has the upper hand. It's when you should hit and get more cards. However, if your cards have a combined value of 17 points or more, it's advisable to stand, as you'll probably bust otherwise. If the dealer hits a nine face-up card, it's time to double down, but only on a 10 or 11. As a rule of thumb, pairs of aces and 8s are better split, although it's usually a mistake to split 10s.

How Do Side Bets Work?

Side bets are alternative bets you can make when expecting some specific outcomes. Perfect pairs, insurance bets, and 21+3 are the most common options in a blackjack online game. Regardless of your choice, it involves an additional wager, which means more risk for the chance of more chips. Learn more about them below.

Perfect Pairs: You guessed it right: you bet on perfect pairs, hoping you'll get the same cards.

Insurance bets: insurance bets can protect you if you're afraid of the dealer's hand. However, this side bet is only allowed if the dealer has an ace. Insurance bets allow blackjack players to secure a payout without a winning hand. You'll come across this option quite often when you start to play live casino blackjack.

21+3: Here's a poker-like option that's also quite popular in blackjack live games. In this case, you'll risk whether your two cards and the dealer's face-up card will be a three-of-a-kind, a flush, a straight, or a straight flush.

How to Practise Blackjack

Blackjack requires luck, but you can tip the odds in your favour in casual using basic strategy. However, professional blackjack players need far more to build a successful career. A living blackjack legend, Dana White, surely needed more than a basic strategy to win USD 7 million in only one night. Now, the blackjack king aims to apply the blackjack mentality to the UFC.

You don't need to be a shark such as Dana White to win money playing blackjack online at a Stake Casino Game. However, you'll need a lot of practice to master complex strategies and read tables efficiently. Before jumping into real money gambling, practising free blackjack games is advisable.

A free blackjack game allows you to test your boldest strategies without risking a dime. It's also the best option for those still trying to master blackjack rules and basic strategy concepts. Several platforms provide a blackjack game online for free, and you can even try different versions.

How To Read Your Hand

There are over 2,600 possible combinations of two cards in a 52-card deck. Still, you can divide your hand into three types. Check it out.

Hard hands: Hands without an ace or when the ace can only be used as an 11 for combined value purposes.

Soft hands: Hands where the ace can be used both as a 1 or an 11

Pairs: Hands with paired cards

Advanced Strategies

We know blackjack players are getting serious when they start taking notes and using charts. You'll need quite sharp mathematical thinking to play blackjack at a high level, but it's nearly impossible to sight-read all possibilities in the first two cards or any card game.

That's when charts come into play. They aren't against the rules of online blackjack and can give you a better picture of your chances based on the dealer's upcard and your hand. There are charts for hard hands, soft hands and pairs, suggesting the best moves according to the dealer's card.

It's also vital to know when to surrender, although this option isn't always available when you play blackjack online. Surrender isn't sweet, regardless of what pop songs say. When you choose to surrender in a blackjack game, you automatically give up 50% of your bet. Yet, it can be a clever move if your hand's winning chances are lower than 50%. Indeed, there's no point in playing if your chances of beating the dealer are so low.

The World of Online Blackjack Games

Online blackjack is an absolute star of the online casino industry. Over 30% of all online players play live blackjack when they want to play a table game. Unsurprisingly, it's the second most profitable card game in US casinos, including casino live dealer rooms and land-based venues.

Additionally, this game has more than 100 variations, meaning that you can always play a different online blackjack game. Likewise, there's always a new blackjack app coming up with innovative features, like app purchases and bonus offers for newcomers.

Here are some of the "blackjacks" you may find while browsing a new blackjack real money option.

European Blackjack

European blackjack has more restrictive rules than other games. For instance, the dealer's upcard is only known once the players decide on their bets. Additionally, players can only split once in a round and face cards only, while dealers always stand on soft 17s.

American Blackjack

Even though the game has European roots, the American version is considered "classic blackjack." It's also the most popular type of online blackjack. The first part of this guide extensively covered American blackjack rules.

Vegas Strip Blackjack

Vegas Strip Blackjack has its birthplace in its name. This variation is widely popular in real casino venues across the Las Vegas Strip, and it's likely to be found in top-notch resorts like the Bluejack National. You don't need to travel far to enjoy this variation, though, as it's one of the most popular online blackjack versions.

This version uses four decks of playing cards, and special rules include doubling down after splitting and also for every initial hand. Players can split up to four times in a game, and face cards with the same value can also be split even if they are different.

Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City is one of the most iconic casino destinations on the East Coast. Like Las Vegas, it has its own unique version of blackjack. The rules are very similar to classic blackjack, but players can split Jacks and Kings, surrender and double down up to three times.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch stands out among other online blackjack versions because players must deal with more than one hand. You can swap and switch second cards in your hands to get a more competitive combined value. You can also choose to hit or stand for each of your hands. In this version, both of the dealer's cards are facing up from the beginning.

Blackjack Switch rules are different for side bets, called Super Match. Side bet combinations are still the same, but the dealer's card isn't considered in this case. Instead, the combinations must come from the cards in your hands. If you're lucky enough to land on a four-of-a-kind, you'll receive a 40/1 payout.

Double Exposure Blackjack

In this version, both dealer's cards start the game facing up. Yet, it has a higher house edge than most variations. In double exposure rules, ties always favour the dealer, except if you come up with a genuine blackjack. Additionally, players are allowed to split only once in the game.

Single Deck Blackjack

Well-seasoned players love single-deck blackjack, as fewer decks mean more predictable outcomes. The card counting technique that shook the casino industry, for instance, is based on this version. It's also a very attractive variation because its house edge can be as low as 0.15%.

Conclusion

The online casino industry is on the rise worldwide, and blackjack games are a substantial part of its success. More immersive gameplays and innovative technologies like 3D graphics and VR are also gaining traction. There are also many free blackjack games available where you can test your skills in a risk-free environment. Play responsibly and have fun!

FAQ

What is the house edge in a blackjack game?

House edges vary according to the rules when you play blackjack online. The single-deck version has the lowest house edge, with 0.15%. However, versions like Double Exposure have a considerably higher house edge.

What are Super Match bets?

Super Match bets are offered in Blackjack Switch games. The combinations are nearly identical to the classic rules, with the possibility of a four-of-a-kind. However, you must draw those combinations from your four cards instead of using the dealer's face-up card.

How can I play blackjack online for real money?

It's almost impossible to imagine an online casino without blackjack online real money options. Blackjack is arguably one of the most popular casino games, accounting for nearly one-third of table games action. All you need to do is choose your casino, like Stake, sign up, make a deposit and select one of the Blackjack games to get started.

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