Blackjack

Blackjack guide

The game of blackjack is certainly up there in terms of popularity in the gambling industry. In many popular land-based establishments there are dozens of blackjack tables available.

For online casinos, this is similar and as a result, numerous online casino brands have a lot of forms of blackjack on offer for players to enjoy as they strive to conquer against the dealer.

With an interesting history, and as with roulette as we have come to know it, blackjack also has roots that date back to Europe around the 18th century.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes.

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Where did blackjack originate?

Although some experts believe that the game first originated in Spain under the name of Veintiuna (21), it is thought that France also lay claim to it as well, with their version called Vingt et Un (also 21).

It is believed that French sailors brought the game to the new world, particularly the United States, where it exploded in popularity around the different states, particularly the midwest.

Here, by cleverly adopting a smart marketing ploy, the name changed to the more common name of blackjack which we know today, due to the fact that a black picture card and black ace card made the best hand totaling a value of 21.

Blackjack very quickly became considerably popular in gambling establishments around the world; particularly in America, where it gathered a considerable amount of popularity. One of the main attractions of the game was that there was a careful balance of luck and skill involved.

Perhaps, the most attractive element of blackjack is those who take part are able to take the risk of choosing when they would like another card in their endeavours to get as close to the value of 21 as they could and this added to the adrenaline that a lot of players experienced.

However, unless you were good at being able to count cards, there was quite a big element of risk involved, so essentially when the dealer drew another card, invariably you would not know what you were going to get.

As gambling evolved, moving online at the turn of the new millennium, almost every operator knew that they had to include blackjack in their product offering.

Because of this, the game of blackjack turned into arguably, the most attractive casino games that can be played online and it even led to dedicated blackjack sites that were built around a number of different themes and styles which added considerably to the excitement of those who play blackjack.

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How to play blackjack

Blackjack is arguably one of the simplest games to learn, though it is slightly different when played online in comparison to a land-based casino. It takes no time at all to learn the rules and as a result, this means that if you are new to the game, you should be able to pick them up fairly quickly.

In the game of blackjack, the ‘house’ (casino or online casino) has a very small edge when it comes to blackjack. Though, if you apply the right strategy, this can quickly revert to the player.

Basically, the chief aim of the game of blackjack is to beat the dealer, nevertheless, there are a number of ways in which this can be made possible. Although the game retains the main theme of the translated original name ‘21’ in terms of purpose, there are also other elements in play.

The main objective of blackjack is to get the number ‘21’ with as few cards as possible; the only way to do this by being dealt an Ace (counts as ‘1’ or ‘11’) along with a ‘10’ or picture card (Jack, Queen or King).

Often played with between one to eight (generally more than one) deck of 52 cards, each player starts with two cards and play starts from the dealer’s left. One of the dealer’s cards (known as the ‘hole card’) is left face down until the end of the game.

While the aim of the game is to get as close to ‘21’ (or the value itself) as possible, if the dealer’s hand is closer than your hand then you will lose. If in your first deal, you don’t have ‘21’, but indeed your total is 16 or higher, then you can ‘stand’, which means to risk that you have the winning hand.

However, if your total is below this, then you can decide to ‘hit’ (also known as ‘twist’), in order to receive another card and in doing so see if your total value gets you any closer or takes you over the target.

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Splitting a blackjack hand

In the event that you are dealt a blackjack hand that is a pair or any two 10-point cards, you can decide to split the cards and form two hands (you can only do this up to having four hands in play) and this can be especially beneficial from the perspective of a hedging strategy.

Effectively, it means that you could take more risks with one hand, or apply similar amounts of caution, therefore increasing your chances of both hands beating everyone else’s, but especially the dealers.

Depending on the casino, blackjack has a minimum and maximum bet per hand, however, the odds are usually on the side of the player and as such you generally have a better chance of winning, compared to any other game that you might find in a casino and even online.

Blackjack

Types of online blackjack games

Although the game of blackjack might appear to be fairly simple, there are many different versions of the game, especially online, with leading software providers creating new types in order to keep fans interested.

Standard Blackjack

This is the most basic version of the game that you can find at most online casinos, as well as it being the most common at land-based casinos. You just have to place your bets and then try and make sure your hand(s) are as close as to 21 without going 'bust' (exceeding this amount).

Multi-Hand Blackjack

Once you fully understand blackjack strategy, it may mean that you are ready to test yourself at multi-hand blackjack.

This essentially lets you play up to five hands simultaneously and this could add up significantly helping you to add to your winning total.

Doing this though means that there is the risk of getting heavier losses and, because of this, it makes it harder to keep track of cards.

3D Blackjack

A lot of different online blackjack forms will provide you with an easy and straightforward two-dimensional perspective of the gaming table.

However, with 3D blackjack, this makes use of cleverly developed digital technologies in order to give you a much more authentic simulation of the card game and this also gives you a highly realistic looking live dealer.

Live Blackjack

A very entertaining way of playing blackjack this uses video technology so that you are provided with a more realistic experience. This combines the land-based casino atmosphere along with a real dealer in order to guide you through the game, from the comfort of your own surroundings, on the device of your preference. For many, this is the most popular way of playing blackjack online.

Low Limit Blackjack

If you are new to the game of blackjack and are not yet fully accustomed, this could be good way to begin playing. Using a low limit in blackjack means that you can begin your gameplay with low wagers which is a good way of keeping your bankroll in check.

High Limit Blackjack

Once you feel more confident about the game of blackjack and are more familiar with the rules, it could mean that you are ready to play high-limit blackjack. If you are successful with this, you could easily increase your potential winnings.

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Blackjack Strategy

In blackjack, while there is no foolproof way to win, there are certain tips that you can apply to the game, which can help to increase your chances of winning. Let's take a look at some of these below.

Learn the rules

When you know the rules in detail, the game of blackjack becomes a lot easier and will substantially help in your blackjack game and decision-making process. While this isn't a blackjack strategy per se, you will feel a lot more comfortable playing once you have a sound grasp.

Manage your bankroll

If you keep an eye on your bankroll in blackjack and wager sensibly, this can also increase your chances of winning a blackjack game. Again, this is a somewhat basic strategy, but if used in the right way, it can be effective.

Split a pair if possible

When you split a hand on a mid-to-high pair, this can significantly increase your chances of winning because it then presents a number of opportunities and also puts more pressure on the dealer. Many think that splitting a pair of 10s or picture cards is counter-intuitive, though it is something that a lot of professional blackjack players do.

Make use of bonuses

If you play with bonuses, you are basically playing blackjack using free money, which means that it is essentially risk-free. Many casino sites offer promotions on a regular basis, so it is worth keeping an eye on your emails. If you win with a bonus stake, it can be a highly effective way of increasing your bankroll.

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Should I hit on a 12 in blackjack?

In blackjack, you can only stick from a total of 15, which means that you will have to gamble with the draw of another card. However, if you have a pair of sixes, one thing that you could do is split the hand and start again.

Is blackjack a skill?

There have been many debates about whether or not there is skill involved in blackjack or whether it is just luck. While many people try to adopt card counting techniques, this is virtually impossible online, due to the completely random nature of the algorithms, though with a live dealer, it can be easier.

However, even live dealers use multiple decks which makes this harder to do. Knowing when to stick (stand) can be a skill, especially if you time it right, however, essentially, there is a lot of luck associated with the game of blackjack.

How do you play blackjack for beginners?

If you are new to the game of blackjack, you can find many sites in Canada that offer this on demo mode, where you can play without real money until you get used to how the game is played.

It is definitely recommended to do this because it will give you a better understanding of the mechanics. The most important element in blackjack is getting an idea of technical elements and perhaps when the best time is to split a hand. This though will come through practice.

Blackjack FAQs

When to double down in Blackjack?

If you do it right, doubleing could deliver more profit.

A small rule when to double down: When your cards total 11, when you have a soft 16, 17 or 18 or When you have a hard 9 or 10. Never double when the dealer has aces.

When to use insurance?

Using insurance in blackjack is never a (mathematical) good idea.

When to split?

Splitting cards could deliver more profit. A small rule of hand: Always split with Aces and Eights. Never split with tens, fours and fives.

Should I tip the dealer?

When playing against the computer, no. But when you play a live casino this is something to consider. We suggest a $1 or $2 tip per game to the dealer.