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In online blackjack, you’re trying to get a combination of cards that adds up to 21 or as close as possible without going over. You are playing against one person, the dealer, so you want your cards to add up to a higher number (again, without going over 21) than the dealer’s hand. Face cards are worth 10, and aces are worth either 1 or 11, whichever is more advantageous for your hand. You and the dealer both start with two cards. The ideal combination for your first two cards is a “blackjack,” an ace and a face card of any suit. When you get a blackjack, you immediately win the hand and get a slightly higher payout.
Blackjack online is a game of strategy, and if you play smartly, you can decrease the house edge to almost even. Many players have a set of blackjack rules they follow as to when they hit (get another card) or stand. You can even find guides that give you the statistically best way to play each hand of blackjack online.
The dealer deals two cards to you and two to herself. The dealer’s hand has one card showing and one card facedown. Your blackjack strategy will be based on your best guess as to what hand the dealer has and whether you can beat it. Payouts are generally even money. If you bet $5 and win the hand, you will receive $5. If you get a blackjack–a face card and an ace–with your first two cards, your payout for your $5 bet will be $7.50.
Many variations of online blackjack have sprung up as a result of its popularity. Most use the same rules as blackjack but have additional bets you can make for bigger payoffs. This ups the excitement because you have the potential for a big win with any one hand. Here are a few variations you might encounter in your online travels.
Your first and most important strategy when playing blackjack online is to avoid busting, or going over 21. Your hope is that the dealer will bust. If you bust first, you’ve lost and it doesn’t matter what the dealer does. If you think the dealer has a high probability of busting, it might be best to stand.
Once you see the dealer’s cards, you’ll know whether the dealer will have to hit or stand. The casino blackjack rules dictate what the dealer must do. The dealer hits on 16 or lower, and depending on the casino, will sometimes hit on a soft 17. A soft 17 is an ace and a 6, meaning the total could be 17 or it could be 7, whichever works to the dealer’s advantage.
For an example hand, let’s assume your first two cards total 15–not a great hand, but still a possible win. You see that the dealer has a 6 showing. It’s safest to assume that the dealer’s hidden card is a face card, because they are the most numerous cards in the deck. You know the dealer will hit on a 16, with a very high likelihood of busting, or going over 21. Therefore you decide to stand on a 15, with the hope that the dealer will bust. All you need to do to get the payout is beat the dealer.
In this online blackjack scenario, if the dealer has a 16 and draws any card above a 5, she busts. Your chances to win your bet for the hand are very good. Suppose the dealer draws a 6. Her total will now be 22, and you win with a 15. Many, many blackjack hands are won simply because the other player busts.
If you want to know more about Blackjack strategies please check out our full online Blackjack strategy guide below:
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Once you see your first two cards and the dealer’s up card, you might want to increase your bet if you think you have a good chance of winning. There are a couple ways to double your original bet in online blackjack. If you like your chances, you can double down, which means doubling your original bet. This is a particularly good blackjack strategy if your first two cards add up to 10 or 11. If you receive two of the same card, another way to double your bet is to split the two cards so that you now have two hands. This is a particularly good blackjack strategy when you have two aces but may even be worthwhile with two face cards, depending on what the dealer has. You can only split your hand if you have two of the same rank cards.
As every gambler will tell you, knowing the best strategies is important, but sometimes you just have to go on gut instinct. Blackjack is a low-risk game with lots of fun and it can offer a lot of playing time for minimal cash if you keep your bets small. Best of luck for many blackjacks in your online blackjack future.
Always double at 11
Never split Tens
Don't use insurance
Blackjack, or twenty-one, as it is sometimes called, is one of the most popular table games. It’s called a table game because in a live casino, it is played at a table with several players on one side and the dealer on the other side. Blackjack is different from most casino games in that it is not just based on luck; how you play the game can significantly lower the house advantage. If you play smart and are just a little lucky, you can stay even or ahead for a good, long time. Online blackjack is an even-money game with a slightly higher payout for the two-card combination of an ace and a face card. You bet one hand at a time, and if you win the hand, you double your money. If you lose the hand, you forfeit your bet.
Blackjack can offer hours of fun for those who are not looking for a huge payout but instead want to play a fun, strategic game and hopefully win a lot. If you hit a winning streak, though, you can end your online blackjack session with quite a bit more money than when you started. Read more about how to win big with online blackjack here.
The exact origins of blackjack are unknown, but early writings offer a few clues. Veintiuna, a precursor to twenty-one, was first mentioned in a short story written in 1601 or 1602 by Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. In the book are two characters who are proficient at winning veintiuna by cheating. The goal of veintiuna described in the book is to reach 21 without going over, and it states that aces are worth 1 or 11.The first written rules for the game appeared in England in 1800 and referred to the game as vingt-un. In America, vingt-un gained popularity in the western frontier during gold rush times. Gambling in those days was mainly found in mining camps and on riverboats.
The most commonly played games at the beginning of the gold rush were faro, monte, and roulette. Vingt-un was in its infancy in America. One contributor to the popularity of vingt-un was the Frenchwoman Eleanor Dumont. When gold was found in the nearby Empire mine, Nevada City started booming. Among many other entrepreneurs who flocked to Nevada City was Ms. Dumont, who opened an establishment in 1854 named the Vingt-et-Un. She named her gambling house after her game of preference, and as her establishment gained in popularity, so did the game of twenty-one. She made a fortune from the game.
In later years, Eleanor became known as Madame Mustache because of the dark hair that began to grow on her upper lip. During World War I, twenty-one became increasingly popular. To attract more customers, gambling establishments began offering a few unique payouts. The top payout during that time was a 10 times bonus if a player had the ace of spades and a black jack (either the jack of clubs or spades). That offer was discontinued soon after it started, but the game had already begun to be known by its top payout, and the name online blackjack stuck.