New to online blackjack? Here’s everything you need to know before you play

When it comes to the most popular casino games, online blackjack is always at the top of the charts. It is simple enough that complete beginners can win from the start, but complex enough that experienced players can develop strategies that greatly increase their chances of winning.

Also known as Twenty One, Pontoon, and Vingt-et-Un, many people played this version of the game as children and quickly understood the concepts involved. However, if you want to play blackjack in a casino, there are a few things you need to know about the game:

Understand the game

New to online blackjack?  Here's everything you need to know before you play

The object of blackjack is very simple: have a hand with cards totaling twenty-one or as close as possible twenty-one without passing. The ace can be high or low, and all picture cards are worth ten. The game can be played with a single deck of cards, but in casinos the game is often played with more decks, usually between six and eight.

Even when you play blackjack online, the random number generators used to simulate the cards being played are programmed to use multiple decks to maintain their authenticity. Each player is dealt two cards, both face up and the dealer also has two, the first face up and the second face down, known as the ‘hole card’.

The ideal hand is dealt aces and ten or cards because these cards add up to twenty-one and cannot be beaten. The player whose card totals less than 21 can choose to be dealt another card, face up, commonly known as the ‘hit’.

Players can keep hitting until they choose to ‘stand’, reach 21 or ‘break’ with more than 21. When all players have chosen to stand or give up, the dealer will reveal their hole card and play their own game.

Know your opponent

New to online blackjack?  Here's everything you need to know before you play

Unlike other casino card games, blackjack players only compete against the dealer, not against each other. This means that players don’t have to try to guess each other’s hands by trying to spot their narration or read their facial expressions, and there’s no cheating involved.

In online blackjack, you play against the dealer and whichever player has a better hand than the dealer at the end of the round wins. If the dealer goes ‘bankrupt’ then any player left in the game wins.

One of the main benefits of this is that the house will always behave in a predictable way and you can use this to your advantage at play, if you know how. For example, a dealer with seventeen or more will always stand, and they will hit sixteen or less.

Blackjack Extras

While the basic rules of the online blackjack game are simple, players can make the most of the additional rules to their advantage:

Split Pairs – if you are dealt a matching pair of cards you can ‘split’ them and treat each pair as two separate hands, play them individually and bet on each hand independently. If the initial pair is an ace, the player will be dealt only one card per card.

Double down – if a player’s hand totals nine, ten or eleven, they may have the option to ‘reduce doubles’. This means they place a bet equal to their original stake and receive a single card, face down, which is only turned up when all other bets have been settled.

Insurance – if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, the player may be offered ‘insurance’ against the dealer going black and beating everyone at the table. If the dealer’s loss card is ten, then payouts are made to any insured player even if their main bet loses.

Surrender – some games allow players to give up by ‘surrendering’ and get half of their original bet back. This is relatively uncommon, and if it is an option, it can only be selected before any additional cards are dealt.

The dealer cannot split or split, but they have the advantage of going last, so even if the dealer breaks, any player who is broken still loses their bet.

Side bets

New to online blackjack?  Here's everything you need to know before you play

Players can usually place side bets on a number of things that can happen in the game, such as:

Luckily – the player’s hand and the dealer’s face up totals nineteen, twenty or twenty-one

Perfect Pairs – bet that your opening hand will be a pair

Royal battle – a king and queen of the same suit

Lucky ladies – the player’s opening hand totals twenty

Bet – the value of the dealer’s rising card is between the player’s two cards

Dealer Match – one of the player’s cards matches one of the dealer’s cards

Blackjack is a fun and exciting game and players can master the stats with a little research and practice for a higher chance of winning.

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