New to blackjack? Follow our list of pro tips to get started playing this popular casino game, and you’ll be ready to try your luck.
Online blackjack follows all of the same rules as regular blackjack.
You can still follow proper blackjack strategy to try to improve your edge over the house.
Counting cards in online blackjack is next to impossible.
Do research before signing up with just any online casino to play blackjack.
Blackjack is a casino game that has simple rules anyone can learn, but it can take years to truly master.
You get dealt two cards, and you have to determine whether you want more cards or not to try to either get a hand that’s valued at 21, or to at least get closer to 21 than the dealer. To figure out whether you should take another card or not — that’s where the real strategy lies. And if you’re trying to also count cards? Yeah, you’re going to need to take some time to get good at the whole process.
Online blackjack is much the same; though, instead of playing with physical cards, you’re often playing with digital cards on your screen. Which cards you and the dealer receive are determined by a random number generator instead of a bunch of card decks shuffled together. But the thrill and odds of winning are still about the same, so plenty of people have turned to online blackjack to try out their skills.
If you’re new to online blackjack, trying to figure out how it all works may seem like a big undertaking. Read these tips to get a clearer sense of how to find the best online casino for your needs and how to make your first bets.
How To Play Online Blackjack: The Basics
The goal is the same as regular blackjack: Beat the dealer by having a higher hand total than they do (without going over 21).
The game starts with you and the dealer each receiving two cards. The dealer has one face-up card and one face-down card, so you can see only half of their hand. From there, you have to look at what sort of hand you have and determine if you could get away with adding more cards to your hand or if you’d be better off staying right where you are. If you beat the dealer or get blackjack, you win the hand.
Most cards throughout the deck are valued by their number (2 through 10), but face cards (the jacks, queens, and kings) are all worth 10. Then there’s the ace card, which can be worth either 1 or 11. A hand’s value is the sum of all the cards you have. You can ask for additional cards, one at a time, to increase your hand’s value, but you’ll automatically lose (or bust) if your total goes above 21.
After the player or players have all had a turn, the dealer begins their turn. They reveal their face-down card and draw more cards, one at a time, until their hand reaches 17. At 17 or above, the dealer has to stop drawing (stand). If your hand has a higher value than the dealer’s hand and you haven’t busted, then you win the round.
Making Decisions and Placing Your Bets
There aren’t too many different types of bets available in blackjack like you would have in a game like roulette. When it comes to betting, it’s up to you how much you want to wager on each hand. Instead, the bigger focus is on what are called player decisions.
Player Decisions in Blackjack
Once you’re dealt your first two cards, you have different ways you can proceed:
Hit: You take another card from the dealer.
Stand: You won’t take any more cards from the dealer.
Double down: You can increase your initial wager by up to 100%, but you’ll receive only one more card.
Split: If your first two cards are of the same value, you can separate them into two hands and add a second bet equal to your first. The dealer then treats each card as its own hand, dealing additional cards on each. You still have to choose whether you want to hit or stand on each.
Surrender: If the dealer has a face-up card valued at 10, you may feel that your chances of winning are too low to continue playing with your current hand. You can surrender, and you’ll lose just half of your initial bet.
Using a Betting System in Online Blackjack
Plenty of blackjack players like to use dedicated betting systems to try to maximize their wins. You have a variety of options to try, and everyone has their own favorite:
Flat betting: You wager the same amount on every single hand. You can easily manage your bankroll this way, but you might miss out on big payouts if you hit a winning streak.
Positive progression: You increase your wager every time you win a hand. It lets you boost your wins and can prevent big financial losses if you hit a losing streak.
Negative progression: You increase your wager every time you lose a hand. The belief is that you have to eventually win a hand, and then that winning wager will make up for the bulk of your losses.
Using Blackjack Strategy
Using proper blackjack strategy translates to knowing when to hit, stand, double down, and more. If you can dependably apply strategy to your hands, you can impact your statistical likelihood of winning a hand and making some money.
What should you do if you have a 9 and a 7, and the dealer has a face-up 6? You can find various resources online that offer charts on whether you should hit, stand, or maybe surrender. We have our own charts for smart blackjack strategy you can print up and refer to on your own.
One advantage of playing blackjack online is that you have more time to refer to strategy charts and make the best decision depending on what cards you have.
Maybe Try Live Dealer Online Blackjack
This is a form of online blackjack that feels a bit more like “the real deal.” With live dealer online blackjack, you’re still playing at home (or wherever you choose to play), but you get to watch a dealer in a casino deal out the cards while the whole process is streamed to your device.
A camera records all of the table action, and a computing unit will scan all of the cards as they’re being dealt from the shoe. This allows the casino to track everything but also makes it easier for the interface to total up your hand’s value and prompt you on whether you want to hit, stand, split, etc. Your chips are also strictly digital, so the dealer only has to handle the cards.
You can type any message you want to the dealer, and they can respond to you by talking to you. Sometimes they’ll share little jokes or offer words of encouragement for your next hand.
Overall, live dealer blackjack is a nice happy medium between playing at a live casino and playing online at home. You get the interpersonal element mixed with the convenience of playing where you want to.
On the casino’s website, you should be able to see a section for live dealer games. The casino will probably offer several different live dealer tables at different hours of the day and for different stake levels.
Can You Count Cards in Online Blackjack?
The answer to this question depends on if you’re playing standard online blackjack or live dealer blackjack.
Counting Cards in Online Blackjack
If you’re playing standard online blackjack that’s wholly digitized, you’ll never be able to effectively count cards. Remember that online casino games use a random number generator, which is a type of software that randomly selects a number from a preselected range and makes its value appear on your screen. You have no actual shoe, dealer, or shuffle order.
So sure, you could try to count the cards you see from just one hand, but the “deck” gets effectively reshuffled after every hand, and the random number generator starts back at the beginning. Counting cards in online blackjack really won’t help you other than as general practice.
Counting Cards in Live Dealer Blackjack
If you’re playing live dealer blackjack, then you might have a better opportunity to count the cards. In this type of online blackjack, you have a human who is dealing out real cards from a physical shoe, and so you can definitely track the cards that have been played and make your bets accordingly.
Just be aware that you may still be at a disadvantage when it comes to card counting with live dealer blackjack. If you were playing at a brick-and-mortar casino, the dealer (or even a player) may place the cut card behind about 75% of the cards in the shoe. This gives players like you a pretty good look at what cards have been played and also still remain in the shoe.
In live dealer blackjack, the dealer may place the cut card after only about 40% of the cards in the shoe. This means that you’ll be able to see only about 40% of the total cards in the shoe before the dealer reshuffles, thus reducing your edge.
So you can count cards in live dealer online blackjack, but it might not be as profitable as you’d want it to be.
Finding the Right Online Casino for You
There are so many online casinos out there, and the simple fear of decision fatigue might make you want to sign up with the first one that pops up in a web search. Instead of doing that, you should do just a little online research first to see which casino is the best option for your needs and your playing style:
Look for online casinos that have a big variety of casino games. You don’t want to feel like you’re stuck playing the same game all the time.
Read plenty of reviews for online casinos. You can get a sense of their game quality, what people like most about each casino, and what their customer service is like.
Explore each online casino’s website for details about their licenses and customer service options. You don’t want to deposit money into an online casino that offers little to no player protections and has sketchy customer care.
If you want to try out a particular casino first, most online casino websites allow you to play some of their games for free. This lets you get comfortable with how to navigate their site before you make any deposits.
You’ll also want to have different ways to access the online casino (because not everyone prefers to play on their desktop or laptop). Look for sites that offer options like:
Download for Mac
Download for PC
This way, you can have plenty of options when it comes to how and where you can play. If you find an online casino that allows computer download, a mobile browser, and even its own app, then you’re looking at a great casino that’ll let you play anywhere.
The Registration Process
You’ll probably see a big “JOIN NOW” button on the casino’s homepage, so that’s easy enough. When you register, you’ll need to enter your name, date of birth, contact information, billing details, etc.
Be sure to use an email address that you’re comfortable with receiving promotional emails from the casino. If you’re trying to play at a New Jersey online casino, you may also have to provide proof that you’re a resident of the state of New Jersey so the casino can prove that you’re playing legally.
Lastly, you’ll get to choose your username and password. You most likely won’t be able to change your username after signing up, so pick a handle that you’re comfortable with other players seeing if you want to try any multiplayer or live dealer games.
Take Advantage of Casino Bonuses
Tons of online casinos give out new-player bonuses as soon as you sign up for a new account. Some offer free sign-up bonuses, where you can get up to 100% of your deposit in extra credits to your account. Think of bonuses like these as digital versions of the “comps” that high rollers might get at a brick-and-mortar casino. But instead of having to drop thousands of dollars, players like you can get rewarded for site activity with ongoing bonuses.
If you’re not sure what sort of bonuses are out there, you can search among review sites. For example, you can look up New Jersey online casino bonuses to see bonus codes and other promotions through different online casinos that are based out of New Jersey.
Try to take advantage of any promotions like these whenever you can — including any emails you get after you’ve signed up. If you don’t, you’re leaving free money on the table. Just make sure you read all of the terms and conditions on the casino’s website about any restrictions that may apply or any requirements you have to meet before earning rewards or cashing them out.
Since online blackjack is so convenient, it’s easy to get caught up in the game to the point where you lose track of time. Maybe start off by setting a timer for yourself so you can limit your play time. This way, you won’t accidentally overwhelm yourself by playing all day. Plus, you can protect your bankroll by walking away if the timer goes off before a losing streak can take you for everything you’ve got.
Use These Online Blackjack Tips To Get Yourself Started
Playing blackjack online can be a fun way to unwind and make a little side money. It’s also a safe and convenient way to gamble when you can’t (or don’t want to) go all the way to a live casino.
But before you place your first wager, use these tips to make sure you’re informed about how to get the most out of your online blackjack experience.
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