Blackjack is the king of all casino games. If you want the best odds of winning money, this is the game you should play. It doesn't matter if you are online or offline – with the right strategy and skills, you can maintain excellent odds of winning against the house.
Are you a skilled player looking for the best South African online blackjack casinos in 2022? Or a beginner looking for some tips about getting better at the game? Either way, you are at the right place!
We have compiled everything you need to get started with online blackjack in South Africa. A detailed strategy blackjack guide, winning tips, step-by-step guides to playing online blackjack with real money – we have all these and more.
And we also have a list of the best South African blackjack online casinos. All sites are 100% safe and trusted, reviewed by our team of casino experts.
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How We Chose the Best Online Blackjack Casinos
Online gambling is fun, provided you can find a safe and trusted online site. With thousands of casinos in the market, this is easier said than done.
It takes experience and inside knowledge to sift the good casinos from the scam sites. And we have both in spades over here at PCSA – our team of casino reviewers are industry experts with decades of knowledge in online gambling!
We explore each online casino with a fine-toothed comb, looking for any red flags. We look for the following features when reviewing online blackjack South Africa casinos.
1. A Valid License: The first sign of a safe online casino is a valid online gambling license, preferably from a trusted authority like the UK Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming. At the bare minimum, it should have a Curacao license. If the operator cannot be bothered to invest in essential safety and fairness measures required to get a license, the casino is probably not worth your time or money.
2. A Strong Selection of Blackjack Games: Most online casinos have at least a handful of table games, if not more. We prefer sites that offer both live casino blackjack and virtual variants. The best blackjack sites will have over 100 games spread over online and live variants. Further, we always recommend casinos where all the games come from trusted and established software companies.
3. Payment in Rands – This is a vital feature if you are playing online blackjack (or any other game) from South Africa. If the casino only deals in foreign currencies like Euros or Dollars, you will end up wasting some of your cash paying currency conversion charges. This is a bad idea, especially when there are plenty of top-notch casinos accepting deposits and withdrawal requests in SA Rands.
4. A Positive Track Record – The worst-reviewed online casinos usually have some common themes – arbitrary decisions against players, bonus cancellations, delays in payments, or at worst, outright refusal to pay legitimate winnings to players. If a casino has a history of such behaviour, we do not include it on our list, period.
5. Generous and Exclusive Bonuses - Playing with casino bonuses can seriously extend your gaming sessions online. But for a positive experience, you need bonuses that have lenient wagering requirements and fair and transparent rules. Here at PCSA, we often negotiate directly with online casinos to provide our readers with exclusive bonuses from trusted sites.
How to Play Blackjack Online
At the best online casinos in South Africa, you can play blackjack online with real money only if you have a valid casino account. Thankfully, the registration process at these sites is highly streamlined and beginner-friendly. You can create a new player account in a matter of minutes if you follow these simple steps:
Pick any recommended site from our list and visit it on your PC/mobile browser using the link provided
Initiate the registration process by clicking the appropriate button – either called Sign Up/Join Now/Register
Fill out the registration form with accurate details regarding your name, age, contact address, email ID, phone number etc
Select a username and password for your account
Accept all the casino terms and conditions, usually by ticking a box
Complete the registration process by pressing the final button
The casino will create your account in a few seconds and log you in automatically
They usually provide quick access to deposits on your profile – click the “deposit now” option
You will be taken to the banking section – select your preferred payment method and the amount you want to deposit
You can also select a welcome bonus if you prefer at this point
Casino deposits are instant – as soon as you confirm the transaction, the money will get credited to your casino balance
You can now play any game you like for real money!
To play virtual online blackjack against the computer, head to the section marked “Table Games”
To play live blackjack against a human dealer, go to the “Live Casino” section
Click or tap on any game icon you are interested in to start playing in seconds!
How to Play Free Blackjack
You don't always have to spend real money to play online blackjack in South Africa. As long as you are ok with not winning any money, you can play blackjack for free. This free play mode is basically free practice – an ideal way to learn all the rules and improve your skills at the game, 100% risk-free.
Free blackjack online is available to South African players at most online casinos. The steps to access this mode is easier than real money blackjack. This is all you need to do to play blackjack online free in South Africa:
Browse our list of online casinos – pick any site that does not have a UK license
Visit the casino using your PC or mobile browser
Go to the table games area and click on any blackjack title
You will see either “fun play,” “play for free,” or “demo mode” as an option
Click on it to load the game with virtual coins
This option does not even require registration – you can play simply by visiting the casino!
Why no UK licensed casinos, you might ask? It is because UK rules are very strict about access to gambling content, even when there’s no money involved. Casinos have to first make sure that the person accessing the game for free is an adult – they have to perform KYC checks before giving access to free play blackjack.
You have to register an account at the casino and provide ID proof – no such hassles exist at casinos operating under Malta, Curacao or other licenses. This is why we recommend that you avoid UK online casinos if you want to play blackjack online for free.
Another important aspect to keep in mind about free play – it does not work on live games. These online game rooms employ real human dealers that cost a lot of money. Casinos only want paying customers on such servers – so you will never find free play as an option for live blackjack!
Blackjack Online Rules
Online blackjack is a faithful replication of the popular 21-style game played in casinos around the globe. It is called a 21 game because the main objective of the player is to reach that number with the cards they are dealt.
Depending on the variant played, Blackjack can involve anywhere from 1 to 8 decks of cards. Each card has a point value in the game, in the following order:
1 to 9 cards have the same value as the number on the card
K, Q, and J cards have 10 points
An Ace can either be an 11 or a 1, depending on how you want to use it
Blackjack is a game between a player and a dealer. In online blackjack, the dealer is either the software or a human croupier in a live game. Here is how a basic round of online blackjack is played out:
The dealer always gives you the first card, then deals one for themselves
The first cards are dealt face up
Then the dealer will give you your second card, also face up
The second card of the dealer is kept face down (hidden) in this round
There are several ways to win in blackjack:
Get to 21 points with your cards
Get more points than the dealer without going above 21
Stay under 21 while your dealer goes above 21
If either party goes above 21, the other side wins the round
The dealer will keep playing hands until someone hits 21 or goes above 21
The dealer card is kept hidden from the player until the dealer gets to 21 or until the player opts not to receive another card
At the end of each round of blackjack, the player has to make a decision. You have the following basic options:
Hit – Ask for another card if your hand is below 21
Stay/Stand – Opt to keep your current hand intact
Fold/Surrender – Leave the round and lose half your bet
These are the basic moves for a player in blackjack regarding the cards. You either opt for more cards, decline to take any more or leave the round entirely. Apart from these, you also have these two advanced play options:
Double Down – Increase your bet by 100% and take just one additional card
Split – If you have a pair of the same card, split them and get an additional card for each, essentially giving you two hands in the game. Each hand is played independently. Games often have several restrictions on splitting, including no splits on Ace pairs.
Apart from these terms, the game of blackjack also has a unique glossary of several special words and phrases that have different in-game meanings.
Blackjack Terms Explained
Bankroll – In any casino, the money at your disposal to place bets is known as the bankroll. Offline, you would have casino chips. Online sites show your balance in your preferred currency in your account.
Bust – When any player or dealer's hand goes above 21, it is called a bust. The dealer can also go bust in certain special hands without going above 21.
Buy-in – The minimum bet required to start playing a round of online blackjack. Some live rooms accept VIPs/high rollers who can afford minimum bets worth thousands of rands.
Discards – Used cards are kept separate in a box on the table until the deck in play is finished. At that point, the cards are reshuffled and fed into the "shoebox." This is only valid in live blackjack.
Heads Up – Any game where you have only one player at the table with the dealer. Most online casino blackjack games fall under this category.
House Edge – The statistical advantage that is baked into all casino gambling games, including blackjack. It ensures that the casino/house always wins more than the players in the long run. In blackjack, against competent players who know all the rules and strategies, the house has an edge of around 1.4%.
Insurance – If the dealer's face-up card is an Ace, you get a chance to make a side bet worth half your original wager. It will pay 2:1 if the dealer gets a blackjack.
Natural – When your first two cards result in a blackjack (score of 21), it is called a Natural
Pat Hand – A solid hand with a value between 17 and 21 where you don’t need to call a Hit.
Pit – The table area where blackjack is played in a casino is called the Pit. The casino employee who manages the area is called a Pit Boss.
Shoe – A device used by the dealer to keep multiple decks or cards. The dealers take individual cards from the shoe and deal them to players.
Stand – Opt not to take another card, usually done when the value of the first two cards is very close to 21.
Standing Hand – A hand where you absolutely should not make a Hit. Anything with a value of 19 or 20 (J+9 or Q+10) is an example of a standing hand. The risk of going bust is extremely high if you hit.
Up Card – The one card in the dealer's hand that remains face-up. The other card kept face down is called the "hole card."
How to Win at Blackjack: 6 Blackjack Strategy Tips
Unlike slots or lottery games, blackjack is a game with a massive skill factor. The player has a lot of agency in how a game plays out. In the other games, you press a button and the computer/machines/physics (in roulette) decides what the outcome is.
In blackjack, the flow of the game and the outcome can change depending on whether you hit or decided to stand in your round. Thus, strategy can play a massive role in blackjack.
If you play blindly without any plan or calculation, the casino will have a house edge of 5%, at the same level as slots. However, if you stick to the established blackjack strategies, you can cut this edge down by a whopping 90%, giving the casino just a 0.5% advantage.
1. Learn the “Basic Strategy”
In blackjack, there is an optimal decision for every possible hand. It is the move that is most likely to win you the hand at best or avoid a heavy defeat at the minimum. Since there are many possible opening hands in blackjack, the basic strategy includes a lot of rules that you have to memorize.
It will take some time and considerable practice, but the results are more than worth all the effort. With a basic strategy, you can restrict the house edge to a measly 0.5%. To make things easier to understand and memorize, we can divide basic strategy into three categories, based on the condition of your hand.
Hard – or when you have no aces
Soft – or when you have an ace
Splits – when you have a pair and can split (if you opt not to split, treat the hand as a hard hand of the combined value of the pair)
Based on these three categories, here are three tables that map out most of the basic strategy moves:
|Player Hand||When the Dealer Card is between 2 to 6||When the Dealer Card is between 7 to A|
|4 to 8||HIT||HIT|
|10 or 11||DOUBLE||DOUBLE/HIT*|
|12 to 16||STAND||HIT|
|17 to 21||STAND||STAND|
*You should double in this situation only if the value of your hand is higher than that of the dealer. For example, if he has a 9 to your 10, double. If he has a 10 to your 11, also double. However, if he has an Ace and you have a 10, hit. If both your hands show a 10, also hit.
|Player Hand||When Dealer Card is between 2 to 6||When Dealer Card is between 7 to A|
|13 to 15||HIT||HIT|
|16 to 18||DOUBLE||HIT|
|19 or 21||STAND||STAND|
|Player Hand||When Dealer Card is between 2 to 6||When Dealer Card is between 7 to A|
|2-2, 3-3, 6-6, 7-7, 9-9||SPLIT||DON’T SPLIT*|
|4-4, 5-5, 10-10||DON’T SPLIT*||DON’T SPLIT*|
*Whenever the strategy advises you not to split on pairs, treat the hand just like a hard one of the same value. For example, if you have 4-4 against a dealer card of 5, treat your hand like a hard 8 (4+4) and hit against that 5.
As a beginner, you should always focus most of your attention on learning the basic strategy. Luckily, most casinos don’t have a problem with players bringing printed strategy cards to the table.
In any case, no such restrictions apply at online casinos. You can look at this table whenever your play blackjack!
2. Avoid the Insurance Option
Insurance is an additional wager you are making at the game, putting more of your bankroll at stake. The only difference from a standard bet is that you are now betting on the dealer to make a blackjack. In the grand scheme of things, the house still retains a high 6% edge on insurance bets.
If you get blackjack in that round, you get nothing extra – only the original bet is won. And if the dealer has blackjack simultaneously, it is a no-win/no-lose situation. And the odds of a dealer hitting a natural blackjack with an Ace up is 9:4. A 2:1 payment bet is simply not worth it at those odds.
Insurance is one of those features that look good at first glance – a way to buy some safety when the dealer seems to have an upper hand. But when you look at the actual math, it is a superficial option with more chance to lose extra money than winning.
3. Pick Games with Liberal Rules
In online blackjack, the player odds are lowered considerably when certain options are disabled. These include the following:
Dealer stands on soft 17
Players can double down on any two cards
Players can double after splitting
Surrender is available
Look for games that have all or most of these features available. Further still, give preference to games that use fewer decks. Most online games use between 1 and 8 decks. With lower decks, you will have more predictable outcomes, higher player odds, and better results when using blackjack basic strategies.
4. Avoid Progressive Betting Strategies
Success in blackjack hinges on reading what is on the table and if possible, trying to gauge which cards are left in the deck. Progressive betting strategies force you to make changes in your bets based on whether you won or lost the previous round.
This approach has limited value in a game like blackjack, where you can directly impact the game. Betting strategies are more fun to use in other games like roulette or craps, where you have relatively less control over the outcome.
5. Practice Using Free Play
This is a valuable option that is available only to online casino players. You can play the software-based games an unlimited number of times using free play. Use this option to learn basic strategy and increase your experience in the game without spending a single Rand.
Once you feel more comfortable and confident, you can always sign up and spend real money!
Does Card Counting Work for Online Blackjack?
Card counting is a popular topic in blackjack circles. Over the decades, numerous books have been published on the topic. We even have popular Hollywood movies like The Rainman, 21, and The Hangover where they show it in exciting and humorous ways.
In blackjack, card counting is a strategy used by players to gain an advantage on the dealer by keeping a running count of all the cards dealt. This gives you some insights about the remaining cards on a deck, which can be used to predict which high/low cards might come out.
Card counting using is indeed possible at online blackjack games, but mainly in live games because there’s a real dealer with a real deck of cards. But the rules and overall conditions of online play make it not worth the effort in most instances. To answer the question, card counting can work online, but the results are often very underwhelming.
Blackjack for Real Money vs Blackjack for Free
When you visit an online casino in South Africa, you have two main options to enjoy the majority of the games available – free play/fun play, and real money play. Both are viable options with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Let’s go through a quick guide using a handy table.
|Real Money Blackjack|
Free Online Blackjack
|Registration is necessary to play||No registration is required – simply visit the casino to play|
|Available at all online casinos||Not available at some sites|
|You have to spend money||It is completely free|
|Wins pay out real cash||Wins payout fake/virtual coins|
|Not suitable for beginners and novices||Ideal game mode for beginners and newcomers to blackjack|
|You can play both online and live dealer blackjack||You cannot play live dealer blackjack|
Free play blackjack is a great way to learn the basic rules and strategies of the game without wasting any money. Once you are proficient at the game, you can consider depositing at a trusted South African blackjack casino – we have some great options right here at PCSA.
The Best Blackjack Variants to Play
Unlike video slots, blackjack is not a game that can appear in thousands of different themes and formats. But still, it is one of the most diverse games among the classic table games, with up to 100 different variants available across the world.
None of these variants is drastically different from the basic template. Blackjack variants stand out due to the presence or absence of specific rules and game conditions like splitting, doubling, payout ratios, and dealer standing on a soft 17.
The following are some of the top blackjack variants commonly seen at online casinos.
In this version of blackjack, the dealer is given two cards, one of them face up. If the face-up card is an Ace, the dealer will peek at the hole card before players make any decisions. And if the dealer makes a natural blackjack – ie, blackjack with the first two cards – then it is game over and all players lose.
The advantage of this system is quite easy to understand – in the absence of the above rule, you could have made a split or a double, not knowing that the dealer had a natural. This way, you would have lost more money.
American Blackjack has further sub-variants, based on additional features like the number of decks, payout odds, doubling down after a split, and other smaller rule variations. Here is a quick look at some of these options.
Atlantic City Blackjack – Uses 8 decks, allows three times splitting (not on aces), allows splitting on 10s, and usually pays out 3:2 on blackjack. Late surrender is available as an option.
Vegas Strip Blackjack – Another name for the standard American Blackjack, since it evolved in Las Vegas, it has more liberal splitting and doubling rules, including splitting on Aces, and generous side bets.
Spanish 21 – A unique take on blackjack played with no 10s, it has splitting on pairs, resplits, and winning payouts of 1:1.
Double Attack Blackjack – A variant of Spanish 21 played in Atlantic City casinos, this one comes with higher payouts and an option to double your bet after seeing the dealer’s up card, dealer stands on soft 17, insurance payout of 5:2, double down after splitting etc
Generally considered as the predecessor to American Blackjack, this is the game from which most other variants eventually arose. While the main rules are the same for American and European variants, the latter is different in one critical area – the dealer cannot peek if he has an Ace as the up card.
This single rule has huge ramifications for the player, and not in a good way. Since the dealer can’t peek before you make your move, you have no idea of knowing if a natural blackjack is waiting on the dealer's side. The risk of losing more money is high with splitting or doubling down.
Because of this, the player odds on European Blackjack are somewhat lower than its American counterpart. Consequently, American Blackjack is the better option if you want the best odds.
Blackjack Online Bonuses
Casino bonuses are a great way to boost your bankroll and spend more time playing your favourite games for real money online. Most casinos allow players to enjoy electronic blackjack games with bonus funds.
While you may be allowed to use that tasty R10,000 Welcome Bonus on your favourite blackjack games online, you have to remember a few caveats. For starters, blackjack games have the highest RTP among all online casino games. This also means that they have among the lowest wagering contributions.
Here is how it matters:
When you play with a casino bonus, your bonus balance is kept locked
You have to complete the wagering requirement to unlock the balance and allow withdrawals
Blackjack games usually have less than a 10% wagering contribution
If you want R1,000 bonus money on blackjack, it will only show up as R100 or worse
It will take you much longer to fulfil your wagering targets
This drastically reduces your chances of withdrawing any bonus winnings
As long as you are not too keen on keeping your bonus winnings, you can enjoy blackjack games at online casinos. Think of it as another form of free play – you can try the games with bonus money, without risking your deposit cash. The odds of having anything leftover are slim.
Playing Blackjack on Mobile
As of 2022, almost all modern online casinos are 100% mobile-friendly. Everyone in the industry uses the same HTML5-based software for casino websites. This system allows online casinos to run well on PCs, Macs, and Linux-based systems, as well as all mobile devices – iOS, Android, and more.
As long as you have a fully updated mobile device with a web browser app like Chrome or Safari, you can play blackjack games via the internet. For a smooth experience, you will require uninterrupted 4G or WiFi access.
You can use a single account across multiple computers and mobile devices and get the same great online experience, with bonuses, full game catalogues and other loyalty perks.
At the best South African online casinos, you can play blackjack on mobile anywhere – your home, office, in the park, and even on your daily commute!
Playing Blackjack Online with Friends
Blackjack can be a very social game in a casino, with a bunch of players at the table all betting against the dealer. In an offline casino, you can go with your friend, find a vacant table and have some fun banter while playing together against the dealer (with separate hands and bets).
Replicating the same experience online is not as easy. For starters, it is impossible on software-based blackjack titles – they are strictly single-player experiences. If you want real money blackjack with friends, here is what you can do:
Have everyone sign up at the same South African casino
Log in at the same time and head to the Live Dealer section
Pick the same public blackjack room
Play together while communicating via video chat/Skype/messenger etc
If you don't need real money casino betting, there are several free game options for online multiplayer blackjack. These are available as downloadable apps or online websites. Do note that these are not casinos – there is no gambling, just casual free-play gaming.
FAQs about the Best Blackjack Games in South Africa
Yes, you can enjoy blackjack games with real money betting at online casinos. Plenty of South African casinos has blackjack games, including highly realistic live dealer games. To play with real money, you have to sign up and create an account.
Yes, but only if you play at officially licensed offshore casinos. Online casinos are not legal if they are based inside South African borders. But online casinos based in jurisdictions like Malta and UK are fully legal – you can play blackjack safely at such sites. Many of these sites accept South African players.
Software-based blackjack games usually have lower player odds than live dealer games that use real card decks. If you want the best odds, you should play American or Vegas Blackjack variants at live dealer casinos. The top South African casinos on our list all have excellent live dealer games.
Several sites do offer casual blackjack multiplayer without any kind of gambling. This is one option if you want to play free blackjack with friends online. Otherwise, the only practical solution is real money live dealer blackjack, where you and your friends all sign up at the same casino and play in a common live game room.
To practice blackjack, the best option is to use the free play/fun play option available at most online casinos. If you already have a betting account at a South African casino and claim deposit bonuses, you can also use bonus funds – but remember that the chance of a payout is extremely low if you use the bonus money on blackjack games.