Ultimate Blackjack Guide 2021
The game of blackjack has always been an extremely popular one at casinos. As punters seek ways to satisfy their demand for blackjack from the comfort of their own home or while on the go, the game has shifted to online and mobile casinos. Online gambling has many advantages: Convenience, safety and user-friendly software. And let’s not forget the potential rewards!
Do you want to learn how to win at blackjack? Read on to learn the rules and adopt our favourite blackjack tips and strategies. If you’re itching to play blackjack right away, we can also recommend some of the best online blackjack casinos with exclusive bonuses.
Who is this Guide For?
This is the ultimate blackjack guide for players of all levels. Whether you’re a total newbie at the game, simply wanting to learn how to play blackjack, or whether you’re a seasoned player looking for ways to improve your blackjack strategies, you’ll find all you need in this guide. You’ll learn all about blackjack rules and variations, as well as blackjack tips and tournaments. We’ll explore the difference between online and live blackjack, examining the pros and cons. This guide is ideal for players contemplating real money blackjack after enjoying it for free. It also answers all the frequently asked questions about the game.
How to play Blackjack
Step by Step Explanation
- Take a seat at a virtual blackjack table.
- Place your bet.
- Dealer deals cards.
- Player decides on next move.
- The game can go through several rounds.
- The winner is determined.
- The objective of Blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a total that exceeds the dealer’s total or by not going over 21 when the dealer does so.
- Players are paid out if they’re winners.
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Online Blackjack Rules
The above was a very simplistic look at how the game of blackjack is played out. Now let’s look at the basic online blackjack rules to further explain how to play blackjack. These rules apply to classic blackjack; there are in fact several variants of blackjack where the rules may change slightly.
- The player places a bet at the blackjack table.
- The dealer deals 2 cards to the players around the table, and two to himself.
- The dealer’s cards are dealt as follows: One card face up, the other card face down.
- Cards count as their face value (eg. a number 2 is worth 2). If you’re dealt a picture card (ie. Jack or Queen), it’s worth 10. An Ace counts as 1 or 11. In blackjack, the card suits are of no importance.
- The total value of your blackjack hand is the sum of the card values of your dealt hand.
- At this point, you need to decide on your blackjack strategy: whether you want to stand, hit, surrender, double down or split (more about those below in the Best Blackjack Strategies section).
- The dealer is the last to play; he needs to hit on 16 and stand on 17 through 21.
- The player is the winner if his hand totals higher than the dealer’s hand OR his hand value is 21 or less if the dealer’s hand exceeds 21 (ie. goes bust).
- The payout in blackjack is 1:1
- The player is the loser if his hand goes bust OR if his hand’s total is less than the dealer’s hand.
- In the case of a tie or a push, the player (ie. when the two hands total the same), the player retains his bet.
Why Play Blackjack?
Unlike online casino games such as slots or roulette, the outcome of blackjack is not only based on chance. Blackjack is mathematically different from other games and is thus considered a game of skill. The way that you play the cards that you are dealt, can greatly influence your chances of winning. By learning to play with a blackjack strategy and certain betting techniques, you are in fact maximizing these winning chances. By learning a simple playing strategy, you have the potential to bring the house edge down to less than 1%. Learning specific betting strategies could even have you GAIN an advantage over the casino. And let’s not forget that blackjack is highly entertaining casino game to boot!
You’ll find that most online casinos not only offer classic blackjack, but several variations of the game. The basic gist of the game stays the same in most of these variations, but the rules are tweaked to create something slightly different. Some of the more popular online blackjack variants include:
- Spanish 21
- Blackjack Switch
- European Blackjack
- Vegas Strip Blackjack
- Blackjack Surrender
- Progressive Blackjack
- Double Exposure Blackjack
An online blackjack tournament has you taking on other players at the casino, instead of the house. The rules of online blackjack tournaments will change from site to site, but in general, they give players the opportunity to win as many credits as possible within a certain time frame. The more credits won, the bigger the prize.
A tournament traditionally consists of several rounds, and players are given a certain number of chips to play with. The best players at each table will progress onto the next round, with winning players from each table meeting up until a final table is reached. The best-performing players left standing take a share of the prize pool.
It’s a good idea to check out the rules of each blackjack tournament that you’re thinking of entering to make sure that you understand how things work before you start playing.
Best Blackjack Strategies
Blackjack has multiple approaches one may take to try to ensure the best possible outcome. In this section, we will delve deeper into the best strategies around that you may want to follow.
📌Strategy 1: Split
When you’re dealt a pair of cards (eg. 2 x Nines), you’re faced with the question of how to proceed. You can either decide to split the pair to form two new hands, or not to. Most variants of blackjack allow you to split pairs, where you essentially place a second bet on each hand, equal to the starting bet.
In a nutshell, the splitting strategy says that you should always split when:
- You get aces
- You get eights
- The dealer’s up card is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 and you have a pair of 2, 3 or 7.
- The dealer’s up card is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and you have a pair of 6
- The dealer’s up card is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9 and you have a pair of 9.
You should not split when:
- You get nines or tens
- You get fives
- You get fours
📌Strategy 2: Double Down
When you start playing a game of blackjack, you place your initial bet. Once you know your own hand and the dealer’s up card, you may have the option of playing an additional bet, called the Double Down. This bet is always worth the same as your original stake. It earns you one further card (only). You forfeit the option to ‘hit’ and receive further cards.
If your hand total is 9, 10 or 11, you can be pretty confident that you will beat the dealer, and doubling down is a good strategy. Practicing this strategy and familiarizing yourself with the method will help you choose wisely when to Double Down and when not to.
📌Strategy 3: Surrender
Some online casinos allow you to fold your hand before drawing more cards. If you choose to surrender, you will forfeit half your original wager and the cards are removed. As a strategy, surrender should be used in only 4 instances when the dealer stands on soft 17. If the dealer hits on soft 17, surrender is an option in 7 instances. Read up more about the rules of surrendering and decide how you can use it as a strategy to improve your chances of winning in blackjack.
📌 Strategy 4: Hit or Stand
The most frequent decision you’ll need to make when playing online blackjack is to hit or stand. Hitting means receiving another card from the dealer, which you can continue doing until you go over 21 (go bust) or decide to stand and take no more cards. Both are easy to understand as a concept, but it takes skill to know when to hit and when to stand. For example, when you learn how to play blackjack, you are told that if you have a total of 8, you should hit against any card that the dealer holds. Another example is that you should stand on all totals of 17, 19 or 20.
Play Blackjack for Real Money
Blackjack is a game that has some of the best odds of winning, compared to other online casino games. It has a particularly low house edge to begin with and if you learn an efficient strategy, you can even shift these odds further to your advantage. Familiarize yourself with the odds of winning and the probability of getting a certain card, to help improve your game and win more.
Blackjack Card Counting
This card game strategy is used to determine if the next hand dealt is likely to give you a probable advantage or not. Players keep a running tally of high and low valued cards. This allows them to bet more when the count gives them an advantage, versus minimize losses when it does not. This strategy takes time to master.
Our Recommended Tips When Playing Guide
Using our tried-and-tested online blackjack tips will help you shift the odds of the game even further in your favor.
- Learn a basic strategy. Memorizing the correct way to hit, stand, split and double down is imperative to your success.
- Avoid playing insurance. It doesn’t give you an advantage unless you are card counting.
- Check the dealer’s up card. What the dealer has makes a major difference to what action you should take as a player.
- Start small. If you’re new blackjack, play small amounts to familiarize yourself with real money blackjack play, without blowing your entire bankroll.
- Practice for free. The best way to practice your blackjack strategy is to play online for free. Boost your confidence until you feel that you’re ready to switch to rewarding real money winnings.
- Play wisely. Set yourself a limit about how much you’re willing/able to lose. Don’t chase your losses. Don’t play under the influence of any substance or when you’re tired.
Online Blackjack VS Live Blackjack
Online casinos give you the opportunity to sit opposite a live dealer and enjoy the thrills and excitement of a blackjack game – all from the comfort of your own home. Live Blackjack is all thanks to the latest streaming technology, where you’ll see a live dealer shuffling and dealing cards from a real casino in real time. Play against the dealer and get paid out if you win the game.
|Online Blackjack||Live Blackjack|
|You against the machine. You’ll play with computerized graphics and a virtual dealer.||As close to an original bricks and mortar casino blackjack table experience that you’ll get to play at home.|
|The only interaction you may have is through a chat feature with other players, and that may not be always available.||You can interact with the dealer and chat about the game in real time.|
|Available 24/7||Available 24/7|
|Easier to stay focused on the game, with little to distract you.||Important to remain focused, as live casino gaming has greater distraction potential.|
|More variants of online blackjack available.||Not always easy to translate some of the online variants to live blackjack tables.|
|New blackjack players may find it easier to start with traditional games at low betting levels.||A better choice for confident, seasoned blackjack players who don’t get nervous about playing against a human.|
|Good for casual players who prefer a slower pace or who like to dictate the speed of their games.||Faster pace. New players may feel self-conscious about taking their time making decisions at the table.|
The beauty of live and traditional online blackjack is that you can choose both options. The best online casinos offer you the choice of both, allowing you navigate from one to the other, depending on your mood or skill level.
Where can you play Blackjack games for free or real money?
Our guide provides you with links to the best online casinos where you can play blackjack games for free or real money. Check out our recommended sites for the best blackjack games, available in play or real money format.
How do I play blackjack online?
Choose an online casino from our list of recommended sites, register an account and find blackjack variants and betting limits that appeal to you. Play blackjack online for free or, if you want to play for real money, transfer funds to your account and start winning!
Why is blackjack so popular?
Blackjack is simple to play and understand. Unlike most other casino card games, it has a significantly low house edge. Moreover, if you learn a basic strategy, you shift the house edge to your advantage. In other words, it gives you a very fair chance of winning.
What is “card counting” and is it illegal?
Card counting is when the player keeps a running tally of the cards in the deck. This strategy allows the player to decide when to bet heavily, and when to hold off on bets. Casinos don’t like card counters, for the simple reason that it reduces their house edge. Brick and mortar casinos in South Africa have been known to ask players to leave if they are obviously counting cards. It is not, however, illegal. It’s practically impossible to use card counting as a strategy online.
How do I win at blackjack?
he best way to win at blackjack is to stick to a basic strategy, and apply theory to practice relentlessly. The better you know the game, the greater your chances of winning, or at least minimizing your losses. Of course it goes without saying that you should protect your bankroll by playing wisely.
Is Blackjack gambling legal in South Africa?
Sure! Blackjack is a popular card game that is available at many brick-and-mortar casinos across South Africa. You can also play blackjack at multiple South African facing online casinos, for free or real money, in traditional online blackjack format or as Live Blackjack.