Blackjack is one of the oldest and most popular casino games to play in the world. On this page explore the different ways to play blackjack online, read up on the history of the game, then find a real money casino where you can play right now. And before you wager, read our guide to understand the rules of the game and get some top Blackjack strategy tips before you try your luck at the tables.
Good luck and have fun!
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A GUIDE TO ONLINE BLACKJACK
THE ORIGINS OF BLACKJACK
It’s tough to trace the exact origin of when Blackjack was created, but there is a general consensus amongst the gaming gurus that it derived from the French 17th-century game, Vingt et Un. Or for those of us who don’t speak fluent French – 21. And we all know the aim of the game in blackjack is to get as close to that elusive number as possible without busting.
The game migrated to North America with French colonists in the 19th century, becoming popular in New Orleans and Nevada fist. Here it took on the name Blackjack as gambling houses evolved the rules to pay out bonuses for a 21 hand made up of a Black Jack (of Spades or Clubs) and an Ace of Spades.
This is the origins of the game we know and love today. It was popular because it was easy. And with a relatively low house edge in Blackjack it’s possible to experience casino thrills with low risk.
5 REASONS TO PLAY BLACKJACK ONLINE
So what makes Blackjack so popular – here are 5 reasons why this timeless classic is enjoyed by millions of gamblers worldwide.
- So simple to play
- Very low house edge makes for great odds
- Lots of versions to try
- Live Blackjack available in Canada
- Low stakes options AND high roller tables available
RULES OF BLACKJACK
Before we go any further, lets tackle the rules of Classic Blackjack. This is how the game is played at most tables online in Canada.
The dealer deals two cards face up to each player, as well as two cards to themself. However, only one of those is face up, the other is face down.
The player can then draw more cards to try and get a total hand value of 21, or closer to it. Go over 21 and you’re bust. If you hit blackjack – an ace and a ten (or picture card), you win automatically. After all players have played their hands, the dealer flips over their second card to see their hand value. They must keep drawing another card until they reach 17 or more.
Winning hands in Classic Blackjack are paid out at 1:1, though a Blackjack hand itself pays out 3:2.
In the online world (and sometimes offline) there are many variations on Blackjack with slightly different rules and payouts. Here are some of the popular ones:
Blackjack Switch – each player has two hands dealt and has the option to switch two of the cards around to give themselves a better chance of winning. Now, Blackjack only pays even money rather than 3:2. It is also possible to Double Down before and after splitting in Blackjack Split.
Progressive Blackjack – like progressive slots, progressive Blackjack games have the option to place a side bet for the chance to win a cumulative jackpot dervied from a portion of all the side bets placed by players since the jackpot was seeded. To win players normally have to hit a rare hand like 4 aces.
Live Blackjack – this is the best way to play Blackjack online in our opinon. Live tables are streamed from game studios worldwide and players can enjoy a social gambling experience with professional croupiers dealing the cards. Keep reading this guide for more on Live Blackjack.
Spanish 21 – This is one of the rarer forms of Blackjack but its equally fun. Now, all the 10 cards are removed from the pack and players win with a 21, regardless of the dealers hand. Additional bonus wins are available, including a 2:1 win for a 7,7,7 21.
While you’re playing at a blackjack casino, you’ll notice terminology that is unique to this game. Here are some important phrases and words to look out for and their meanings.
- From Ace to Ace – the number on your cards 2 to 10 represent that numerical value. Jack, Queen and King count as 10 and the Ace is either 1 or 11 – use it wisely.
- Stand – when you’re happy with the card hand in front of you, select stand when you’re playing online and that’s you essentially sticking with your hand. You can’t add any more, so make sure you’re as close to 21 as you can be before settling.
- Hit – if want another card on top of the two you’ve been dealt, select hit and the dealer will provide it. You can keep on doing this until you get the total you want; or until you go over 21 and go bust.
- Insurance – a side bet you can use if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. It basically insures you against them being dealt a blackjack. While fun, it’s statistically not wise to the insurance bet.
- Double down – the chance to double your bet and take one more card. Do this when you starting hand is strong, like 11, because it’s likely you will be dealt a 10 and finish with 21.
- Surrender – fold a hand before drawing new cards. When you do this, half of your original bet is returned to the stack, and half to the dealer. Not all games offer this, so look at the house rules.
Playing blackjack is obviously fun, but it gets even better when you use blackjack bonuses. For example, a no deposit bonus lets you play the classic table game without having to make a deposit yourself.
A match bonus will match your deposit, so if you bet $100 with a 50% match bonus, you’d get another $50 to play with. Live bonuses can be used when you try out the live dealer game versions, and the more you play at one of the blackjack casinos on our list, the more rewards you’ll get.
BLACKJACK BONUS EXCLUSION
Just keep in mind that many casinos exclude Blackjack from bonus offers because of its low house edge. This makes it easy for players to win with their bonus – something that casino operators don’t like too much! So you will find that either Blackjack bets are entirely excluded, or if they are included, then their contribution to wagering requirements is very small. The best live casino bonus we know of comes from Casino Lab.
LIVE BLACKJACK GAMES
Blackjack casinos give you the opportunity to try out the famous game in different ways. Of course, you can play from the comfort of your own home without having to set foot inside a bricks and mortar casino, and there are lots of fun options available.
But did you know, you can also play live blackjack games? These are versions of the game which you can still enjoy from home, but you’ll play with a live dealer as opposed to the computer.
Streamed from a special studio, you play with the dealer and table in front of you, so you get to chat to them and ask questions. If you’re going to try out live blackjack games, we recommend trying Unlimited Blackjack from Evolution Gaming. In this game an unlimited number of players can play the same hands. If you choose differently to another player then your version of the hand will play out as well (if you stand and they hit, their additional card is greyed out on your screen for example).
Unlimited Blackjack came about because of the popularity of Blackjack in live casinos – operators needed to find a way to allow more people to bet at live tables at once. It’s a fun and very popular way to enjoy the game now and you’ll find it at most Canadian casinos online.
BASIC BLACKJACK STRATEGY
Before you go off and explore the Fibonacci strategy and how that can be applied to almost any table game (which it can), it’s best to start off playing at a blackjack casino with the basics in mind. Because sometimes, that’s all you need to have a good time and beat your fellow players and the dealer.
WHEN TO STAND AND HIT
If you get a total of 18, 19 or 20 on your dealt hands, then it’s a good time to stand. With a total so high, it would be fruitless to hit for another card as, more than likely, you’re going to go bust. It’s always advisable to play it safe and stand on these values.
However, with all that being said, experienced players know it’s always most likely that the next card to be dealt with be valued 10, since all face cards have that value. So, if the dealer has a poor upcard like 4, 5, or 6, you can assume his face-down card is a ten, and he will have a poor starting hand of 14, 15, or 16. He will have to draw another card and likely go bust.
So, if you see this situation, you can stand on any two cards of your own – even a total as low as 12.
WHEN TO DOUBLE DOWN
Planning on doubling down? Make sure the time is right. Double Down means you can increase your bet, but with just one more card dealt, so whilst it’s a great option when it works, getting it wrong is costly!
The best times to Double Down are when you have a total of 10 or 11 after two cards, when you have a soft 16, 17 or 18 (one of the cards is an Ace), or a hard 9 or 10 (neither card is an Ace).
And finally, remember NEVER to Double Down when the dealer is showing an Ace, or you have a hand higher than 11 (with the exception of the soft 16, 17 or 18).
MOBILE BLACKJACK CASINOS
It’s already great that you can play blackjack on your computer and enjoy everything the wonderful game has to offer. But you can also take that experience with you when you try it out at a mobile casino.
All blackjack casinos have all been fully optimised to work on your smartphone or tablet – all you have to do is go to the website and you can play blackjack just as you would on a computer. As so many of us are on smart devices anyway, it just makes gaming a lot easier. You don’t need to download any additional software; just bookmark the website or even save it to your home screen and you can open up the casino with a single tap.
The games will work the same way, so you can play on the move. You might also find that mobile blackjack casinos have special offers and promotions that you won’t find anywhere else. Note that the casinos we have in our list above all work amazingly on mobile, so however you decide to play them – enjoy!
5 BEST BLACKJACK MOBILE CASINOS
- 888 Casino
- Casino Lab
- Jackpot City
- Spin Casino
- Temple Nile
There are some casinos where you can play Blackjack online for free, and some apps that allow you to play for free too. Remember that if you are playing for free then you cannot win real money prizes. The best free games are HTML5 versions provided by Microgaming and available at the casinos on this page. You cannot play live blackjack for free.
There are a few different versions of blackjack that you can play. For beginners the best option is the classic blackjack format that is the model for most online games. We also recommend some of the exclusive live versions provided by Evolution Gaming including Infinite Blackjack, Speed Blackjack and Power Bet Blackjack.
No, as long as you play at licensed casinos then the blackjack games you bet on will have been fully audited and tested by recognised bodies like eCORGA to ensure the outcome of any hand is totally random. And of course, if you are playing at live tables then you can watch the dealers to be sure that the games are legit.
Yes, at some casinos you can claim a bonus with which to play Blackjack online. However, it is quite unusual because the low house edge means that it is possible for players to win more frequently with their bonus funds than in a game like slots for example. This makes operators reluctant to give away Blackjack bonuses. Therefore, you should always check to see that a bonus is eligible for blackjack before you deposit.
Yes, generally the rules for online blackjack are the same as those at a land-based casino. However, some operators include special side bets or additional bonus payouts for specific hands, and there are variations in the rules on when you can Double Down or Split. So always check the info screen before you start playing so you know what to expect when the cards are dealt.