Most online casinos have blackjack variants in their list of games. And this is not surprising, since blackjack that originated about 300 years ago is still a staple game for many keen aficionados all over the globe. Unlike, for example, slot machines that belong to pure games of chance, online blackjack requires skill and even strategic thinking, though luck is certainly a big part of it. Blackjack rules are simple but require some effort to learn, and after you have mastered the basics, you will be ready to dive into the wonderful world of blackjack. This website provides reviews for the best online blackjack sites that offer a plenty of game variants, blackjack bonuses and tournaments. Gamblers of Canada can play online blackjack for real money and for free. Just check the section with casino reviews and pick the one that fits you best.
How to beat the dealer in online blackjack
The objective of blackjack is to have a hand that scores higher than the dealer’s hand without exceeding 21. Each card in the hand gives a certain number of points to the total hand score: cards 2 to 10 are worth their face values; Jacks, Queens and Kings give 10 points, and Aces score either 1 or 10 whichever produces the best result.
At the beginning of each round, the player and the dealer are dealt two cards each. One of the cards in dealer’s hand is face down, though in some blackjack variants all cards are distributed face up. Anyway, after getting dealt the initial two cards, the player has to decide what to do next: keep the hand unchanged (this is known as Stand), take one more card (Hit), split the hand and take two more cards, thus getting two hands to play with (Split) or double the bet and get one additional card (Double Down). There is a Basic Strategy for online blackjack that determines preferable decisions based on the initial two cards in the dealer’s and player’s hands. If, for example, you have a hand containing 4 and 3 (7, in total), you should always hit. If your hand scores 17 (e.g., Jack and 7), the correct decision is to stand because taking one more card would stand the risk of exceeding 21.
After the player has made a move, the dealer reveals his face-down card and decides whether to take a card or stand pat. As a general rule, the dealer must take the third card if the total score is under 16 and stand pat if the hand equals 17 or higher. In some blackjack versions, the dealer must hit on soft 17. A “soft” hand is the hand that consists of an Ace and any other card, and the Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11 without surpassing 21. For example, Ace and 3 is a soft hand that totals 14 or 4. In a “hard” hand the Ace always counts as 1, otherwise the hand would bust. For example, Ace, 5 and 8 score 14.
At this point, the total score of player’s hand is compared with dealer’s hand. You win if:
- You hold the hand scoring higher than the dealer’s without going over 21 (for example, you get 18 and dealer gets 16);
- You have blackjack (Ace plus any ten-point card);
- Dealer goes bust (the score in dealer’s hand exceeds 21). In this case, the player wins his bet automatically.
Online blackjack variations
Along with classic blackjack, there are many lucrative game variants that differ from each other in some minor rule variations that enhance or reduce the house advantage over the player. Every blackjack variant effects the player’s decisions and can have some rare features, for example, an option to surrender or an increased payout for a blackjack hand (2 to 1 instead of 3 to 2). Some of the best online blackjack games offered at our recommended casinos are the following:
- Vegas Strip. This is a classic blackjack variant with very high player edge. Vegas Strip is exceptionally good for novices as it sticks to traditional rules: dealer stands on all 17s, doubling down is allowed on any two cards, BJ pays 3:2, etc.
- European Blackjack Redeal. In this game, the player has the option to redeal the entire hand or the last card up to 5 times if he believes the winning odds are very bad. The redeal comes at a certain price, and getting Ace plus any face card as a result of the redeal counts as 21, not blackjack
- Double Exposure. In this blackjack variant, the dealer gets two initial upcards making it easier for the player to choose a correct hand option. This undeniable advantage is leveraged by a few rules that increase a house edge slightly: First, the dealer wins on all ties, and second, blackjack pays 1 to 1. However, player’s BJ beats the dealer’s
- Spanish blackjack. This local blackjack variation is very popular among gamblers all over the world due to its unique bonus system and several rare options. In Spanish blackjack, which can be found in the best online casinos, player’s 21 or BJ wins over dealer’s 21 or BJ. Doubling down is allowed on any number cards. Further to that, the player may re-double down once, which is a very exotic rule variation. Special bonuses include a 3:2 payout for 5 cards totaling 21; a 2:1 payout for 6 cards totaling 21, and some other special bonuses with the maximum pay of 50:1 for getting three suited sevens
- HiLo 13. This is in fact a common European blackjack with an optional Hi/Lo side bet. Placing a wager on the Lo or Hi option pays 1:1 if the final score on the player’s hand is under 13 or over 13, respectively. If you choose to bet on 13 and win, you will earn 10 times the bet. If playing this online blackjack for real money, your cash win can be really fantastic
- Multihand variants. Online blackjack is normally played with a single hand dealt to the player. However, many single-hand games, including classic blackjack, European blackjack, Vegas Strip and others, have respective multihand versions that are essentially the same as regular blackjack but are played with up to five hands simultaneously. The hands are played out one by one and independently from each other, and the player can, for example, hit on one hand and stand pat on the remaining hands.
Gamblers of Canada enjoy unhindered access to the best online blackjack variants available at the recommended online casinos on this website. The game comes in a wide variety of forms, all of them having a little different rules and winning odds. Whichever blackjack variant you choose, you must make sure to follow a regular basic strategy to maximize your winning chances in the long run.