As far as casino card and table games are concerned, blackjack may be the most recognizable of them all. With roots going back hundreds of years, blackjack has stood the test of time and rooted itself as a favourite among players for generations. Today, blackjack exists in many forms and is enjoyed by players, both novice and professional, all over the world.
Also Known as 21, blackjack is a comparing-style card game that traditionally pits the player against the dealer, or house. The precursor to Blackjack was actually the game known as 21, but no one really knows where it came from. The first recorded mention of it is in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Cervantes himself was a gambler and often wrote of cheats and gamblers in his works. The game most often referenced in conjunction with these cheats and gamblers is veintiuna, the Spanish word for Twenty-one. Traditionally the game was played with a Spanish deck, which lacked 8s and 9s. The stories were written at the turn of the 1600s, more than 400 years ago. This testament to the popularity of blackjack shows its place among not just gambling culture, but popular and literary culture as a whole. When it comes to modern blackjack, a lot has changed.
To increase interest during the modern variation’s infancy, casinos offered substantial prizes to players, such as 10-1 for certain card combinations held against the dealer. These were referred to as Perfect Blackjack. Tables with multiple players do not see players pitted against each other, but rather against the dealer. Participants go around the table taking turns to form a strong hand in hopes of beating the hand of the dealer. The dealer can be beaten in one of several ways, which we’ll go over in more detail further along in this guide.
The game can employ several strategies, such as multi-hand playing and card counting. Since the 60’s these strategies have emerged specifically around blackjack to gain an edge over the house and earn vast sums of money. This is possible because blackjack typically uses a fixed number of decks at a given table. While not illegal, strategies like these are strongly frowned upon by casinos. In many cases, such activity will earn players unwanted attention from the casino staff and they may even be asked to leave.
Blackjack’s popularity has led to exotic variations of 21, like Spanish 21 and Pontoon, which explore the comparison style card game in new ways, but offer the same thrill and rewarding potential.
To begin, the rules for playing blackjack require at least two players and two or more decks of cards. At its most basic level, the player will face the dealer in a head-to-head game to see who holds the highest value hand. The highest possible value for a hand is a Perfect Blackjack. More on that in a bit.
Blackjack is a very simply game to understand and begin playing. However, many will agree it takes a lot of practice to feel like a seasoned player and enjoy the game less as a gamble and more as a strategic endeavor.
Traditional blackjack tables offer anywhere from 5 to 7 seats, while Online Blackjack and Live Blackjack varieties can offer just as many. Games are played with between 1 and 8 standard 52-card decks that are shuffled together.
When the game begins, the player will place their wager in the betting box of their designated position on the table. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume the venue does not allow back betting. This is a practice that allows multiple people to place a wager on a single position.
The dealer will deal cards beginning from their left, moving across the table to the far right position. Each player is dealt an initial hand of 2 cards, one face up and one face down. When it tis the player’s turn, they can choose to take one of several actions according to the variety of blackjack being played. For the most part, those actions include “hit”, “stand”, “double”, “split”, “surrender”, and “stay”.
- Hit: This action requests another card from the dealer. This can be enacted in a number of ways from verbal request to gesture. Gestures include scraping cards against the table, tapping the table with fingers, or waving the hand towards the player’s body.
- Stand: This action signals the player is satisfied with the value of their hand and does not wish to request more cards. Other terms for this action are referred to as "stand pat", "stick", or "stay". Common gestures to signal this action include placing the card under the player’s chips or waving a hand horizontally.
- Double down: This action signals the player is confident in the strength of their hand. Doubling down will increase the player’s initial bet by 100%. However, the player is then committed to receiving 1 final card before being forced to stand with the result. This action is signaled by placing the additional wager to the side of the player’s betting position and pointing to it with a finger.
- Split: A dynamic action, splitting allows a player to turn a hand of two cards of the same value, or rank depending on the casino, into two separate hands. To do so, the player must place an equivalent wager to the first outside the betting position. The dealer will then split the two cards and deal an additional card to each hand. The two separate hands play out just as a single hand would, though they are independent of each other. This action is gestured by placing the bet appropriately and signaling a V-shape with two outstretched fingers.
- Surrender: while not available on all blackjack table, this action is common enough to include. The surrender action is available only directly after the dealer has checked to see if their hand could be a potential blackjack. This is most typically when their starting hand shows a 10-point value card or an Ace. A surrender ends the hand and returns half of the player’s original wager.
Hold the highest value hand that doesn’t go above 21 to win. Dealers may be forced to stand at either 16 or 17, which can play into your basic blackjack strategy. A hand that is dealt 21 from the start is considered a Blackjack or Perfect Blackjack depending on the game and can earn additional payouts.
How to Play Blackjack Online
There aren’t many online casinos that offer more online blackjack games than Casino Las Vegas, so if wish to play blackjack online, you have definitely come to the right place. The rules are more or less the same in online blackjack games when compared to land-based casino blackjack. For one, unless you’re playing a specific variety of multiplayer blackjack, you’ll be playing solo against the house. The same is true of Live Blackjack games, though these are quite a bit more dynamic and are covered later in our online blackjack guide.
With online blackjack you can typically begin playing as soon as you’ve deposited funds into your casino account. While there may be many varieties available, you can only play one at a time. So, make plans to try them all before you settle on the one you consider your go-to blackjack game.
Betting in online blackjack is easy and set up more or less the same in all variations. You’ll sit at the virtual table and find there will be an array of chips in several different colours and denominations. Click on the chip value with your mouse to activate that stack for wagering. Then click the betting position where you would like to place your wager. Certain blackjack variations may allow you to only play one or as many as all of the visible positions on the table. Take advantage of this if you have the opportunity. Keep in mind that every online blackjack table has a minimum and a maximum bet allowance. So, it’s important to make sure you’re at the right table to suit your stakes.
If you want to clear your bets and begin again, you can do so by clicking the CLEAR BETS button that is most typically located in the lower center of the screen. Once you’re ready to begin the game, click the DEAL button. You’ll see the deal animation, followed by the options to HIT, STAND, and SURRENDER, with the option to SPLIT or DOUBLE DOWN depending on your hand composition. Click the button that corresponds with the action you want to take. Play through to the end without going bust and with any good fortune, you’ll come out ahead of the dealer. You can recreate the same bets from your previous round with the click of a button. Otherwise, feel free to wager a new amount using the same method as before.
There are some unique rule sets depending on the variation of blackjack that diverge from the standard rules. Let’s use All Bets Blackjack as an example. While many of these rules above are applicable, there are some unique conditions that can emerge in the game, such as:
Insurance – an insurance policy the player can buy when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. If the dealer has blackjack, insurance pays out 2:1.
10-card Charlie – if the player can be dealt 10 cards without going bust, they’ll automatically receive a winning payout provided that the dealer does not have a blackjack.
Side bets include bets on card combinations that can pay significantly, even if the player’s hand does not win. Common side bets include Top 3, Perfect Pairs, Buster Blackjack, Progressive Blackjack, Lucky Lucky, and 21+3. The highest paying side bet comes from the Progressive Blackjack, which returns 4,000:1 on the player’s wager.
Blackjack strategies come in all shapes and sizes. While card counting is certainly the most well-known blackjack strategy, it is not viable in online blackjack games.
We’ll cover basic blackjack strategy to get you started on your path to becoming a blackjack pro. You’ll want to consider lots of factors to employ proper strategy, the most important of which is deciding which variation of blackjack to play. Because each variation comes with different odds, payouts, betting opportunities and stake limits, only the right combination of these will do for your unique situation.
First, you’ll want to understand what the house advantage is. The number of decks used in a game of blackjack influences the house advantage to a certain degree. In short, the more decks there are, the higher the house advantage. Here’s a quick breakdown of the increased edge relative to how many decks there are:
- Single-deck = 0.17%
- Double-deck = 0.46%
- Four-deck = 0.60%
- Six-deck = 0.64%
- Eight-deck = 0.65%
Betting limits are perhaps the next critical factor to consider in your strategy. Are you playing as a high-roller or are you going the conservative route? Bigger bets can lead to bigger returns, though they come with elevated risk.
What about positions, how many can you play at once? Are you limited to just one or can you play all visible positions at the table? More positions leads to more opportunities to capitalize on odds and stake levels.
Specific Rules are another important factor to be familiar with before you commit to a wager. Games that allow insurance, side bets, and surrender will maximize your payout potential and minimize the level of risk you assume when playing.
Where is the dealer forced to stand? Whether or not the dealer is forced to stand at 17 or hit on a soft 17 can make the difference. Find out this important detail when it comes to your given game of blackjack to stack the odds in your favor further.
Beyond these tips for creating your own basic blackjack strategy, there is just one more thing to consider: the Payouts! One game may offer you more in return for your Perfect Blackjack or other unique card combination in your hand. Some variations will offer you the opportunity to win a progressive jackpot payout that could be as large as 7-figures. These are critical details that you cannot afford to overlook when employing the perfect online blackjack strategy.
Our blackjack games are among the best found at any online casino. We curate our selection to not only include the most popular and attractive blackjack games around, but also introduce our players to the newest and most exotic variations being played online. We’re always adding new games to the library, too. To ensure you never miss the latest release, keep checking our selection regularly. While you’re waiting for the next big game to hit the casino, try your hand at our most popular online blackjack games, including All Best Blackjack, Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven Blackjack, Lucky Lucky Blackjack, Premium Blackjack, Cashback Blackjack, and so many more.
One of the best ways to get started playing online blackjack is with the free blackjack games that you can play right here at Casino Las Vegas. You can play most of our variations without having to commit to a wager. Best of all, you can explore each of these free varieties to decide which mechanics, stakes, and additional features you like best. Hover over the blackjack game you want to try for free in our games section. If free play is supported, click on that option to get started without making a wager.
Some of the blackjack games available for free play include:
Live Dealer Blackjack to the pinnacle of online blackjack experiences. When entering any of our Live Blackjack games, you’ll sit down to your very own private blackjack table equipped with high-definition video and sound. There, a live croupier is waiting to deal you in. These croupiers are able to chat with you thanks to live streaming audio and you can chat right back to get as close to the real casino blackjack experience as possible without ever setting foot out your front door.
Choose your stakes, be it low, mid-range, or high-roller status and start playing with your blackjack strategy developed right here at Casino Las Vegas. The games are going day and night and our croupiers always have a table waiting for you.
Las Vegas Blackjack
When it comes to Vegas blackjack all bets are off as nothing compares to the real thing. In Vegas, players can find any game to suit their taste. From $1 to $1,000+ per hand, there are very few stakes that are not entertained. What makes the experience of Vegas blackjack even more immersive is that each casino prides itself on offering a one-of-a-kind experience. Themed games where dealers wear extravagant costumes, or virtually nothing at all, are the norm and everyone is happy to engage with players as little or as much as they like.
You can find Vegas blackjack games at any of Vegas’ top casinos, including the Bellagio, Treasure Island, The Mirage, Palms, and many more. Each of these venues is considered among the world’s best venues for blackjack enthusiasts.
Keep in mind that off-Strip blackjack competition is fierce and casinos are competing heavily for players’ attention. This offers some serious opportunity to clean up at the tables if you play your cards right. The M Resort is just one example that offers double-deck blackjack where players can double down after splitting. The same game can be found at the M but where dealers must hit a soft 17.
Now that you’re pretty well versed in the world of blackjack, get started today with a deposit and try your hand at any of our popular and rewarding blackjack games.