Online blackjack is among the most successful casino games thanks largely to its accessibility – it’s easy to understand – and the excitement it offers players. Thanks to a recent change in the laws, it’s now legal to play blackjack online in several US states, meaning millions of fans can enjoy the game from the comfort of their own homes. This article will cover how to play, the best online casinos to play at and where to find the best online blackjack bonuses.
An introduction to Online Blackjack
Online blackjack is one of the easiest table games to learn but also offers great longevity as you move from beginner to advanced. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer with a hand of 21 or as close to 21 as possible. If the player goes above 21, they are bust and the dealer wins but if they beat the dealer without going bust, the player is the winner. Face cards (kings, queens and jacks) are worth 10 points, with aces counting as one or 11, depending which is most valuable to the player. Multiple players can play at the same time – but they are against the dealer, not each other. Your winnings are usually double your stake. During the game, players have several options – hit, stand, double or split.
So, can you beat the game?
“Blackjack is very scientific. There’s always a right answer and a wrong answer. Do you take a card, increase your bet, bet big or bet small? There’s absolutely a right and wrong answer” – American billionaire businessman Charlie Ergen
While, like all casino games, the advantage lies with the house, there is a way to increase your chances or, at the very least, limit your losses. Blackjack strategy is all about probability and maths. There are some pretty in-depth blackjack strategy guides out there but, as a general rule, the steps below are worth considering.
When the dealer’s up-card is a good one, a 7, 8, 9, 10, or ace for example, the player should keep drawing until 17 or more is reached. When the dealer’s up-card is bad (4, 5, or 6) the player should stop drawing as soon as he or gets a total of 12 or higher. Never to take a card if there is any chance of going bust. The aim let the dealer hit and hopefully go over 21. Finally, when the dealer’s up card is a fair one, 2 or 3, the player should stop with a total of 13 or higher. With a soft hand, the strategy is to keep hitting until a total of at least 18 is reached. Thus, with an ace and a six (7 or 17), the player would not stop at 17, but would hit.
With a total of 11, the player should always double down. With a total of 10, the player should double down unless the dealer shows a ten-card or an ace. With a total of 9, the player should double down only if the dealer’s card is fair or poor (2 to 6).
When to split
Always split a pair of aces or 8s; identical ten-cards should not be split, and neither should a pair of 5s, as two 5s are a total of 10, which can be used more effectively in doubling down. A pair of 4s should not be split either, as a total of 8 is a good number to draw to. Generally, 2s, 3s, or 7s can be split unless the dealer has an 8, 9, ten-card, or ace. Finally, 6s should not be split unless the dealer’s card is poor (2 through 6).
Where to play in the US
Blackjack is a casino classic and any online casino worth its salt will offer online blackjack. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are the states that allow online casino games but many more are following suit and, soon, players in many more areas are likely to be able to get involved. Some online casinos will offer free to play blackjack, which is a great way to get to know the game before staking any real money. Some will offer mobile blackjack and some will also provide a live dealer option, where the cards are dealt by a real-life dealer, rather than by computer.
Online Blackjack bonuses and offers
Whether you’re a fan of online slots, baccarat, roulette, or any online casino game, there’s always a bonus to be found and that’s true of blackjack too. Online blackjack bonuses are designed to attract new customers and retain existing ones. New customers are the holy grail for online casinos and those first few deposits are what they’re all after. As such, the welcome bonuses can be pretty attractive. And, as competition increases with more online casinos opening up in the US, it pays to shop around. Casinos will tailor their offering to suit player tastes, so online blackjack bonuses will most likely be standard offers that can be used across multiple games. Offers generally look like:
The no deposit bonus allows players to play for free without having to add any funds to their account. Just sign up and you can start playing. Sounds good, right? Well, the no-deposit bonus is a great way to try online blackjack with a new casino but such offers are usually very restrictive, allowing you to play for us a few hands. You must also be aware of wagering requirements, which can be found in the terms and conditions of the promotion. Typically, players are required to play through their winnings multiple times before they can be withdrawn. In truth, it’s often very difficult to withdraw winnings from a no-deposit offer.
Typically a deposit bonus is designed to encourage players to add funds to their account by offering to match or boost the bonus. For example, a 100% bonus would see a player deposit $100, and get an extra $100 added to his or her balance. Again, these bonuses are almost always subject to wagering requirements but the requirements of deposit bonuses are usually more relaxed than those seen with no-deposit bonuses.
Tiered welcome package
Tiered welcome packages are another common type of welcome bonus where players are incentivized to make multiple deposits, with rewards on the first, second and third times they add funds to their accounts. Typically, a welcome package might look like this: 400% first deposit, 100% second deposit and 50% third deposit.
Shop around for the best bonuses
When looking for a place to play online blackjack, make sure you shop around. Try different casinos using no-deposit bonuses and find the one you like best. Consider the strength of the welcome bonuses and always choose a respectable and legal online casino.