Challenge the Dealer Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is just as popular online as it is at land casinos. Today, players have a huge amount of choice when it comes to online Blackjack with all the standard variants available as well as several that are much more unusual. Furthermore, online Blackjack games often offer a variety of exciting side bets, giving players the chance to win even more. As a result, even the most experienced and discerning of Blackjack players is able to find the perfect game for their needs. They can put their skills to the test against the dealer and with a bit of luck, enjoy numerous winning hands.

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How to Choose a Blackjack Game

You will find that many online casinos offer a number of different Blackjack games. In order to pick the best one for you, you first need to ensure that you understand the basics of the game and how to spot the differences between the different versions.

Blackjack Basics

Nearly every version of Blackjack has the same basic objective. The idea is to build a hand of cards that has a value nearer to 21 than the dealer’s hand does, but not to exceed 21, which is known as going bust.

After the bets have been placed at the start of a round, each player receives two cards face up on the table. In most games, the dealer receives one face up card and one face down. Players then take it in turns to play their hands.

In order to make a decision, you need to know your hand value. In Blackjack, the number cards (2 to 10) are worth their face values, picture cards (Jack, Queen, King) are all worth 10, and Aces are worth one or 11. This means that the best possible hand is an Ace and a 10 card, it is worth exactly 21 and it beats all other hands.

There are three basic actions available to each player:

  • Stand – Leave the hand as it is and play moves to the next player.
  • Hit – Receive another card to the hand.
  • Double Down – This doubles the initial bet, players receive just one more card to the hand, and play moves on to the next player.

Depending on the version of Blackjack you are playing, there may be further options. A very common option is Split. If your first two cards have the same value then you can split them into two separate hands by placing a second bet equal to your first and then play them as individual hands. In many games, if the dealer’s face up card is an Ace, then you will be able to take out insurance against the dealer having Blackjack. This is a side bet that costs half of your original bet and if the dealer does have Blackjack, then it pays at 2:1.

Once all players have finished it is the dealer’s turn. The dealer will have to draw cards until their hand is worth a certain value and then stand once it reaches that value. A common example of this is that dealers draw until the hand is worth 16 and stand as soon as it is worth 17 or more.

After the dealer has played, players are paid for winning hands. In most versions of the game, a winning hand is paid at 1:1 unless it is Blackjack, which pays at 3:2.

Differences in Blackjack Variants

When looking at Blackjack variants, there are many areas where the rules may be slightly different. The most basic of these is the number of decks of cards used. Games can use 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards. The number of cards in play will have a huge impact on strategy, so it is very important to be aware of.

There are also likely to be differences in the rules governing Double Down. Some games will allow it on any hand total, others only on specific hand totals. Similarly, if Split is allowed, there may be differences in when Doubling Down is allowed after a Split.

Some games will give players the opportunity to Surrender hands. This means that you abandon the hand and receive half of the bet back in return. There are two forms of Surrender, Early and Late. Early is when it is allowed before the dealer checks for Blackjack when showing an Ace, but this is very rare. It is more commonly allowed after the dealer has checked.

You will see some games that offer the option of an Even Money payout when the dealer is showing an Ace and the player is holding Blackjack. This simply means that players are offered an immediate payout of 1:1 in this circumstance rather than having to play the hand.

You may find a number of additional differences in the rules. As mentioned, the rules governing the dealer’s play may vary, there may be rules governing how Split works, and in some versions of the game, there may be something completely different. As a result, before you play any Blackjack game, you need to make sure that you are aware exactly what the rules are.

Blackjack Tips and Tricks

One of the reasons why Blackjack is so popular is that it is possible to use a mathematical strategy to lower the house edge significantly. The strategy will be slightly different depending on what variant you are playing, but it is easy to find all the different strategies online. Better yet, the strategies are displayed in simple to understand charts, so you do not need to understand any complicated mathematics in order to use them.  However, it is important that you ensure you are using the correct strategy for the version of Blackjack that you are playing.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Is there are ‘best’ Blackjack variant?

Each version of Blackjack has its own pros and cons. However, some are considered more beneficial to players. These include those that use fewer packs of cards, that offer surrender, that allow Double Down on any hands, that allow re-splitting of hands, and that pay the full 3:2 for Blackjack.

What side bets do Blackjack games offer?

You can find a huge number of different side bets. However, the most common two are the Perfect Pair, which is a bet on the nature of the first two cards dealt to a player, and the 21+3, which is a bet on the player’s first two cards combining with the dealer’s up card to form a poker hand.

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