Blackjack Online - Step by step guide and tips
Blackjack is the most popular banking game played in casinos across the world. That however, does not mean that every gambler knows how to go about it. Neither is it a guarantee that you are playing it optimally.
This guide looks to rope in those who are new to the game. It also gives tips to existing players to help them make the most out of the Blackjack Online Gamble.
What is blackjack?
Blackjack is a simple card-comparing game in which players compete against the casino dealer rather than against each other. Because of the mode of play, it is referred to as a “banking game” the dealer being the “banker”.
The aim of the game is to have a better hand than the dealer without going over a total of 21. This can be achieved in any one of three scenarios:
- Getting a total of 21 (a blackjack/natural) in the first deal of two cards. This scenario relies on the dealer not getting a similar hand to win. In the event both hands end in a 21 total, the rounds is considered a draw.
- Have a final total greater than the dealer without going over 21
- Get the dealer to exceed 21 by drawing more cards.
Blackjack owes its origin to another game known as Twenty-One which was first played in Spain. The American version is what is now referred to as Blackjack. The simplicity of this game make it ideal for all types of players. It does not require a complex understanding of card games to play. Moreover, it is a fast-moving game, hence ideal for the casino market.
How to play blackjack online
Initially, Blackjack was usually played in casinos. A betting session begun with the player buying chips before seating at the playing table. The table itself was usually circular with between seven (standard) and 12 players. The dealer stood on the inside of this table from where he dealt cards to each player in a clockwise direction.
However, the advent of online casinos has brought with it a few adjustments to this playing model. Since gamblers play remotely, they no longer have to buy chips to play. Moreover, there is no longer a limit to the number of people who can ‘sit’ at the betting table. Players just need to have money in their betting accounts and be on time for each round of play.
As mentioned earlier, the objective of the game is to beat the dealer in the card-comparing round. Each player is dealt two cards for the game to start. The value of the cards are as follows:
- Ace = 1 or 11
- 2-9 = Face/actual card value
- 10 and face cards: 10
In some countries and casinos, these rules may vary a little. For instance, there are places where a dealer I dealt just one card, face-up. In other areas, however, the dealer is dealt two cards. In some countries, the ace may carry a value of 11.
Blackjack playing steps
Each playing rounds progresses through the following stages:
1. Player places his/her wager
Players show their intent to participate in a round of play by placing a bet. This can be done by laying out chips of a certain value in land-based casino. On the other hand, when playing in an online casino you choose the amount to bet with from your account.
The minimum amount to bet on depends on the particular casino you are playing in. However, most casinos place their blackjack minimum bet at $5.
2. Dealer deals cards to players
The dealer responds to the intent to play by dealing one card (face-up) to every player and another one face down for himself. In a brick-and-mortar casino, players can be able to see other players’ cards. This has no effect however, given that other players’ cards do not affect your winning chances.
The dealer then deals a second card for everyone face-up, including himself. Once this is done, the game is then said to be in play; it is time to make decisions.
3. Player decides how to play hand
Once the game is in play, the player decides what action to take depending on the sum of his two cards. If the hand is a natural (21) and the dealer does not have a similar hand, the player wins. The pay-out is made and the game ends at that point.
Tip: Always use hand signals when playing in a physical casino. Dealers do not respond to words alone.
In the event both the player and the dealer have a blackjack, the game is a tie and a ‘push’ occurs. This means neither the player nor the house loses money.
If the hand is not a natural, the player may take any of the following actions:
Stand: Indicate you are okay so the dealer moves to the next player.
Hit: Ask the dealer to play you more cards to improve your hand
Double Down: Place another wager of equal amount and ask for an extra card. Some casinos do however allow you to ‘double for less.’ This basically means increasing your wager by less than the original amount to get an extra card.
Split: Ask for each card to be dealt its own hand when you get two cards of equal value. This includes two face cards (value 10).
Surrender: Give up on the round and get half your stake back. This is done when you feel the hand you got is unfavourable and unlikely to yield anything.
4. Dealer plays hand
Depending on the players’ choice, the dealer turns his face-down card upwards to reveal his total and allow for comparison. At this point, the final outcome of the game (player or dealer win0 is revealed and the round concluded.
Tips for playing blackjack
Although Blackjack is not a strategy game, there are several tips that players can use to increase their winning chances. Usually, players are advised to base their decision on the dealer’s face-up card. This can however be misleading as it does not in any way affect the value of the face-down card.
Find houses with fewer decks
A higher number of decks in the shoe speeds up the gaming session and reduces cheating incidences. However, it also increases the house edge. That is definitely no good news for the player. Choose houses with fewer decks, especially when playing online where no time is lost in shuffling.
Avoid doubling for less
Doubling for less is mathematically not a wise decision; avoid it even when the temptation comes.
Pick an online over land-based casino
Online casinos offer several advantages over land-based houses when playing Blackjack. For starters, you often get a welcome or sign up bonus which is not there in a physical house. This literally increases your bankroll. Moreover, it allows you to concentrate when playing from your favourite spot, away from the distraction of casino lights and noise.
Online casinos are the real deal. However, if you are ever on a trip and decide to enjoy the physical casino feel, here are some hand signals to aid your Blackjack session:
Stand: Either wave your hand or just place your open palm over the felt
Double Down: Place another wager to the left of your original bet
Hit: Use your finger to tap the felt
Split: Hold out the peace sign
Surrender: Draw a ‘cut’ behind your chips and mouth ‘surrender.’
There you have it! Go out and enjoy your Blackjack betting session; or do just that from your favourite spot on the couch- online!