Blackjack Online: Where & How to Play Blackjack

Posted by Kevin King . Last updated:

Playing blackjack online – for real money or for free – is simpler than you think. Read on to learn where to play blackjack online, winning strategy & tips, different game variations, FAQs & more.

Where To Play Blackjack Online

These are our favorite sites for US players to play blackjack online:

How to Play Blackjack

Want to know how to dominate online blackjack? Watch our expert, Tommy Green, break it down for you.

Blackjack How-To

While online blackjack can be intimidating at first, the game is actually much simpler. Here’s how it works.

Make A Bet

Make A Bet

When you sit down at a blackjack table, the first thing you’ll have to do is make a bet. Depending on the amount you have in your bankroll and the table you choose, bet anywhere from 50 cents to hundreds of dollars on any given hand. While playing blackjack online, you simply click on the denomination you want to bet.

Two Card Deal

Two Card Deal

Once the bet has been made, the dealer will give everybody at the table two cards face-up, while the dealer will receive one card face up and one card face down.

Hit, Stand, Split or Double-Down

Hit, Stand, Split or Double-Down

Based on the total of the cards in your hand and an idea of the dealer’s hand strength, you decide whether to stick with the initial two-card hand, also known as stand, ask for another card, also known as hit, or in rarer cases, split ’em and play two hands or double down and receive one more card. We’ll go into how and why you would make these decisions later.

Closest to 21

Closest to 21

Without going over!

When the value of your cards is close to or at 21, you will stand and the dealer will reveal their hand. Whichever hand is closest to 21 without going over will win the round. If your hand ever exceeds 21, or “bust”, you immediately lose the game.

Blackjack Basics

five green playing cards

Blackjack is a Card Game

The game is played on a standard 52 card deck. The suit of the cards you are given does not matter in blackjack.

3 green cards heart face up

Every Card has a Numeric Value

Aces can be worth either 11 or 1, face cards (King, Queen and Jack) are worth 10, and all other cards are worth their number.

2 Green cards face up spade

21 is the Goal

Put simply, the goal in blackjack is to attain a card hand that totals closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over.

Example Hand of Blackjack

The progression of a blackjack hand is very simple to follow and to help illustrate an example please refer to the graphics in this section.

  • First, the player makes a bet. In this example, they wager $25.
  • Each player at the table receives two cards, face up. The dealer also receive two cards, one face up, the other face down. In this example, the player received a Jack and Queen, while the dealer is showing a 3.
  • The player adds up their cards for a total of 20 and decides to stand. The dealer flips over their down card for a total of 13. A dealer must hit on anything up to 16 and stand on 17, 18, 19 or 20.
  • With only a 13 showing, the dealer draws two more cards for a total of 26 and BUSTS. The player’s total of 20 wins and their $25 bet is rewarded with a $25 chip.
  • In some cases, a dealer’s post-deal hand might show an Ace card up. In this case, the player can make a side insurance bet to protect themselves against a two-card dealer blackjack. The player is paid out ONLY if the dealer’s down card is a 10 or face card. If it’s any other card, the player loses the insurance side bet.
  • There are also opportunities for the player to “double down” or double their original bet. This typically happens when their initial two-card hand adds up to 10 or, more likely, 11. If a player elects to double down, they receive ONLY one more card from the dealer.
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How to Play Blackjack For Beginners _ Tutorials, Tips & Strategy 2-24 screenshot
How to Play Blackjack For Beginners _ Tutorials, Tips & Strategy 2-30 screenshot
How to Play Blackjack For Beginners _ Tutorials, Tips & Strategy 3-21 screenshot
How to Play Blackjack For Beginners _ Tutorials, Tips & Strategy 3-42 screenshot
How to Play Blackjack For Beginners _ Tutorials, Tips & Strategy 4-10 screenshot
How to Play Blackjack For Beginners _ Tutorials, Tips & Strategy 5-44 screenshot

How to Win at Blackjack

two white cash money bills stacked on top of each other

Manage Your Bankroll

This bears repeating for all types of online gambling – have a bankroll strategy and stick to it. In blackjack, we recommend ensuring that each individual bet represents – at most, 5% of your total bankroll. For example, if you have $100 to play with, we recommend playing $5 hands at most.

a hand choosing to stand in blackjack

Never Chase Losses

Blackjack in particular is a game of math. If you play wisely and follow sound strategy, you will gain the edge over the long term. Do not play recklessly and emotionally, and never abandon your blackjack strategy to win back anything you’ve lost.

two cards being split in a game of blackjack

Capitalize on Good Hands

Use splitting and doubling down to maximize your wager amount on good hands. In online blackjack, being aggressive is required at times. If one more ten would give you a winning hand, take a calculated risk and double down.

What is “Blackjack”?

Blackjack is both the name of the game, and the name of a winning hand.

If any player – you or the dealer – receives an Ace and a ten-value card (i.e. a ten or a face card) as your initial two cards, this is called blackjack. In this instance, the player dealt the blackjack automatically wins this hand.

What is a “Bust”?

You’ll note that we keep mentioning not to go over 21. If your cards add up to more than 21, this is called a ‘bust’, and means you lose that hand and your bet.

If, once you and the dealer are done taking cards, you have a higher hand than the dealer and you didn’t go over 21, you win! Typically, you earn back your original wager, plus that same amount again. For example, if you wager $10 and win, you’ll be paid $20.

If, once you and the dealer are done taking cards, you end up with the same total, this is called a “push”. This is essentially a tie, and your original wager will be returned to you.

When To Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split

After the bets are placed and each player has received their two initial cards, you’ll have to choose whether you want to hit, stand, double down, or split. You’ll want to make this decision based on what’s in your hand, and what’s showing in the dealer’s hand.

When to Hit in Blackjack

When to Hit in Blackjack

A “hit” is simply asking for another card from the dealer.

Depending on what the dealer is showing and the online casino’s rules, a general strategy would be to ‘hit’ when your cards total fourteen or less.

When to Stand in Blackjack

When to Stand in Blackjack

“Standing” is choosing to receive no more cards from the dealer.

A player would “stand” when they’re confident they have a high enough hand to beat the dealer, typically on hands that total fifteen or more (depending on what the dealer is showing.)

When to Double Down in Blackjack

When to Double Down in Blackjack

“Doubling down” is choosing to double your original bet and committing to receiving only one more card from the dealer.

As an example, a player should generally “double down” if their hand totals 10 or 11, as the odds of the next card being a ten or face card is in the player’s favor in the long run. Again, this will depend on what the dealer is showing as well as the casino’s dealer rules.

Remember – doubling down doubles a player’s bet, and they only get one more card. If the player gets a good card and win, they win double, but if they get a bad card and lose, they’ll lose double.

When to Split in Blackjack

When to Split in Blackjack

A “split” is only an option when a player is dealt a pair. “Splitting” a pair turns the original pair into two separate hands, doubling the amount of hands the player has on the table and doubling the player’s current bet.

For example, if a player was dealt two 8s, they could split these. They would then have two hands worth 8 each, and receive an additional card for each hand. They’d then play these hands the same way they’d play one – choosing to hit, stand, double down, or even to split again.

Choosing when to split is a bit complicated, and depends on which pair you receive, and what the dealer’s showing. When you’re choosing to split, remember these three things:

  • Don’t split a winning hand. If you’re dealt two 10s, it’s tempting to double down, but don’t. If you’re dealt two 10s, you know you have twenty, which is likely a winning total. Hold tight.
  • Only split good cards. Remember, you’re turning these cards into new hands, so only split cards that you actually For example, if you’re dealt a pair of fours (a low, mathematically unfriendly card) there’s no point in splitting – you’ll just end up with extra hands full of fours.
  • Each time you split, your wager doubles. Just try to remember what you’re getting into – splitting doubles your potential winnings, but also your potential losses.

Featured Online Blackjack Site

Online Blackjack Payouts

When playing blackjack, it’s important to find the top casinos which offer the best payout percentages. This will help make your bankroll last longer and give you the best chance of winning.

The standard blackjack casino payout is 3 to 2. While in recent years a number of casinos have switched to a 6 to 5 payout, we recommend never playing for less than 3 to 2. This means that for every $2 bet, the player would receive $3 back on a winning hand – 1.5x the initial wager. 

Traditionally, blackjack is the casino game with the highest overall payout percentage and the lowest house edge. While this varies across casinos, blackjack variations and individual games, by using a good strategy and choosing a game with favourable rules, you can find online blackjack games with a tiny (<0.5%) house edge.

Head over to our blackjack payout guide to learn how the rules affect your payout percentage.

green bag full of money icon

Different Types of Blackjack Games

When you decide to play blackjack online, you have a host of options when it comes to the different variations of the game. Here are a few of the most popular options for US players, but rest assured, there are plenty of other games that follow the objective of blackjack.

 

Spanish 21

This variation of real money online blackjack allows players late surrenders, doubling after a split, re-splitting aces, players 21 always wins, players blackjack beats dealer blackjack, a player may double down on any number of cards. There are also different payouts when a player hits 21. Whether it’s 5,6,7 card 21’s or three suited 7’s.

Live Dealer Blackjack

In this popular Blackjack variation, players can enjoy a traditional casino experience while playing online as there is a live dealer in real-time dealing the cards. Live blackjack is a great option for players that want the live casino experience with the convenience of playing from their laptop or mobile device.

European Blackjack

European blackjack is a popular variation with minor differences from traditional real money blackjack. One central difference is it only played with two decks of cards, where others use six to eight decks. There’s no hole card in the European variation of the game and the dealer doesn’t receive a second card until the player has completed their hand. Doubling down is also limited. In European blackjack, players can only double down if they have a hand of 9 through 11.

Single Deck Blackjack

This version of blackjack is only played with one deck. For years, single deck was the standard, but casinos began to mix in multiple decks to make card counting more difficult.

Find the Perfect Blackjack Casino

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Free Blackjack vs. Blackjack for Real Money

Most casinos offer a demo mode where you can play a selection of their games for free. This allows you to learn the rules, test your strategy and see how you like the casino before making a deposit. We recommend playing in demo mode until you understand how the game works. Of course, the inescapable downside of playing for free is that you can’t win money, and that bonuses and promotions for free players are incredibly rare. That’s why, once comfortable, many players choose to play for real money.  Blackjack is a great game whichever way you play, but check out the pros and cons of playing for real money to make sure you make the right decision.

Pros of Real Money Blackjack

  • Chance to win real money which can be cashed out
  • Increased level of excitement and entertainment
  • Ability to collect free casino bonuses
  • Huge variety of blackjack variations and game designs available
  • Live dealer tables are almost always exclusively for real money players

Cons of Real Money Blackjack

  • As with all real money games, there is a risk that you may lose money
  • You’ll have to register at a casino before you start playing

Best Real Money Blackjack Casinos

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Blackjack Glossary Terms

Blackjack Online FAQs

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