Online Table Games
As with all casino games, blackjack incorporates a "house edge", a statistical advantage for the casino that is built into the game. Now the time has finally arrived to finally place your bet. Nothing confusing, vague or ambiguous. The North American game of Blackjack, also known as 21, has been one of the most popular casino games of the last hundred years and has spread throughout the world. The Ace is always valued at 11 unless that would result in the hand going over 21, in which case it is valued as 1. In most other countries, the dealer receives one card face up.
Free Online Blackjack Overview
Check out the rules below:. Terms and conditions might apply to these offers. Now the time has finally arrived to finally place your bet.
Similarly to when playing this game at brick-and-mortar casinos, your bankroll will be displayed in the form of chips.
This will merely take a few seconds. Keep in mind that you'll need the best hand to enable you to win the pot. Well, the best hand you can possibly have is a Blackjack which is a hand that makes up exactly 21 with the first two cards. Acquiring a Blackjack will mean that you'll be able to benefit from a payout of 3 to 2 on your bet. The second best hand you can have is a hand which makes up This can consist of more than two cards.
Any other hand with a total that tallies up to closest to 21 and beats the dealer is third best. Furthermore, you can also learn how to implement the strategy by using our marvelous Blackjack Strategy Trainer without having to pay any hefty fees. The thrill of playing Blackjack is just a mere click away. You can even do so by taking advantage of an online casino bonus that's offered at your casino of choice. The thrill of watching the spinning red and black Roulette wheel has long served to grip many avid gamblers around the g With no hole card, it is almost never correct basic strategy to double or split against a dealer ten or ace, since a dealer blackjack will result in the loss of the split and double bets; the only exception is with a pair of A's against a dealer 10, where it is still correct to split.
In all other cases, a stand, hit or surrender is called for. For instance, holding 11 against a dealer 10, the correct strategy is to double in a hole card game where the player knows the dealer's second card is not an ace , but to hit in a no hole card game. The no hole card rule adds approximately 0. The "original bets only" rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player's hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet "original" is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed.
Each blackjack game has a basic strategy , which is playing a hand of any total value against any dealer's up-card, which loses the least money to the house in the long term. An example of basic strategy is shown in the table below, and includes the following parameters: The bulk of basic strategy is common to all blackjack games, with most rule variations calling for changes in only a few situations.
For example, if the above game used the hit on soft 17 rule, common in Las Vegas Strip casinos, only 6 cells of the table would need to be changed: A, surrender 15 or 17 vs.
A, double on A,7 vs. Also when playing basic strategy never take insurance or "even money. Estimates of the house edge for blackjack games quoted by casinos and gaming regulators are generally based on the assumption that the players follow basic strategy and do not systematically change their bet size. Most blackjack games have a house edge of between 0. Casino promotions such as complimentary matchplay vouchers or 2: Basic strategy is based upon a player's point total and the dealer's visible card.
Players may be able to improve on this decision by considering the precise composition of their hand, not just the point total. For example, players should ordinarily stand when holding 12 against a dealer 4.
However, in a single deck game, players should hit if their 12 consists of a 10 and a 2. The presence of a 10 in the player's hand has two consequences: However, even when basic and composition-dependent strategy lead to different actions, the difference in expected reward is small, and it becomes even smaller with more decks. Using a composition-dependent strategy rather than basic strategy in a single deck game reduces the house edge by 4 in 10,, which falls to 3 in , for a six-deck game.
Blackjack has been a high-profile target for advantage players since the s. Advantage play is the attempt to win more using skills such as memory, computation, and observation. These techniques, while generally legal, can be powerful enough to give the player a long-term edge in the game, making them an undesirable customer for the casino and potentially leading to ejection or blacklisting if they are detected.
The main techniques of advantage play in blackjack are as follows:. During the course of a blackjack shoe, the dealer exposes the dealt cards.
Careful accounting of the exposed cards allows a player to make inferences about the cards which remain to be dealt. These inferences can be used in the following ways:. A card counting system assigns a point score to each rank of card e. When a card is exposed, a counter adds the score of that card to a running total, the 'count'.
A card counter uses this count to make betting and playing decisions according to a table which they have learned. The count starts at 0 for a freshly shuffled deck for "balanced" counting systems. Unbalanced counts are often started at a value which depends on the number of decks used in the game.
Blackjack's house edge is usually between 0. Card counting is most rewarding near the end of a complete shoe when as few as possible cards remain.
Single-deck games are therefore particularly susceptible to card counting. As a result, casinos are more likely to insist that players do not reveal their cards to one another in single-deck games.
In games with more decks of cards, casinos limit penetration by ending the shoe and reshuffling when one or more decks remain undealt. Casinos also sometimes use a shuffling machine to reintroduce the exhausted cards every time a deck has been played. Card counting is legal and is not considered cheating as long as the counter isn't using an external device, : Sometimes a casino might ban a card counter from the property.
The use of external devices to help counting cards is illegal in all US states that license blackjack card games. Techniques other than card counting can swing the advantage of casino blackjack toward the player. All such techniques are based on the value of the cards to the player and the casino as originally conceived by Edward O. Shuffle tracking requires excellent eyesight and powers of visual estimation but is more difficult to detect since the player's actions are largely unrelated to the composition of the cards in the shoe.
Arnold Snyder's articles in Blackjack Forum magazine brought shuffle tracking to the general public. His book, The Shuffle Tracker's Cookbook, mathematically analyzed the player edge available from shuffle tracking based on the actual size of the tracked slug. Patterson also developed and published a shuffle-tracking method for tracking favorable clumps of cards and cutting them into play and tracking unfavorable clumps of cards and cutting them out of play.
The player can also gain an advantage by identifying cards from distinctive wear markings on their backs, or by hole carding observing during the dealing process the front of a card dealt face down. These methods are generally legal although their status in particular jurisdictions may vary. Many blackjack tables offer a side bet on various outcomes including: The side wager is typically placed in a designated area next to the box for the main wager.
A player wishing to wager on a side bet is usually required to place a wager on blackjack. Some games require that the blackjack wager should equal or exceed any side bet wager. A non-controlling player of a blackjack hand is usually permitted to place a side bet regardless of whether the controlling player does so.
The house edge for side bets is generally far higher than for the blackjack game itself. Nonetheless side bets can be susceptible to card counting. A side count, designed specifically for a particular side bet, can improve the player edge. Only a few side bets, like "Lucky Ladies", offer a sufficient win rate to justify the effort of advantage play. In team play it is common for team members to be dedicated toward counting only a sidebet using a specialized count.
Blackjack can be played in tournament form. Players start with an equal numbers of chips; the goal is to finish among the top chip-holders. Depending on the number of competitors, tournaments may be held over several rounds, with one or two players qualifying from each table after a set number of deals to meet the qualifiers from the other tables in the next round.
Another tournament format, Elimination Blackjack , drops the lowest-stacked player from the table at pre-determined points in the tournament. Good strategy for blackjack tournaments can differ from non-tournament strategy because of the added dimension of choosing the amount to be wagered.
As in poker tournaments, players pay the casino an initial entry fee to participate in a tournament, and re-buys are sometimes permitted. Some casinos, as well as general betting outlets, provide blackjack among a selection of casino-style games at electronic consoles.
Video blackjack game rules are generally more favorable to the house; e. Video and online blackjack games deal each coup from a fresh shoe, rendering card counting much less effective. Blackjack is a member of a large family of traditional card games played recreationally all around the world. To be sure of playing correctly, it is necessary to generate a Basic Strategy table for the specific rules of the game being played. Various tools are available online to do this.
We would recommend this Blackjack Basic Strategy Calculator. It should be noted that even playing perfect Basic Strategy for the rule set in play, the player will still usually be at a disadvantage. Card Counting provides the player a mathematically provable opportunity to gain an advantage over the house. It must be understood that this does not guarantee that the player will win.
Just as a regular player may win though good luck despite playing at a disadvantage, it is perfectly possible for the Card Counter to lose through an extended period of bad luck even though playing with a small advantage over the House.
The basic premise of Card Counting is that mathematically speaking, low cards on average are beneficial to the dealer while high cards favour the player. There are many subtle reasons for this but the most significant are:.
So the Card Counter looks for times when there are more high cards left to be played than a regular deck would have. Rather than trying to remember each card that has been played, the Card Counter will usually use a ratio system that offsets cards that are good for the player against cards that are good for the dealer. The most commonly used Card Counting system is the HiLo count , which values cards as follows:. To keep track the player starts at zero, adds one to the total every time a low card is played and subtracts one from the total when a high card is played.
It may seem counter-intuitive to subtract one for high value cards that are good for the player, but a high card that has been played is one less high card that is left to be played. Where the Running Count is positive the player knows that there are more player favourable cards remaining to be played.
When kept correctly the Running Count will start at 0 and, if all the cards were to be played out, would end at 0. This is because there are an equal number of high cards and low cards. Card Counting systems are generally not impeded by the addition of multiple decks to the game. At any rate multiple decks do not make it significantly more difficult for the Card Counter to keep track of the Running Count, since the Card Counter only needs to keep track of a single number, the Running Count.
However many decks are used, the count begins at zero and would end at zero if there were no cards left, so no changes need to be made to the counting process. Where multiple decks do make a difference is in how much impact a positive Running Count has to the player advantage. If there are 5 decks remaining to be played there are only 2 extra player favourable cards in each deck. To estimate the strength of the player advantage the Running count therefore needs to be divided by the number of decks remaining to be played.
This figure is called the True Count. With the True Count the player has a consistent measure of how many extra player favourable cards are contained within the cards remaining to be dealt. The player can use this information to vary their bet and playing strategy. Deviations from Basic Strategy are far less important than placing big bets when the True Count is high and low bets or preferably nothing when the True count is low or negative.
It is important to note that sizing your bet correctly is critical to your long term success as a card counter.
This requires substantial additional knowledge that is beyond the scope of this article. Instead we refer interested readers to the books listed below for an insight into this complex aspect of card counting. While Card Counting is legal in most jurisdictions, for obvious reasons casinos do not like players that can consistently beat them.
They therefore employ counter measures and any players they identify as Card Counters will be asked to leave the casino.
The most common method used to identify Card Counters is to watch for a large bet spread difference between the minimum and maximum bet a player uses and to see whether large bets correlate with player favourable counts.
Card Counters have developed several methods to help them avoid detection. The two most common are:. There are several variations on team play designed to be employed in different situations and to different effects. These are covered more fully in the reading resources detailed below. Successful Card Counting is generally only profitable in land based casinos, not in online games.
The strategy relies on the game having a "memory" in that cards are dealt from the cards remaining after previous rounds have been played. Online Blackjack games are dealt by computer and normally use a random number generator to shuffle the whole deck after every round of play.
Games of this sort are not countable. There are some Live Blackjack games online, which are played over a video feed with a human dealer. These could technically be counted but there are several significant disadvantages that make this difficult or not worth the player's time:.
There is a great deal more to card counting successfully than we can reasonable cover here. Many books have been written on this subject and we will recommend some of the better ones below:. Blackjack Attack — One of the foremost mathematicians in the Blackjack field, Schlesinger successfully compares the strength of various counting systems in different conditions. Blackbelt in Blackjack — One of the most easily accessible authors on the subject of Blackjack, Snyder still provides everything you need to know to start on your journey.
Blackjack Blueprint — A good book covering everything from Basic Strategy, through several counting systems and on to advanced techniques and team play. Blackjack for Blood — Discussion of various card counting systems and strategies to avoid being detected. Includes discussion of some strategies that unlike card counting, may not be legal.
As such we would strongly advise user caution and research before engaging some of the strategies discussed. Burning the Tables in Las Vegas — One of the best discussions of how to play successfully long term without being detected. Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs: Knockout Blackjack — Credited as being the first published unbalanced counting system system that did not require a True Count conversion.
Million Dollar Blackjack — An old book now but written by a man famous for popularising the concepts of team play. This book covers several counting systems alongside some advanced techniques. Play Blackjack Like the Pros — This book covers Basic Strategy, a variety of counting systems, money management and team play. The Blackjack Life — A autobiographical account of a small number of players implementing modernised team play strategies.
Very useful insight into how team play can still be effective. The Blackjack Zone — A lot of space is devoted to how to become a better player and debunking myths surrounding gambling, but this book also has a good treatment of the basics of card counting. The Theory of Blackjack — Peter Griffin was one of the most widely respected gambling mathematicians of all time.
This book is maths heavy but very informative.