Blackjack is a hugely popular card game, one that can be found in online and offline casinos around the world. It is a game of strategy, as well as luck; a game that manages to be both simple and complex.

Whether you’re a curious first-timer, a keen apprentice, or a knowledgeable veteran, there’s always something new to learn.

You can jump straight in and play a few hands with moderate success but truly mastering the game is a little trickier. In this guide to Online Blackjack, we’ll help you get to grips with it.

Rules: How to Play Blackjack

The basic rules of Blackjack are relatively easy to follow, but there is much more to this game than you might think. Take a look at these Online Blackjack rules to learn more:

  • Order of Play: Blackjack uses a standard 52-card deck, with no jokers. Players place their bets before any cards are dealt and can also choose to place side bets if available. All players are initially dealt one face-up card, including the dealer, and a second card is then added. This card is often face-down for the dealer and face-up for the players. The time that the dealer’s second card is dealt will depend on the variant of Blackjack being played.
  • Card Values: Unlike Poker, which requires knowledge of card groupings and their respective values, Blackjack is relatively easy to understand. All cards from 2 through to 10 are represented by their face value, which means that 2 scores 2 points, 3 scores 3 points, and so on. Jacks, Queens, and Kings count for 10, and an Ace can be a 1 or 11.
    • Understanding the Ace: The value of the hand will dictate the value of the Ace. If, for instance, you have an Ace and a Jack, that’s 21 (with the Ace as 11) and forms a strong hand. The Ace continues to count as 11 if you Stand with an Ace and an Eight, but if you Hit with that hand and get a 4 or more, it becomes a 1, otherwise, you would be bust. A hand with an Ace valued at 11 is called “Soft”, while an Ace valued at 1 is called “Hard”. This is why you will often see expressions like, “Dealer Stands on Soft 17”, which means they stand when they have an Ace and a 6 or greater.
  • Hit or Stand: You have two main options when you are dealt your first two cards. You can either “Hit”, which means you will be dealt another card, or you can “Stand”, which means you settle for what you have and end your turn. Understanding when to Hit and when to Stand is key and is something you can calculate based on your score and the dealer’s face-up card.
  • Advanced Options: In addition to “Hit” and “Stand”, players can make several other decisions, including:
    • Double Down: You double your bet in exchange for one more card. This move is often made when players think they are in a favorable position and that one more card will give them a very strong hand. It’s one of the few ways to increase your wager after the pre-game betting round.
    • Split: If you are dealt two of the same cards, you can “Split” them into two separate hands. In the aforementioned example of the two 5s, you can choose to “Split” these into two hands of 5 and Hit/Stand on each of them. The player’s bet increases and the two hands are played separately.
    • Insurance: When the dealer is showing an Ace as their face-up card, the player is offered an “Insurance” option. If the player takes this bet and the dealer’s second card is a 10, they will receive a payout of 2 to 1.
    • Surrender: Some Blackjack variants let you “Surrender” your hand in exchange for some of your original stake. Using this feature, players can recoup some money from what they anticipate will be a losing hand.
    • Side Bets: A “Side Bet” is an additional bet that the player can place prior to the hand. It does not impact the main game. It’s possible to win the main hand and lose the side bet, and vice versa.
    • Multi-Hand: A specific variant of Blackjack that lets you play multiple hands at once. You can assume control of the whole table if you want, paying for and playing each hand separately.

Rule Variations

Blackjack games vary considerably from one variant to the next. The card values and the ultimate goal remain the same, but the way that your cards are dealt and shown, as well as the moves that you can utilize, can change. Here are a few popular Blackjack variants:

  • European: The dealer takes their second card after all of the players have acted, which means there is only one card in front of them while players are making their decisions.
  • American: The dealer’s second card is dealt face-down after all other players have received their cards. It is turned over when other players have acted.
  • Spanish 21: A unique variant that differs slightly from other Blackjack games. The main differences are that a player’s 21 always beats a dealer’s 21 and all 10 value cards are removed from the deck.
  • Switch: Two hands are played at once and players can “switch” cards between these two hands, potentially turning two weak hands into one strong hand. For instance, if both hands show 10 and 5, they can switch these for a hand of 20 (both 10s) and a hand of 10 (both 5s), before continuing as normal.
  • Pontoon: A popular Blackjack alternative that got its start in the United Kingdom. Some of the rule changes include the introduction of a “Five Card Charlie”, whereby players can win a side bet if they have a five-card hand of 21 or less.
  • Double Attack: The player can double their wager after they see the dealer’s face-up card. A Blackjack pays even money and, as with Spanish 21, all 10 cards are removed from the decks.

Odds and Payouts

Blackjack offers one of the lowest house edges in the casino, which is why it’s such a popular game with experienced players.

The house edge is typically under 0.5%, although it depends on the variety, with aspects such as the number of decks, the features, and the payout all impacting the edge. To better understand these payouts and odds, take a look below:

  • Blackjack: A Blackjack is a hand of 21 formed from two cards: an Ace and a 10. It is the best hand in the game and triggers an instant win in most variants. That win generally pays 3:2, which means that a $1 bet will generate a profit of $1.50 for a total payout of $2.50 once the stake is returned. However, some games limit the payout to 6:5 and some pay even money.
  • Regular Hand: A regular win occurs when you beat the dealer. It pays 1:1, also known as even money, and means that a stake of $1 will generate a profit of $1 for a total payout of $2. This typically remains the case for all Blackjack variants, but there are exceptions for Double Down. During a Double Down, your stake increases, and the payout increases in relation to it.
  • Insurance: You will receive a payout of 2:1 for a successful Insurance bet. If you bet $1, you will generate a profit of $2 for a payout of $3.
  • Tie: When a tie occurs, the player’s stake is returned, and money is neither won nor lost. This is also known as a “push”.
Winning HandPays$1 Bet Pays
Blackjack3:2$2.5 ($1+$1.5)
Regular Hand1:1$2 ($1+$1)
Insurance2:1$3 ($1+$2)

Basic Strategies and Tips

While games of Roulette, Poker, and Craps have several different strategies, Blackjack has just one. Known as Basic Blackjack Strategy, it is a mathematical formula developed to encourage bets that offer the highest probability.

Every move is based on the dealer’s face-up card and the player’s starting cards and there are fixed recommendations.

For instance, this Blackjack strategy recommends against the use of Insurance, because while it offers a high payout, it is a bet that will lose more times than it will win. More importantly, the payout offered is not relative to the risk taken.

Some of the other recommendations include taking more risks when you have a low score and the dealer is showing an Ace/Ten, and fewer risks when you have a high score and the dealer has a low card. In the first instance, the dealer is likely to get a high score, in the second, they are more likely to get a low score or go bust.

Basic Blackjack Strategy also impacts when you should Split, Double Down, and Surrender. For example:  

  1. Split

A very powerful move if you use it properly, the goal of splitting is to create two strong hands and to double your payout as a result. Strategy dictates that you should never split 10s, as you’ll only be turning one strong hand into two weak hands, and you should consider splitting 7s and 8s.

For instance, if you have two 8s, you have a score of 16 and are left with an awkward decision. Do you Hit, do you Stand? It’s a relatively low score, but it’s high enough for you to bust quite easily.

By splitting, you’ll have two 8s and can effectively start again. If one of those hands gets an Ace or 10, you now have an 18 or 19. If they get a 2 or 3, you’re one card away from a perfect score.

2. Double Down

Doubling Down is recommended when you have 11. In such cases, a 10 will give you a perfect score and an 8 or 9 will give you a very good score. Of course, you could also get a 5 or less, in which case you have a relatively weak hand, but it’s all about playing the percentages and the odds are that you will have a 6 or higher.

This method can work with other positions, as well, but caution is advised when the dealer is showing a 9, 10, or Ace. 

3. Surrender

If your hand is weak compared to the dealer’s, you can surrender it. Many Blackjack strategists recommend that you surrender a 16 when facing a 9, 10, or Ace, as the odds are highly in the dealer’s favor.

This is actually a great way to understand the Basic Blackjack Strategy and the logic behind it. Many players would never dream of folding a 16. But if the dealer has a 10, it means that a 7 or higher will beat you immediately. 8 of the 13 cards in every suit will beat you. And even if one of the other 5 appears, you’re not out of the woods yet.

Most dealers stand on soft 17, so if they get a 6 or less, they will simply take another card, giving themselves another chance of beating you.

Promotions and Bonus

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Mobile Experience

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  • How to Win at Blackjack? It’s often said that winning is about getting as close to 21 as you can. But the goal is actually much simpler than that, you just need to beat the dealer. If you hit 20 and the dealer hits 19, you win. If you stand on a low score and the dealer goes bust, you also win. This is why the best Blackjack players pay as much attention to the dealer’s hand as they pay to their own.
  • Is it Possible to Count Cards in Online Blackjack? The simple answer is no, but let’s elaborate, as it’s a question that many players have and an issue that many are confused about. Card counting works because Blackjack cards are dealt from a shoe and are discarded once they have been dealt. If there are 8 decks and you see 3 Aces during the first hand, you know that there are 3 fewer Aces in the shoe and can bet accordingly. This is basically all that card counting amounts to. With online games of Blackjack, the cards are added back to the deck and the deck is reshuffled, effectively rendering this technique redundant.
  • Where Can I Play Blackjack Against a Live Dealer? is home to a wide variety of Live Casino games, including Live Dealer Blackjack. These games are based on the Playtech Eurolive platform, which uses high-definition cameras to stream quality casino games to your desktop or device. It feels like you’re sitting at a real Blackjack table and playing with a real dealer.
  • What Makes the Best Blackjack Casino? At, you will find a large variety of Blackjack games, from Live Casino creations to a glut of virtual offerings. In addition, we have a dedicated Customer Support team that can be contacted 24/7, offer a wealth of deposit and withdrawal options, and provide new and current players with a selection of bonuses.

Help and Support

Struggling to get to grips with this game? Can’t get the information you need in this Blackjack guide? Try the following help options:

  • In-Game Help: All games, including both virtual and Live Casino variants, have game files detailing aspects such as features, payouts, and rules. Click the hamburger icon in the top corner of the game screen to access this information.
  • Live Dealer Support: If you’re playing Live Casino Blackjack, you can use the chat box to speak with the dealer and other players, asking them questions about the game and getting some helpful advice.
  • Customer Support: When our guides and game files can’t help you, our dedicated Customer Support team is ready to step in. Available 24/7, you can contact our helpful team members through Live Chat, email, and phone.

Play for Real Money

We’ve covered the basics; we’ve shown you the rules and the variants—there’s only one thing left to do! Play real money Online Blackjack today at Take your pick of countless variants, pick up a bonus, and start hunting those big scores.