A hand that does not require any action to be worth Card counters can still beat the insurance bet, by only making the bet when they know that more than one-third of the remaining cards are tens. Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: Storefront of the Week.
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We absolutely love real money Blackjack and free games too! We've been playing the game live for well over three decades, and over the last dozen years or so, we've been playing a lot online too. While our goal is to win some real cash, our focus is on offering our expertise to a world of online blackjack players. The game offers some of the best value in the casino to the player, but only if you use the correct strategy and play with your head and not your heart.
It's well worth trying online blackjack for free first, so you get a feel for the game. Here are a few tips which everyone should take into consideration before approaching the virtual blackjack tables:. Our downloadable basic strategy guide will give you lots of pointers as to when you should hit and when you should stand or double down.
However, here are two pointers to keep in mind whenever you sit down at a blackjack table, either online or in a brick and mortar casino:. This is a common mistake made by rookie players, who think that splitting face cards and tens in blackjack online games can double their profits.
This is a no-brainer when you play blackjack online, or at least it should be! A pair of 8s gives you the dreaded 16, and by splitting these you are banking on at least one face card showing up to give you a good hand. Even a 1, 2 or a 3 are all good cards to draw to an 8, meaning that you have plenty of chances to make a winning hand. Ever wonder why the Blackjack tables at casinos are always so jam-packed?
It's because Blackjack is ridiculously easy to play. The goal is simple - to get as close to 21 without going over, and to have a higher hand than the dealer. If the dealer goes over 21, he busts. The same goes for you. But there are still a few rules you need to know about before you play for real cash, which is why we recommend playing for fun first.
Let's walk through a typical game so you know how it all works:. But there are a few more rules to know about if you're thinking about playing blackjack online or live:. Apart from the original version of Blackjack, many casinos offer variations on the game, with the following being among the most popular:.
This version of the game is played out in the same way as the original version, except with Blackjack Surrender the player has the option to surrender after the first two cards are dealt. Blackjack Switch is an interesting option with some quite novel twists on the basic game. In this game the player plays two hands at the same time, and after the first four cards are dealt has the option to switch the top card from each hands to try and improve the chances of winning.
There is also a Super Match side bet which pays out if the first four cards dealt to the player contain a pair, two pairs, or three of a kind. This variation on the game of real money blackjack allows players to make a side bet on whether either they or the dealer or both will be dealt two of the same cards. Once you have decided that blackjack is your game of choice, the next step is to find the best online blackjack casino for your needs.
We cover some of the factors to take into account below, so make sure that your chosen casino ticks the right boxes before you make your first real cash investment. Many online blackjack casinos entice players by offering huge welcome bonuses for signing up with their site. Most of the larger bonus offers you will see involve the casino matching some or all of your initial deposits, sometimes up to as many as your first five deposits to the site. As you can imagine, this can lead to some pretty hefty bonus packages, although it does rely on the player making equally large deposits to get the maximum out of the offer.
Not all casinos pay out the same. Almost all casinos payout these bonuses over time based on how much you wager, so it's a good idea to check these "Wagering Requirements" before signing up. Look for casinos with big sign-up bonuses and low wagering requirements to maximize the amount of real money you have available to play.
When you come to play blackjack online, it is very important that you are playing at a trustworthy casino. There is not much point in winning big at the blackjack tables to find that the casino is reluctant to pay out, for example.
Any reputable online casino will be licensed and regulated to ensure that the games are fair and that the casino must act in a fair and honorable manner to its clients. Check the bottom of the page to see where a casino is regulated, and also check to see whether it is eCOGRA approved, as this means that the games on the site have been independently tested to ensure fairness.
All the sites recommended on these pages are credible and trustworthy casinos, so you can rest assured that we only ever direct our readers to the most reliable of online betting sites.
The bigger online casinos will usually have a selection of different blackjack games on offer, so real fans of the game will be on the lookout for casinos offering options such as Surrender, Perfect Blackjack, Pontoon, Switch, and Multi-hand games. The original form of blackjack offers plenty of excitement on its own, but variations on the game allow players to profit from different side bet options, as well as offering alternative gameplay features such as the ones mentioned on this page.
Blackjack is a game with one of the lowest house edges of all online casino games, which is why it remains a favorite with canny gamblers. By using the correct strategy players can reduce the casino edge to almost zero. It is important to be wary of some of the side bets on offer though, as these may not provide the same value as the original game.
It is quite possible to find blackjack games with a house edge of just 0. You should never even consider sitting down at a virtual blackjack table until you are absolutely certain about how the game works. A good knowledge of the mechanics of the game is an absolute must. Playing for fun initially will help you in the long run. Most of the card values in blackjack are self-explanatory, but there are a few cards which can trip up newbies when it comes to their value.
Aces are the cards which have a unique value in blackjack, as they can be worth either 1 or 11 depending on which is liable to benefit you in a given situation.
A starting hand of A5 will have a value of 6 or If the next card drawn is a 9 then the Ace becomes a 1 for a total value of If you draw a 3 instead, then the Ace will be used as an 11 to make a strong hand of We told you that you'll have to make a decision with every hand you're dealt. Figuring it all out can be a bit tough, but there's good news.
We actually have a Blackjack strategy cheat sheet that tells you exactly what to do if you're unsure. Before you print this out, you should know that most land-based casinos won't welcome this cheat sheet to the table.
It's not against the rules to know this information, but casinos don't like players bringing this kind of helpful information to the table. However, that is not a problem when you are playing at online Blackjack casinos. No one will know that you're using a Blackjack strategy guide, so go right ahead.
You've probably heard that counting cards in Blackjack is illegal. Well, you've heard wrong. It's actually not against the law to count cards in Blackjack, as long as the only thing you use to count is your brain. If you use a computer or any type of electronic device, that's called cheating - and that could get you tossed out of a casino, thankfully, you don't have to worry about that when you play online blackjack for real money.
Never heard of counting cards? It is assumed to have the value that makes the best hand, and that may change as more cards are added to the hand. A soft hand is any hand where an Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11 without going over The name reflects the fact that the hand can't break if you draw another card.
We no longer have the option to count the Ace as 11, because that would go over This hand is now a hard 17, despite having an Ace in it. Once all the bets are placed, the dealer will deal the cards to the players.
He will make two passes around the table starting at his left your right so that the players and the dealer all have two cards each. The dealer will flip one of his cards over, exposing its value as the "dealer upcard". In games dealt from a shoe, the players' cards will be face-up, and players are not allowed to touch the cards. If you are just beginning, this is the best kind of game, because you don't have to worry about handling the cards.
Hand-held games are slightly different. In these games, the players' cards are dealt face down, and players pick up the cards. When handling the cards in a hand-held game, here are a few important things to remember. Once the initial hands are dealt, play proceeds around the table starting at the first seat to the dealer's left, also called "first base". Each player in turn indicates to the dealer how he wishes to play the hand.
All of those choices are explained in the next part of this series. After all of the players have finished their hands, the dealer will complete his hand, and then pay the winning bets and collect the losing bets.
The dealer will first flip over the "hole card" to reveal his two-card starting hand. The dealer is then required to play his hand in a very specific way, with no choices allowed. He must draw cards until he has a total of 17 or more. The dealer has no choice in how to play the hand. He must continue taking cards until his total is at least A slight variation of this rule is discussed below. After flipping over the hole card, the dealer's hand was Ace, 5.
That makes a hand value of 16, so he must draw another card. He drew a 7, making the hand value 13 the Ace can no longer be counted as With a total of 13, he must hit again. He drew a 6, making the hand total Since that is "17 or more", the dealer stops with a final total of If you draw a card that makes your hand total go over 21, your hand is a bust. That is an automatic loser. The dealer will immediately collect your bet, and discard your hand.
Assuming you did not bust, the dealer will play out his hand at the end. If he busts by going over 21, all the remaining players win their bets. If his total is higher than yours, you lose the bet, and he will collect your bet and put the chips in his tray. If your total is higher than his, you win the bet, and he will pay the entire amount you have bet.
After he pays you, you'll have your initial bet plus the amount you won in the circle. So, what happens if you and the dealer tie, with the same exact total?
A tie is called a "push", and you do not win or lose your bet. Your chips stay in the betting circle where you can leave them for the next hand if you want, or you can add to or remove from them as you wish before the next hand. A blackjack, or natural, is a total of 21 in your first two cards. A blackjack is therefore an Ace and any ten-valued card, with the additional requirement that these be your first two cards.
If you split a pair of Aces for example, and then draw a ten-valued card on one of the Aces, this is not a blackjack, but rather a total of The distinction is important, because a winning blackjack pays the player at 3 to 2. A player blackjack beats any dealer total other than blackjack, including a dealer's three or more card If both a player and the dealer have blackjack, the hand is a tie or push.
The dealer will usually pay your winning blackjack bet immediately when it is your turn to play. In the face down games, this means that you should show the blackjack to the dealer at that time.
Some casinos may postpone paying the blackjack until after the hand is over if the dealer has a 10 card up and has not checked for a dealer blackjack.
Other casinos check under both 10 and Ace dealer upcards, and would therefore pay the blackjack immediately. Regardless, when you are dealt a blackjack, turn the cards face up, and smile. It only happens about once every 21 hands, but it accounts for a lot of the fun of the game. The most common decision a player must make during the game is whether to draw another card to the hand "hit" , or stop at the current total "stand".
You will be required to make hand signals rather than just announcing "hit" or "stand" to the dealer. This is to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity in what you choose, and also for the benefit of the ever-present surveillance cameras.
If you go over 21, or "bust", the dealer will collect your bet and remove your cards from the table immediately. In the face-up shoe game, you indicate that you want another card by tapping the table behind your cards with a finger.
When you decide to stand, just wave your hand in a horizontal motion over your cards. In the face-down game, things are a little different. You will hold the first two cards with one hand.
To let the dealer know that you want to draw another card to your hand, scratch the table with the bottom of your cards lightly. Watch another player at first to see how this works. The dealer will deal your additional cards on the table in front of your bet. Leave those cards on the table, but mentally add them to your total hand value.
If you go over 21, just toss the two cards in your hand face up on the table. The dealer will collect your bet and discard your hand. When you decide to stand, tuck the two cards you are holding face-down under the chips in your betting circle. This can be a bit tricky the first few times. Don't pick up the bet to place the cards underneath. Remember, once the cards are dealt, you can't touch the chips in the circle. Simply slide the corner of the cards under the chips.
Describing these moves makes them sound complicated. Just pay attention to what other players are doing and you will fit right in.
Much of the excitement and profit in blackjack comes from hands where you are able to "double down". This option is available only with a two card hand, before another card has been drawn.
Doubling down allows you to double your bet and receive one and only one additional card to your hand. A good example of a doubling opportunity is when you hold a total of 11, like a 6,5 against a dealer's upcard of 5. In this case, you have a good chance of winning the hand by drawing one additional card, so you should increase your bet in this advantageous situation by doubling down.
If you are playing in a hand-held game, just toss your original two cards face-up on the table in front of your bet. In either type of game, add an additional bet to the betting circle. Place the additional bet adjacent to the original bet, not on top of it.
The dealer will deal one additional card to the hand. In a shoe game, he will probably deal the card sideways to indicate that this was a double-down. In a hand-held game, the card will be tucked face-down under your bet to be revealed after the hand is over. Depending on what the dealer makes on his hand, it can be an exciting wait to see that card revealed at the end! You are allowed to double down for any amount up to your original bet amount, so you could actually double down for less if you wanted.
That's a bad move though. Remember that you do give up something for being allowed to increase your bet: If the correct play is to double down, you should always double for the full amount if possible. And just when should you double down, you ask? For that information, just use our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. When you are dealt a pair of cards of the same rank, you are allowed to split the pair into two separate hands and play them independently.
Let's say you are dealt a pair of eights for a total of sixteen. Sixteen is the worst possible player hand, since it is unlikely to win as is, but is very likely to bust if you draw to it. Here's a great chance to improve a bad situation. If you are playing a hand-held game, toss the cards face-up in front of your bet just like a double down. Then, in either type of game, place a matching bet beside the original bet in the circle.
Note that you must bet the same amount on a split, unlike a double-down where you are allowed to double for less. The dealer will separate the two cards, and treat them as two independent hands.
He will deal a second card on the first eight, and you will play that two-card hand to completion. Many casinos will let you double-down on that two-card hand if you want.
No matter what happens on your first hand, when you are done with it the dealer will deal a second card to your next hand and the process starts all over.
If you get additional pairs in the first two cards of a hand, most casinos will allow you to resplit, making yet another hand. Typically a player is allowed to split up to 3 times, making 4 separate hands, with 4 separate bets. If double after split is allowed, you could have up to 8 times your initial bet on the table! Note that you are allowed to split any valued cards, so you could split a Jack, Queen hand. However, this is usually a bad play. You will make more money on the pat 20 than you will trying to make two good hands from it.
I wrote a post about just that: Why Splitting Tens is a Bad Move. Another oddity comes when splitting Aces. Splitting Aces is a very strong player move so the casino limits you to drawing only one additional card on each Ace.
Also, if you draw a ten-valued card on one of your split Aces, the hand is not considered a Blackjack, but is instead treated as a normal 21, and therefore does not collect a 3: With all these limitations, you may wonder whether it makes sense to split Aces. The answer is a resounding YES. For accurate advice on what other pairs you should split, consult the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine.
If you want to win at Blackjack, you will eventually need to learn basic strategy from a basic strategy chart or play the interactive strategy trainer. However, there are some quick rules and tips that you can learn as a beginner to decrease the house edge and formulate a strategy. Remember there are more 10 value cards 10, J, Q, K than any other cards in the deck—so when a 10 will get you close to 21 and you are against a card that is bad for the dealer, you should double.
A player 9, 10, or 11 would always be a good double when a dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6. This is because the 3, 4, 5, and 6 are starting cards that are more likely to make a dealer bust.
The Ace is such a powerful card because pulling a 10 on a split will give you a Even though a 21 gained through a split is still only paid 1: Two fives total 10—which is a hand much better suited for doubling.
Insurance in blackjack is often misunderstood by players, and is a big money-maker for casinos. Naming this side-bet "insurance" was a brilliant marketing ploy, and some otherwise solid players will frequently make this bad bet to "insure" when they have a good hand.
But actually, insurance is not always a bad bet. For players who can recognize when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards, this can actually be a profitable side-bet. Insurance is a proposition bet that is available only when the dealer's upcard is an Ace. When the dealer turns up an Ace, he will offer "Insurance" to the players. Insurance bets can be made by betting up to half your original bet amount in the insurance betting stripe in front of your bet.
The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance. This is why the bet is described as "insurance", since it seems to protect your original bet against a dealer blackjack. Of course, if the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose the insurance bet, and still have to play the original bet out.
Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: Not surprisingly, the casino has a substantial edge on this bet. In a single deck game, there are 16 ten-valued cards. Assuming that you don't see any other cards, including your own, the tens compose 16 out of 51 remaining cards after the dealer's Ace was removed.
That creates a 5. You can find this online or in countless Blackjack books. Once you've learned basic strategy, your disadvantage at the game will be. You're about to be redirected We notice you're visiting us from a region where we have a local version of Inc. Enter your email to reset your password. Or sign up using:.
Sign in if you're already registered. Straight to Your Inbox. Bill Kaplan, co-founder of the MIT blackjack team that took Vegas for millions, has a few tricks up his sleeve. You may not bring down the house, but here are 11 of his tips that will give amateur gamblers an extra edge. Always hit a soft 17 i. Never split 5s or 10s and never stand on 12 through 16 if the dealer is showing a 7 or higher. Never play cards when you're drinking. Never believe you're on a winning streak and never over-bet or make foolish plays.