Blackjack joins the likes of poker and roulette in the pantheon of classic casino games. It is ubiquitous, found in every casino on the planet – both land-based and online. Below we have compiled a bit of a guide to playing blackjack online, but one that intends to go beyond the obvious. You can learn to play blackjack in seconds, so this guide is more about providing a few hacks and some geeky stats too.
Blackjack has one of the lowest house-edges
The casino always wins, right? Sort of. Different games will have different house-edges, i.e. the theoretical amount of money the casino is expected to make over time. For blackjack, it is usually extraordinarily low, perhaps as low as 0.5%, even less. It’s lower than roulette and much lower than slots. This goes for both virtual games and live dealer blackjack games. The difference, however, comes when you apply your strategy, which could turn the house-edge further in favour of the casino if you employ poor tactics.
The odds of getting a blackjack are about 1 in 21
Isn’t nice when serendipity adds some beautiful symmetry with numbers? The odds of getting blackjack when using a single deck are about 4.83%, or about once every 21 hands. Most casinos will pay 3 to 2 when you get blackjack (Ace + 10, J, Q or K). Obviously, that probability is given when all conditions are equal, so the chances can go up or down depending on how the cards have been dealt with. Getting a score of 12-17 is the most likely range your initial two cards will fall into. And, that’s where your strategy will have to come into play.
There are a lot of blackjack variants online
If you check out Blackjack Online at Casinogurus.com, you will notice that there are lots of different variants, including Blackjack Peek, Blackjack Surrender, Double Attack Blackjack, and so on. These games all have slightly different rules: Some you can play for side bets (for big cash prizes), whereas others have different strategies. Experienced players will choose different games to suit their strategy, ambitions (i.e. if they are trying to win a jackpot) and personal tastes.
Blackjack is not Pontoon
There is often, especially in the UK, some confusion over blackjack and pontoon, with some suggesting they can be sued interchangeably. The latter is basically a variant of the former. Some of the main differences include: In pontoon, you don’t see the dealer’s first card, whereas there is also a difference in terminology. In pontoon, there is also a hand called a five-card trick, which means five cards total less than 21. This beats any hand but pontoon (i.e. blackjack).
Counting cards is a thing and it’s easier than you think
Hold your horses there, Rain Man. While counting cards is quite easy, albeit, with a bit of practice, automatic shuffling machines used for online games and live dealer blackjack mean our dreams of using the trick to takedown the casino are all but gone. If you do try it in a real casino, be prepared to feel the weight of some beefy bouncers.
Blackjack is one of the few skill games
We spoke above about strategy, and it’s a fact that blackjack and poker are among the very few games that do not rely on chance alone. Slots, roulette, craps, and so on require little skill beyond being able to play the game. Your decisions matter in blackjack, part of the reason its enthusiasts, especially in the US, try to argue that from a legal standpoint.