One of the most popular card games the world over, blackjack is a casino staple both live and online, testing players’ knowledge, awareness and nerve as they take on the dealer.
Online Blackjack is an easy-to-learn card game that has enthralled millions of players for centuries. You’re not likely to find a casino without a few blackjack games running, surrounded by players aiming to hit, split and double their way to riches.
The essence of blackjack is to try and make a higher-scoring hand than the dealer, with a total of 21 being the best possible hand. In blackjack, tens, jacks, queens and kings each have a value of ten, while aces are worth either one or eleven. An ace and a face card or 10 makes “blackjack”, which is something every regular loves to see before them on the felt.
Full Tilt offers various forms of online blackjack at stake levels to suit every wallet – from penny-stakes to big bucks, there’s a seat waiting for you. Check out the full list of variants in the list on the left of your screen.
Keep reading for an in-depth guide on the core rules of blackjack, the differing variants and probabilities of the game, plus the best strategies to defeat the dealer.
How to Play Online Blackjack
Whether you’re pressing buttons online or playing on the felt at a live casino, the aim of blackjack is simple: make a higher-scoring hand than the dealer, without going over 21, to win.
The game begins with players placing their bets, after which the dealer gives each player two cards (known as hole cards) and deals one card to themselves.
Players then choose to receive additional cards or stick with their current hand. The dealer then completes their own hand, generally standing on a score of 17 or higher, and the highest-scoring hand wins. The best possible score is 21.
Blackjack Rule Variations
Blackjack is a casino classic, and the core elements of the game remain the same wherever you play. However, there are several variants of blackjack on offer at casinos across the globe, and the same is true of the online casino world.
Each blackjack variant may differ in small ways which can affect your strategy and offer more options during a hand. The most common rule variations found in different blackjack games are detailed below.
Hard 17 versus Soft 17
One of the main differences in blackjack variants is whether or not the dealer stands on a soft 17.
A soft 17 is a hand totalling seven or 17 points that contains an ace. Because an ace is valued at either one point or 11 points, a soft 17 could also be valued at seven points and as such it is impossible to go bust by adding a further card. A hard 17 is one not including an ace, meaning its value is only 17.
In some variants of blackjack, a dealer must stand on all hands valued 17; in others, dealers stand only on a hard 17 and take further cards on a soft 17.
Splitting and Doubling
As well as hitting or standing, there are a couple of different paths you can take with your hand. One such action is splitting, which is an available option if your hole cards are of equal rank (K-Q, 6-6, etc.).
This option is available in all blackjack games, but in some variants you may split hands more than once. In other variants, you may or may not double down on hands that have been split.
Some blackjack variants allow you to double down on any two hole cards, while others restrict this option to only certain starting points totals.
Insurance and Even Money
You can never be too careful. If the dealer’s first card is an ace, some blackjack variants give you the option of insuring yourself against the dealer making blackjack. This comes in the form of a wager consisting of half your original bet, which pays 2:1 if the dealer has blackjack.
If you’ve been dealt blackjack, but the dealer is showing an ace, you can take an automatic even money win and end the hand right there. If you play on and the dealer makes blackjack, it’s a push.
Sometimes you just have to call it a day. If you don’t like your hand and the dealer looks strong, then some variants of blackjack allow you to forfeit your hand and receive back half your wager. This is usually not permitted when the dealer’s first card is an ace.
History of Blackjack
Blackjack has captivated players in the world’s casinos and cardrooms for centuries – and its popularity shows no signs of waning.
It’s generally agreed that the game began in the 18th century, born as a card game called Vingt-et-Un (Twenty-One) in French gambling halls and casinos. Several different card games were all the rage in France at the time and blackjack is considered to have evolved from this craze.
The game truly took root in the hearts and minds of the gambling public when Nevada became the first U.S. state to legalize gambling. Still called “21” at this time, it truly became blackjack when American casinos offered an additional payout on a winning hand containing a black jack and the ace of spades.
Since then, blackjack has become one of the most famous and recognisable card games in the world. It can be played in practically any casino you visit and, of course, online at Full Tilt.