Beginner’s Guide to Blackjack Online


Blackjack has been played since the 17th century, and over the years everyone from peasants to kings have played the game. It even survived the prohibition era of the US to become one of the most popular card games around. So how do you play blackjack, and what strategies are best when chasing a nice win?

How to Play Blackjack Online – The Basics

The aim of online blackjack is to get as near to 21 as possible without going bust, and getting a higher score than the dealer. But there are many nuances to the game that are important to know before playing. Games can be played with up to eight decks of cards rather than one, increasing the memory skills involved to win.

How to play:

Each card has a value. The cards 2-10 are worth as many points as the number of the card. Face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are worth 10 points. Aces are worth either 1 point, or 11 points. You choose which value they will have.

The dealer deals two cards to each player face down and two cards to themselves. They place one of their cards face up for all to see. The dealer can only look at their other card if they have a ten or an ace (see below). All other players can look at their cards.

If the upright card in the dealer’s hand is an ace, they will offer an ‘insurance’ bet to all other players. If a player agrees to the ‘insurance’ bet, they are offering half of their original bet on the dealer holding a 10 point card as their other card and calling blackjack.

If the dealer has an ace or a ten in their upright card they can check to see if they have blackjack. If they do, then they turn their cards over for the other players to see.

If the dealer has blackjack, all bets apart from the insurance wagers will lose unless the player also has blackjack. This causes a push (draw).

Play goes in order from the dealer’s left. Each player can choose to stand, hit, double, split or surrender (more on their meaning below). When each player has had their turn, the dealer will then have their go. He/she will turn over their hole card (the one face down). Depending on the total of their two cards they will either deal another card (if they have less than 16) or choose to stand (take no more cards). If the dealer has an ace and other cards that equal six, this can also total a soft 17 as the ace can be used as a 1 or an 11. Often when this occurs the casino rules will state that they must hit.

The aim of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible. The player with the highest total wins the game. Players win if the dealer goes over 21 points (busts). If the dealer stands before they hit 21 the player with the highest total wins the game. If the dealer has blackjack, and so does another player, they will draw (push).

Words/Phrases You May Hear When Playing Blackjack

Stand: You decide not to take any more cards.
Hit: You take another card to add to your hand.
Double down: You choose to double the amount of your bet, take another card, and then stand.
Surrender: You believe you are going to lose the bet, so surrender half of your bet rather than risk losing it all.
Push: Where both you and the dealer are tied with blackjack.
Bust: To get more than 21.
Insurance: Only available when the dealer has an ace as the visible card. Insurance is when you bet half of your original bet on the dealer getting blackjack. If they do, you win a 2-to-1 payout. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, you lose the bet.
Hole card: The face down card in the dealer’s hand.
House Edge: The percentage that the casino has over the player in the blackjack game.
Soft Hand: Card where an ace counts as an 11.
Hard Hand: Card without an ace or where an ace counts as a 1.

More Advanced Tips

House edge – Most casinos offer odds of 3 to 2 if you hit blackjack, which means that for every two pounds you pay to play, you can win three pounds back, although some casinos have been known to offer a much more stingy 6 to 5. You can also occasionally find odds of 2 to 1 at rare places, so snap up these opportunities if you can. Odds are usually displayed on the table, so make sure to check before you bet.

Resting – Always make sure that you’re well-rested when playing. Playing when you’re tired or hungry makes you more likely to make mistakes in your strategy, particularly if you have been playing for a prolonged period of time.

Decks – Statistically, 6 or 8 deck games are slightly less favourable to players than other deck amounts. This is only minor though (we’re talking tenths of a percent here), but that could be enough to push the odds in your favour.

Quick Strategy For Blackjack Online
Here is a grid that shows you the basic strategy for playing blackjack. We don’t recommend you play the game until you’ve at least memorised this first. The left vertical axis represents your cards, and the top horizontal axis is your dealer’s visible card. Just follow the row to the point where the two meet.


Blackjack is as much a game of skill as it is luck, and with a good strategy behind you, it can be a rewarding pastime. Make sure that you read up about the possible exceptions to the basic rules and set a gambling budget and stick to it.