Online Blackjack Guide
Blackjack stands out as one of the world’s most popular card games, especially at online casinos. Gamblers love the combination of skill and chance that lead to big wins when they go head to head against the dealer.
If you’re new to the game or need a refresher course, we’ve got you covered with our online blackjack guide explaining everything you need to know to win. Canadian online blackjack has many variations, but in the end, players always try to end up with a score higher than the dealer without going over 21.Before you will beat the dealer, you can practice with our free blackjack game (flash based), or head to one of our recommended Canadian online blackjack casinos to start playing:
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The Rules: How to Play Online Blackjack
Playing blackjack online is easy for veterans and newbies alike. Here’s our step-to-step guide:
- Place your bet (if you are playing Multi-Hand Blackjack you can choose more than one seat and place a bet on each spot).
- You will receive two cards, both facing up. Each card has a value, with the 2-10 cards value equaling their number; face cards (Jack, Queen and King) are worth 10 and Aces are worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on what’s most beneficial to the player.
- The dealer is also dealt two cards, one face up and one face down.
- The value of your hand is equal to the sum of your cards. Calculate the sum of your two cards, then decide if you’d like to hit, stand, split or double down (see the Glossary section below).
- You can continue taking additional cards until you decide to Stand, or if you ‘bust’, which means going over 21. Busting results in an automatic loss.
- The dealer plays his or her hand last, hitting until he/she reaches a certain plateau, often hard 17, or busts.
- You win if the sum of your cards is greater than the sum of the dealer’s cards (but not greater than 21), or if the dealer busts and you don’t.
Bust: When your cards add up to over 21, you’re bust.
Bust Card: The single card that takes your hand to over 21.
Basic strategy: A system that you can memorize to tell you the best action to take with any hand.
Double down: When you’ve seen your hand you can double down by putting down a second bet and draw an extra card.
Even money: When the dealer has an ace and the player has blackjack, the player can take even money. It’s a form of insurance against the dealer beating you with their own blackjack.
Face-Down Game: A game where the first two cards dealt to players are face down.
Five Card Charlie: When you reach five cards without busting.
Flat bet: Putting the same bet on successive rounds.
Hard hand: Any hand that does not include an Ace counted as 11.
Heads Up: A single player competing against the dealer.
Hit: To ask the dealer for another card.
Hole card: The dealer’s second card, which is dealt face down and which the players can’t see.
Insurance: If the dealer has an Ace, the player can place a side bet that’s half the value of the original bet. If the dealer has blackjack, the player gets the bet and the value of the original bet back. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, all the money is lost.
Natural: Getting 21 with two cards, same as blackjack sometimes and also sometimes called a natural 21.
Paint: Slang for any picture card.
Pitch game: A blackjack game when the dealer’s using one or two decks.
Ploppy: A player who doesn’t understand the basic playing strategy.
Push: When the player and the dealer both have hands with the same total.
Soft: Any hand with An ace valued as 11.
Split: If a player is dealt two cards of the same value, they can opt to play each of them as separate hands and place two identical bets.
Stand: To ask for no more cards.
Stiff: Any hand where drawing another card could result in a bust.
Surrender: To give up on your hand and get back half of your bet.
Third base: The player to the dealer’s right – so the last person to act.
Upcard: The card that the dealer shows
Top 5 Tips for Online Blackjack
Tip 1 – There are a number of strategies players can and should try to use to reduce the house edge. Feel free to try our free blackjack game below while trying the strategies in our blackjack strategy page. Try to bring down the house advantage to less than 0.5%.
Tip 2 – There is no card counting online because the digital cards are shuffled after every hand.
Tip 3 – Be sure to check the bonus rules at your casino. Sites will often credit players only a small percentage of the wagering requirement for cashing out welcome bonuses.
Tip 4 – No matter how well you play, there is always going to be a house advantage in online blackjack, so don’t go chasing your losses.
Tip 5 – Blackjack is fun to play but be sure to cash out after a nice run of winning hands. More importantly, remember it’s just a game!
Free Blackjack Online
The top Canadian online casino brands offer free blackjack demo games that give you the chance to practice your strategy without risking real money. You can find several versions of free blackjack games including European, Atlantic City, MH bonus, Streep, Spanish Blackjack and more. Use these free online blackjack simulators as an opportunity to learn the rules.
Try out different versions of online blackjack, develop better strategy, or simply play for fun. So, whether you’re a beginner blackjack player that wants to know the game better and get some practice before betting for real money, or an advanced player looking to try out some advanced strategies, free blackjack trainer games can get you up and running without any risk.
Online Blackjack Games
As we mentioned, casinos offer many variations of blackjack. You can play the game using only one deck or several decks. In some games, the dealer follows different rules (such as hitting or standing on a soft 17). Payouts also vary. Below we explain some of the different online blackjack variations.
European Blackjack – The dealer does receive a hole card and does not win automatically if he or she is dealt 21.
Blackjack Switch – Players are allowed to play two hands at once against the dealer, allowing for more hands in a shorter span.
Pontoon blackjack – The dealer is not dealt a hole card, and a dealer 21 is not an automatic loss for all the players, like in other versions of blackjack. There are more regulations on the player — an Ace in a pre-double hand always counts as 1 post-double, and players can only draw once on split Aces. Hands featuring an Ace and a 10/face card are called “Pontoons” and pay out extra winnings.
Double Exposure – In this game, the dealer places all of his cards face up, so players always know what the dealer has. The catch is that the dealer wins all ties.
Spanish 21 – Spanish decks contain 48 cards counting 2-9 plus the Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces. The game is mostly the same as standard blackjack, though players receive bonuses for things like having been dealt a 7-7-7 hand.
Is online blackjack the same as blackjack in a bricks-and-mortar casino?
The basic rules of the game are the same whether you are playing online or in a real-life casino. Naturally, no actual cards are used when playing at an online casino (unless you’re playing a live casino game), but a random number generator chooses which cards are dealt instead. This doesn’t make any difference to how the game is played though. So, unless you’re playing “live” online blackjack, there’s no interaction with a live dealer but the game is essentially the same.
Can I play on the move?
Yes, you can. There are several ways to play online blackjack for real money whatever mobile device you have. Some casinos have apps that you can download and others let you play on their websites directly through your browser. So all you need is an internet connection and away you go!
Do I always have to download software to play on my PC?
No, there’s no need to download anything onto your PC to play blackjack on most online casinos. Just like the answer to the question about mobile play above, you just need to visit the site via your browser. If it’s a computer or tablet that you share with other people this is also often the best choice.
Is there live casino blackjack?
Yes! One of the best of the recent innovations in online gambling is the arrival of live dealers. This is due to great advances in video streaming technology, developments in casino software and much faster broadband speeds becoming widespread.
It’s as close as you can get to a real casino experience and you can even have live chat with the dealers and sometimes other players as you play.
How do I play for cash?
Playing blackjack for real money is easy. When you’ve joined an online casino you just need to make a deposit and choose which game of blackjack you’d like to play. Once the game’s loaded, just make your wager and start the game.
Can I beat the dealer?
Yes, if you know your blackjack strategy you certainly can. With online blackjack, just like blackjack at a bricks-and-mortar casino, you just have to keep your wits about you and follow your instincts. Remember, even the automated dealers on an online casino can be beaten by the savvy player.
Should I always surrender a bad hand?
Sometimes surrendering is the right thing to do but you shouldn’t do it every single time you get a bad hand. You are losing half your stake and in the long run this could cost you more than if you played some of those hands. Learn your basic strategy to know when surrendering is the right option.
Should I take insurance?
Again, look to your basic strategy rules and you’ll see that taking insurance is never the right thing to do as you will always end up losing more than you win. So just play the hand and move on.
How do I know that an online blackjack site can be trusted?
There a number of things to look for in an online casino. First, it should be fully licensed and take regular audits of its games. Most sites will publish the results of these audits. You can also rely on casinos that are well known for their service, dependability, and security, the best of which you’ll find on our website when it comes to playing online blackjack in Canada. All reputable sites will also use something called encryption technology which makes your personal information impossible to unscramble for hackers even if they do get into a site. These are all features we look for before we include any casino on this site.
Are cards shuffled for every hand in online blackjack?
Yes, even in online casinos, the decks are shuffled after every hand, so you know that the turn of the cards will be random.
Is just one deck of cards used?
This varies from casino to casino. Many online casinos don’t like publicizing how many decks of cards they are using but some will be more open about it. It could be a good idea to choose these because it may offer you an advantage when you play.
There’s a reason blackjack and all its variants have become such a casino mainstay. The game offers a fun and challenging way for players to test their own online blackjack strategy while offering the chance for extended entertainment at minimal cost.
A great online game, blackjack has also become a favorite among gamblers who play on smartphones, and just about all mobile casinos feature a quality blackjack game. If you haven’t yet done so, check out the blackjack offerings at Royal Vegas, one of our Five-star recommended casinos.