Blackjack Guide


Blackjack is one of the world’s most popular card games, especially at online casinos in Canada. Gamblers love the combination of skill and chance that lead to big wins when they go head to head with the dealer for rewards.

If you’re new to the game or need a refresher course, we’ve got you covered with our helpful online blackjack guide which will explain everything you need to know to win. Canadian online blackjack has many variations, but in general, players always try to end up with a score higher than the dealer without going over 21.

A bit of History 

While the origins of Blackjack are fiercely debated, it is reasonable to assume that it started in France in the 1700s. The original game was called ‘’Vingt-et-Un’’, which is translated as 21. 

You may ask then why the name Blackjack is now used. This is also a historic tale back to a time when a special 10:1 payout was made on the game for landing an Ace of spades and a black Jack (Jack of Clubs or Spades). The top payout for a blackjack is now 3:2..

Why You Should Play Blackjack

There are a few reasons that players that have never played Blackjack should try it: 

  • The house edge on blackjack is a low 0.5%, which means that your odds of winning are better than most other games.
  • Blackjack is an easy game to learn and becomes comfortable to play in front of people in no time at all.
  • Blackjack comes in so many exciting varieties, which adds flavour to the action.
  • Blackjack comes as a Virtual casino game for those who prefer playing alone.
  • Blackjack comes as a Live Dealer title for sociable player types.

There really are endless advantages to being able to play this famous game, so start right here by learning the basics.

How to Play Blackjack  

Before beginning, you need to know a few important things about the game: 

  • The goal of the game is to reach a hand value of 21, without exceeding it (going bust). 
  • All cards values 2 to 10 hold their face value. 
  • Jack, Queen and King are valued at 10. 
  • An ace is worth either 11 or 1, depending on which value is more beneficial to the player at the time. 
  • Blackjack is the highest hand in the game and will pay you a favorable 3:2 odds. It is essentially a 2-card 21 which means that it is a hand that always contains an Ace and a 10-value card (including royals). 
  • All other wins against the dealer will pay you at a decent 1:1 odds. 

Playing blackjack online is easy for veterans and newbies alike. Follow our step-for-step guide for the easiest understanding of the passage of play: 

  • 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 conveniently facing up.
  • The dealer is also dealt two cards. One is positioned face up and the other remains a mystery until all the hands are played out. The dealer gains a slight advantage in the game as a result.
  • 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’. If you bust, the dealer automatically wins the round.
  • Once the players have finalized their gameplay, the dealer will play, hitting until he/she reaches a certain plateau, often soft or hard 17, or busts.

For more on blackjack rules, you can also check out our great video series:


Blackjack Glossary

Term Explanation Term Explanation
Bust / Bust Card When your cards add up to over 21, you’re bust. Natural Getting 21 with two cards, same as blackjack sometimes and also sometimes called a natural 21.
Basic strategy A system that you can memorize to tell you the best action to take with any hand. Paint Slang for any picture card.
Double down When you’ve seen your hand you can double down by putting down a second bet and draw an extra card. Pitch game A blackjack game when the dealer’s using one or two decks.
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. Ploppy A player who doesn’t understand the basic playing strategy.
Face-Down Game A game where the first two cards dealt to players are face down. Push When the player and the dealer both have hands with the same total.
Five Card Charlie When you reach five cards without busting. Soft Any hand with An ace valued as 11.
Flat bet Putting the same bet on successive rounds. 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.
Hard hand Any hand that does not include an Ace counted as 11. Stand To ask for no more cards.
Heads Up A single player competing against the dealer. Stiff Any hand where drawing another card could result in a bust.
Hit To ask the dealer for another card. Surrender To give up on your hand and get back half of your bet.
Hole card The dealer’s second card, which is dealt face down and which the players can’t see. Third base The player to the dealer’s right – so the last person to act.
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. Upcard The card that the dealer shows.

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 a 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.

Blackjack Games’ Variations

As we mentioned, casinos offer many exciting 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.
  • Blackjack Surrender – Some blackjack games give players the option to surrender. You won’t take advantage of this option often if you’re following optimal blackjack strategy, but it can help. If the table you’re at has dealers stand on a soft 17, you’ll want to surrender a 16 versus a 9, 10 or Ace, and 15 versus a 10. If the dealer hits on a soft 17, surrender 15 versus a 10 or Ace; 16 versus a 9, 10 or Ace; 17 versus an Ace; and an 8-8 versus an Ace.
  • Progressive Blackjack  This is the big money game, for those in search of the millions! Similar to regular blackjack, Progressive Blackjack differs only in that it offers players an optional side bet for a chance to win an accumulating progressive jackpot. Players take chunks of the jackpot by drawing Aces. The more Aces drawn, the bigger the share of the pot received. If a player draws four Aces in a single hand, he or she wins the entire pot.

Different Blackjack Platforms

When playing blackjack at online casinos, there are two ways you can enjoy the game.

Virtual Blackjack: In this version, the games are designed like a video game. The virtual environment mimics the actual gaming table very well and often the games look very realistic. The hand outcomes are dealt by sophisticated RNG software, but the decision-making and skill-based involvement remain intact to give you a better chance of winning than if you were playing a game of chance.

The advantages of playing virtual blackjack include:

  • You can play at your own pace.
  • You can play conveniently from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • You can play in privacy as the game is usually played between you and the dealer alone.
  • There is a wide range of game options up for grabs by a top selection of game providers, such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, Felt Gaming, Yggdrasil, and more.

Live Casino Blackjack: Live Casino blackjack provides the most immersive online version of the game available. Real dealers host the games from a film studio, while you sit in the comfort of your own home and indulge in land-based casino-like entertainment.

The interface on your screen overlays the actual table on the dealer’s end to make you feel like you are sitting on the other side of the table.

The advantages of playing Live Blackjack include:

  • The game offers you the ability to play with other people and is a great option for sociable gamblers.
  • Real dealers host the games with real gaming equipment, which means that the outcomes of each game round are natural.
  • You can communicate with the dealer and other players at the table via the chat facility in the game.
  • You’ll feel like you are sitting on the casino floor while enjoying the convenience of playing from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • There are many varieties of Live Blackjack available at the best Live Casinos. Enjoy games from Evolution Gaming, NetEnt Live, Pragmatic Play, Ezugi, Authentic Games, and Playtech. They offer standard and VIP options of the game, as well as titles in various languages.

With the ongoing rise in innovation and technology, we can expect that playing Blackjack in the future will only become far more exciting, not to mention more immersive.

Playing Blackjack On the Go

Just when you thought that your options were exhausted, you can play both virtual and Live Blackjack from your mobile smartphone and tablet. Notable perks of playing from your phone or tablet, include:

  • Play whenever you want
  • Play wherever you are

In a world where instant gratification is a big deal, mobile gambling is the answer! In fact, since 2004, the mobile market has steadily outpaced the desktop format of casino games due to the widespread availability of phones.

There are two primary ways you can play Mobile Blackjack:

  • Casino Apps: There are still a few online casinos that offer specialized apps for players using iOS and Android devices. These can usually be downloaded from the casino site and make playing from your phone as seamless as possible.
  • From Your Browser: The latest HTML5 browser technology allows for mobile players to access the casino site and its mobile games instantly. This way, you can play without a download, as long as you have a steady internet connection.

Modern devices have paved the way for seamlessly integrated gameplay. The computing power of the latest phones are comparable to many desktop computers and are only likely to improve with time to offer limitless innovation in the future.


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 favourite 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.

FAQ about Blackjack Guide in Canada

Can I play Live Blackjack for Free?

While virtual blackjack games can be played with free credits, Live Blackjack is only played for real money.

What is the RTP of Online Blackjack?

The Return to Player percentage on most forms of blackjack can be as high as 99.5% if you play with the optimum strategy in each game round.

Is it legal to play Blackjack online in Canada?

Yes, it is legal to play all forms of online casino games at both domestic and remote casinos from Canada.

Is online virtual blackjack fair?

Yes, all licensed casinos regularly have their RNG software tested for fairness. This ensures that each hand dealt to you will be legitimate and unbiased.

Yes, all licensed casinos regularly have their RNG software tested for fairness. This ensures that each hand dealt to you will be legitimate and unbiased.

There are numerous casino sites that offer tremendous blackjack games. See our top-recommended casinos for a suitable option.