The modern game of blackjack originated from versions played in Europe in the seventeenth century that were called 21. The French brought it to the United States soon after the French Revolution. Today blackjack refers to a dealt hand that has an ace and a ten value card. Skill contributes more to blackjack than to any other online casino game and this has attracted players who like a challenge and want to be in control of their gaming destiny to the extent possible.
In blackjack you have to strive to get a hand value closer to 21 as compared with the dealer’s hand value. But if your hand value goes over 21 then you bust and lose your bet immediately. The cards from two to nine are valued at their pip count, tens and the picture cards are valued at 10 points and the ace can be either 1 or 11.
Variations of blackjack available at online casinos
Blackjack is played with slightly different rules at the land casinos in America and in Europe. US online casinos offer both versions. In the American version, usually referred as simply Blackjack, the dealer is dealt a face down hole card and checks for blackjack up front if the need arises. In European Blackjack, there is no hole card so the dealer does not check for blackjack. Hard core blackjack players would usually go with one of these versions.
US online casinos also offer blackjack variants spiced with side bets that pay out considerably more than even money, which is the payout in the main game. Often the side bets pay based on the first two cards dealt to the player. Perfect Pairs side bet pays if the dealt cards are of the same rank. Suit ‘Em Up Blackjack pays if the first two cards are of the same suit.
How online blackjack is played
The game play in brief for the American blackjack version is described here. After the player places his bet he is dealt two cards face up. The dealer is dealt one card face up and the hole card face down. If his face up card is an ace or a 10 value card he checks for blackjack. If he has a blackjack the dealer wins and the game ends. If not, the player makes his moves. If he wants another card then he hits. If he does not want another card he stands. If, while hitting, his hand value goes over 21 then he loses immediately.
If the player stands then the dealer takes additional cards according to prescribed rules. The most common rule is that the dealer will keep hitting unless he has reached a hand value of 17 or more. If the dealer busts then the player wins. Otherwise the hands are compared to decide the winner.
Strategy that can enhance your win potential playing online blackjack
If blackjack is played with optimum strategy then the average returns are higher than 99%. Making incorrect moves reduced the average return considerably. Unfortunately it is not possible to reason out the correct strategy sitting at the online blackjack table. The optimum strategy has been determined through computer simulation of countless deals. Land casino blackjack players have to memorize the complex strategy. Online casino blackjack players can use a strategy card.
The blackjack strategy card is a matrix. The row headers are the different possible values of the player’s hands. The column headers are the different values of the dealer’s face up card. The intersections cover all possible situations you will face. Each intersection indicates the move that is optimum for that situation. Different variants of online blackjack will have different strategy cards. It is advised that you have the relevant one accessible while you play. Referring to it will maximize your win potential.
Advantages of playing blackjack online
- Online blackjack variants offer average returns to the player of over 99%. This means that it is difficult to lose large amounts playing blackjack for long periods.
- Blackjack is perceived as an intellectual game in which several legends have bust the tables at US land casinos in the past. Playing blackjack online gives you an association with that.
- Blackjack strategy cards can be used while playing blackjack online and these will ensure that you make the optimum moves and maximize your returns.
- Playing blackjack online allows you to learn the ropes and will give you confidence to play the game at land casinos when the occasion arises.
Disadvantages of playing blackjack online
- The payouts in online blackjack are amongst the lowest of all online casino games. Normal wins pay even money and blackjack wins pay 3 to 2. This is a disincentive for many players.
- Online blackjack games with side bets do have larger payouts in those side bets. But the average return for the side bets is not 99% as in the main game, but is much lower.
- Many players find online blackjack games boring because they do not have the visual appeal of online slots.
- You will hardly get a new variant of online blackjack released at US online casinos.