Online Blackjack

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Despite the remarkable house edge associated with the game of blackjack, the game is actually quite simple to learn, making it perfect for the beginning online gambler. You play against the house and attempt to make a better hand than the house’s representative, the dealer. Although the dealer has some strict rules about how they can play their hand, you are free to do as you wish, to the point of busting (going over the 21 point limit when obtaining another card would be pointless).

By simply understanding the basics of the game, you are well on your way to increasing your bankroll through the use of blackjack.  It’s obviously one of the most popular online casino games for a reason. Mainly because when it’s played correctly it hosts a house edge of less than 1%. With such a substantial edge on behalf of the house, you might wonder why casinos continue to offer such a game.

The simple reason is that many blackjack players play the game incorrectly and give the house more than a 10% edge.  This edge is normally secured through players using hunches or “instinct” to make decisions. However, with a solid strategy and a good knowledge of bankroll management, any beginning blackjack player can double their bankroll in no time at all.

 

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Some players boast a strategy for how to play roulette and win, but in all honesty your fate is more up to lady luck than any sort of system. Placing several bets in different amounts, and playing the wagers that have the best odds, can of course improve your chances of winning. For example, if you decide to play the number 11, it would be a good idea to play at least the minimum on black and odd as well. A win on 11 would also pay off for these bets as 11 is both an odd number and a black number. With this strategy, even if 11 is not the outcome but the ball lands on another black or odd number, you can still win back some of your money.

Blackjack Basics

First of all, ignore any suit (clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades) that appear on the cards and concentrate on the point values. The point values are as follows:

  • Ace – 1 or 11 points (player chooses depending on the situation)
  • King thru 10 – 10 points
  • Nine – 9 points
  • Eight – 8 points
  • Seven – 7 points
  • Six thru Two – 6 thru 2 points

Although your primary objective is to defeat the hand held by the dealer, this can be better expressed as getting as close to the number 21 as possible. For example, two Kings would be a total of 20, a good hand. An Ace and a King would be even better at a value of 21 (of course, it could also be worth 11 points but that would be unwise).

You have two basic choices when viewing your cards:

Stand: You are happy with your cards and do not wish to receive an additional one.

Hit: You would like to receive an additional card to make your hand better.

Playing the Game of Blackjack

The standard blackjack table seats up to six players plus the dealer. More than one deck is used during each game, typically six or eight. These decks are shuffled into a box commonly referred to as the shoe, from which the dealer deals the cards. Before receiving a card, each player must make a wager. After all wagers have been placed, each player receives two face up cards. If the total on the cards held by a player is exactly 21, it is referred to as blackjack and they are paid out a 1.5:1 on their wager. If the dealer also happens to have a blackjack, the hand is a tie, however, and the money is pushed to the next hand or you receive your wager back.

The dealer also receives two cards but one of them is face down. Following this, your objective is to get as close to 21 without going over it. If you or the dealer requests another card and it pushes the total over 21, you or the dealer bust, resulting in an automatic loss.

Other Blackjack Terms

Insurance: If the dealer’s face up card is an Ace, players can make an insurance bet. This bet (half of the original wager), pays out at 2:1 if the face down card is indeed worth 10 points. However, any players making this bet loses if the dealer does not have blackjack.

Surrender: An opportunity to give up your hand by only losing half of your original wager.

Double Down: Doubling your original wager but only being allowed to have a single additional card. Valuable when one of your cards is an Ace.

Split: Splitting your two cards into two separate hands. You must make a second wager equal to your first. Good when you have two Aces or two cards worth 10 points.

Hard Hand: A hand that does not include an Ace is a hard hand.

Soft Hand: A hand that includes an Ace is a soft hand.

The House Edge in Blackjack

The house edge in Blackjack (generally around 0.5%) is determined by how much the casino pays out (the odds) when compared to the true odds. For example, if you were to make a bet of whether a coin flip will land on heads or tails, you have a 50% chance of winning that bet.

These are the odds of the bet you made being successful. However, the house odds come into play when the amount you won are your initial bet is paid out by the person accepting the bet:

If you wager $1.00 and are paid $1.00 (50% odds), these are the true odds.

If you wager $1.00 and are paid $0.95, the house edge is 2.5%.

Remember that the winning bet is the initial bet in addition to the return.

So, a payout of true odds would be a total of $2.00.

Conversely, a payout with a house edge of 2.5% is $1.95.

With only a house edge of 0.5%, the bets become much more lucrative. This is a necessary edge to make the game profitable for casinos. After all, a house edge reduced to zero is not a fair game for the casino. They expect most online blackjack players to play poorly and increase the house edge substantially.

For example, a 10% house edge in the above example would greatly decrease the value of flipping a coin to win money. For every $1.00 you bet, you would only be rewarded with $0.80. Of course, if you lost the bet, you would still be obligated for the full $1.00.

Although it may seem insignificant in smaller sums of money, this would equate into many more hands that you would have to play to break even, should you fall behind. In blackjack, as well as in every other casino game, controlling the house edge to decrease the amount of hands that you have to win to make even money is crucial to turning a profit.

Controlling the Game in Blackjack

One of blackjack’s distinct advantages over many other casino games is how the player has a great deal of control over how each hand turns out. In fact, your actions can influence every hand in the game. If you take a look at a roulette wheel, you will see that there are a total of 38 numbers (counting zero and double zero) for a house edge of 5.26%. This edge will never change from game to game and is not influenced by your skill as a gambler. Unlike blackjack, roulette is based almost entirely on luck.

Many players view the object of the game as making 21 points with the cards that you control. However, your true object is to have a higher hand than the dealer, your sole opponent. True, players around you can play foolishly and influence the amount of cards left in the deck by busting or standing on an exceptionally low number, but you and the dealer are really the only ones that matter during each hand.

Despite the remarkable house edge associated with the game of blackjack, the game is actually quite simple to learn, making it perfect for the beginning online gambler. You play against the house and attempt to make a better hand than the house’s representative, the dealer.

Although the dealer has some strict rules about how they can play their hand, you are free to do as you wish, to the point of busting (going over the 21 point limit when obtaining another card would be pointless).

By simply understanding the basics of the game, you are well on your way to increasing your bankroll through the use of blackjack.