Thanks to films like 21 and Rain Man, blackjack has a reputation as a complicated game that requires a mathematical genius to crack it. The good news for you is that, unless you’re planning on cultivating some dodgy playing tactics, it’s an easy game to learn, and your maths skills needn’t extend beyond the ability to count to 21.
The setup is simple: place your bets before gameplay starts; once done, each player is dealt out two cards, face-up, the dealer retains two cards but only turns over one. Based on the number total of your cards – how close to 21 that total is – and the rank of the dealer’s exposed card, you need to decide whether to hit or stay. If you have a low total, you can request another card by choosing hit, or if you’re on a higher total, anything from 14 upwards, you can choose to stay. If you choose the hit option and the total remains low – eg, you started with an ace and a 2 and you were dealt another 2, then you have the option to hit again and be dealt a fourth card. This is risky but it sometimes pays off. Once everyone has clicked stay, the dealer will then turn over their second card. When all is revealed, whoever is closest to 21 – without going over – wins the pot. Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s the dealer.
There are myriad blackjack strategies you can employ, but don’t feel pressured into learning them before you’ve mastered the basics.
Beyond the basic rules, online casinos and game providers have opened up a world of ingenuity for blackjack variations – here are some of the most common ones.
They say that variety is the spice of life, in which case blackjack must be a jalapeño because the variations are seemingly endless! The first variations are the rules: the same game has different odds depending on which rules you’re playing. These rule variations can be combined in many different way. too.
Next, we have the standard variations: Vegas Strip, Atlantic City and European. These versions are named for the places in which they are played. Finally, we have online casino variations: these are games based on blackjack that have been designed by game providers specifically for online gambling, including games like Perfect Pairs, Progressive Blackjack, Double Exposure, and Blackjack Switch.
Why we like it
Double Exposure Blackjack MH
This game is fast-paced with the added advantage of being able to see both of the dealer’s cards.
It has an incredibly high RTP of 99.04%, and with those odds what’s not to love?
The graphics are phenomenal! This combined with the accurate sound effects and music help make it a fully immersive experience; a great game for those who want the casino experience while at home.
21 Burn Blackjack
The gameplay is superb and the graphics are fantastic. The main draw of this game is the burn option. This means that if you don’t like one of your cards you have the option to burn it and get another card. You can burn a total of two cards per hand, and who doesn’t love a second chance?
If you’re someone who is low on time or just enjoys a fast-paced game, blackjack is ideal for you; the gameplay is quick and each round only lasts a couple of minutes.
If you’re new to table games this is a great game for you; the rules are easy to learn and you can get up and running within minutes. Many online casinos offer free demos of their games, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your eye in.
888.com is our top pick for Blackjack: they offer a huge selection of blackjack games with a good spread of variations including Classic Blackjack, American Blackjack, Multihand Blackjack and Live Blackjack.
Leo Vegas is the place to be for the blackjack aficionado, with over 70 different games from a variety of game providers. There’s a good mix of slots and video slots, but they truly excel in the live games department with over half of their blackjack portfolio solely dedicated to them.
Europa Casino has a greater focus on live games of blackjack, with 13 tables available. For the shyer gambler, they also have a variety of online blackjack games.