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Starting out with blackjack
Blackjack is a classic casino game. Dating back as far as the 1700s, blackjack is an old game that has been enjoyed by people around the world for centuries. And its popularity keeps growing, as the game is often featured in movies and TV-series. The popular film 21, featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and The Gambler, with Mark Wahlberg in the lead, are two good examples. Another thing that attracts gamblers to Blackjack is that it’s easy to play and lots of fun.
So how do you play this great game? And where can you find the best blackjack casino sites? Let us take you through the basics of the game, as well as where to play it, as we give you an extensive guide to the game of blackjack.
The best thing about blackjack is how easy it is to play. It’s a card game, played with multiple decks, and your aim is to reach a value of 21 (or blackjack) without going over. It’s important to know that in this game you’re playing against a dealer. Not other players.
The dealer is also trying to reach a value of 21, so it’s your job to beat him or her. You can still win the game with a value lower than 21, as long as it’s higher than the dealer’s hand.
At the beginning of the game, you place your stake (money!), and the dealer will give you 2 cards, face up. The card values are as follows:
- Number cards = the face value on the card. E.g. 4 = 4, 5 = 5, 6 = 6 etc.
- Picture cards = value is 10
- Ace = the most important card. Can be valued at 1 or 11, it’s your choice
- Jokers = not included in blackjack
So now you have your 2 cards, and you’re trying to get as close to 21 as possible. Let’s say, for example, you have a 5 and a 6. This equals 11, so not very close to 21. But don’t worry! You now have the option to do one of the following:
Hit or stand?
These are the two main options for how to proceed with your hand:
- Hit: request another card from the dealer. You can do this as many times as you wish during your turn. But be careful not to go over 21. If you do, you lose!
- Stand: don’t receive any more cards. This ends your turn
Deciding whether to hit or stand is where the game gets fun! In the above example, where you have 11, you would probably choose a hit, to try and get up to 21.
As a general rule, it’s recommended to choose a hit on a value of 15 or lower. And stand on 16 or higher. But of course, the choice is yours.
What about the ace?
The ace is the most interesting card in the deck. And the most versatile. It’s value can be either 1 or 11, depending on what you decide. Again, the example we’ve used where you have 11, if you hit and get an ace, you would choose a value of 1. Because, if you choose 11, you’ll have 22 and will lose the hand.
The ace is the perfect match for a picture card. The jack, queen and king all equal 10, so adding an ace with the value of 11 will give you 21, or ‘blackjack’.
Other moves in blackjack
Apart from hit and stand, you have some other moves you can make in a game of blackjack. Let’s have a closer look:
- Split: if you have 2 cards of the same value, you can choose to split them over 2 hands. This effectively means you’re playing 2 hands at the same time
- Double: also known as ‘double down’. This is where you double your stake after you’ve received your first 2 cards. Note, you can only double your stake before you choose a hit
- Surrender: if you want to fold (get out of the game), you can choose to surrender. In this case, you’ll only lose half of your initial stake
- Insurance: not usually available at online casinos. This is where you can bet half your stake on the dealer making blackjack. This is only an option when the dealer’s visible card is an ace
Always check a casino’s rules before playing, as sometimes only a few of these options are available.
Selection of blackjack types
Because blackjack is such a popular game, people have created many different versions over the years. If you love the premise of blackjack, you should check out some of these fun variations:
- Pontoon: similar to the original, but played with a 5-card trick. More dynamic and lots of fun!
- Australian blackjack / Spanish 21: goes by both names. This is where the 10 is eliminated from the game. Very dynamic
- Multi-hand: exactly as it sounds. This is where you play more than one hand at the same time. A challenge in concentration and skill
- Switch: a great game where you can swap cards from 2 different hands. You need skill and quick reactions for this version
Blackjack rtp (return to player)
Return to player (RTP) refers to the amount of your stake that a casino expects you to get back through playing a game for a certain period of time. Some games, like slots, have an RTP of around 95-99%. And roulette usually comes in at 97.5%.
But, with blackjack, the RTP is normally about 99.5%. So this means that blackjack is a casino’s highest RTP game available. This makes your chances of getting back your stake higher than with any other game!
Our review process for online blackjack casinos
Here at Casino.xyz, we’re dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and reviews from casino sites across the UK. And this includes blackjack sites. We’ll keep you up-to-date on where is offering the best blackjack games. As well as which casinos have the best bonuses and other offers.
But what do our experts look for in a casino? And how does a casino make it on to our list of trusted sites? Let us take you through what we look for at a great blackjack casino site:
Varied selection of live casino games
The best casinos will offer their players a wide selection of games to play. And with so many fun versions of blackjack out there, you want access to all of them! Our experts carefully go through a casino’s games list, to see who’s offering what. And then they bring you up-to-the-minute info on the top sites in the UK.
Choose from regular Blackjack, Pontoon, Spanish 21 and Switch blackjack games at one of our trusted and reviewed casino sites.
Professional Live Dealers
With the invention of the live casino online, you can get as close to the action as possible. And live blackjack is so much fun. Play with a real-life dealer, and size up your competitor! Plus, you can enable the chat function and speak with your dealer directly.
Our casino experts look at which casinos offer their players a live experience. So you can play lots of different versions of blackjack against a real dealer.
Specific live casino bonuses
Some casinos offer bonuses to their customers just for playing live casino games. We look at these bonuses and bring you the best blackjack online casino sites and their offers. Like with any bonus, however, always make sure you read the T&Cs. As each offer will have specific wagering requirements attached.
Aspects to consider when choosing a blackjack online casino
So, now you know what our experts look for in a great blackjack casino. But what should you consider when choosing your next best online blackjack experience? Here’s what to look for:
Offers several variations of blackjack
You want a casino that offers you the very best selection of games around. And if you want to play blackjack, then look for a casino that offers you lots of different versions.
All casino sites in the UK are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), and because of this, it means that they have access to the best software providers around. Therefore, when you play with a UKGC-licensed casino, you know that you’re getting the very best games on the market. And blackjack is no different!
Checking that the casino you’re on is legit is easy. Simply look for the UKGC logo in the footer of the website. Then choose one of the great blackjack options they have available. And play some of the best blackjack games that the UK has to offer.
Offers live blackjack
As we’ve seen, live blackjack is a great way to feel like you’re right there on the casino floor. So, when you look for a new casino, make sure that they have a live casino section. Then choose from one of the many blackjack games with a live dealer.
Our experts always check the latest games from each of our casinos. So, if you want to know where to play next, check our lists of trusted and reviewed sites. We’ll let you know who is offering the best live blackjack games as and when they come to market.
Have specially tailored blackjack/live casino bonuses
Casinos want you to play on their site. And that means lots of great bonuses on offer for new players. And some even offer specific bonuses for their live casino players. Check which offers are open to live blackjack customers, and always read the T&Cs before signing up to any casino.
Also, make sure you look at what offers they have for existing customers. If you play on one site regularly, then you should be rewarded. And lots of casinos will offer reload bonuses, as well as other promos.
We always check each casino’s offers, as they change often. So, if you want to know where has the best blackjack bonuses, make sure to consult our lists of approved sites.
Types of online blackjack
From different variations on the classic game, to live blackjack online with real dealers, there’s no end to the fun you can have with this game! If you want to know how to play blackjack UK, simply check with us for which sites are offering a great selection of online casino blackjack games.
Online video blackjack
A great way to get started with blackjack. Video blackjack is as it sounds. No live dealer, just you and your laptop or phone. While a live dealer adds to the fun of the game, for some people this is nerve-wracking.
Perhaps you’re new to the game and haven’t got the confidence to go up against a dealer, face to face, in a blackjack online casino. Or maybe you simply prefer playing against a computer. Either way, video blackjack is still super fun and a great way to get in on the action.
Plus, you can play with a smaller bank roll on video blackjack. So it promotes responsible gambling. And you can keep an eye on your spending more easily.
Free blackjack or real money blackjack
Because blackjack is so popular, it means that there are plenty of sites where you can play. So, should you opt for free blackjack, or blackjack for real money? Let’s take a look in a little more detail:
Free blackjack demo play
As the name suggests, free blackjack is where you play with no real money. This is a great way to practise your skills, before deciding if you want to play for real money. But, if you don’t want to play for real money, then you don’t have to! Lots of casino sites have a free ‘demo play’ version of all their games. So you can play for free for as long as you like. Simply go to your chosen casino’s game selection and choose the blackjack game you want to play. Then select ‘demo’ and play with fake chips. No money, no stress.
Online blackjack for real money
If you love the thrill of playing with real money, then blackjack is the game for you! Because it’s skill-based, and has the highest RTP of any casino game, you could win big at an online blackjack table. Choose your game and place your bet. It doesn’t have to be big money either.
Lots of casinos offer real money video blackjack with low stakes, so you don’t have to take a big risk in order to play. Just be aware that live casino blackjack has a higher buy-in than video blackjack.
Online Blackjack UK comes with some awesome bonuses. We’ve teamed up with the best in the business to bring you some of the most amazing deals around.
Bonus deals give you loads of extra playing money, and sometimes you don’t have to do much at all to get your hands on the goodies! But, other offers come with a few caveats attached to them that may seem a little confusing at first. However, once you know how they work, you can start to enjoy the benefits straight away. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common promos you’ll find and what you have to do to reap the rewards:
Free blackjack no deposit
The coveted no deposit deal is one of the most sought after in the business. Players love this offer because it does exactly what it says on the tin.
When you sign up to a casino you are often given a gift to welcome you on board. With a no deposit reward, you simply need to complete the registration bonus and they will give you some cash to play with.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so be prepared to work off your reward by following the rules attached to the deal. The most common requirement involves a fixed amount of wagering. This often gets people confused, although, in essence, it’s pretty straight forward really.
If you’re given, let’s say, £10 as a no deposit bonus with a 30x wagering rule, then this means you need to gamble that amount 30 times before it becomes your money to bank. Once you have played through the initial bonus 30 times, you will hopefully still have some winnings left and they are yours to keep.
However, do be aware that there may be a cap on the winnings. You might find that the maximum you can win is £100, for example. Anything over that will be removed when you’ve completed the promo.
First deposit blackjack bonus
Up next is the first deposit offer. This type of deal is very similar to the no deposit bonus, but with one clear difference: you need to make a deposit first.
Along with free spins on the slots, a first deposit bonus is by far the most common offer you’ll see. It works so well because the casino matches your deposit up to a fixed amount, effectively doubling your money off the bat.
A 100% deposit bonus is the norm, usually up to a few hundred pounds. But don’t be surprised if you see deals that far exceed that. You can find huge bonuses up to 5 or 6 hundred times your deposit, although you should keep in mind that there are probably some wagering requirements. These wagering rules may get steeper depending on the size of the offer. A 50-60x wager rule is pretty unrealistic, so you might want to avoid those.
Have a read of the T&Cs before you buy into any deal.
Second deposit blackjack bonus
This bonus is as you might imagine. Some casinos will offer you a further bonus on your second deposit as well as your first. They work in exactly the same way, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a third and fourth as well. Take a look at our list of casinos with the best deposit bonuses around to see what you can get your hands on right now.
Blackjack progressive jackpot
Just as some slots can present massive jackpots, so too can blackjack as well. It’s only available at certain tables so don’t go expecting all of them to offer such a prize.
The progressive jackpot works by taking a tiny fraction of the stake from each player during each hand. This money comes together to create a massive jackpot that can run into the millions. When the big prize drops, one lucky player’s life can change instantly.
Blackjack gaming providers
Some of the best in the biz come together to bring you the latest casino games. Between them, they have decades of experience and are constantly coming up with new creations to wow their fans.
So, let’s have a look at some of the best blackjack software providers in the industry:
Cutting-edge live games come as standard with Evolution. They have the tech and the know-how to produce the greatest live online casino experience and can be found creating products for some of the biggest casino brands in the world. They have studios worldwide for their live-game production, which includes blackjack, baccarat and others.
Some of the best blackjack sites are produced using the NetEnt software. They’ve been in the business for years and have produced platforms for not only blackjack games but also some of the best-known and visually amazing slots as well. The best blackjack app and other mobile offerings are also created by NetEnt.
The original and still the best, some might say. Well, that’s a matter of opinion but they’re definitely up there in the list of top blackjack software producers. Hailing from the UK, these guys were around at the start of e-gambling when their software was the first to power blackjack and other card games online. They continue to provide awesome entertainment today.
Some of the greatest games come from Playtech. You’ve probably come across their titles while playing online as they create games for all the big sites. Ace Ventura, Book of Dwarves and the Age of Gods games are all made by them. But it’s not just fantastic slots that they specialise in; blackjack is also top of their list of offerings. Their skilled designers have made online blackjack an enjoyable and seamless experience.
Extreme Live Gaming
This London-based company has focused on the live dealer games and it’s paid dividends. They started out in 2013, so they’re not new, but certainly not as old as for example NetEnt or Microgaming. They are now producing the key tech that makes many of the live blackjack games that you’ll see online today. In June 2018, Extreme Live Gaming was acquired by Pragmatic Play.
Here are a few more pieces of handy info that our readers often ask us for.