Blackjack is one of the most popular gambling games today. Available in various exciting forms, this game requires skill. You have to know the rules of the game as well as the strategy to adopt for different scenarios that may arise while playing. This is a game that is played between the player and the dealer.
We have for you a superb selection of blackjack games from a range of top-notch software providers, online as well as mobile. The games at our website come with promotions that are targeted solely at the African audience; that is what makes them so sought after among players across the African continent. And you can play them in both free play mode as well as real money mode.
The Best Blackjack Casinos
For all its popularity or maybe because of it, many casinos do not allow you to use the bonuses available to play blackjack. This is because the game comes with a low house edge; it allows you to win more than you would if you played slots, for instance. There are some casinos that offer special welcome bonuses for blackjack players; it is a different matter that such a bonus is usually smaller compared to the bonus for slots.
We have listed out for you the top online casinos with bonuses for blackjack. Along with the casino name we have listed out other relevant details as well, such as the percentage of your wager that counts towards the meeting the wagering requirements.
A Brief History of Blackjack
Blackjack is quite old; it is believed to have emerged sometime in the 17th century as a game called Vingt Et Un, which translates roughly to 21. The game got its name because of an additional bonus payment that a player was guaranteed if he landed a hand containing a Jack and an Ace of Spades. The term blackjack was initially used to depict that hand, though later it stood for any hand with a Jack and an Ace.
The Objective of Playing Blackjack
The objective of playing blackjack is to put together a hand equal or closest to 21. You win if your hand is valued at 21 and/or closest to it. You lose if the dealer has a hand stronger than yours or if your hand value is over 21, i.e. you go bust.
Playing Online Blackjack
In its simplest form, online blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck without a joker; most variants of the game use multiple decks, with some games using as many as 8 decks of cards. The objective as mentioned earlier is simple: try and win by putting together a hand of 21 or a value closest to it and beating the dealer’s hand.
The cards are assigned the following values:
- King, Queen, Jack, and 10-card: The value assigned to them is 10.
- 2 to 9: The cards from 2 to 9 are valued at face.
- Ace: Valued either at 1 or 11, depending on the hand you are trying to put together.
Playing online blackjack is easy:
- Place your wagers for the hand. At an online casino, you do this by clicking on the chip(s) corresponding to the amount you want to bet.
- The cards are now dealt: 2 each for you and the dealer. Your cards are dealt face up, while the dealer’s hand has one card face up and the other face down.
View your cards and the dealer’s; decide on your next course of action. The most basic options are:
- Hit: You click the Hit button to be dealt another card: You have the option of adding cards as long as your hand value does not overshoot 21.
- Stand: You decide you do not want any more cards; so you ‘stand’ with the hand that you have been dealt.
As a player, you are guaranteed a win if your hand is a blackjack, i.e. an Ace and a Jack. The only scenario where a blackjack does not give you a win is if the dealer’s hand is a blackjack as well; in that case the game goes into ‘push’ mode where both you and the dealer gets a fresh hand and the higher hand value wins.
Other Major Blackjack Play Options to Use
As mentioned earlier, the two major options while playing blackjack are hit and stand. Which option you use will depend on the hand you get and the dealer’s hand, especially the open card. There are a couple of other options that you can use as well:
- Double down: You double your bet for the hand to get an additional card to boost your hand value. Once you are dealt the additional card you must stand, however; no further hitting is allowed.
- Split: This is a good option to use if your opening is 2 cards of the same value. You place an extra bet if you opt to split. Once you split the original hands into two hands you play them separately as individual hands.
The double down and split options can be used based on the strength of your hand. There are different blackjack strategies that dictate the best option to use based on the hand value and also the cards in it. For instance, if your hand has 2 Kings, splitting may not be the wisest option as you already have a very strong hand with a value of 20.
There are two other options available, both conditional:
- Surrender: The Surrender option allows you to surrender the hand in the event of the dealer’s open card being strong enough to warrant the possibility of a blackjack. This option is not available in all variants of blackjack and some variants offer a variant: the late surrender option.
- Insurance: The Insurance option is available in some variants of blackjack when the dealer’s open card is an Ace.
Featured Blackjack Games
The Importance of Knowing the Odds and the House Edge in Blackjack
Calculating the odds and determining the house edge is important even though you do not have much by way of indicators to go by. The basics are all you have; we list out for you some of the factors that help determine the house edge of a blackjack game:
- Number of card decks used: The standard assumption is 8 decks, as most games use that number of decks. There are also games that use 4 decks and 6 decks, and there is single deck blackjack too.
- The dealer’s action on a hand of 17: Whether a dealer hit or stands on a hand of 17 – soft or hard 17 – has an impact on the house edge.
- Doubling after a split
- Cards in the first hand that permit doubling: Doubling is allowed only on certain hands, for instance, it could be on any 2 cards, or on a hand of 9-11 or a hand of 10-11.
- Re-splitting: The number of hands can a player re-split to
- Re-splitting an Ace
- Hitting a split Ace
- The existence of the Surrender rule
- How much a blackjack pays out: The house edge can also be influenced by how much a blackjack pays out – 3:2 vs. 6:5, for instance.
Using all these factors, it is possible to calculate the house edge. The standard house edge has been found to be approximately 0.50%, though it can go as low as 0.43%. The house edge has also been found to go as high as 0.58% in some games. We have compiled for you a list of the different games from various software providers and the house edge for each of them.
|Software Provider||Blackjack Variant||Number of Decks||House Edge|
|NetEnt||Single Deck Blackjack||1||0.48%|
|Microgaming||Double Exposure Blackjack||8||0.79%|
|Microgaming||Atlantic City Blackjack||8||0.36%|
|PlayTech||Double Attack Blackjack||6||0.62%|
Given the fact that blackjack is a part of the game offering from every major and not-so-major casino software provider, it is only natural that there are a number of blackjack variants for players to choose from. Some of the popular blackjack variants at online casinos include the following:
- European Blackjack
- Hi-Lo Blackjack
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Multi-Hand Blackjack
European Blackjack is a popular blackjack variant that is unique compared to the rest of the variants available. This is after all the game that the American version evolved from. The game is unique because the dealer’s second card is dealt only after the player has played his hand. As a result of this, the dealer cannot check for blackjack and the player has no way of guessing the dealer’s hand on the basis of the open card, which makes a huge difference when it comes to strategizing. The following are the basic rules applicable to European Blackjack:
- The game is played using 2 to 8 decks. It is commonly played with 6 decks.
- A dealer blackjack results in you losing your entire bet.
- You cannot split 4, 5 or 10-value cards.
- Splitting of Aces is allowed. For each Ace you get just one card.
- The dealer will stand on a soft 17 and draw on 16.
- You can split a hand once; re-splitting is not allowed.
- You can double down on split cards and also on 9, 10, and 11-value hands.
- No Surrender option available.
- Dealer’s blackjack is an automatic winner over your 21.
- If both you and the dealer have a blackjack the game is pushed.
- The insurance bet is available and pays 2:1.
- Blackjack pays 3:2.
Single Deck Blackjack
As the name suggests, this variant of blackjack is played with just a single deck of cards. There are 52 cards in this deck, as there are no jokers in use. The deck is shuffled prior to starting every single game. Here are the basic rules that this game follows:
- Dealer always splits on a soft 17.
- Splitting a hand is allowed, but there are rules governing a split:
- You can split a hand thrice.
- You can split an Ace, but re-splitting is not allowed. Once you split an Ace you get just one card.
- Any hand of a split Ace and a 10-value card is not a blackjack, though the hand value remains 21.
- The game has the insurance bet, and it pays 2:1.
- Blackjack pays 3:2.
Multi-Hand Blackjack is a popular blackjack variant that you see in numerous online casinos. As the name indicates, this game encourages simultaneous multi-hand gaming. The number of hands you can play at a time varies depending on the software behind the game. The maximum number of hands you can play simultaneously is 5. The key features of the game are:
- The use of a maximum of 6 decks per game.
- Shuffling of decks prior to each game.
- Dealer stands on all 17s and draws on a hand of 16.
- Splitting allowed once per hand but re-splitting is forbidden.
- Splitting of Aces is allowed. 4
- You get an extra card for each split hand.
- Doubling down is not permitted on a hand with a split Ace.
- The insurance bet is available. You get a payout of 2:1 for this bet, while standard blackjack pays out 3:2.
Other Popular Blackjack Variants
There are a few other popular blackjack variants as well. We take a quick look at some of them next.
Side Bet Blackjack
This is a blackjack variant that has a range of payouts that are triggered by the side bets in the game. There are 5 side bets in all, with the highest possible payout being a whopping 5000:1. The 5 side bets available for you to use are:
- Pair Play: You get a 12:1 payout if your first 2 cards are a matching pair.
- Blackjack Attack: You get an 18:1 payout for each blackjack hand you can put together.
- Cash Queens: There are different payouts available for each hand of value 20. How much you are paid out depends on the hand you put together:
- 2:1 payout for a regular 20-value hand.
- 5:1 payout for a hand of suited pairs.
- 50:1 payout on a pair of Queens.
- 777: The bet works for cards with a value of 7 and pays out accordingly:
- 5:1 payout for the first card being a 7.
- 2000:1 for landing suited 7s as the first 3 cards in your hand.
- Mega Match: This side bet gives you interesting payouts based on how your hand was:
- The first 2 cards of your hand are of the same suit: You get a 2:1 payout.
- First 2 cards of your hand are the King and Queen of the same suit: You get a 50:1 payout.
- You and the dealer hit a Mega Match: You get a 5000:1 payout.
Double Exposure Blackjack
As the name suggests, both the dealer’s cards are dealt face up. This does tilt the balance slightly in favor of the player but the presence of other rules and terms balances out the equation easily. The following are the basic rules of the game:
- You play the game with 6 decks of 52 cards.
- The dealer stands on all 17s and hits on all hands with a maximum value of 16.
- Tied hands result in dealer wins. The exception to this rule is a situation where both the hands are blackjack hands.
- Doubling down allowed in specific situations: your first card has to be a hard 9, 10, or 11. Once you double down, you are dealt just one extra card.
- Forming a hand of 21 on a split hand is not a blackjack.
- You can split; you are allowed to draw multiple cards after a split. The only exception is if your hand has an Ace.
- A blackjack hand pays out 1:1.
- The game lacks an insurance bet and also the Surrender option.
- The payout percentage is over 96% for this game.
Another very popular variant of blackjack is progressive blackjack. The game gets its name from a progressive side bet attached to it. The following are some key features of this game.
- The game is played with a maximum of 8 decks of cards.
- Only single-hand play available.
- The main game is like regular blackjack; you can place an additional $1 bet for the progressive side bet.
- Blackjack pays 3:2, the insurance bet pays 2:1, and the other winning hands pay even money.
- The house edge for the regular game is 0.58%, while the house edge for the progressive side bet can touch a whopping 40%.
One variant of blackjack that brings back the actual feel of being in a land-based casino is live blackjack. The main difference between this game and other online blackjack variants is the presence of a real dealer in this version as against the RNG in the standard online variants.
Live blackjack is shot at the software provider’s live dealer studio – some of them collaborate with land-based casinos to bring the action live from the casino’s tables – and streamed live over the Internet. Players who log in to the live dealer casino can view the action, place bets, and generally play blackjack. As a player, you can see the live dealer on your computer screen and interact with her through live chat. The game however has higher minimum and maximum bets to take care of the extra costs involved in:
- Running the studio
- Equipment maintenance
- Salaries for live dealer casino staff
The game is slower than standard online blackjack variants because it is a person manning the tables. The speed cannot be compared to the speed at which a RNG operates.
What about Blackjack for Mobile?
The latest big leap forward in the gambling industry is the mobile casino. Advanced technology in software and telecommunications has enabled software providers to provide players with the opportunity to play their favorite casino game directly from a mobile device, usually a smartphone or a tablet. The mobile casino industry is booming and all top software providers are now exploring this new area of gaming.
There are a large number of leading online software providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, Real Time Gaming, and quite a few others now have a range of live dealer blackjack games. There are also new entrants to the market that are specifically targeting the mobile casino industry. Regardless of the software provider, one thing is guaranteed: high quality blackjack games with excellent graphics and animations. The games are compatible with multiple mobile platforms including Android and iOS. Some providers also offer games compatible with the BlackBerry and Windows Phone platforms.
Typical Blackjack FAQs
There are a lot of questions players have about blackjack. We list for you commonly asked questions along with their answers.
Blackjack systems actually work. And yes, there are a whole lot of them. That is where you need to be careful: you have to be able to pick the right ones. Given that you cannot win all the time because of that little thing called the house edge, any system that promises you such results is a hoax. Systems to try out include the Martingale System, and if you are really keen on becoming a pro at blackjack you would do well to try your hand at the art of card counting.
Read our articles on card counting for more info on this amazing technique.
The odds of winning at blackjack are quite decent given that this is a game with a relatively low house edge. To determine the mathematical odds you would need to take into account vital parameters like the number of hands being played, the number of decks being used, and so on. Games with multiple decks offer higher odds compared to a single deck game: 4.75% for a 6-deck game compared to 20.7% for a single deck game.
First of all, congrats on the blackjack bonus. There are different ways to use it effectively. The key is to choose the game that is the right fit for it. Another key factor is betting right.
I have been searching the Internet for good online blackjack games and found that not all casinos offer bonuses for playing blackjack! Why is this so?
Blackjack is a game with a low house edge; that is why casinos hesitate when it comes to offering bonuses to play blackjack. There are quite a few that do give blackjack bonuses, but the amount and percentage on offer is always lesser than, say, a bonus for playing slots. And even with the bonus in place there are steep wagering requirements to be fulfilled to be able to redeem the winnings. That is not all; the contributions towards fulfilment of wagering requirements is also way lesser for blackjack than they are for slots.