One of the most popular online casino games is online Blackjack, which, in many respects, resembles its British counterpart: Pontoon (Twenty-One). The difference lies in the gameplay and the rules which characterise these games. Since it’s so popular, we’ll be describing the course of the game and Blackjack rules, going over basic strategies, as well as exploring popular Blackjack variants.
The origins of Blackjack
The game ‘twenty-one’ is known to have laid the foundations for this top-rated casino game, now widely known as Blackjack. Its origins are unknown, but the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes referred to this game in one of his novels dating back to the second half of the 16th century. Back then he used the term ‘Ventiuna’, which stands for twenty-one in Spanish. References to this game were also eventually found in France and Spain and sources confirm that real-money Blackjack was also being played in the United States in the early 1800s. Today, it has become one of the most popular games in all casinos worldwide.
Players may perceive Blackjack as a very straightforward and uncomplicated card game which doesn’t require any skills. Indeed, a few minutes is all you need to learn the most important game rules and start playing. However, on the contrary to what many people may think, it does require certain skills and decision-making if it’s to be played responsibly. Let’s tackle the basics first.
In Blackjack, you compete against a croupier. Although one pack of standard 52 cards may be used, most casinos use a few packs to hinder players from using the probability theory. The player’s primary goal is to build a hand value which equals or gets as close to 21 as possible without busting. You need to be careful because going over 21 signifies an instant loss. In classic Blackjack, the player gets two cards face up, while the dealer gets one. Then, the player decides whether to hit or stand and the croupier’s task is to outscore the player.
Blackjack card values
When learning the game rules, you should first learn the cards’ values. Playing Blackjack involves constant counting and making decisions depending on your hand value and that of the dealer’s. Beginners need to remember the following card values:
- Card values from 2 to 10 are equal to the card number. Therefore 2 is two points, 3 is three points, etc., all the way to 10 – which is ten points.
- Face cards, which include the Jack, Queen and King give 10 points.
- Ace is a special card worth 1 or 11 points, depending on which scenario is more advantageous to the player or the croupier.
Keep in mind that both the player and croupier receive two cards each at the beginning of the round. The croupier can see your hand value at all times, but you only know the value of the card face up. After you stand or draw further cards to acquire a satisfactory hand, the dealer has set rules he needs to respect about when to hit or stand. For example, in most casinos, the dealer must stand on 17. Thus, the actions he takes are solely determined by his hand value.
What options can the player choose?
Now you know the basic rules, the game’s purpose and the card values, we can move on to the gameplay. Once you place your bet, the croupier deals two cards each, but you can only see one of the croupier’s cards. Depending on your hand’s value, you can choose between the following options:
Draw a card (Hit) – If you think your hand value is too low, you press hit, and the dealer gives you one more card. The dealer can keep adding more cards until you’re satisfied with your value. Bear in mind that you lose as soon as you exceed 21.
Refrain from drawing cards (Stand) – If your hand value is already high, you shouldn’t draw any other cards. If the value of the first two cards totals to 21, you have a blackjack or “Natural” win, which usually ends with an automatic payout.
Double the bet (Double Down) – If the first two cards form a strong hand, you may decide to double your bet amount.
Split hand (Split) – If you have an identical pair of cards (such as two aces or two court cards), players can decide to split their hand in two. It is associated with Double Down because you need to place a bet equal to the first bet on the second hand.
Insurance – Such an action is possible when the croupier’s exposed card is an Ace. At this point, you can make a bet on the possibility that the face-down card is a ten.
Surrender – This action may not always be available; it all depends on the table rules. If the option is available, you can withdraw at the beginning of the game, as soon as you see your hand and the croupier’s sole card. If you find your hand value to be unfavourable, you can surrender and regain half your bet as cashback.
What’s the croupier’s task? As we’ve mentioned, the croupier only takes action when you finalise your hand. He only needs to draw cards until he outscores the player or until his hand reaches a specific value. His decisions are based on the respective table rules, but generally, the croupier must hit another card if his hand value is 16 or less. If the croupier’s hand value is 17 or more, he must stand, and the game is over.
Types of Blackjack games
As already discussed, Blackjack rules may differ, depending on the table you select. At LV BET you can find several variants and tables, which means you can choose the game which best suits your preferences. Some Blackjack tables may even include specific bonuses and side bets:
Perfect Pairs Blackjack – This allows players to place an extra bet on the possibility of the first two cards being a pair, enabling players to gain an additional win multiplier. The multiplier is x25 if the cards have the same symbol, x12 if the pair is the same colour, while every other pair has an x6 multiplier.
21 + 3 – This side bet enables players to build their hand using their two cards and the croupier’s face-up card. It allows you to win up to x100 the hand’s value if composed of a suited three of a kind. Different multipliers apply for a straight flush, three of a kind, straight or flush combinations.
Red Queen Blackjack – This variant offers an additional multiplier if your hand includes a red queen.
Blackjack Double Exposure - This is a very popular Blackjack variant because you have increased winning chances since both croupier’s cards are exposed from the beginning of the game. Blackjack Double Exposure pays less since the player has a higher advantage.
How do you play Blackjack?
As already mentioned, the basic game rules seem to be relatively straightforward. We need to keep in mind that the casino has a slightly higher edge since only one of the croupier’s card is face-up, while the player’s hand is all face-up. So how do you play Blackjack? There’s a favourable move for every situation you find yourself in, and basing your strategy on the theory of probability, can help you effectively reduce the casino’s advantage and turn the situation in your favour. However, do remember that despite following basic strategies, none can guarantee a sure win.
Bonuses and special offers in Blackjack
At LV BET casino you can find many exciting bonuses dedicated to new players. Moreover, many special casino bonus and a loyalty program are offered to active players.
Online Blackjack at LV BET Online Casino
At LV BET online casino, you can find several tables, each with specific rules, bonuses and betting limits. When playing online Blackjack, you’ll be competing against a computer algorithm which is programmed to follow the game’s rules. The same applies to live casino, where experienced croupiers host the game in full knowledge of the table’s rules. Thus, the casino always has a slight advantage over the player, especially new players who’re still trying to grasp the concept of the game.
Fundamental strategies are based on the theory of probability and suggest the best moves you can make when playing Blackjack. Do bear in mind that online Blackjack often offers various bonuses and win multipliers, so you should always bet responsibly and consult a Blackjack strategy related to the Blackjack variant you’re playing.
Live Casino Blackjack
Every live casino guarantees fun to its players competing against a real croupier. In a live casino, Blackjack takes place at a real interactive table, and a seat is assigned to each player joining the game. One table can take up to eight players. All you have to do is set the bet by placing a suitable number of chips (each chip has a designated value) on the table. The croupier generally uses a few packs of cards, and sometimes they’re larger in size to help players read the card values. At LV BET casino, live Blackjack is one of the most popular games on offer.
Possible Blackjack scenarios
Every Blackjack table has its maximum and minimum betting limits, and the original bet you make will determine your possible wins. Here are possible scenarios you can encounter:
Classic Blackjack – You get 21 in your first two cards, the game ends, and the win pays 3 to 2. Therefore, if you place ten chips on the table, you win 15 chips.
Defeated croupier – Your hand value is higher than that of the croupier’s. The win is paid 1 to 1, which means you get your original ten chips, plus another ten chips.
Insurance – Say you placed ten chips and accepted the insurance (the possibility of the croupier’s hand hitting a blackjack). If the croupier hits 21, the initial bet is lost, but the insurance win is paid 2 to 1.
Surrender – If you have an unlucky hand and decide to surrender, you get back 50% of your original bet amount.
Tie – This is dependent on each table’s rules. In the vast majority of cases, a tie means you get back your total bet. However, in some cases, a tie favours the casino, and you only receive a percentage of your bet or none of it.
Bear in mind that you can change the game’s course using the Double Down or Split options. In such situations, the game will then ensue the standard way.
✅ How are possible wins settled in Blackjack?
Each Blackjack variant has its distinct win multipliers, but generally wins are paid 3 to 2 for classic Blackjack, 2 to 1 for insurance, and 1 to 1 for a standard win.
✅ How is live Blackjack different from online Blackjack?
LV BET casino hosts various tables at which you can play against a computer algorithm. However, you can also compete against a real dealer in the live casino section.
✅ Is the Blackjack game difficult?
The basic rules are relatively simple, and you can learn them within a couple of minutes. However, playing at a professional level requires experience and strategy knowledge. It’s also essential that you start learning how to calculate probability fast. Therefore, although Blackjack may seem straightforward, it can still be perceived as a demanding card game.
✅ When should you draw a card?
Many players will draw another card when their hand value is lower than 16. However, you need to take into consideration the croupier’s card. If the croupier has a low-value card (from 2 to 6), you might want to stand, Additionally, if you have a pair or an ace, you can hit more cards safely, even if you exceed 16. You can split pairs, and the ace value can be either 1 or 11, depending on your current hand value.
Let’s say you have an ace and a five. Your hand may be valued at 16. You decide to draw an additional card and get an eight. Now the ace value becomes 1, and your hand value becomes 14. However, in most strategies, you don’t hit when your hand value is over 16.
✅ When can you double your bet?
You can double the bet only at the beginning of the game when you just have the first two cards. However, you cannot duplicate your bet when your hand is a classic blackjack. This action is generally recommended when the chances of exceeding 21 are zero or very low. Thus, you can double your bet when your hand value is between 9 and 11. Players may also proceed with this action when the hand value is between 18 and 20. In such cases, the chances of the croupier winning against this hand are lower. Do pay attention to the croupier’s card though! Never double the bet when the croupier has an ace or a ten.
✅ When do you split a hand?
A hand split increases your chances of hitting a classic blackjack on at least one hand. Although you can split your hand with any pair you may have, it’s generally recommended to always split with a pair of aces or eights. Basic strategies usually discourage players from using this technique when they have a pair of tens, fours or fives. Keep in mind that splitting your hand still requires you to make a bet on the second hand, which is equal to your original bet amount.
✅ When should you not draw further cards?
We can distinguish several scenarios in which basic strategies suggest retaining the original hand and refraining from drawing further cards. You always stand when your hand value is 19. As for the value of 18, you can double your bet if you have an ace and a seven. What about lower hand values? A stand may be essential when you have a hand between 13 and 16, especially if the dealer has a low-value card. The advantage of online Blackjack is that you can always consult with a basic blackjack strategy before making a move.
✅ When can we insure the hand?
Another action a player can carry out is insurance. You can only make this move at the beginning of the game if the croupier’s exposed card is an ace. The insurance is an independent bet on the possible chances of the croupier obtaining a blackjack. The course of the game may vary: the croupier may indeed have a classic blackjack and win the game. In this case, you lose your original bet, but win double the insurance bet. In another scenario, the croupier may not obtain a blackjack, and you win the round - whereby you lose the insurance bet, but win the original bet.
The worst-case scenario is having the croupier winning the game without a blackjack. In such a case you lose both the original bet and the insurance bet. For this reason, this action is considered very risky due to the casino’s higher edge and is not recommended in a lot of strategies. Depending on the number of decks being used, the game progress, and your capital, you may sometimes bet on insurance, mainly because it pays 2 to 1.
✅ Is surrender a good option?
If the value of your starting cards is very low (6 or less) and the croupier has an ace or a court card, it may signify a sure loss. However, if you draw an ace, you may reach 17 or more, so basic strategies do not take the surrender action into account. Many experienced players state that surrender is always unfavourable, since you can still draw a card when your initial hand has a low value, and, in effect, obtain a good hand.