If you’ve never played Blackjack at a UK casino online, you’ll need to learn the rules. Alongside the traditional game, several variations are offered, each with a unique twist to make the game more exciting. Some of these online casinos will let you play for free, so you can familiarize yourself with the game before you start playing for money.
You’ll also need to understand how the Blackjack bonuses offered by online casinos in the UK work, so you can take full advantage of them. If you’re keen to learn more, keep reading.
Blackjack is a simple game and all you need to do is master the basics. The aim of the game is not only to achieve a score as close to 21 as possible, you also need to beat the dealer using as few cards as you can. To start playing, you’ll need to place a bet and wait for your first two cards to be dealt. The cards are dealt face up and you will be able to see what cards the dealer is holding.
Each card has a number on it, except for the face cards which count as 10. The Ace is the most versatile card in the deck and can be counted as one or 11. Once you’ve received two cards, you need to work out whether you should ‘hit’ or ‘stand’. If you decide to ‘hit’, you will be dealt another card; whereas, if you decide to ‘stand’ you won’t receive any more cards.
How you make this decision depends on the total of the cards you hold in your hand. If you believe that another card would get you closer to 21 without going bust (exceeding a total of 21), then you should ‘hit’. But if taking another card will cause your hand to exceed 21, then you should stand.
But these aren’t the only options you have. You can also choose to ‘split’ your cards into two separate hands. This means you effectively double your bet, and can only be done when you have two cards with the same value, for example, two tens or a ten and a face card. You can also choose to ‘surrender’ or half your bet. This allows you to retain half of your bet if you believe that your cards aren’t good enough to beat the dealer.
Another option available to you is ‘doubling-down’ which should only be done if you are certain that your hand will beat the dealer. You double your original bet, but you will only be dealt one more card. One more term you’ll need to know about is ‘insurance’. If one of the dealer’s face-up cards is an ace, players are offered ‘insurance’. This means you can bet on whether the dealer has a total of 21 (blackjack) or not. The wager is equal to half your original bet and will be paid out at odds of 2:1. If the dealer has got 21, you’ll break even.
Best Online Blackjack Strategies
The best online blackjack strategies are the same ones that are employed commonly employed in a casino. They are based on statistical research and have essentially created a hard-and-fast ruleset for the game. Despite this, you may choose to test fate, but for most people, this strategy will give you the best potential return on your bets.
The chart below refers to hard hands, soft hands, and splits. A hard hand is one without an ace or with an ace that is forced to act as a one because if it didn’t, you would have a bust. A soft hand is one with an ace that can count as either a 1 or a 10. A split occurs when you are dealt two of a kind; these cards can be split and are dealt as new hands.
|Your Hand||Dealer 2 to 6||Dealer 7 to A|
|4 to 8||Hit||Hit|
|10 to 11||Double||Double|
|12 to 16||Stand||Hit|
|17 to 21||Stand||Stand|
|13 to 15||Hit||Hit|
|16 to 18||Double||Hit|
|19 to 21||Stand||Stand|
|2s, 3s, 6s, 7s, 9s||Split||Don’t Split|
|4s, 5s, 10s||Don’t Split||Don’t Split|
This chart provides not only your best chances at winning real money but some tips that have been commonly accepted for decades, as well.
Make the Dealer Bust
Why risk busting your own hand when you can force the dealer to bust his instead? If the dealer is showing a four, five, or six and you have a soft hand, stand instead of hitting and watch the dealer be forced to hit his way above 21!
Stand on 17 and Above
If your hand equals 17 or above, hitting puts you at risk of a bust. If the dealer has anything below 17, he will be forced to hit and the pressure is on him not to bust. Alternatively, if the dealer already has above 18, there is not much you can do and not knowing what the dealer’s hold card makes it statistically unwise to take a chance.
Split a Pair of Aces
If you are dealt a pair of aces, you should always split them. This is because an ace can equal one or 11, which are difficult to bust with and can be used to your advantage in pursuit of a 21. Of course, this strategy can backfire, but statistically, you are likely to have success employing it.
Don’t Split a Pair of Tens
It is really difficult to play a split pair of tens, especially since the goal of the game is to reach 21. Although it may seem wise, splitting tens does not usually provide a player’s expected result… Statistically speaking, that is.
Common Blackjack Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions that people believe to be true due to years of blind acceptance, despite the fact that they have been debunked. Here are some of the most common myths you believe that are hurting your game.
Always Assume the Dealer has a Hold Card of 10
This is probably the most significant misconception that massive amounts of players believe. Assuming a hold card equal to ten is, simply put, a terrible strategy. The odds of the dealer actually having a ten are 30%. This means that there is a 70% chance that the card will be something else; specifically, something that you can use to your advantage to increase his chance of folding. Mathematically speaking, there is a higher chance that any given card will be a ten, but the odds of it not being a ten are even higher.
Counting Cards Guarantees a Win
No matter how good you are at counting cards, even doing so perfectly does not guarantee you will win. Even playing perfectly does not change the fact that the odds remain in the house’s favor. Additionally, card counting is only one part of this strategy. High card counts are also necessary to give you an edge. Even the best counter can’t control for sheer chance. That is why you are better off following a system, rather than attempting to achieve a goal.
A Bad Player at the Table Can Affect Your Hand
Aside from instilling psychological weakness, there isn’t really much you can do to ruin another player’s games over time. This is because each hand on a table is essentially its own game and even if you don’t play well, this should, statistically speaking, have little to no effect on the long-term game of other gamblers.
You Need Cards that are as Close to 21 as Possible to Win
Despite its alternative name, the goal of blackjack isn’t actually to get 21; the goal is to beat the dealer’s hand. If you chase 21, you are likely to bust and lose more than you would have if you accepted hands that are even on the lower end of the acceptable stand limits.
Online casinos in the UK can afford to give bonuses to blackjack players because they don’t have the same overheads as land-based casinos. And players can take advantage of this to play for longer. But less experienced players may not understand the wagering requirements, so here’s an explanation.
A casino won’t allow you to redeem your bonus and then cash out without playing, so they set out some conditions. For example, you might need to meet a wagering requirement of 35x your deposit to claim your bonus. This means you’ll need to bet the deposit amount, bonus amount or the total of both before you can cash out your bonus. On a deposit of £50, with a bonus of £50 and a 35x wagering requirement, you’ll need to spend a total of £1750. That’s only if the rule applies to your initial deposit of £50.
You should also know that some games, such as blackjack only count 10% towards your wagering requirement. So if you spend £100 playing blackjack, only £10 will be deducted from your wagering requirement.
Blackjack is an exciting game because everything depends on the cards you’re dealt. With a little practice and a generous bonus, you can spend hours playing this popular table game at any reputable online casino in the UK.