Sports have been widely postponed in the real world for over a month now, but gamblers are finding ways to get their fix electronically. There are eSports and virtual sporting events dotting the landscape now, but there is an old, trusty version of gambling in online casino games. They’ve been around a while, they’re fun, and you can make a lot of loot if you, pardon the pun, play your cards right.
Here, we’ll look at a rather rudimentary guide on how to play online blackjack.
How to play online blackjack: Starting out
If you’re new to playing blackjack online, start slowly. Don’t get in over your head and start betting high stakes if you’re not exactly sure how it all works. The same rules apply as they do playing in a real casino. Study and understudy your basic blackjack strategy so you’re not hemorrhaging money.
We’ve all been playing at a table in real-life and some new player hits the table and starts gumming up the works. They split their 10’s, they hit on 16 when the dealer is showing a five, etc. Understand the basics of the game before you start sinking your hard-earned money into play. In fact, consider playing a few ‘practice hands’ first to get a feel for the game.
How to play online blackjack: Scoring
Let’s roll it back, though, if you’re REALLY a beginner. Know that an ace (A) can be used as a one or an 11, all face cards – jacks (J), queens (Q) and kings (K) have a value of 10 and know that there are four suits in a standard 52-card deck – clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades. The idea of blackjack, or 21, is to beat the dealer.
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You needn’t worry about the other players at the table, as you do not have to beat their cards like in poker. You simply need to be closer to 21 than the dealer. If your cards end up with a total of 22 or higher, it’s called a ‘bust’. Know your terminology, too. If you end up with the same total as the dealer, it’s a ‘push’.
Sounds simple, right? Well, technically blackjack is one of the table games where you have the best odds to beat the house, although, of course, the advantage is still in their favor. If you play wisely, you can come out ahead in the long term.
How to play online blackjack: Strategies
It’s my personal experience when playing to NEVER take insurance. Insurance is offered when the dealer is showing an ace with their other card hidden, or down. One always should assume the dealer is holding a 10 in their hole card. While insurance pays 2 to 1, it’s essentially an extra bet on whether or not the dealer will hit blackjack; while your hand can lose, you could potentially recover any lost monies with a win on the insurance wager. The only time I might do this is if I hit a blackjack myself, and an insurance bet will offer even money if the dealer shows an ace and also flips over a face or a 10 to also get blackjack. Other than that, don’t get roped into insurance.
Also, blackjack is a fun game, as you can double your wager after a hand has started. For instance, you initially wager $5 in chips. You are dealt a total of 11, while the dealer is showing a 6. Again, there are 16 cards in a single deck with a value of 10, so you assume the dealer’s hidden card is a 10, and/or your next card will be a 10. So you ‘double down’, or double your wager. You will receive only one card, while the dealer can take as many as needed. Doubling down on 11 is not always a sound option, however, as if the dealer is holding a 10, it is generally discouraged. Some players like to do it, but you really should only double when there is a high bust potential for the dealer.
You can also ‘split’ cards that are paired up. For instance, you get two 9s, you can split these and make two hands against the dealer. Essentially, it’s doubling down, but you can play them like normal hands with no limit on how many cards you can take. You can also double down on these ‘new’ hands, if you like, making for a lot more action, and potential winnings.
Again, you want to be smart about splitting. The example above, with the 9s, is a sound play if you are playing against a dealer’s 8 or less; however, if they’re showing a 10, you’d want to stand, or stick with the cards you have without any further action. Learn the basic strategy first before getting into the nuances of the game.
How to play online blackjack: Play responsibly
Lastly, it might go without saying, but it’s also a good idea to limit your alcohol intake when playing online. It’s no secret alcohol and gambling have gone hand-in-hand in real-life casinos, and free drinks while playing table games is attractive to many players, but more drinks leads to more bad decisions and generally means better results for the house.
Ready to give online blackjack a try? Head over to BetMGM to sign up and play.
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