Play Blackjack Online – A quick overview

I’ll first start with a warning that many online casinos do not accept players from the United States because of the many regulations, so look out for that when deciding on an online casino to play at.

Considering that you will be playing with your own money, verifying any site’s safety should be your first concern.  The top online casinos are independently audited and regulated and will support the top notch SSL security encryption, so you know your bank information will be totally safe and secure.  Of course you want to be comfortable and assured that your winnings will not be hacked away by some idiot.  

You want to know that you would be able to collect any winnings.  The site may let you make a deposit using one method, like paypal, but in order to withdraw any winnings, another method woud have to be used.  That kind of information is usually found within the FAQ section of a website.  Make sure you know all the money details before you place your first bet.

Check for published lists of bad, as well as, top-rated casinos.  A top-rated casino will be certified by a reputable third-party governing body, like the eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurnce) or Technical Systems Testing (TST).

Once you figure out the site is secure, you want to look at the bonuses the casino offers.  Online bonuses usually come with terms and conditions, including bet requirements to eventually withdraw any winnings, the specific games you must play to use the bonus money and whether a specific amount must be deposited to receive the bonus money.  You do want to pick the largest online bonus, keeping in mind the specific terms and conditions.  You can find sites online that will rank the top online blackjack sites, offering the biggest bonuses. As with promotions anywhere, “free money” may not really be free, read all the fine print.

Another key factor to look for in online casinos is that they use Random Number Generators.  This is what determines the shuffling and dealing of cards for fair play.  The top sites will show that their RNGs are regularly audited and tested as well. 

Last but not least, is to determine that the site has a good variety of blackjack games to play. The different varieties let a player make money from a variety of a side bets, keeping the player challenged and interested.

Blackjack online provides greater flexibility and unique features not offered at actual casinos.  Playing online can be less stressful, with all kinds of practice games and tutorials available for learning.  With continuously improved technology, the once perceptable difference between online and actual casino blackjack has decreased significantly to the point where blackjack online is beginning to over take land-based playing.   You can’t beat the convenience of being able to play at home.

What is Basic Blackjack Strategy – How to use it

Understanding the basic rules of the game should be your first step in winning at the blackjack table You need to know the correct moves for the different hands to maximize your opportunity for success. The skill part of blackjack is to avail yourself of the mathematically proven best plays to make when faced with any dealt hand at your blackjack table.

When to stand, hit or double down with any hand has been figured out based on the laws of probability, of wins versus losses.  Just taking into consideration basic strategy, not using any card counting, there is only one correct play to make in blackjack for any given hand, based on strictly mathematics. Other factors, such as house rules and number of decks used will make a difference in the correct playing strategies as well, which is why you might see several “basic” strategy charts available. Let’s go into a little bit of why that is so.

The Reason Basic Blackjack Strategy Works

First, as a quick refresher on the basic rules of blackjack, the value of your combined cards must beat the value of the dealers combined cards, without going over 21, for you to win. In a deck of 52 cards there are 16 cards valued at 10 and only 4 cards of each of the other denominations, Ace – 9. So, you are 4 times more likely to pull a ten-count card than any other denomination card.  Therefore, when the dealer’s upcard is high (7 or above), he is more likely to be close to 21, with a presumed 10-spot as his “hole” card and therefore hard to beat because he won’t have to hit his hand.  Conversely with a low upcard (2-6), he is more likely to have to hit his hand to come close enough to 21 and hopefully, for the player’s sake, bust because of that.

Basic strategy tells you that if the dealer’s upcard is a 7 or better and you have a hand totaling 12-16 (aka a “stiff”), you should hit.  The reason being that the dealer’s hand indicates strength, so you don’t want to stand with a weak hand.  A weak hand is considered anything 16 points or less. This is difficult concept for a novice to believe in.  It is probable that by hitting a stiff hand, you would probably bust, but you have to give yourself that better chance of beating the dealer by taking that hit to improve your hand.  If you don’t take the hit, you will definitely lose if the dealer is showing strength with a 7 or better upcard. You must make the assumption that the dealer’s hole card is a 10-spot and if you hold with a hand of less than 17, you lose anyway.  You have to take the hit to try and improve your hand.  Standing on stiff hands, against dealer’s hands showing a 7 or better upcard, loses more often than it wins in the long run, believe that.

If the dealer’s upcard is a 2-6, you can assume he has a stiff hand and therefore you want to stand with your own stiff hand.  With stiff hands more likely to bust, you want to stand with your stiff hand and let the dealer bust when he has to hit his hand.  In addition, if the dealer’s upcard shows he may have a stiff hand, it makes it a more opportune time to split pairs or double down, getting more money on the table when the dealer has a great chance of busting.

This is the simple theory behind basic blackjack strategy.  Of course there are expections to these rules, but it does give you a proven winning strategy to use in almost any blackjack game.

Keep it Simple 10-point Strategy

If you’ve looked at blackjack charts and decided they’re too difficult to memorize just remember these simple rules:

  1. Never Take Insurance
  2. If the dealer’s upcard is 7 or better, hit until you get a hard 17 or higher hand
  3. If the dealer’s upcard is 2-6, stand on all your stiffs (hard totals of 12-16)
  4. Hit all soft hands of 17 or below
  5. Stand on all soft hands of 18 or higher
  6. Double Down on 10 & 11, versus any dealer upcard of 2-9
  7. Always split Aces and 8’s
  8. Never split 4’s, 5’s, or 10’s
  9. Split all other pairs (2’s, 3’s, 6’s, 7’s and 9’s) versus dealer’s upcard of 4, 5, or 6
  10. Surrender 16 versus dealer’s 9,10, or Ace.

Remember, basic strategy can be the best weapon at the casino blackjack table, if you simply use it correctly.