Online Blackjack USA

Online blackjack

Online blackjack is a popular card game in which a player has to bring the dealer down by collecting more points without going in excess of 21. Based widely on luck and chance, the game still leaves much room for knowledge of rules and basic strategies that take the guesswork out of player's action and add a comprehensive approach to player's actions. US players can find many online blackjack games in US-friendly casinos, basically from RTG, Rival, Betsoft and other top-notch companies. Another reason for high appeal of online blackjack is relatively high winning chances and total returns as there is hardly any other game in online gambling to feature a 0.5% house edge. Modern experts numbers over 200 variations of this game, some of which are easily available to players from the USA.


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Learning online blackjack basics

There are two sides in a classic online blackjack: Player and Dealer, the latter being played by software in online casinos. At the beginning of a card deal, a player should place a bet by picking a required casino chip and putting it on the dedicated betting area on the table. Casino chips hold different face denominations, usually from $1 and higher. Chips may have bitcoin values if you play in a bitcoin casino.

The game software then handles two cards each to the player and dealer. One of cards in the dealer's hand is not showing. With two cards in the hand, the player should decide on the first move in the game.

There are actually several available options. First and foremost, having an ace and any other card that is worth 10 means a natural blackjack (21 points), which means automatic win. Should this happen, the player gets a 3:2 payout, the largest reward in a casino blackjack. In some rare variations, the dealer can also check for blackjack and in case there is 21, the parties have a tie - but this is really a rare rule. The actions that a player should make to enhance the current card hand are optional, not binding. These include:

  • Stand. If you are satisfied with the cards and believe they make up the best possible combination under current circumstances, you should Stand, i. e. leave the cards as they are
  • Hit. If you consider having one more card to possibly improve the current hand, choose Hit. If an additional card leads to player's exceeding 21, the player loses his wager and the game ends
  • Split. In many situations, having a pair as starting cards is a good hand because you can split it into two separate hands. If so, select this option
  • Double Down. This option can also be fruitful in many situations when you play blackjack online. Doubling down means placing another bet equal in value to the original bet. Some online blackjack games allow doubling a bet after splitting a pair
  • Surrender. When the upcard of the dealer displays an ace, some games offer a Surrender option. If used, the player returns half of the original bet and the game ends. There are very few scenarios where this option is efficient so players had better avoid surrendering except for cases where a basic strategy clearly advises the opposite
  • Take Insurance. This is similar to the above. In normal play, the option is blurred out but if the first dealer's card displays an ace, a player is offered to buy insurance against dealer's blackjack, which costs a half of the initial bet. The probabilities of dealer's blackjack are roughly 4 to 9, therefore players would rather hit or stand depending on the situation, instead of buying insurance.

Online blackjack rules: Dealer's turn

Here, the game continues according to a preset pattern because the game software always acts predictably without straying from established patterns. There are only two options executed by the dealer:

  • Taking one more card if the showing hand is below 17
  • Standing on all 17s or Standing on hard 17 but hitting on soft 17.

The way the dealer performs with the cards abides by an algorithm and cannot be altered, no matter previous decisions of the player.

Blackjack basic strategy: Grasping ins and outs

Some US players sometimes respond to dealer's cards in a haphazard way without knowing exactly how to play blackjack or when it is better to take a card or avoid doing so. To master your skills and making the best out of online casino blackjack, you should stick to certain set of rules that explain when it is favorable to hit, stand or perform other game action. A generic blackjack strategy is usually designed in the form of a table (chart) that has two parameters: dealer's card that is showing and player's cards. The most beneficial action is determined by those initial parameters. Classic blackjack usually has the following inherent set of rules: 4-8 decks, dealer stands on soft 17, doubling down is permitted on all cards, up to 3 splits are allowed. If you are going to play classic blackjack, you should follow these simple hints:

  • Prefer to always stand on hard 17+
  • Always split A-A. By doing this, you will increase chances for creating two blackjack hands
  • Never hit or split 10-10. Stand instead
  • Avoid buying insurance for reasons stated above
  • Always hit on hard 5-8 irrelevant of dealer's upcard.

Now a brief insight into some blackjack lingo: the term "soft hand" in blackjack online is used to denote a hand with an ace and other card. This kind of hand counts in two ways: with ace equaling 1 or 11 points, whichever is preferable for the player. A "hard hand" means there is no ace in it.

Another practical advice is to make sure you are adjusting your play to the rules of a specific online blackjack and applying a proper basic strategy. Note that even a slightest alteration in rules that may seem insignificant does affect the gaming decisions that should be rendered.

Odds and winnings in blackjack online

As is mentioned above, blackjack boasts of very high player's advantage. Actually, the related percentage values normally vary between 98% and 99.5% (and even somewhat higher), an exact figure depending on specific rules. While this tiny difference may seem non-essential at first glance, it does make a difference over a long-term horizon. To be on a winning side and make the bankroll survive for much longer when playing for real money, casino fans are encouraged to play online blackjack with the lowest house edge, for example, American blackjack (house edge is 0.48%), Atlantic City (around 0.40% depending on the provider), Single-Deck Blackjack from Betsoft (0.38%), Perfect Pairs Blackjack from RTG (0.54%) and European Blackjack game from Betsoft (0.66%).

There are also dozens of titles with side bets and bonus payouts. Generally, most experts believe a player should run away from bonus blackjack games because of poor player advantage that is around 90% to 95% in most examples. However, blackjack with bonus payouts provides a chance to win much higher than a player does in normal blackjack (3 to 2 for landing a natural BJ). Some of the most worthwhile games with additional real money awards are:

  • Match Play 21 (RTG) with the best winning hand paying out 40 to 1
  • Suit 'Em Up (RTG). The highest award of 60:1 is paid when the player's first two cards are suited aces
  • Perfect Pairs Blackjack (RTG), played with 6 decks. A suited (perfect) pair brings you 25 to 1. A $1 side bet is an option.
By Brad Isaac
Updated: 16.12.2022