Play Free Online Blackjack

Blackjack is the most popular table game in North America. This is because it offers a low house edge. Blackjack requires more skill than most other casino games. It is imperative to learn proper strategy to get the best return for your money.

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How To Play Blackjack

A blackjack hand starts with the player making a wager. Most online casinos offer a $1 minimum bet. The player and dealer each receive two cards. The player may see his cards, but only one of the dealer's cards are placed face up.

The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 without going over. A player that is dealt 21 on the first two cards gets paid 3-2. This means that a $1 wager would win $1.50. A player that draws and goes over 21 automatically loses.

A player that has a higher total than the dealer without going over 21 wins his bet. If a player has a lower count than the dealer, he loses. A tie is called a push and the wager is returned as if nothing happened.

If the dealer has an ace or a ten-value card (10, jack, queen, or king) showing, he will check for blackjack. If the up card is an ace, the dealer will first offer insurance. This bet wins if the dealer has blackjack and pays 2-1. The house edge on insurance is 8%.

How to Best Play Blackjack Hands

If the dealer does not have a blackjack, the player then has several choices.

Stand - If the hand is a hard 17 or higher, or the dealer is showing a 4-6 and you can bust, you should stand. You should also stand on 13 or higher against a dealer's 2 or 3.

Split - A player may split when dealt a pair. This involves doubling the original bet and creating a second hand. Always split eights and aces. Never split 10-value cards or 5's.

Other pairs that should be split:

  • Twos: Against a 2-7
  • Threes: Against a 2-7
  • Fours Against a 5 or 6
  • Sixes: Against a 2-6
  • Sevens: Against a 2-7
  • Nines: Against all dealer cards, except 7's, 10's, and aces

Double Down - A double down is where a player can double his original bet and receive just one card. This is only available on the first two cards. Many online casinos will allow players to double down after splitting.

When to double:

  • Nine against a dealer's 3-6
  • Ten against any card except a 10 or ace
  • Eleven against any card except an ace

There are some times that a hand with an ace should be doubled. This is called a soft hand.

  • Double A2 and A3 against a dealer's 5 or 6
  • Double A4 and A5 against a dealer's 4-6
  • Double A6 and A7 against a 3-6

Surrender - Some online casinos offer surrender on the first two cards. This is where a player forfeits half of his bet and folds. Surrender with 15 against a 10 and 16 against a 9, 10, or ace.

Hit - If no other options qualify, or if the player has already hit a card and the hand does not qualify as a stand under the strategy above, the player should hit. This is where a player receives one more card. Players may hit until they either draw over 21 or decide to stand.