How To Play Online Blackjack

Bethany Jones
by Bethany Jones  |  Reviewer and Columnist

how to play online blackjack guide

Want to know how to play online blackjack? As one of the world’s most popular casino games, that’s understandable.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the rules of this classic table game and discuss some popular variations. Other interesting topics addressed include the differences between playing online and in a brick-and-mortar casino, plus some blackjack tips and tricks for success.

With this information, you’ll not only learn the rules of the game, but also how to win at online blackjack.

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The Objective of Online Blackjack

If you’ve ever played the game in a land-based casino, you’ll already know how to play online blackjack. Although there are a few differences between the two, which I’ll detail later in this guide, the fundamentals are the same. And that includes the game’s objective.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to get a score of exactly 21. Nor do you have to worry about other players at the table. All you need to do is beat the dealer’s total, without taking your own above 21. Achieving this earns you an even money payout on your wager.

If you’re dealt a natural blackjack, meaning an ace with a 10-value card, you’ll secure an even greater payout. However, that’s not something you necessarily have to achieve in order to win. The reward for a blackjack is usually 3 to 2, but variants exist offering more or less.

blackjack insurance
A multi-hand blackjack game by casino software developer Arrow’s Edge. The dealer has 17. Two of the player’s hands have won.

What Are the Basic Rules of Online Blackjack?

Okay, now that you understand the objective, let’s take a more detailed look at how to play blackjack online.

First of all, the game uses a standard 52-card deck, meaning that you won’t find any jokers. However, although single deck blackjack games do exist online, it’s more common for there to be at least six decks in the dealing shoe. This is intended to make it harder for players to track the cards.

Betting and Dealing

Before the cards are dealt, you must place your ante, plus any applicable side bets, in the relevant boxes on your screen.

  1. Once all bets are posted, the dealer gives everyone two cards, turned face-up.
  2. The dealer also receives two, but there is just one face-up card with the other hidden.
  3. The player closest to the dealer’s left kicks the action off by making their decisions
  4. When they’re finished, play continues around the table, with each player taking their turn.
  5. After all decisions are made, the dealer eventually reveals the contents of their own hand and pays any winning bets.

You can use as many cards as you like in order to build your hand. The only caveat is that you may not score 22 or higher. Although some games reward you with a casino bonus for using five or six cards to make a hand, it’s not part of the standard blackjack rules.

Card Values

Before I get onto the different decisions a player has to make, we’d first better learn the value of the cards. After all, it’s one of the key aspects of learning how to play blackjack online!

  • Aces: Aces are worth 11 and become 1 where it suits you better. For example, imagine hitting on 14 and receiving an ace. 25 points would see you bust, but 15 is a perfectly valid score.
  • Picture cards: Court cards, meaning jacks, queens and kings, are worth 10 points.
  • Other cards: All other cards, from tens through to deuces, retain their face value. A three is worth 3, sixes are worth 6, and so on.

Player Decisions

When it’s your turn, you’re faced with a number of options, which are as follows:

  • Hit: Unless you’re dealt a natural blackjack, you have the right to take another card, or “hit”. You can even elect to hit if your score is 20, though I’d advise against it!
  • Stand: If you’re satisfied with your initial two cards, you can elect to stand, rather than hit. In other words, you don’t want to receive another card and your turn ends immediately. You can choose to stand at any time. So, if you did hit and you’re now happy with your new hand, stand and end your turn.
  • Double Down: This option is only available at the start of your turn. It allows you to double your initial bet having seen your first two cards. However, the trade-off is that you will only be able to take a single card. The dealer will lay this sideways on top of your hand, to indicate no further cards are allowed.
  • Split: Whenever you’re dealt a pair, you’ll have the option to split them and create two brand new hands. Naturally, that requires you to place a second, equally-sized bet on the table, much like doubling down.
  • Insurance: Most blackjack variants include the option of insurance, but it only applies when the dealer’s face up card is an ace. Generally, taking insurance costs half of your ante and, if the dealer does have blackjack, you’ll receive a 2 to 1 payout.
  • Surrender: This isn’t played by every casino, so make sure you check the game’s rules before placing a bet. It allows you to take back half of your stake in exchange for playing no further part in the hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
✅ How can I win more when playing blackjack?

There are no guarantees. However, I’ve listed a few tips and tricks to improve your odds when playing online blackjack right here on this page.

✅ How do I start playing online blackjack?

Once you’ve read this comprehensive guide and learned how to play online blackjack, the rest is easy. Simply choose one of our trusted casino brands, open an account, deposit some funds and start playing!

✅ Are there any specific betting strategies for online blackjack?

If you want to know how to win at online blackjack, you’ll first need to master basic strategy. Card counting is not as effective when playing online, but it can help. Remember though: no blackjack strategies are guaranteed to win.

✅ What are the common features of online blackjack games?

Although there are many game variations, all online blackjack games share some common features. I’ve discussed this in detail elsewhere in this article. But each game uses the same scoring system, the dealer always has one card face-down and all players receive two cards. Payouts and other rules can vary.

✅ How do I know if an online casino offers fair blackjack games?

First of all, check the gaming license. Properly regulated casinos only use games provided by developers who test their games independently. Third-party software testing labs like eCOGRA and GLI verify that the RNG software, plus any physical equipment, are fair and above board.

✅ Can I play online blackjack on my mobile device?

Absolutely. In this day and age, it’s vital that casinos offer mobile gaming apps. Or, at the very least, websites that are compatible with Android and iOS tablets and smartphones. Read our guide on how to play online blackjack for advice on choosing a trustworthy mobile casino.

Blackjack Strategy Guide

Okay, those are the basic blackjack rules. As you can see, it’s a pretty straightforward game. But new blackjack players may still feel a little overwhelmed when sitting down for the first time. Just because you know the rules, it doesn’t mean you understand what you’re meant to do in order to try and win.

Luckily, blackjack is a solved game. Thanks to computer simulations, we understand exactly what to do in every possible situation. Of course, you’re still free to make whatever decision you like and trust the blackjack gods with your fate. But, thanks to a little thing called “basic strategy”, you can maximize your results every single time.

Basic Strategy

Blackjack was solved a long time ago, so there’s an abundance of charts available online or in books that summarize basic strategy. Simply find your own hand, compare it with the dealer’s up-card, and the grid tells you the optimal play.

These charts all vary slightly, depending on whether certain rules are in play. But the basics of each one are broadly similar. I’ll quickly run through the finer points here:

  • Always stand with 17+. If you have hard 17, meaning the hand doesn’t contain an ace, stand 100% of the time, regardless of the dealer’s hand. This is also true of hard 18, 19 and 20.
  • Double down with 10. For the most part, it’s correct to double with a hand that’s worth exactly 10. But if the dealer shows an ace or a 10-value card, it’s safer to hit.
  • Always hit 8 or less. It’s impossible to bust with an initial value of 8 or lower, so it makes sense to take a card. If your hand is worth 9, it’s correct to double down against a 3 through 6. Otherwise you should simply hit.
  • Split aces and eights. This is one of the best-known backjack mantras, and it’s backed up by the math. It is always the correct play to split when holding a pair of aces or a pair of eights, irrespective of the dealer’s card.
  • 13 to 15 vs 2 to 6. Hands valued at 13 through 15 are tricky to play and often result in a bust. So, if the dealer shows an equally awkward card, make them gamble instead. It’s always correct to stand and hope that they go bust.

Counting Cards

If you follow a basic strategy chart perfectly, never making a single mistake, it’s possible to reduce the house edge to less than 1%. That certainly gives you a better chance of prolonging your bankroll, and even ending some sessions in profit. But if you really want to know how to win at blackjack, it’s all about card counting.

If applied correctly, in conjunction with basic strategy, counting can actually swing the odds in your favor and away from the house. However, it’s very important to realize that you can still endure losing sessions. Card counting is not a magical get-rich-quick scheme, despite what Hollywood movies might have us believe.

How to Count Cards

I don’t want to get into too much detail here, since there are many different strategies, some of which are more complex than others. Despite this, every system shares some commonalities.

Firstly, the idea is to assign a value to every card in the shoe, allowing you to easily track the number of favorable cards remaining. Next, a conversion must be applied to this “running count”, converting it to a “true count”.

Finally, if the true count is in your favor, you’ll need to increase your stakes in accordance with your betting system. If it’s heavily against you, it’s time to reduce your wager size, or possibly even leave the table.

Hi-Lo System

One of the most basic card counting systems in blackjack is the Hi-Lo method. In this case, aces and 10-value cards are assigned a value of -1. Cards from 2 to 6 are worth +1, while every other card has a neutral score of 0.

You must count all of the cards dealt, including those of the dealer and every other player at the table. Keep adding one or subtracting one in your head and, when the count is high, it’s a good idea to make bigger bets!

online blackjack supreme 777
Online blackjack with progressive jackpot and perfect pairs side bets. These are fun but generally unfavorable wagers.

How To Improve Your Chances of Winning in Online Blackjack

I’m often asked how to win at online blackjack, but it’s not that simple. In truth, even if you memorize basic strategy and learn how to count cards, you can still experience losing sessions. Luck will always play a big part.

However, besides counting cards and understanding basic strategy, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of a losing session.

  • Table selection: Stick to the classic rules, as the game is solved and we know how to play optimally. Seek out games with favorable rules, such as surrender.
  • Money management: Make the effort to understand how to manage your money correctly. Chasing losses and blowing your bankroll is a common pitfall.
  • Play demos: You won’t win money playing free blackjack games, but you can certainly learn the rules and practice strategy in a risk-free environment.
  • Side bets: Avoid side bets to preserve your bankroll.

Differences Between Online and Offline Blackjack

There aren’t too many differences between playing on the internet or at a brick-and-mortar casino. If you know how to play blackjack at online casinos like Payday Casino, Ducky Luck and High Roller Casino, you know how to play at a physical casino. Despite this, there are still a few points to consider.

Immersive Experience

First up, there’s a big difference between the experience of visiting an actual casino versus that of an online gambling site. Sometimes, though, you just can’t beat a night out with friends, hearing the buzz on the casino floor and the clacking of chips. Overall, it’s a more sociable affair.

Game Variations

Playing online opens up a whole new world of games. Real money online casinos have no limitations, giving them license to carry all kinds of weird and wonderful niche variants.


On the flip side, it’s much harder to count cards online. If you’re playing an animated blackjack game that’s powered by RNG software, counting is completely pointless. In a live dealer blackjack game using real equipment, it’s certainly possible to count. However, the dealers tend to shuffle the cards much earlier into the shoe, greatly reducing its effectiveness.

Bonuses and Loyalty

What’s more, given how competitive the online casino industry is, loyalty programs tend to be much more generous than their land-based counterparts. You can also join different regulated online casinos to harvest multiple bonuses and boost your blackjack bankroll.

zappit blackjack rules
Online blackjack with progressive jackpot and perfect pairs side bets. These are fun but generally unfavorable wagers.

Popular Online Blackjack Variations

If you truly want to learn how to play online blackjack, you must understand that there are many different variations. Here are just a few of the most common variants worth checking out.

  • Lightning Blackjack
  • Blackjack Switch
  • Zappit Blackjack
  • Pontoon
  • Live Dealer Blackjack

Choosing a Reputable Casino for Playing Blackjack Online

Here’s what to look for in a blackjack casino.

  • Range of blackjack games
  • Security features
  • Payment methods
  • Generous bonuses and promotions
  • Other casino games
ignition casino blackjack
Ignition is just one of several reputable online casinos at which to enjoy a wide range of blackjack games.

Start Playing Blackjack Online Today

Now that I’ve taught you how to play blackjack at online casinos, you’re probably itching to join the millions of others who enjoy this classic card game. But if you’re unsure how to begin, simply follow the steps below.

  1. Pick a site.
  2. Open an account.
  3. Deposit some cash.
  4. Collect a casino bonus. In fact, many online casinos offer no deposit bonuses where you don’t have to spend any cash at first.
  5. Navigate to the real money games section. Then, choose a blackjack game.
  6. Play some blackjack.

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