Online Blackjack Strategy Guide and Rules | Bodog

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Blackjack Rules

Blackjack is a big deal at Bodog Casino. We provide the best in online blackjack for real money games and have spent many hours scouting out the finest variants on the net to bring into our casino. We have a lot of blackjack variety on tap, including popular games such as Classic Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack, Double Deck Blackjack and European Blackjack. Some unique blackjack variations include Zappit Blackjack, Perfect Pairs and Super 7 Blackjack. All are fun to play straight from our site with no download needed.

Whether you prefer to stick with the more traditional variants or enjoy the novelty of the spin-offs, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the online Blackjack Games section of our casino. Launch a session, and you’ll see chip denominations of 1, 5, 25, 100 and 500 available to play with; minimum bets are $1 and maximum bets are $5,000 with the traditional games, less with the non-traditional games such as Pirate 21 and Pontoon. 

In this guide, we’ll explain the blackjack rules and payouts, and leave you with some tips to incorporate into your game. Blackjack is very fun, especially when you’re winning.

Blackjack Guide: The Essentials

The most popular table game at the casino, blackjack is a banking game that pits you against the dealer in a bid for the higher score. But be careful not to go over 21 points, or you’ll bust and lose the round. The dealer also aims to build a better hand, but must follow strict house rules, such as standing on a 17-point hand. This same basic premise holds true for all blackjack games, with some slight variation in the rules.

After placing a bet to start a round, you’re dealt two cards. The dealer also gets two cards, one of which is visible to you. The other is flipped over and called the “hole” card. Once you see your hand and the dealer’s upcard, it’s time to make your move. The following moves are available in almost all online blackjack games:

  • Hit: Take another card.
  • Stand: Stay with your current hand. No new cards added.
  • Double Down: Double your bet, get one more card, then stand.
  • Surrender: End the round and retrieve half your bet.

    Some versions of blackjack have these additional moves:

  • Split: When you’re dealt a pair, you can split the cards into two individual hands. Doing so requires a second bet equal to the initial one. Many games have special rules regarding splitting Aces, so always be sure to read the blackjack guide for the variant you’re playing. 
  • Insurance: Anytime the dealer has an Ace as the upcard, you have the option of taking “insurance.” If the dealer’s hole card is 10 points, you’re paid 2 to 1.

Rules of Blackjack

Blackjack Card Values

  • Two to Ten: Cards in the Two to Ten range are worth face value. For example, an Eight is worth 8 points, and a Five is worth 5 points; these two cards would give you a score of 13. 
  • Face Cards: Jacks, Queens and Kings are all worth 10 points.
  • Aces: Aces are worth 11 points and can be reduced to just 1 point (more on this later).

Aces: Hard vs Soft

You may have heard the terms hard and soft in blackjack; this refers to the Aces. Aces start as 11-point cards and convert to 1 point when the score goes over 21 points to help prevent a bust. For example, if you have an Ace and a Five, the score is 16; add an Eight for a score of 24, and the Ace turns to 1 point to bring the score down to 17.


Blackjack Game Play

Blackjack is all about building the best blackjack hands possible to face off against the dealer, but not exceeding 21 points. You and the dealer each start with two-card hands and must choose to either build on it, by hitting, or stay put and face off, by standing; these are the two main moves in blackjack.

Here’s an example of a round: 

You’re dealt Five and Three for a score of 8, while the dealer shows a Six. You’ll want to hit to try to get a better score than 8, and the dealer will also hit for a higher score. Should you get a 10 as your third card, you have 18—a score that’s high enough to face off with the dealer. Whoever has the higher score, without going over 21, wins.

Hit and stand are the main two actions, as mentioned, but you can also double down, split a pair, and surrender. Double down doubles your bet and gets you one more card; it’s the perfect move when you have a score of 11. Split is an option when you’re dealt two cards of the same rank; you always want to split Aces, since you could end up with two 21-score hands—blackjack.

Landing blackjack means you have a perfect score of 21. It’s the highest score possible and gets you a special 3:2 payout in our casino. The dealer can also get a blackjack and the risk is particularly high when they show an Ace as an up-card. In these scenarios, you have the opportunity to get Insurance. Win the insurance bet, and get paid 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack. 

The dealer’s moves are dictated by blackjack dealer rules which are displayed on the blackjack table. In most games, the dealer must stand on a score of hard 17. Anything below that, they hit. As a reminder:

•A hard 17 is a score of 17 that does not include an 11-point Ace.

•A soft 17 is a score of 17 that does include an 11-point Ace.

There are a couple of blackjack games in our casino that have the dealer stand on a soft 17 instead of the more common hard 17 rule, like Double Deck Blackjack. The dealer standing on soft 17 is a player-friendly rule that reduces the house edge marginally.

Blackjack Strategies for Beginners

The ideal Blackjack strategy for beginners is to achieve a hard hand value of 17 or higher. If you have a soft hand (containing an Ace valued as 11), aim for 19 or higher.

Your next move should factor in the dealer's up-card. If the dealer's up-card is between 2 and 6, they have a higher chance of busting, so you can stand with a hand value of 13 or higher. You can even stand on 12 if the dealer's up-card is a 4, 5, or 6, as these are the highest bust cards.

Knowing when to split pairs can be advantageous. As a general rule, never split pairs of 10-value cards, but always split Aces and 8s. Splitting 8s avoids the undesirable hard total of 16, while splitting Aces gives you two chances at a potential blackjack.

Blackjack Payouts

Standard blackjack payouts are 1 to 1 for a winning round. This increases to 3 to 2 if you win with blackjack, a perfect score of 21. The optional Insurance side bet pays 2 to 1 if the dealer wins with blackjack. Lastly, if you surrender a round, you get half of your stake back.

Some of our blackjack variants have side bets with their own suite of payouts. For example, in Perfect Pairs, you could bet on being dealt a pair in your initial two-card hand, and depending on how “perfect” it is, you could be paid 6 to 1, 12 to 1 or even 25 to 1. 

Blackjack Terms

Before pulling up a seat at the table, you should have a solid understanding of basic Blackjack terms. Here are a few to get you started:


First, you must understand what it means to “hit a Blackjack”. Also known as a “natural”, hitting a Blackjack is defined as being dealt a hand that comprises an Ace and any 10-value card (K, Q, J, 10) on the initial deal. Unless the Dealer also has a Blackjack, that hand beats all other hands and results in a 3:2 payout.


Going “bust” is something you want to avoid. This means your hand has exceeded 21 points and results in an automatic loss. Something important to note is that if you hold a soft hand, you cannot go bust.

Double Down

Putting a second bet on the table equal to your initial one is a double down. This allows you to win 2X your wager should you beat the Dealer.

Hard vs. Soft Hands

You also want to wrap your head around the concepts of “soft” and “hard” hands. A soft hand includes an 11-point Ace. Since this card counts as either a 1 or an 11, these types of hands are considered to be flexible, and hence soft, in value. For example, a hand consisting of an Ace and a 6 would initially give a score of 17; if you hit and got a 5 for a total of 22, the 11-point Ace would convert to 1 point, giving you a score of 12. 

A hard hand does not have an 11-point Ace, meaning there is no flexibility in the score. For example, a hand consisting of an Ace, a 9 and a 7 is considered a “hard 17” – if the Ace were to count as having a value of 11, the hand would exceed 21 and would be considered a bust.


Requesting another card to be added to your hand is a hit. You can keep hitting unless you go over 21 points.


A tied score in Blackjack is referred to as a “push” and results in your bet being returned to you. One exception with tied scores is when one person gets a Blackjack the natural way, while the other builds a hand that has a score of 21. If the Dealer has Blackjack and your hand total amounts to 21 after hitting, you lose. The outcome of the round would be a push if you and the Dealer both have Blackjack.


Taking a pair and dividing them into two separate hands is considered splitting in Blackjack. A second card is dealt to each split hand, creating two 2-card hands. Split Aces typically receive just one card before you’re forced to stand.


The opposite of hit, stand means you don’t want any more cards added to your hand, and that you’re ready to face off with the Dealer.


With some versions of Blackjack, you can muck your initial two-card hand and recoup half of your bet in what’s known as a surrender.

Upcard vs. Hole Card

Unless you’re playing European Blackjack, the Dealer will get two cards to start the round—an upcard and a hole card. The upcard is the one that’s placed face-up, giving you a partial reveal of the Dealer’s score. The hole card is placed face-down and concealed until you’re finished making your moves for the round.

Blackjack Tips

Now that you’ve mastered the fundamentals, it’s time to take your online Blackjack skills and strategy to the next level. Improve your Blackjack strategy by gaining a better understanding of the actions involved in this classic card game. The first step to becoming a skilled online Blackjack player involves understanding the game’s golden rule and having a working knowledge of all the important terms the game employs. Next, you’ll want to have a solid grasp of the potential moves at your disposal and know when to use them. Learn more about the moves you can make and when to make them, starting with hit vs. stand.

To Hit or To Stand

Choosing whether to hit or stand is the single most important recurring decision people face while playing Blackjack, as it essentially determines whether you bust or remain in the game. Hitting means you’re adding another card to your hand, while standing means you don’t want to add any cards and are prepared to face off with the Dealer. To put things into perspective, we’ve listed a few scenarios that will help you make the right choice when it comes to hitting and standing. 

The only reason for hitting is to improve your current score. Should your hand add up to a hard 17 or more, you’ll want to stand. The reason for this simply has to do with the sheer number of cards in the deck that could bust a hard hand of this value.  Conversely, If your hand value adds up to less than 17, and the Dealer shows any 10-value card (A, K, Q, J, 10), a 9 or an 8, you’re going to want to hit. This is because the Dealer’s chances of busting are low when holding these cards, and unless your hand value adds up to a minimum of 17, your chances of winning are quite low. 

There are two reasons for standing: either you’re confident that your hand can beat the Dealer’s, or you think the Dealer might bust. If, for example, your hand total is above 12 and the Dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6, you should stand, as the Dealer’s chances of busting are high; he’s going to need to add a minimum of two more cards to his hand, which puts him at risk of busting. If you’re holding a soft hand, your strategy will differ slightly. Remember, soft hands are the ones that include an 11-point Ace, making the hand flexible in value and impossible to bust. With this in mind, should you be holding a soft 13 through 17 and the Dealer shows a 7 or higher, you’ll want to hit. If, on the other hand, you’re holding a soft 19 or higher, you’ll want to stand no matter what the Dealer shows. 

Doubling Down 

Doubling down can be both a blessing and a curse: making this move under the right circumstances doubles your winnings, while making this move blindly can cause you to lose twice as much. Here are the situations in which you should always double down, allowing you to end up on top. Always double down on hand totals of 11. The highest card value you could be dealt next is a 10, bringing you to a total of 21 and eliminating any chance busting. You’ll also want to double down if your hand value adds up to 10 and the Dealer shows a 9 or lower, or if you’re holding a 9 or a soft 13 through 17 against the Dealer’s 4, 5 or 6. If you find yourself in a situation unlike the above-mentioned three, you’ll find no joy in doubling down and run the chance of ending up in the red.

Splitting Hands

Regardless of which version of Blackjack you’re playing, when you’re dealt a pair right off the bat, you get the option to split the cards into two separate hands. For example, if you receive two Eights for a score of 16, you can split them, and each Eight will be dealt a second card. Then you play out each hand as you normally would, giving you two chances to beat the Dealer. You could spit every pair you receive, but it’s not advisable. For example, splitting a pair of Tens could result in you receiving two scores of 20 instead of just one, but basic strategy advises against this move. A score of 20 is almost a guaranteed win, so jeopardizing it with a split isn’t a good move in the long run.  

Splitting Aces is always a good move, as it turns a score of 12 into two potential Blackjack hands. Just be aware that most versions of Blackjack have special limitations on splitting Aces. Often, you will be forced to stand after receiving the second card, and if your second card is an Ace, the hand can’t be further split.

Surrendering Your Hand

Some versions of Blackjack will include the option to surrender your hand and retrieve half of your bet after receiving your initial two-card hand. No one likes to sit out of a hand and lose half of their bet, so fortunately, there aren’t many scenarios that advise this move. The best times to surrender are when the Dealer has a highly competitive upcard, and you have a weak hand. Competitive upcards for the Dealer are high in value. Nine, Ten and Ace are all good upcards for the Dealer, who would end up with close to a perfect score should he have a 10-value card in the hole. Combine that with a Player score of 15 or 16, and you have a scenario that calls for surrender. At least you get to keep half of your wager.


Every time the Dealer’s upcard is an Ace, he could have Blackjack, and that’s why you get the opportunity to insure your hand with the Insurance side bet. Insurance is always half the amount of your original wager and pays double when the Dealer does indeed have Blackjack. For example, if you put down $10 to start the round, Insurance would cost $5 and pay out $10, which cancels out your loss to reduce the sting of getting beat. Basic Blackjack advises against taking Insurance—unless you’re counting cards in a brick and mortar casino and are confident that the shoe is rich with 10-value cards. The payout versus odds of winning the bet combine for a high house edge, which will reduce your profits in the long run. Take note of these scenarios and apply them to your next game and you could find yourself laughing all the way to the bank. 

Play Blackjack Now at Bodog Casino

The most important thing to remember when facing off against the Dealer is that all Blackjack games involve a high degree of decision-making, which is why casino strategists love playing it. As a beginner, you won’t make the right call 100% of the time, but paying close attention to the rules and information available to you at the time, and remembering the strategies highlighted above will greatly improve your chances of making the right decision and showing the Dealer who’s boss.

With this newfound knowledge fresh in mind, now’s the perfect time to launch a session of online blackjack. If you want to play the purest form, try playing Classic Blackjack and Single Deck. If you like the idea of zapping away bad hands, try Zappit Blackjack. Finally, those of you who love to load up the side bets will get ample opportunity to do so with Perfect Pairs. 

Blackjack strikes a nice balance between skill and luck. You can’t control the cards you’re dealt but you get to choose how to proceed with the round. Good luck with the session. We hope you enjoy blackjack as much as we do.

Online Blackjack Strategy Guide and Rules | Bodog