< Online Blackjack Guide

Strategy Guide to Playing Online Blackjack

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If you’re only going to play one table game in your life, make it Blackjack. This is the most popular “banking” game in the world, and has been a cultural staple for well over 400 years. Pretty much everyone who grew up with a deck of cards will be familiar with the general concept behind Blackjack: Try to make 21 without going over. Now that we have the internet, you can play Blackjack online for real money whenever you feel like at Bodog Casino – and yes, you can play Blackjack for real money. We’ll show you how, and we’ll even give you some online Blackjack strategy you can use to win as many hands as possible.


How to Play Blackjack

Whether you’re brand new to Blackjack, or you’ve picked up some of the rules along the way, it’s a good idea to start at the beginning if you want to play your cards right. There’s a lot more to Blackjack than just drawing cards and trying to make 21. If the only two Blackjack moves you know are hitting and standing, you’re leaving money on the table.


Rules and Terms

Blackjack is played using the standard 52-card deck, no Jokers or Wild cards involved. The game can be played with a single deck of cards, or with a shoe containing multiple decks; two, four, six and eight decks are typically used, with six being the most common. It’s just you versus the Dealer when you play at Bodog Casino – at a live casino, you may find yourself seated with other players, but they’re also going up against the Dealer, just like you.


The game begins when you place your bet, which can be anywhere between $1 and $500 at Bodog. You and the Dealer each receive two cards, with both of yours placed face-up, and the Dealer getting one card up and the other card (known as the hole card) down. Aces can be worth either one or 11 points in Blackjack; face cards are 10 points each, and everything else is face value. Now comes your first decision point. Do you want a third card, or not?


Well, if you already have 21 in your hand, your decision is pretty easy – you’ve already “made Blackjack,” so as long as the Dealer doesn’t also have 21, you’re a winner, getting paid out at 3:2 (some games at live casinos have different payouts for making a “natural” 21, like 6:5). Your other winning hands will pay out at even money, so any time you get dealt 21, you should feel pretty good about life.


If you don’t already have 21 with your first two cards, you have four standard plays in your Blackjack arsenal:


Hit:: Receive a third card from the Dealer.


Stand:Stick with the two cards you’ve got and end your turn.


Double Down:Double your original bet and receive exactly one more card – your turn ends here.


Split:If you’ve been dealt a pair, you can separate your cards into two different hands, doubling your original bet in the process. Then you’ll receive a second card for each hand and proceed as normal.


Depending on the version of Blackjack you’re playing, you might have two other options at your disposal:


Surrender: Forfeit half your bet and end the hand. This can only be done after you get your first two cards. Make any other decision, and the hand plays out to the end.


Buy Insurance: If the Dealer’s up-card is an Ace, you can place a side bet that pays out 2:1 if the Dealer has Blackjack. The Dealer then “peeks” at their hole card to see if they have Blackjack; if they don’t, the hand continues. Insurance bets are exactly half the size of your original bet when you play at Bodog.


So what decision did you make? If you chose Surrender, or you bought insurance and the Dealer had a Blackjack, then the hand is over. If you chose Stand or Double Down, it’s the Dealer’s turn. If you chose Split, you still have to decide whether or not to draw a third card. But if you chose Hit, now things get interesting. The object in Blackjack is to get a higher score than the Dealer without going over 21 points, so if you have more than 21 now that the third card has been dealt, you’ve gone bust and lost the hand. Otherwise, you can keep tapping the Hit button, receiving a fourth card, a fifth card – as many cards as you like, as long as you don’t go bust. Eventually, you’ll either make 21 or decide to Stand.


Now it’s the Dealer’s turn. Their decisions are fixed; they can only Hit or Stand, and they have to keep drawing until they either make a hand worth at least 17 points, or go bust. In some games, the Dealer must Hit on “soft 17,” which means any 17 that contains an 11-point Ace (Ace-Six, for example). In other games, the Dealer must Stand on soft 17. A “hard” hand, like hard 17, is any hand that doesn’t contain an 11-point Ace. If the Dealer ends up with 18 and you have 20, you win – the Dealer isn’t allowed to draw any more cards. If you and the Dealer each have the same score, it’s a push, and your original bet is returned to you.


Online Blackjack Games You Can Play

Now that you’ve got the tools for how to play Blackjack, it’s time to put them to good use. Check out our Blackjack casino page at Bodog; you’ll see nine different real money table games, which you can try out for free using the Practice Play mode. This is your opportunity to kick the tires and get used to the rules and gameplay before you put your money down. As we said, each Blackjack variant has its own twist – here’s a look at four games in particular that every aspiring Blackjack player should try.


The New BlackJack


On one hand, this is your standard six-deck Blackjack game (you’ll see it listed simply as Blackjack on our menu), but it’s also one of the most important games you’ll find at Bodog Casino. This was our first offering to feature the new streamlined look, with improved sound and graphics and smoother gameplay. If you prefer, you can still play Classic Blackjack, which has a layout that looks more like what you’ll find at a bricks-and-mortar casino. Either way, you’ll be playing the most popular Blackjack game in the world.


Single Deck Blackjack

Also available in New and Classic flavours, Single Deck Blackjack is exactly what the name implies: One deck, shuffled after every hand. It’s the easiest Blackjack game to play, since there are only 52 cards to worry about, and it offers the tiniest house edge in Blackjack; by using the “basic” strategy, which we’ll explain shortly, you can narrow that edge down to 0.19%, compared to 0.56% for the six-deck version.


Double Deck Blackjack

Many Blackjack players feel that two decks are better than one. It’s a way to bridge the gap between standard Blackjack and the Single Deck variant; your house edge following the basic strategy is 0.46%, partly because the Dealer will stand on soft 17 instead of hitting like they do in the other versions we’ve mentioned.


European Blackjack

If you’re looking for a Blackjack game with a little extra spice, European Blackjack has an added wrinkle: The Dealer doesn’t get a second card (their hole card, that is) until you’ve made all your decisions. Among other things, this changes your basic strategy when it comes to splitting against the Dealer’s Ace or 10-value card, and creates a house edge of 0.66%– still among the lowest edges at the casino.


Advanced Winning Blackjack Strategy

The basic Blackjack strategy we just mentioned is the mathematically proven optimal way to play your hand, based on the rules of the game you’re playing, along with the value of your cards and the Dealer’s up-card. These basic strategies are available online, and you can try them out for free at Bodog using the Practice Play mode. More simplified strategies can be used; these are easier to learn, and will give you the right play most of the time.


If you have designs on being a professional Blackjack player, you’ll have to do it at a live casino, where you can use advantage play to flip the house edge in your favour. This means counting cards. It’s perfectly legal, but casinos also have the right to refuse service, and if they suspect that you’re counting cards, you might have a hard time getting into another Blackjack game at any casino. With that in mind, make sure you’re always playing for entertainment purposes when you play Blackjack at Bodog. Manage your bankroll wisely, never play with money you can’t afford to lose, and if the fun stops, so should you.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the great game of Blackjack, you know the rules, the different variants you can play, and how to get the most value out of your sessions. Give each of our free play money games a try and see which version of Blackjack you like the most.