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Online Blackjack

When it comes to casino card games, the one that has come to dominate on the Internet is the mighty online Blackjack. Blackjack is indeed the most widely played casino card game in the world, so it’s probably fair to assume that it’s got all the right ingredients for a great gaming experience online. So what’s its secret?

First, the basics of Blackjack – and by extension online Blackjack – are very quick to learn for any new player. Played with a single or multiple decks of standard playing cards, the central objective is betting to beat the casino by building a hand that has a higher count than the dealer’s without exceeding 21. All picture cards are valued at 10 and Aces can be scored as 1 or 11, so with both player and dealer receiving two cards in the initial deal, the optimum hand is a 10, or picture card and an Ace to score 21 – this combination is called a ‘Blackjack’.

The second quality that makes Blackjack so popular lies in the more common situation of a player receiving an initial deal of two cards summing to less than 21. This introduces an element of skill into the game, which is uncommon with most casino games. Faced with a hand valued at less than 21, the player has choices to make; one is to ‘hit’ the hand to receive a further deal from the deck, the other to ‘stand’ freezing their hand count and putting the dealer into play. This requires some strategic thinking by the player, since a further draw (or draws) could strengthen their current hand but comes with the jeopardy of ‘busting’ it by pushing its count over 21. Busting automatically loses the player’s bet. Making the best choice is helped by the rule that the dealer always reveals one card of their initial deal before the player’s turn, and the dealer is obliged to hit their hand up until it exceeds a certain count – typically 17 but always indicated on the table’s layout for clarity. Space prevents us detailing the finer details of optimal Blackjack strategy here, but learning about it is both interesting, and literally rewarding if you want to get the best from this superb game. Which brings us neatly to the third quality we think makes Blackjack the winning combination it is – its value for money.

In terms of payouts in Blackjack, all wins are typically paid 1/1 with the exception being a win with a Blackjack hand paying 3/2. This might not seem as immediately thrilling as the higher payouts possible from a single bet on other online casino games such as Roulette and Slots, but smart players will be focused on the supremely lean house edge online Blackjack offers. This is the true measure of how favourable the odds are for a player, and classic Blackjack offers the lowest house edge of all the casino games if you play with good basic strategy. Bottom line is, if you play online Blackjack well, you get the best odds offered on any game in the casino!

This article has only covered the basics of Blackjack, but the explosion in interest in online Blackjack over recent years has also spawned a huge range of variants to challenge enthusiastic players, from simple sidebets to intriguing innovations such as Blackjack Switch and Blackjack Players’ Choice. There’s probably never been a better time to explore this fascinating and enduring casino classic.

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