Sometimes it never hurts to go back to the basics. We get so caught up in blackjack strategy and odds and house edge that sometimes we lose perspective of what it is we are playing. So today we are going back to the basics and back to how to play online blackjack.
First let’s look at the objective as that is the one thing about blackjack that gets misconstrued the most. This game is not about getting 21. Blackjack is about beating the dealer’s hand without making your own hand go over 21. Always remember that and focus on that rather than trying to get an even 21.
Online blackjack starts with the player placing their wager. Once that is set, they click Deal. Two starting cards are dealt and so is the dealer’s up card. This is the part where strategy comes into play as strategy determines how you will play out your hand. Every hand gives you the choice to Hit or Stand. Hit means to receive another card and Stand means to not receive any more cards. Sometimes, depending on the house or variation rules, you can Double Down, Split a Pair or take Insurance.
Double Down can only happen on certain hands. It is when the player doubles their wager and only receives one more card. This is only done in highly advantageous situations. Splitting a Pair can, obviously, only happen when you have two cards worth the same amount. Players make a second wager equal to their first, the pair is split and each original card receives a new partner card. Players then play out each hand normally.
Strategy can be used to determine which play is best for each situation. Basic strategy is an online blackjack player’s best tool for strategy. It is a chart that gives the best possible statistical play for each player starting hand/dealer up card combination. You will not win each time, but you will lower the house edge to 0.5% if you play every hand according to it.
Insurance is a bit different. It is only offered when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. This is one of the two cards needed to make a natural blackjack—and it is the less common card hence insurance. Insurance has the player placing a second wager that is equal to half of their original wager. If the dealer does indeed have a natural blackjack and the player loses, he receives a payout on his insurance wager which will equal the amount of his original wager. The majority of online blackjack professionals do not recommend taking insurance.
Now that we have revisited the basics of how to play online blackjack you can move on to refocusing your game to that objective of beating the dealer with or without a natural blackjack. Good luck!