How to win at blackjack

How to win online blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular online casino games here at Paddy Power Casino for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s one of the easiest table games for beginners to grasp. Secondly, it offers one of the lowest house edges, putting the odds of beating the dealer only marginally in the house’s favour. Thirdly, blackjack is one of the most historic casino games, thought to have originated back in the early 18th century.

Today, blackjack is readily available online as well as at land-based casinos. We’re here to show you how it’s just as possible to win at blackjack online as it is offline. If you’re keen to know the best way to play and the best way to win at blackjack online, read on for all our hints and tips:

Blackjack Terminology

There are six main phrases used at the online blackjack tables to describe the various actions you can make during a single game:

Hit

A player ‘hits’ when they request another card from the dealer. Alternatively, a dealer must also hit and draw another card until the rules dictate they cannot have another.  

Stand

A player ‘stands’ when they decide not to receive any more cards, or the rules state that the dealer cannot draw any further cards to their hand.  

Double Down

A player can ‘double down’ a bet after receiving their first two cards. This requires them to double their initial wager, in exchange for receiving one more additional card.  

Split

A player can ‘split’ their initial hand into two when they are dealt a pair i.e. two cards of the same value. To create the second hand during a split, a player must make a second starting wager against the new hand.  

Surrender

A player can ‘surrender’ their blackjack hand if they believe the dealer’s hand is almost certain to beat theirs. In doing so, the player receives half of their initial wager back.  

Insurance

A player can pay ‘insurance’ as an optional side bet. This is offered by the dealer whenever the dealer’s upcard is an ace. If the dealer does have blackjack, the insurance bet pays out 2:1.

What are the winning hands in blackjack?

The beauty of blackjack is that there are a multitude of winning hands. Although you’ll often need a good starting hand to beat the dealer, there’s no reason why you can’t win with a lower-value hand, providing the dealer’s hand is of an even lower value, or they bust (go above 21).

What happens when you win blackjack?

If you win blackjack, which requires you to be dealt with an Ace and any other face card or ten, you will be paid out at a higher rate. The rate will depend on the table you choose, with some tables choosing to pay out blackjack at a ratio of 3:2, while others will pay out blackjack at 6:5. It goes without saying that tables paying out at the better ratio of 3:2 are the better tables to play at.

How can you get better at blackjack?

If you want to improve your skills at the online blackjack tables, it’s a good idea to learn all the online blackjack rules and the basic strategy for playing each hand against the value of the dealer’s cards. Aside from getting to grips with the basic strategy blackjack chart, you should also optimise your money management, so that you only risk a small percentage of your bankroll with each game.

Rules for the Dealer in Blackjack

If you want to know how to win at online blackjack, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the rules in blackjack that affect the dealers and their actions at the table. Within this section, we’ll discuss the strict set of rules all blackjack dealers and automated computer dealers must abide by at all times.

Dealer wins if his total hand value is 21

In the event that the dealer’s hand reaches a value of 21, they are certain not to lose the hand. The only way they don’t win the hand outright is if the hands of other players also add up to 21, which results in a tie, known as a ‘push’. If the dealer’s hand tips over to 22 or greater, their hand is invalid and the player wins, providing their hand totals 21 or lower.

Dealer wins if you bust or surrender

The rules of blackjack are that the dealer will give each player two cards and then deal themselves one face up card. The action is then on the players to decide whether to ‘stand’, ‘hit’ or ‘surrender’. If a player stands, they are happy to stick with their first two cards. If they hit they request at least one more card from the dealer. However, this means players run the risk of going ‘bust’, i.e. the value of their cards goes over 21. Players may also choose to surrender and salvage half of their original stake if they believe their initial hand has a low probability of beating the dealer’s hand, based on their initial face up card. Whenever a player busts or surrenders during a hand, the dealer automatically wins the round.

If the dealer has a total of 16 or less, he needs to hit

It’s important to reiterate that the dealer has no say in the rules of their cards being dealt. If, after dealing their first two cards, the dealer’s total value is 16 or less they are required to hit and take another card from the deck. The dealer must continue to draw cards from the deck until their hand totals a minimum of 17.

If the dealer has a hard 17, he needs to stand

There is a difference between a hard 17 and a soft 17 for the dealer. A hard 17 is considered a hand that totals 17 without an Ace, e.g. ten and seven or nine and eight. If the dealer has a hard 17 hand they must stand always and cannot hit an extra card, even if a player has a higher total than 17.

If the dealer has a soft 17, he needs to hit

The difference between a hard 17 and a soft 17 for the dealer is that the latter hand includes an Ace card, e.g. six and an Ace. If the dealer has a soft 17 hand they must always hit and receive an extra card. The dealer will continue to take more cards from the deck until their hand is a hard 17 hand or greater. Anything over 21 means the dealer’s hand is bust.

If the dealer has a total hand of 18 or more, he needs to stand

Whenever the dealer’s hand reaches a value of 18 or greater, they must stand and cannot take more cards from the deck to try and beat the value of the players’ hands. For example, if the dealer’s first two cards are a ten and an eight, they must stand. Similarly, if their first two cards were two face cards, e.g. two Jacks, they would have to stand on 20 and could not split them in the same way that players can do with pairs.

Does the dealer always win?

It is a misconception among many online blackjack players that the dealer always wins. Some also believe that the dealer wins a disproportionate number of times compared with the players. To dispel these myths, an understanding of the probabilities involved with basic blackjack strategy is required. Those that don’t adopt basic strategy are likely to give the casino a higher house edge and, ultimately, experience a lower return to player (RTP) percentage.

How to win at Blackjack Step by Step

1. Find a table you can afford

Even if you follow good basic strategy in online blackjack, you can run out of cash fast if you don’t play at a table that suits the size of your bankroll. Divide your bankroll into small increments and only use a small percentage of it during each blackjack session. At Paddy Power Casino, we offer online blackjack tables with minimum bets starting from just £1 per hand.  

2. Basic strategy is a must

Aside from rock-solid money management, you’ll also need to adhere to the basic blackjack strategy wherever possible. Strategy charts and sheets are available to help you keep track of what decisions you should be making in every possible scenario against the dealer.  

3. Win moderately and scale your bets up depending on your winnings

Alter the size of your stake at the blackjack tables depending on whether you are on a winning or losing streak. If you lose several hands in succession, decrease the size of your stake. On the flip side, if you are running hot, consider increasing the size of your wager to maximise your returns. Remember, once that hot streak ends, return to your original stake size – don’t get greedy!  

4. Don’t try counting the cards

Given that most online casinos use algorithms powered by decentralised random number generators (RNGs) to determine the outcome of each hand of online blackjack, it’s virtually impossible to count cards. Multiple decks are often used, and they may be shuffled before each hand too.  

5. Acknowledge when you need to leave

Set yourself a percentage of your bankroll that you are looking to win and a percentage of your bankroll you are prepared to lose. Once either of these thresholds has been exceeded in a single gaming session, it’s time to call it a day. Knowing when to leave the online blackjack tables can help preserve and even increase your bankroll over time.

When should you surrender in blackjack?

The action of surrender in online blackjack is one of the most important strategies to get right if you want to try and improve the long-term returns from your blackjack gaming. If you have no idea what surrender means in blackjack, read on as this section will explain the rules of surrender and how and when you can use it to your advantage.

What does it mean to surrender in blackjack?

The option to ‘surrender’ your blackjack hand is made available by certain blackjack tables and game formats. With some tables and online blackjack games it might not be offered, but it’s a good idea to know what to do when it is.

Surrendering your blackjack hand can be done after being dealt your first two cards. Players typically surrender their hand when they believe the probability of beating the dealer’s hand – based on the dealer’s initial face-up card – is low. In order to surrender, players must give up half of their original wager, but get to preserve the other half back in their bankroll.

What are the rules of surrender?

Typically, the option of surrender is only offered to players once they have been dealt their first two cards and the dealer is showing only one face-up card. However, depending on the rules of your blackjack table, it may still be possible to surrender after the dealer has checked their cards for blackjack. This means there are two forms of surrender available – early surrender and late surrender.

Early surrender

Early surrender tends to be less common at live and online blackjack tables. This is thought to be the most advantageous type of surrender, with players given the chance to surrender their hand before the dealer checks for blackjack. This is a big boost for players as it removes the prospect of losing their entire stake if the dealer does have blackjack.

Early surrender might be the best thing to do in the scenarios below:

  • The Dealer has an Ace vs. Hard 5-7, Hard 12-17 or Pair of 3s, 6s, 7s or 8s.
  • The Dealer has a 10 vs. Hard 14-16 or pair of 7s and 8s
  • The Dealer has an Ace vs. a pair of 2s if the Dealer hits a soft 17.

Late surrender

Late surrender is more commonly offered to players at live and online blackjack tables. Late surrender gives players the option to end their hand and lose half of their original stake, but only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. In the event the dealer does have blackjack, the hand is over and players lose 100% of their original stake.

When should you take a late surrender?

Ultimately late surrender strategy in blackjack depends on how many decks are active in your game. Let’s look at the following scenarios:

Dealt a 14:

  • You should take a late surrender against a dealer’s ten in single-deck blackjack
  • Take a late surrender against a dealer’s soft 17 or a dealer’s ace in single-deck blackjack

Dealt a 15:

  • Take a late surrender if your hand is nine + six or ten + five against the dealer’s ace in single- or double-deck blackjack
  • You should take a late surrender if your hand is nine + six or ten + five against the dealer’s ten in blackjack games with up to six decks
  • Take a late surrender if the dealer has a ten as well as an Ace on soft 17 in four-to-eight deck blackjack

Dealt a 16:

  • Take a late surrender when the dealer has a ten or Ace in single- or double-deck blackjack
  • You should also take a late surrender to a dealer’s nine, ten or Ace in four-to-eight deck blackjack
  • Take a late surrender with an eight + eight hand against a dealer’s soft 17 if a split is not allowed

Dealt a 17:

  • Take a late surrender to a dealer’s Ace on soft 17 if you have ten + seven in single-deck blackjack

When should you refuse a surrender?

There are some common errors that blackjack players make when it comes to using late surrender. Let’s look at the scenarios where you should refuse the option of late surrender:

  • Refuse late surrender if you hold a hand worth 15 or 17 and the dealer stands on soft 17, showing a nine, ten or an Ace
  • Refuse late surrender if you hold a hand worth 16 and the dealer’s up card is a nine

How does surrender affect the house edge?

By implementing the late surrender playing strategy discussed above, it should be possible to reduce the house edge of a multi-deck blackjack game by 0.07%. This might not sound a lot, but it’s these fine margins that will edge you closer to profitability in the long run.

 

Winning real money by playing online blackjack

Some people don’t believe that you can win real cash by playing online blackjack, but you’d better believe it! At Paddy Power Casino, all winnings from our online blackjack tables are immediately transferred back to your account balance, allowing you to withdraw them to your bank account or carry on enjoying them at the other games available at our online casino.

If you're new to the Blackjack game, learn how to play blackjack step by step.

FAQ about winning at blackjack

Can you win real money playing online blackjack?

Some sites will offer free blackjack software, allowing you to hone your skills against the computer. The downside to this is that you won’t get real-money wins once you get to grips with the game. As soon as you’ve grasped basic blackjack strategy, why not try playing online blackjack at Paddy Power Casino to try and win real money into your player account?  

How does winning real money at blackjack work?

In order to win real money at the online blackjack tables you’ll need to make a real-money deposit into your Paddy Power Casino account first. This will give you funds that can be converted into chips at the tables, so that you are ready for action. All winnings are also converted back from chips into real money, available in your account balance.  

How much money can you win by playing blackjack?

What’s really exciting about playing online blackjack is that the amount you can win at the tables is only limited by how much money you can afford to stake. Most online blackjack tables will have a maximum bet as well as a minimum bet, which should be made visible in the table rules.  

Can you beat the computer in online blackjack?

It’s rational to worry about being cheated at online blackjack by the computer. However, at leading online casinos such as Paddy Power Casino, all our table games are operated using a random number generator (RNG) algorithm to randomise the outcome of every single game. These algorithms are also regularly audited by independent third-parties to give players further peace of mind.  

What are the chances of winning at blackjack?

Typically, an online casino like Paddy Power Casino has around an 8% edge when it comes to online blackjack. Luckily for you, if you can learn and implement basic blackjack strategy, you can reduce that house edge to as little as 0.2-0.5%!  

Is playing online blackjack worth it?

Absolutely! There are so many benefits to playing online blackjack. It offers a high-octane, fast-paced gaming experience, compared to land-based casino blackjack. You can also play live dealer blackjack online, which allows you to engage with human dealers that manage your game from their studio in real-time.  

How is online blackjack different from the other casino games?

Game speed is arguably the biggest difference between other table games and online blackjack. At the touch of a button, the computer can automate the deal of your first two cards and away you go. That’s unlike online roulette, which requires you to click and drag your chips to bet on your chosen number combinations.  

Can you win at blackjack using the basic strategy?

Using basic strategy, it’s possible to reduce the house edge of online blackjack to between 0.2-0.5%. At this point, you will be very close to breaking even when you play. Over short bursts of gameplay, it can be possible to beat the house by getting a ‘run’ or succession of wins against the dealer.  

Can you win blackjack without counting cards?

Yes, you can. Some people believe that card counting is the only way to win at online blackjack. The truth is, counting cards is nigh-on impossible online anyway, due to the use of RNG algorithms to randomise the outcome of each hand. Basic strategy can reduce the house edge and give you a better chance of winning.

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