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Online Blackjack

If you've ever been into a US casino or played pontoon as a child, you'll know all about blackjack. It's a simple card game played against the house where players have to draw cards until they get to - or as close to - a total of 21 without going bust.

In terms of house edge, blackjack is the best game for gamblers. And while a land-based casino may only offer one or two variants of blackjack with minimum stakes of $5 or higher, the story is different online.

At most decent Internet casinos, you'll find a dozen exciting blackjack variants with bets available from as little as 25p. Games can be played with download or instant-play software via the browser, and winnings are paid out instantly. Best of all, you can try out all the games for free before you commit your bankroll.

Play the best Blackjack games online for free:

  • Lots of blackjack variants at a wide range of stakes and limits
  • The best software for download and instant-play gamblers
  • Top welcome bonuses with good wagering requirements for blackjack players
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How to Play Blackjack Online

The most common form of blackjack found in US casinos and online is European Blackjack. As the player you are playing directly against the dealer, or the house. There's no jostling for a chair at the table like in a land-based casino. All you have to do is load a table and make your bets.

Aim of the Game: To get as close to a total of 21 without going over ('bust') or beating the dealer's total. Alternatively, if the dealer goes bust, the player wins if he hasn't already gone bust.

Placing Bets: Making bets is simple: just drag the chips you want to bet into the on-screen spaces where the cards are to be dealt to. Most casino sites let you try out games for free first before you commit any GBP.

Once you're ready to go, hit the 'Deal' button. The cards will be dealt, and - if a blackjack is dealt straight away - players will be paid out automatically. If a blackjack hasn't been dealt, the player continues to receive cards ('hit') until they want to stop ('stand'). A blackjack is a hand containing an ace and a 10-value card to make a natural 21.

Players: Two cards are dealt face up. They must make decisions to hit or stand. Aces are worth 1 or 11 and picture cards are worth 10.

Dealer: The dealer is dealt one card face-up and one card face-down. After the player has made their play, the dealer will continue to draw cards to add to his total. How he acts depends on the variant but in European the dealer must draw to 16. He must also stand on all 17s (made with a soft ace for 11 or not).

Payouts: A player's blackjack pays 3/2. Beating the dealer pays even-money, or 1/1. The house edge of regular blackjack is around 0.30%, making it one of the most favourable games for US online casino players. This only applies if the player is making the best plays possible.

Double Down: After being dealt their two cards, players may add an additional bet ('double down') and receive one more card - and one more ONLY. The Double Down button will be clearly displayed on the game screen. This can be a good tactic if you get dealt a 10 or 11 and you want to hit a 20 or 21.

Split/Resplit: If you get dealt a pair, you can 'split' the cards to form two new hands. It's a good tactic if you get eights or nines that have a good chance of hitting to make 18/19 and beating the dealer. In some games, 'resplits' allow the player to split the split cards again.

Insurance: If the dealer has an ace as his up-card, the player can make an additional 'Insurance' bet in case his other card is a 10 or picture. If he does have blackjack, the player gets paid 2/1 his money. If not, the player loses his Insurance bet.

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