Blackjack is an American variant of table game based on the well-known game Twenty-One. It requires for a player and and dealer to draw cards against each other, and whoever get a total closest to (but not above) 21 will be the winner. It is a game which is learned in minutes, but takes year to master.

The history of blackjack

The predecessor of blackjack, Twenty-One is of unknown origin, but some references in Spanish literature exists from around 1600. Later references are found in both French and Spanish books.

When the original game Twenty-One was offered in the United States, casinos would often offer special payout bonuses to stimulate the gambling. One of these bonuses were 10 to 1 payout, if you the player won with a hand of Ace of Spades together with one of the black colored jacks in the deck. This hand was called blackjack. This name eventually got stuck with everyone when referring to the game.

Nowadays, the term blackjack refers to any hand consisting of an Ace plus a ten or any face card.

Blackjack table

In an online bitcoin casino, the player must take a seat at the virtual semicircular table. Such table often provides 1 to 5 positions. Each position has a marking in front of it, which is known as the “betting box”. This is where you place your chips and signal the dealer, that you are in the game.

At the table you will also see the “shoe“, which holds 1 to 8 decks of shuffled cards.

At online casinos, you will normally also find a sign displaying the table lower and upper limits for each hand.

If you are joining a live blackjack table, other players may be seated next to you and influence the cards, you are dealt. At the standard blackjack table, you will be the only player facing the dealer.

Online blackjack rules

The objective of the game is to get the cards of each position as close as possible to 21, without busting (breaking).

Busting (also referenced breaking) in blackjack is a term describing the situation, where the total sum of the cards dealt to a player or the dealer is 22 or above. When a player or a dealer is “busting”, then the hand is immediately considered lost.

Blackjack has many different rules, which also varies from one to another online casino. First I will explain the standard rules as found at most online games, and then I will explain some of the differences, that you may find.

blackjack table
Blackjack table at Coinbet24.com

The dealer will shuffle between 1 to 8 deck before dealing.

Place your bet

At the beginning of each round, you place your bet in the “betting box” in front of each betting position. In most online casinos, you have option to cover as many betting positions as you like.

After bets are made, the dealer will deal one card at the time, starting left to right and finishing with the dealer. Each player will receive a total of 2 cards. All cards are dealt face up, except the second card of the dealer, which is face down. This is also called the “hole card”.

Betting behind

At some online live blackjack tables, you can bet behind another player sitting at the table. This means that you place a bet on this player to win, but without you being able to control the actions.

Player decisions

Now each betting position starting from the left must decide what action to take. When it is your turn, you need to choose between five different decision options.

Hit

Receive another card from the dealer.

Stand

Take no more cards and pass on turn to the next player or the dealer. Also known as “stand pat”, “stick” or “stay”.

Double down

This allows you to increase his initial bet with 100%, but the player will then only receive one more card.

If you are
betting behind another player, you are also allowed to double down, but do not have to. No matter what you are bound by the player decision and will only receive one more card.

Split

This is a decision, which is an option if you receive your first 2 cards of the same numerical value. You will then place an identical stake for the second hand, and both your hands are now individually asked for decisions. Most casinos will allow you to split any two cards, but it is often seen, that in case you have 2 aces, then you are only allowed to receive one card for each hand after splitting.

If you receive 2 cards of identical numerical value and make a split, then you typically are allowed to split once again. This is only if the first card for each of the the cards again has same numerical value.

Surrender

This option is only available at some tables in online casinos, and are normally labelled “blackjack surrender”. When available, this option is only possible before receiving any additional cards. This option will result in the casino taking half the stake, while the player gets to keep the other half. After surrendering, the player is no longer active in the hand and the players cards will be removed from the table.

Once you and the other players at the table have taken all decisions, the dealer must now draw cards. The dealer will make decisions based on a fixed rule set. These rules usually states, that that the dealer must draw until hitting soft 17 or above. From here the dealer must stand.

Soft seventeen


Soft 17

A “Soft 17 or above” is an expression stating that the numerical value of the combined cards are 17, but soft refers to one of the card being an ace, which count for either 1 or 11. So a hand of 6 and an ace will constitute a “Soft 17”.


Rules may vary at each table, and later I will explain how this affects the house edge.

Insurance

If the dealer’s face up card reveals an ace, then some rules allow you to take decision on whether to buy an insurance. Insurance is a side bet, and pays 2 to 1 if dealer end with blackjack. This means that an insurance bet of half your hands stake will insure you not to lose any money in case the dealer has blackjack.

If you have blackjack, you may also take insurance. If you commit an identical stake as insurance bet, then you are guaranteed to win precise the amount of the initial stake. This is no matter whether the dealer has blackjack or not.

Payouts

If you win you hand, then you double your money. If draw blackjack, then in general you are paid 3 to 2.

Blackjack strategy

When playing blackjack, it is smart to have a strategy. Since the game is about likelihood, then each decision you make, should be based on statistical probability of the remaining cards in the decks.

The first thing you should do, would be to familiarize yourself with a blackjack decision table as presented below. Check our advanced strategy guide for more information.

Blackjack decision table

Blackjack decision table
Strategy decision table

You will find many variations of the decision table to use, and you should find one based on the rules of the table, you join. Some may take surrendering into account.

Advanced strategies

Single deck game

Further to the simple strategy provided, you may increase your chances in certain situations. If you play a single deck game and receive a total of 12, and dealers face up card is a 4, then you have a decision to make. If your hand consists of exactly a 10 and a 2, then you should hit. For any other combination of twelve, you should stand.

Card counting

During the course of a blackjack shoe, the dealer will reveal cards from the decks. By keeping track of those cards, you can improve your chances massively. You may find several card counting techniques, but just with a simple solution you may stack the odds in your favor. The house will originally have between 0.17% to 1% edge, but card counting may leave you with up to 2% edge.

Simple card counting technique (High/Low)

For each card revealed, count +1 point for any 2 to 6, 0 points for 7 to 9 and -1 point for each 10 valued card. This point system will help you to a stake strategy. You should restart you count, when cards are shuffled. The point will be referenced as “True count”.

Card counting becomes most rewarding at the end of a shoe, since most cards have been revealed by this time.

The higher the true count is, the better situation for the player. You can find much information about how to alter from the basic strategy based on the true score.

Card counting is not considered illegal.


House edge

The house edge in this game varies enormously dependent on the precise rules. Also remember, that while the house edge is fixed in a game like roulette, then the house edge in blackjack is very much based on your ability to take correct decisions.

Number of decks

This is a main factor to determine the house edge in the game. You will gain most advantage against the house the fewer decks are in the game. Usually, casino offering blackjack with only one deck, will not allow you to double down after splitting.

Number of decksHouse edge
One (Single deck)0.17%
Two0.46%
Four0.60%
Six0.64%
Eight0.65%

Some online casinos will shuffle the deck between each round. This massively increases the house edge. So look out for this.

Soft 17

Another rule, that will alter the house edge, is the soft 17 versus hard 17. If the dealer should continue on soft 17, but stop on hard 17, then house edge increases roughly 0.2%.

Double after split

If the game does not allow you to double down after splitting, then the house edge increases about 0.12%.

Reno rule

According to the Reno rule, you are only allow to double down on hard 9, 10 or 11. This cancels the double down with soft 9 and soft 13 to 18. This increases expected loss and increase house edge with 0.1 to 0.2%.

Different payouts on blackjack

A casino may choose to pay blackjack 5 to 6 or even 1 to 1. This drastically alters the house edge. In the first situation, the edge increases by 1.4%, while the 1 to 1 payout increase house edge by 2.3%.

Blackjack options at Coinbet24.com

Single deck Blackjack

Our popular single deck blackjack, leaving low house edge.


European Blackjack

Classic game with double on 9, 10 and 11. Also offers insurance.

Limits 1 – 100 mBTC


American Blackjack

Classic game with double on 9, 10 and 11. Also offers insurance.

Limits 1 – 100 mBTC


Pirate 21 Blackjack

Classic blackjack game with side bet options.

Limits 1 – 100 mBTC


Pontoon Blackjack

Classic blackjack game with sweet 16 side bet options.

Limits 1 – 100 mBTC