Blackjack Guide and Bonuses

The Great Game of Blackjack

blackjack-handBlackjack is the most popular table game offered online along with many of it’s variations. Standard games are offered in one, two and six deck versions online. Online variations include Pontoon, Double Exposure, Blackjack Switch, Super Fun and Spanish 21. These games may be dealt single hand, multi hand or European style. A European style game does not deal the house’s hole card until after the player has acted. If a player doubles down and the house has 21 the player will lose both bets. This will create some strategy changes when the dealer is showing an ace.

Free BlackJack Games

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Top 3 Online Blackjack Bonus Offers:

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Blackjack Bonuses

Most online casinos will allow their guests to play blackjack as part of a bonus. The terms and conditions of these will vary. Some casinos will have two separate promotions, one for slots and another for table games. It is important that we choose the one that applies to blackjack when in this situation. These bonuses typically offer a wager requirement of between 80x and 200x. This means that we must wager between $80 and $200 for every $1 in bonus. Even a 200x bonus pays the customer back .5% in bonus. Most blackjack games will have a lower house edge than this so they are always worth taking, as long as the best games are not excluded. Make sure to check the terms and conditions to see which variations are excluded. Just because the standard blackjack variant is a allowed that does not mean all other variants are. Pontoon and single deck blackjack are almost always excluded.

Some online casinos will only have one first deposit bonus. In this case, blackjack may only apply to a certain percentage of the bonus. This amount will typically be 20-30%. The rest of the bonus must be cleared while playing slots, keno or high edge table games. This is where a casino bonus can be tricky.

If we assume that one of these bonuses has a wager requirement of 25x then we must wager $25 for every $1 in bonus. If blackjack only applies to 25% of the wager requirement then a $1,000 bonus can only have $250 in blackjack play. If a blackjack game has a house edge of .5% then we will have only theoretically lost $31.25 while clearing $250 in bonus. This may seem like a great deal but there is the issue of the remaining 75% of the bonus.

This 75% will likely have to be cleared playing keno, slots or high edge table games. The best choice may be to grind out some Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Pai Gow Poker or Let it Ride. If Three Card Poker, often referred to be a similar name like Tri-Card Poker due to trademark issues, is allowed under the promotion then this is the proper choice. We should finish the promo on some Three Card Poker but only playing the ante and bonus, avoiding the tempting Pair Plus bet. That is because the Pair Plus bet will have about double house edge of the ante bet.

If we have $750 in bonus left to clear on a 25x bonus then the remaining game will carry a wager requirement of $18,750. We will clear this with an expected loss of about $515.

This assumes that high edge table games are allowed. If they are not, we must resort to playing slots or keno. These are games with high variance and high house edges. The expected house edge for both of these games will be around 10%. This means we can expect to lose $1,875 clearing the remaining 75% of the bonus. We should pass on any sign up offers with these types of wager requirements unless they will enjoy playing slots or keno and are willing to accept that we will likely bust unless we hit a jackpot.

Cash Back

In addition to a deposit bonus, players may receive cash back comps that equal .1-.2% of their total amount wagered. These are paid even when clearing a bonus. Most games that are excluded from the bonus will often be applied to these comps. High volume players may also find bounce back offers, no deposit bonuses or accelerated comp rates for playing these games.
If you are unable to find a proper bonus for blackjack but still want to indulge then you should opt out of the promo. This must be done by contacting the casino’s support before playing because the bonus will be automatically applied otherwise. Playing even one hand of a restricted game will obligate the customer to accept the bonus and force them to adhere to terms that are sometimes undesirable.

Online Casinos Reshuffle Every Hand

Unlike a live game, remember that online blackjack games almost always reshuffle after each hand. Make sure to have a basic strategy card by your side while playing and do not stray from the proper play. There is no such thing as a good count or gut feeling when it comes to playing this game. The best return will be seen by using proper optimal strategy.

I Prefer Online to Live

I especially enjoy playing this game at home on my computer. I do not have to deal with other punters while I gamble and I can move at my own speed. This typically means as fast as I can hit the buttons. I also do not have to deal with other folk acting drunk or blowing smoke in my face. One other advantage to playing online is that the software records all of my wagers. This guarantees that my play is rewarded with the proper comps that I deserve from my action.

Quick Fire Guide – Terminology and Lingo

Blackjack Table Layout

The object of Blackjack is pretty simple, get as close to 21 as possible with your hand total without going over and while having a higher value hand than the dealer.  The game is played with a maximum of 6 players betting at a time and all of them are playing directly against the dealer (meaning there is no inter-player competition).  The round begins with players placing their wager and the dealer will then deal cards from left to right until each player has two cards face up and the dealer has one card face up and one card face down.  At this point, the action moves to the first player to the left of the dealer who has to make a decision as to how to proceed with their hand.  Each player must make one of the following decisions below with regards to how they want to play their dealt hand.

*Card values are taken at face value for cards under 10, face cards all have a value of 10 and aces have a value of either 1 or 11 depending on how you want to play your hand, for example Ace plus 8 would be either 9 or 19 total.

  • Hit – If the person wants to hit, it means they want an additional card added to their hand to improve their chances of getting closer to 21.  Remember that the objective is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over and while beating the dealer’s hand total.  If you hit and go over 21, you will do what’s known as “busting” and your bet will be lost for that particular hand of play and you will wait until the next round.
  • Stand – If the person elects to stand with their hand, it means that they are happy with the total that they’ve been dealt and do not want anymore cards.  If a he stands then the action moves to the next guy until all players dealt in the hand have made their decisions.  When the dealer reveals their hole card if your total beats theirs you would win.  When to stand versus when to hit depends on a variety of factors including the rules of basic strategy as well as what your hand total is in relation to the dealer’s up card for a given round.
  • Double Down – Another option that the player has is to do what’s known as double or double down.  This means they must place an additional wager equal to or lesser than their original bet for which they will receive one additional card to their hand, they must stand after this card has been dealt.  The reason that doubling is an attractive option is that it allows players to increase their bet when it’s likely a dealer will bust.
  • Split – The last decision that could be made on a hand is what’s known as splitting and this can only be done when the player receives two of the same value card in their hand, for example two 10’s.  To split, an additional wager equal to their first bet and than the cards will be split apart and played as two separate hands (with the dealer giving the player new cards on each split card).
  • Blackjack – If a player is dealt a 10 or face card plus an Ace they have what’s known as Blackjack and they will immediately win their hand paid out 3/2 on their original wager assuming the dealer doesn’t have an Ace.
  • Insurance – If the dealer’s up card is an ace, players will be offered insurance which is equal to 1/2 or less of your original wager.  If you take insurance and the dealer has a 21, you will break even on the hand.  If you do not take insurance and the dealer has 21 you will lose your wager.  If you have 21 and the dealer has an ace up, you can take insurance, ask for an even money payout or wait to see if they have 21 (in the case the dealer has 21k and you also have it your hand will push, no win and no loss).

Once all players have made the decision for their hand based on the options above, it’s the dealer’s turn to play.  What happens is that the dealer will flip over their hidden card (hole card) to reveal the total value for their hand.  In most games, if the dealer has a total of 16 or less than they have to hit and draw another card.  If the dealer has a hand total of 17 or higher they are forced to stand and may not take another card.  Once the dealer has either finished drawing or has stood on their hand, their hand total will be compared to the players and all participants who have a higher total than the dealer will win their bet, which will be paid even money 1:1 for each wager made.