Best Online Blackjack – Where and How Do We Play?
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When playing blackjack, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration. Except for the right casino, you need to choose a good blackjack game, with the best payout rate and therefore, a higher profit expectancy. In the following article, you will find important information regarding:
- Valuable tips to help you win at blackjack
- The most interesting games with the highest payout rates
- How the MIT blackjack card-counting team won millions
- The benefits of online blackjack compared to land-based casinos
Furthermore, we have covered some of the most popular blackjack games and we will tell you which is the best casino to play them at. Also, at the bottom of the page you can find our answers to some really interesting questions regarding the strategies and rules of playing blackjack online.
Great Casinos for Playing Blackjack Online
As opposed to with slots, not all online casinos offer huge blackjack selections. If you want to have a really solid collection of blackjack games to choose from, then we recommend you try a casino that’s powered by Microgaming. The best such casino is undoubtedly Betway, where you can choose from over 50 RNG and blackjack tables. Other great choices for the slot fans are Leo Vegas where there are games by many different providers and 888 where you can take advantage of special blackjack promotions.
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3 Important Tips That Will Help You Win at Blackjack
For playing online blackjack, there are few tips that could help you win.
TIP1 Take a pass on insurance and other side bets: All side bets, including the insurance, raise the house edge to up to 10%, so they are very bad for your wallet. As tempting, fun and cheap as they may seem, in the long run it will be like donating your money to the casino.
TIP2 Never play blackjack without the appropriate strategy chart: The various games that can be played at blackjack sites have the lowest house edge among all games – between 0.3% and 1.2%. However, this only applies if you make the best mathematical decision. You can find some really good strategy charts for each of the most popular blackjack variations, which will definitely pay off at the end of the day.
TIP3 Card counting doesn’t work when playing online: Blackjack movies have shown us how profitable card counting is, or at least used to be. This unfortunately is not applicable when playing online, due to the fact that the cards are shuffled after every hand. However, you there is nothing wrong about wanting to train counting.
What Are the Odds of the Different Blackjack Variations?
As we have already mentioned, blackjack has the lowest house edge of all casino games. When you play Classic Blackjack, the house only has an advantage of 0.48%. This value changes however for other variations, due to the different rules. The table below contains some of the most popular variations, their distinctive features and the profit expectancy (RTP – return to player).
|Blackjack Variantion||Blackjack Payout||Double Down||Split||Push/Tie||Dealer Status||Special Fetures||Profit Expectancy|
|Classic||3:2||yes||1x||Stake returned||Stands on Soft 17||Basic Rules||99,52%|
|Pontoon||2:1||Draw cards after double||1x||Dealer wins||Stands on Soft 17||Players can stand on 15||99.64%|
|21 Duel||Counts as 21, 1:1||no||no||Stake returned||Stands on Soft 17||Must use one of the two community cards||98.38%|
|Switch||1:1||yes||1x||Dealer wins||Hit on Soft 17||Dealer can draw until 22||99.87%|
|Double Exposure||1:1||Only Hard 9, 10, 11 or to Split||1x||Delaer wins, except for Blackjack||Stands on Soft 17||Both dealer cards are revealed from the beginning||99,34%|
|Superfun 21||Player wins immediately 1: 1, Diamonds 2: 1||At any time||4x||Dealer wins||Hit on Soft 17||20 or less from 5 card pays 1: 1||98,84%|
As you can see from the table, the differences are pretty small and few blackjack games raise the house edge to around 1%. Surprisingly enough, my favourite variation, Blackjack Switch has an even lower house edge than the Classic Blackjack – only 0.13%!
This is the most common Blackjack game played and the rules are well-known by all. However, if you are not yet acquainted with them, I will sum them up in a few words and emphasize the main differences to other variations.
- Blackjack pays 3 to 2
- Double down and Split are allowed
- Push means stake returned to player
- The dealer may stand on 17
Classic Blackjack has a payout rate of 99.52% and you can play it at 888 Casino, with one of the best bonus contributions.
One of the most interesting variations and my personal favourite is Blackjack Switch. The game involves playing two hands simultaneously and, once the cards are dealt, you have the option of swapping the last two cards improving the count on both hands.
- Blackjack pays 1 to 1
- Only 1 split and 1 double allowed
- Push means dealer wins
- dealer hits on soft 17
The high RTP of 99.87% makes this interesting game even more popular among players. The best casino to play Blackjack Switch at is Betfair Casino.
21 Duel Blackjack
The 21 Duel version of online blackjack is so different because both the player and the dealer use one of two community cards to complete their hand. Also, the player cannot ask for another card, he can use only the second hidden card.
- No Blackjack, only 21
- No split or double down
- Push means stake returned to player
- Dealer stands on 17
This game can be played at Winner Casino with a payout rate of 98.38%.
Pontoon is another entertaining Blackjack variation, but with some significant differences. An ace with any face card is called Pontoon, and not blackjack and it wins even after a split. Also, a five-card hand that isn’t busting, has the same value as a Pontoon.
- Pontoon and Five-card hands pay 2 to 1
- Cards after splitting may be drawn
- Dealer wins a push
- Dealer may stand on soft 17
The average payout for this game at Ladbrokes Casino is 99.64%, which is even higher than for the Classic Blackjack.
Although Live Blackjack is not one of the variations in terms of rules, it is a very distinct way of enjoying this game. Here you challenge a real dealer and get to take part in some real-casino action. The human factor is seen as a huge advantage by many players.
- Most casinos offer only the classic version
- Wide range of table limits
- Interaction with dealer and other players possible
- Game speed is slightly reduced
Those of you who prefer the Classic Blackjack game should definitely try the Live version, due to its increased entertainment value.
This is again a very popular variation, thanks to the big jackpot that can be won, although it is pretty rare among most online blackjack sites. Except form the additional bet that goes into the progressive jackpot, there are few other differences:
- Additional bet needed to play for the Jackpot
- Four identical aces win the Jackpot
- 2 or more aces also win
- Aces on the same hand must be dealt
Progressive Blackjack can be played at Playtech Casinos, like William Hill Casino, where the jackpot can reach as much as 100,000€.
Why You Should Deposit Using PayPal or Moneybookers
Security plays a crucial part in your iGaming experience. Especially when it comes to depositing or withdrawing your funds, sensitive data like bank or credit card details must be revealed to online casinos. That makes many people nervous, even reluctant because of the fact that all information shared over the Internet could be intercepted.
This is why many players favour certain online banking options because of the data safety that they guarantee. PayPal and Moneybookers are the most common means of depositing in this category and more and more players turn to them to handle their funds. Paysafecard is a pretty reliable option as well, but the fact that it doesn’t support withdrawals make it less attractive. So, for less risk and hassle, PayPal and Moneybookers are the perfect solution.
This Is How the MIT Blackjack Team Made Millions
The strategy of card counting was created during the 60s by Eduard O. Thorp, who also published a book on the subject called ‘Beat the dealer’. Casinos responded to the threat with several counter measures, to make it more difficult on players to count cards. Also, casino staff were taught how to spot the counters. One of the founders of the first MIT blackjack team was J.P. Massar, known as Mr. M. Although this was not the first card-counting team, but once Bill Kaplan joined the MIT, they took this strategy to a whole new level. Strict rules, carefully selected new members and hard training were the foundation for one of the most successful blackjack teams of all times. On August 1, 1980, the MIT team started with a capital of 89,000$ and managed to double it within 10 weeks. The team members were making around 80$ per hour and, after deducting expenses, the team had a 150% return of investment. However, since winning players were identified and put under surveillance quickly, there was no place left for them to play at, so new members were needed. By 1989, the MIT team had grown to 70 members.
The Successful Blackjack Team and the Roles of Each Player
Making a lot of money at Blackjack doesn’t just involve perfect card counting, but also a flawless implementation. Moreover, is would be really obvious for only one person to sit at a table and start betting heavily towards the end of the deck. Within the team, members played different parts for collecting and sharing the information about hot tables and keeping an eye on the casino security. This was a great improvement, as each member played their role perfectly and they were not only limited to one table, which would attract more attention on the counters. The next step was passing on the information about the hot shoes, without being noticed by casino security staff or cameras. Below you can find a description of different roles played by the team members and some examples of non-verbal communication.
The Spotter: The role of the spotter is to identify a hot table, meaning a shoe where the count is going in the right direction, so that other team members can take advantage of it, with higher stakes. He sits at one table at the beginning of the shoe and starts the count, while playing with the table minimum bet. The spotter’s role is not to make money, but to have minimum losses, while collecting the needed information. Once the table is hot, which means that the count is high, he will discretely signal another player, called ‘the gorilla’, who will start playing with the highest stakes.
The Back Spotter: The back spotter basically has the same role as the spotter: identify hot tables. However, the back spotter doesn’t play at the tables, but sits behind the players and does the back count. The advantage of having a back spotter is that he is mobile and it is easier for him to signal team members that are far away from the hot tables. Furthermore, the casino staff and security cameras would usually supervise the table and the players, not the spectators. It was therefore less conspicuous for the back counter to move around the casino and let members know that there is a hot table somewhere.
The Gorilla: The gorilla is the team member that makes the big money for the team. He waits for the spotter’s signal and sits at a table where the count is high. Once the spotter finds a hot table, the gorilla ‘wongs in’, a term named after Stanford Wong which describes an advantage technique used while playing blackjack. The gorilla plays the part of a drunken millionaire, playing only the highest limits and never varying his bet. He constantly takes advantage of hot shoes, therefore securing his profit. Once the shoe goes cold, he ‘wongs out’ and looks for another spotted hot table.
The Solid Player: The duties of the solid player are a lot broader, which makes this the most complex position in the team. He plays the role of the spotter, but also makes money for the team, playing with high stakes. The solid player doesn’t only keep the count of the cards, but he also has to track the location of the aces in the shoe. This counts as a great advantage, as hands with an ace have a 37% higher profit forecast. The solid player uses his knowledge and consistently plays with high stakes, bringing huge profit to the team.
Secret non-verbal signals used by the team members
Crossed arms – Get ready, the count is running high This is the signal used by the spotter or the back spotter when, according to the card count, the shoe or the table could turn profitable. It is meant to signal the gorilla or the solid player that the count is reaching a point that promises high odds and that they should leave the other table and move to the new one. The big players should be prepared to change table and move to take advantage of the new hot shoe. Given as sometimes in big casinos all the tables were full, this signal gives the gorilla and the solid players time to move.
Rubbing the earlobe – Where is the current count at? Once the solid player sits at the new table, he asks the spotter where is the count of the shoe, as he himself has to count the cards. In the following moments, the spotter makes small talk with the solid player and reveals information about the count using certain code words that the other people around the table won’t understand. For example, one word could reveal the number 13. Also, during this trivial small talk, the spotter will provide the player with useful information about the situation at the table and in the vicinity.
Hand in pocket – The deck is hot, maximum bets! This signals the other players from the team that the table is hot and they should bet the table maximum. The gorilla and the solid player will make the most of the hot shoe, by playing the highest stakes. Even the spotter at the table will win, but he is not allowed to increase his bet, as this would raise suspicions and the casino staff could spot him and put the entire operation at risk. Huge profits were made on hot tables, which made it possible for the MIT Blackjack Team to reach a 150% return of investment.
Pulling on hair – Get out of here Despite all precautions, it is inevitable to get spotted, sooner or later, by the casino staff. The responsibility of warning the players usually belonged to the back spotter, as the other players were focused on the game and keeping the count. Although the back spotter also counts, he has a broader view on the whole casino. Of course, he would keep an eye on the security guards, as well, and if they seem nervous or they are also watching their team, it would be time to get out of the casino.
Success is achieved only after rigorous training
Card counting doesn’t sound complicated at all and it’s actually not. If you practice it long enough, determining the running count at the blackjack table will be quite an easy task. However, the MIT Blackjack Team did not take this task lightly and their preparation took this system to a whole new level. Spotters underwent rigours tests that were carried out in casinos, where others would try to distract them. These tests were needed to prove that the spotter could apply a flawless card-counting strategy and that the team could rely on him. Only after a long period of training and numerous tests, the spotter became part of the team. The consequences of the spotter making even one mistake became clear in an interview with a former member of a card-counting team. One mistake per hour would severely reduce the profit expectancy of the whole team, while two mistake per hour made the counting of the cards useless.
Why Is It Better To Play Blackjack Online?
Many years ago, you would to drive to the nearest casino if you felt like playing blackjack for money, but with the revolution of the Internet sites, all that changed. With the birth of the online casinos, now users can enjoy a nice game of blackjack right form the comfort of their homes. All in all, online blackjack has proven to offer many advantages when compared to the land-based casinos:
- Games around the clock, that can also be played in demo mode
- Live games from casinos, with real-time action
- Longer time to make a decision, strategic play possible
- Many blackjack game variations available
- Wider range of table limits, higher limits on Live Blackjack
Today, there is hardly any reason to play at real brick-and-mortar casinos. With the advantages that playing online blackjack brings to the table, users no longer feel the need to go to a real casino to enjoy their favourite game. The only restrictions are in terms of the mobile game selection, but Live Blackjack with higher limits and the free-play mode still hold the upper hand over your corner casino.
Is online blackjack rigged?
No. All online casinos in the UK are licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission and they frequently undergo rigorous security checks, to make sure that they offer a safe gambling environment. Also, the fairness of the game is attested by the RNG – Random Number Generator, which guarantees the randomness and transparency of the game results, like a spin on the roulette or a hand of blackjack. These RNGs are also licensed and they are regularly tested, in order to ensure that they cannot be manipulated or tempered with in any way.
Which blackjack game has the lowest house edge?
As our research has shown, the game with the lowest house edge is not the Classic Blackjack with 0.48%, but one of the game variations, with a slightly different set of rules. Blackjack Switch has the lowest house edge of 0.13%, but only if played with a perfect strategy.
Are there any progressive jackpot blackjack games?
Yes, but only some blackjack sites offer them. So far, users can play Progressive Blackjack only at Playtech Blackjack Sites. The jackpot is usually at around 100,000$, but it can only be won when four identical consecutive aces are dealt. However, two or more identical or different aces also bring a rewarding payout.
Should I split a pair of aces?
Definitely, although there are some arguments against it, most of them regarding the fact that with certain blackjack variations you only receive one card after the split. However, you will find that it is the winning strategy in the long run. Just keep in mind that you cannot split them at Progressive Blackjack, since the winning jackpot combination is four identical aces.
Can I count cards online?
You can try, but it will not be applicable, as the cards get shuffled after every hand. Even if you play Live Blackjack, the cards get shuffled after 3,4 of the 6 or 8 decks.
Does the outcome of an online blackjack game really match the expected RTP?
The value of the RTP (return to player) is only an average expected profit, for an optimally played game. The value is purely mathematical and it is a result of individual rules of the game. Also, the RTP is not related to previous game results, as is the case with slots. When playing on,line blackjack, your results depend mainly on the cards you receive and the strategy you use to play.