Posts Tagged ‘online blackjack’

Play Online Blackjack For Money

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

We get a lot of people asking about the variations in blackjack rules, odds, blackjack bonuses, and of course, where the best places to play online blackjack are. It’s a good thing too, as we just so happen to know! So, without further ado, we decided it was nigh time to publish a comprehensive guide to help all the folks out there who are still searching for a reliable destination to play blackjack online for money. If that’s you, look no further. This comprehensive blog post digs deep, and represents over a decade’s worth of due diligence in scouting out the top online blackjack sites. Here at Online Casino Suite – an eCOGRA approved portal consistently ranked as one of the foremost authority portals on the Web today – we not only show you where to find leading, reputable online casinos offering Blackjack, we give you the inside scoop on different online blackjack games and playing with the best blackjack bonuses, the fairest blackjack odds and optimal blackjack strategy as used by professional Blackjack players. We begin with our topmost recommendations of casinos offering online blackjack for real money play.

ClubUSA-BlackjackClub USA – While operated out of the U.K. Club USA, aka Club World Casinos, is open to players throughout the international online gaming market. Club USA has been accepting real money bets since 2004, steadily earning an outstanding reputation with players ever since. Using Real Time Gaming’s RNG-certified software platform, Club USA offers six different versions of 21 – 6-Deck Standard Blackjack, Perfect Pairs, Face Up 21, Match Play 21, Pontoon and Super 21. A standard game pays 3:2 on Blackjack and 2:1 on Insurance. Dealer must hit on Soft 17, player can double down on any two cards and 1 Card is dealt for Split Aces. Further solidifying Club USA as our top destination to play blackjack online for money is that Club USA offers a welcome bonus that can be played through with Blackjack wagers, as well as a steady lineup of Blackjack reload bonuses.

Bovada-BlackjackBovada – From Canada, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission-licensed, Bovada (Meadway Leisure Ltd.) operates a large sportsbook, poker room and casino, where bettors can partake in a variety of real money Blackjack games. Bovada’s software platform is powered by Real Time Gaming, and includes a selection of 6-Deck Blackjack, Single Deck, Double Deck, European Blackjack, Perfect Pairs, Face Up 21, Match Play 21, Pontoon and Super 21. For a standard 6-deck game, payout is 3:2 on Blackjack and 2:1 on Insurance. Player can double down on any first two cards, play up to 3 Split Hands (Split Aces dealt 1 card each; no re-splitting), and the dealer must Hit on Soft 17 (Stands on Soft 17 for 2-deck game).

WinPalaceBlackjackWin Palace – Curacao (Netherlands, Antilles) licensed and regulated, Win Palace Casino made a big splash with U.S. players during its debut back in 2009. Since that time, Win Palace has steadily made improvements to their user-interface and has become of the most popular instant, no-download Flash Casino’s for U.S. players. Powered by RTG, Win Palace offers six versions of Blackjack, including a standard game which pays 3 to 2 on Blackjack, 2 to 1 for Insurance, requires the Dealer to Hit on Soft 17 and all hands of 16, allows doubling down on any first two cards and deals 1 additional card to split Aces. Other versions include European Blackjack (Dealer must Stand on Soft 17), Face Up 21, Super 21, Perfect Pair, Pontoon and Match Play 21. But most of all, we like Win Palace Casino’s 200% Blackjack Welcome Bonus that pays up to $1,000 in bonus money.

mrgreen-blackjackMr. Green – Undeniably one of the most popular Euro/UK no-download online casinos today, Malta-licensed/regulated Mr. Green Casino offers a staggering selection of Blackjack games for an instant-play online casino. Powered by NetEntertainment, there are twelve versions of Blackjack, including Single Deck Blackjack, European Blackjack, Double Xposure, Pontoon, 21 Burn, Super 7, Pirate 21, 21 + 3, and several professional games, including a High Roller version. The single deck game requires the dealer to draw until 16 and Hit on Soft 17, paying 3 to 2 for Blackjack and 2 to 1 on Insurance. The European version follows standard “Las Vegas Strip” rules, with the exception of Doubling Down limited to hand values of 9,10,11, no re-splitting (however, doubling down is permitted after splitting) and no late surrender.

royalvegascasinobjRoyal Vegas – Our highest rated Euro/UK download casino, Malta licensed/regulated  eCOGRA approved Royal Vegas Casino offers a collection of the best Blackjack games Microgaming Software has to offer, including Microgaming’s premiere Gold Series. These include Atlantic City Gold Blackjack, European Gold, Atlantic City, Vegas Strip, Vegas Downtown, Perfect Pairs European, High Streak European, Classic BJ and Multi-hand Blackjack, High Limit European Blackjack, Double Exposure, Spanish 21 and Super Fun 21. In short, there are 17 different versions of Blackjack at Royal Vegas Casino – the largest selection we’ve found online. Playing rules are par to the best odds found in Vegas casinos. Thousands in free bonus money eligible for Blackjack wagers.

GentingCasinoBJGenting – Brought to you by the renowned Genting Resorts Group, Playtech Software-powered Genting Online Casino offers a suite of over 300 casino games, including at least eight different versions of Blackjack and Live Dealer Blackjack. Games include Classic Blackjack in which the dealer must Hit on hands of 16 and Soft 17 (paying 3:2 for Blackjack and 2:1 on Insurance), Blackjack Surrender (late surrender allowed), Pontoon, 21 Duel, Lucky Blackjack (paying 2:1 on Blackjack), Blackjack Switch (0.17% House Edge with “Las Vegas Rules” and only available at Playtech powered casinos) and one of the largest Progressive Jackpot Blackjack games on the Web. For the single deck game, the player may Doubledown on 10 or 11, may NOT Doubledown after Splitting and can Split only once. No surrender is allowed. For all games that use from 6 to 8 decks, the Dealer must Stand on Soft 17 and the player may Doubledown on any first two cards, Doubledown after Splitting and Split only once.

jackpotcity-blackjackJackpot City – From the famous Carmen Media Group, Belle Rock Entertainment’s, Jackpot City, is one of the oldest and most prestigious online casinos in operation today. Launched in 1998, this eCOGRA approved network is powered by Microgaming Software and has steadily delivered 97% payouts, a huge progressive jackpot network and an impressive lineup of ongoing promotions to help keep players loyal, no less catering to fans of Blackjack. Jackpot City offers at least ten different versions of Micrograming’s Blackjack games, inlcluding Classic Gold Series Blackjack, Vegas Downtown Blackjack, Super Fun 21, Vegas Strip Blackjack, Spanish 21, Double Exposure, Bonus Blackjack, European Blackjack and Atlantic City Blackjack. What makes Jackpot City a top choice for Blackjack, however, are their Blackjack Tournaments, which include daily freerolls and sit ‘n go’s. Unlike land-based casinos that use 7 decks per game, Jackpot City gives players the choice of competing with 2, 4 or 6 decks, and actually welcomes card counters with open arms. And they also offer $500 in free bonus money to play on Blackjack games for new players.

LuckyRedBJLucky Red – Lucky Red Casino is powered by Real Time Gaming, which means they have at least six versions of Blackjack offering the best rules conducive to lowering the House Edge as much as possible. As is the norm playing online blackjack for real money, Blackjack pays 3 to 2, and Insurance pays 2 to 1. In a standard 6-deck game, the Dealer must Hit on Soft 17, while the player is allowed to double down on any two initially dealt faceup cards. What makes Lucky Red Casino one of our recommended top online blackjack sites is their steady lineup of table game bonuses with conditions that permit blackjack wagers to go toward a very reasonable 50x play-through requirement.

CasinoTitanBJCasino Titan – Licensed and regulated by the Government of Netherlands, Antilles (Curacao eGaming), Casino Titan rounds out the OCS top-rated selection of Real Time Gaming online casinos offering a wide range of Blackjack games and free Black jack bonus money. It’s quick and easy to sign up and play Casino Titan’s instant-play, no-download casino, and experience, firsthand, the software, not to mention getting to know the game rules. Casino Titan uses RTG’s source code, which means their rules are in line with industry norms, including the use of Blackjack games with a default number of 6 decks.

888CasinoBJ888 – One of our absolute favorite all-around online betting sites and Euro/UK facing online casinos to play blackjack for money at, 888 rides on a tremendous track record and reputation that began back in 1997 and has since hosted over 25 million players. 888 Casino is eCOGRA approved, holds a Gibraltar Gaming License, is a pioneering member of the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) and uses a wide variety of accredited software platforms to power it’s comprehensive selection of bets. 888 is known for delivering consistently high Blackjack payout percentages often exceeding 97%, and also offers Live Dealer Blackjack for real money. Keeping things simple, 888 offers 4-Deck Classic Blackjack (3 to 2 on Blackjack; 2 to 1 for Insurance; Doubling Down and Splitting allowed; Dealer Must Hit on Soft 17), as well as a unique black jack game called “Crazy Blackjack”, which is only found at 888.

Blackjack Bonuses

The top online blackjack sites, like those listed immediately above, are always keen to give away free bonuses that can be used to play blackjack for money. As with all free casino bonuses, the only catch is that you will have to make a real money deposit and are bound to certain wagering conditions before any money earned from the bonus can be withdrawn. If you are no stranger to casino bonuses, this shouldn’t sound unfamiliar. For everyone else, please listen closely, as it’s important to always read the fine print before claiming any bonus.

Essentially, there are two types of bonuses – No-deposit bonuses and Play Bonuses. As their name implies, no-deposit bonuses, aka free chips, do not require a deposit in order to receive the bonus. However, a deposit is required in order to cash out winnings directly derived from wagering with the bonus. Furthermore, no-deposit bonus winnings are always capped, no matter the amount won before the play-through requirement is met. In other words, if you happen to hit a $5,000 jackpot on a free $50 chip (i.e. you have not yet fulfilled the play-through requirement), your cashable winnings will not exceed the conditional limit, which generally never exceeds a few hundred dollars. This is why many online gamblers opt not to use no-deposit chips. Typically, a no-deposit bonus is worth $25 or less, rarely exceeding $50.

Play bonuses, on the other hand, often are worth in the thousands of dollars without any cashable winning limits. As always, it’s important to read the full bonus terms and conditions, which in addition to cashable limitations, may also include time restraints on meeting the play-through, also known as the wager requirement. The best blackjack bonuses typically have a play-through around 50x the combined amount of the player’s deposit and accompanying bonus.

For example, if a player deposits $100 and receives a $100 match bonus with a 50x play-through, the player will be required to make a minimum of $10,000 in Blackjack wagers before any winnings (minus the original bonus amount) can be cashed out; Hence, why these are called “Play” bonuses. The bonus money can be played to earn winnings, however, the bonus money itself cannot be cashed out. In the above example, if the player made it through $10,000 in wagers, and had a remaining balance of $800, the eligible withdrawal amount would be $700 (subtracting the original $100 bonus). Please note that game bonuses always have restrictions on certain games. For example, do not confuse a slots bonus with a blackjack bonus. If a player makes any wager on blackjack while using a slots bonus, the bonus money and any winnings are certain to become null and void. Blackjack bonuses typically also allow wagers on video poker and other table games. If there is any doubt about what games are covered, contact the casino’s customer support center and get it in writing.

While making $10,000 in wagers on a $200 bankroll might sound like a daunting task, when it’s online blackjack for money we’re talking about, it’s actually not that daunting at all. Of course, making full use of the Basic Blackjack Strategy is the best way to ensure the lowest Casinos Edge possible, and thus, getting one’s bankroll through the ups and downs. To this end, it is highly advised to use a Blackjack Strategy Card like the one further below.

Blackjack Strategy

The Basic Black Jack strategy essentially amounts to memorizing nearly 300 possible card combinations of the dealer’s up card and player’s total hand value. This is precisely what is charted on a blackjack strategy card.

By using the Basic Blackjack Strategy card below, you will be playing with the best odds possible. While there are slight variations in House Edge, depending on factors like the number of card decks used, payout and game rules, the Basic Strategy Chart ensures you will be playing to keep the House Edge as low as possible at a game of Blackjack.

Remember, it’s important to use mathematical strategy 100% of the time. Although hunches can sometimes result in lucky bets, your overall odds are the best when incorporating 100% mathematically correct strategy 100% of the time. With perfect strategy playing common online blackjack rules, the Casinos Edge is a variably low .0.4 – 0.6%.

blackjack-strategy-bodogSummarizing the chart to the right, the Basic Blackjack Strategy for common online blackjack rules (4 or more decks are played, Surrendering is not allowed, Doubling Down after Splitting is permitted and the Dealer must Hit on Soft 17) is as follows:

Splitting Hands:

Split 8’s and Aces no matter what;
Do not Split 5’s and 10’s;
Split 2’s & 3’s when Dealer card is a 4-7;
Split 4’s when Dealer card is 5 or 6;
Split 6’s when Dealer card is 3-6;
Split 7’s when Dealer card is 2-7;
Split 9’s when Dealer card is 2-6 or 8-9;

Doubling Down Hands:

Double Hard 9’s when Dealer card is 3-6;
Double Hard 10’s when Dealer card is 2-9;
Double Hard 11’s when Dealer card is 2-A;
Double Soft 13’s & 14’s when Dealer card is 5-6;
Double Soft 15’s & 16’s when Dealer card is 4-6;
Double Soft 17’s & 18’s when Dealer card is 3-6;
Double Soft 18 when Dealer card is 2-6;
Double Soft 19 when Dealer card is 6;

Hitting & Standing Hands:

Hit Hard 11’s or less, no matter Dealer card;
Stand on Hard 12’s when Dealer card is 4-6; Hit all other Dealer cards;
Stand on Hard 13-16 when Dealer card is 2-6; Hit all other Dealer cards;
Stand Hard 17 or more, no matter Dealer card;
Hit Soft 17 or less, no matter Dealer card;
Hit Soft 18’s when Dealer card is 9-A; Stand all other Dealer cards;
Stand Soft 19’s or more no matter value of Dealer card;

Blackjack Games

There are multiple versions of online blackjack for real money, with slight rule variations between each. The most common versions found at top online blackjack sites are as follows:

Classic Blackjack – In Classic Blackjack, 6 decks of cards, which are reshuffled after every hand, is the most common version found on the internet. The Dealer Hits on Soft 17 (raising the Edge), Re-splitting up to three times and Doubling Down on any two cards (one additional hit) is allowed, and there is no re-splitting of Aces, which receive only 1 additional card. Some versions allow Surrendering on any first two cards.

European Blackjack – Very similar to Classic Blackjack, the European version differs in that the Dealer Must Stand on Soft 17 (lowering the Edge), Doubling Down is only permitted only on hard hand totals of 9-11 (Raising the Edge), and there is no surrendering.

Pontoon – The primary rule difference between Pontoon and Classic Blackjack is that for Pontoon, the Dealer hand is dealt entirely face-down. Furthermore, a players wager loses on a Tie with the dealer, the Player cannot Stand on a hand of 14 or less, and re-splitting is allowed only up to two times (rather than three). However, Players can Hit after doubling down (which lowers the House Edge and is not permitted at Classic Blackjack) and receive an Edge Lowering 2:1 payout with winning hands that accumulate five cards total – called a “5 Card Trick”.

Spanish 21 Blackjack – The most notable rule variation for Spanish 21 is that there are no ten’s in the deck (aside for Face cards which count as 10) and that the Player will always win on 21 (no Push). Other rules that help to lower the House Edge are the allowance of Late Surrender, Doubling Down is allowed after Hitting and on Split Aces, with re-splitting allowed for up to four hands, including Aces. Spanish 21 also provides bonus payouts on Natural Blackjack hands (6-7-8 suited, 6-7-8 mixed suit, 6-7-8 of Spades, 7-7-7 suited, 7-7-7 mixed suit and 7-7-7 of Spades). Spanish 21 also offers a side wager called “Match the Dealer” in which the bet wins when the Player hand outranks the dealer’s by match and suit.

Perfect Pairs – Played with Classic BJ rules, Perfect Pairs offers an additional side bet and an extra payout on Pairs (mixed, colored and Perfect).

Double Exposure – Rules of Double Exposure may vary from casino to casino, but in general, differ from Classic Blackjack in that there are no Pushes in Double Exposure (player hand loses) except when holding a Natural Blackjack, and that only one Split per hand is allowed (depending if doubling down is also permitted after Splitting).

Blackjack Switch – Since having the ability to switch cards is obviously in the player’s favor, the House retains some of its edge by altering select rules, including a 1:1 payout on Natural Blackjacks (not 3:2), and allowing a dealer hand of 22 to tie a player hand of 21 (other than Natural Blackjacks).

Atlantic City – If you’re playing Atlantic City Blackjack, better get used to a 2:1 payout on a Blackjack hand. However, to make up for the increase in House Edge, Atlantic City Blackjack goes by the following rules: The Dealer must stand on all hands of 17-21, Late Surrendering is allowed, doubling down is allowed on any two cards, including those of a Split hand. Aces may be split once, while all other cards may be split twice. Due to the difference in rules from Classic Blackjack, players are advised to use a basic strategy card specific to Atlantic City Blackjack.

Vegas Downtown – A splitting image of Classic Blackjack, the rules of Vegas Downtown only vary in that all hands can be doubled down, including split hands. Basic Strategy can be applied directly to games of Vegas Downtown Blackjack.

Vegas Strip – Also quite similar to Classic Blackjack, Vegas Strip rules may vary from casino to casino, but typically involve the use of four decks of cards as opposed to six. Variations in Vegas Strip Blackjack include requiring the dealer to stand on 17’s, while some casinos will doubling down on split Aces.

Triple 7’s – Triple 7’s is a popular form of Blackjack, and can often be found on video blackjack machines in land-based casinos. At online casinos offering Triple 7’s Blackjack, 5 decks are used, and a mandatory progressive side bet must be made on each hand. Other rule variations pertain to splitting and doubling down, with the latter only permitted on hand values of 9-11, followed by a single dealt card. Splitting is only permitted on hands with identical cards and does apply to value. Therefore, a hand consisting of a 10 and Queen cannot be split. Regarding the progressive jackpot bonus, it takes a hand of three 7 of Diamonds. Three 7’s of the same suit (other than Diamonds) pay 1,000 credits, two 7’s of the same suit pay 50 credits, two 7’s of different suits pay 25 credits and a lone 7 pays 5 credits.

Blackjack Odds – As mentioned, contingent on rule variations (as seen above), the Casinos Edge will vary when you play blackjack online for money. To help you gauge what rule variations make the most impact on the Casinos Edge, pay attention to the following:

Number of Decks Used: The less decks, the lower the Edge. The difference between 1 deck and 8 decks is .53%.

Hitting on Soft 17:  When the Dealer is allowed to Stand on a Soft 17, the House Edge comes down 0.2%.

Doubling after Splitting: When doubling after splitting is allowed, the House Edge comes down by .14%.

Doubling on any Two Cards: This keeps the House Edge down by .17%, as opposed to only allowing doubling down on just 9-11.

Resplitting: Resplitting 4 hands as opposed to 2 hands lowers the House Edge by 0.1%

Resplitting Aces: Allowing Aces to be Resplit lowers the Edge by 0.06%

Hitting Split Aces: Allowing Split Aces to be Hit lowers the Casinos Edge by 0.17%

Surrendering:  Allowing late surrender lowers the House Edge by 0.08%.

Blackjack Payout: The biggest game changer of all, getting a 6 to 5 payout on Blackjack as opposed to a 3 to 2, raises the House Edge by 1.357%.

London Blackjack Open Final Qualifiers Now Taking Place Online

Friday, December 18th, 2009
London Blackjack Open Final 2009 at Empire Casino

London Blackjack Open Final 2009 at Empire Casino

In the world of online gambling, tournaments mostly catch buzz with Poker and slots players. In other words, there’s simply more money to be won playing online poker and online slots tournaments. Besides skill games like Gin Rummy, the only other games you will find being played in tournament style at a small number of online casinos is Blackjack and Video Poker. Even then, the size of the tournaments is nothing like the numbers generated by slots and poker.

This is precisely why a Blackjack tournament the likes of the London Blackjack Open Final warrants some serious attention. In the blackjack tournament circuit, this is one tournament which the top blackjack players in the world have at the forefront of their radar’s. Scheduled to take place on January 30, 2010, the London Blackjack Open Final has a prize pool of £25,000, including £10,000 for the first place finisher alone.

Again, this is just a chunk of change compared to WSOP and WPT poker tournaments and the online slots tournaments offered at EHGV’s online casinos. But don’t tell that to a professional blackjack player, who for the most part, play blackjack for the intellectual challenge just as much as they do for the money. And for real, £10,000 is a really nice payoff anyhow.

If you enjoy playing online blackjack to begin with, winning a seat to the London Blackjack Open Final is worth taking a shot at. Several online casinos are currently hosting satellite qualifier tournaments, including the popular Euro betting sites, William Hill, Stan James and Paddy Power and other members of the Game Account network, which just so happens to be hosting the main event offline tournament at Empire Casino in Leicester Square, London.

Check out any site in the Game Account network (out topmost recommendation is Will Hill) for twice-daily online satellite qualifier tournaments culminating in weekly semi-finals awarding a free seat to the London Blackjack Open Final.

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