Online blackjack for real money

Online casino blackjack is a game of chance that is an integral part of every gambling site. Unlike other table games, blackjack online has multiple variations, making it a preferred choice for many expert players and novices. The blackjack’s aim of beating the dealer looks like a no-brainer, which is true in most cases. However, to leverage the game’s high RTP of about 99%, you need to apply a winning strategy and know all the ins and outs of online blackjack. The game is ideal for novices as it has intuitive table markings with betting spots, easy-to-grasp rules, and flexible bet sizes. On this website, you will see numerous casino reviews featuring blackjack, strategies, rules, game variations, and other helpful content that will ultimately make you an expert in blackjack online.

What is online blackjack?

Games you can find in any online casino are based on luck and require little skills. Take a video slot. If you do not know the rules, your task is to click Spin and see the winning combos landed – there’s nothing complicated here. With online blackjack, everything is different. Every slightest change in blackjack rules (e.g., the Dealer Hit/Stands on 17) brings about a shift in the way you deal with your card hands.

Online blackjack table

Opening any blackjack game, the player will see a virtual table and the user interface. The table has a few elements that allow one to interact with the game and make bets. On the table surface, you have one or more rectangular or round areas where the software deals your cards. Bets (online casino chips) are placed in designated boxes near each stack of cards.

A user interface has a couple of buttons for bet placement and making decisions with the hand. As a rule of thumb, a blackjack table is intuitive. Even if this is the first time you open an online blackjack table, you’ll get into the swing of things very quickly.

A blackjack table often shows the most basic rules, e.g., ‘Insurance pays 2:1’ and ‘Dealer must draw on 16 and stand on all 17s’. Of course, this is insufficient for the complete understanding of the rules of this specific game, but it is enough to decide whether you want to play here or not – maybe you don’t like that the dealer stands on soft 17.

Bet sizes in online blackjack

Generally, the maximum stake in online blackjack is way lower than in online roulette but higher than in a video slot. Minimum bets can range from $0.01 to $5. If you want to visit VIP or high-roller variations of this game, get ready to place a minimum of $10 to $50.

The ceiling limit also depends on the game. On average, the maximum bet can be $200 to $500, while some blackjack online casinos offer tables with a $1000 max and up.

Specific limits can apply to the total amount of bets placed by one player in any round or to one hand. The difference here can be significant if we are talking about a three-hand blackjack where a player is allowed to make three initial bets on three independent bet spots. Besides, if the player splits each hand, he will have 6 hands simultaneously. So, it is important to confirm the limits of a specific table when you play online blackjack for real money and want to make big bets.

Online blackjack game rules

The rules can be expressed in one sentence, ‘The player’s objective is to score higher than the dealer without exceeding 21.’ However, everything is way trickier than that. A player needs to make proper decisions to get the best out of the two initial cards dealt at the beginning of every round.

So after the bet is placed, the host (in live blackjack) or software (in a normal online blackjack game) deals two cards to the player and the house. One of the house cards is dealt face down. Based on the visible cards, the player should think out what to do next – this is known as ‘the player’s decision.’

Online blackjack game rules

The rules can be expressed in one sentence, ‘The player’s objective is to score higher than the dealer without exceeding 21.’ However, everything is way trickier than that. A player needs to make proper decisions to get the best out of the two initial cards dealt at the beginning of every round.

So after the bet is placed, the host (in live blackjack) or software (in a normal online blackjack game) deals two cards to the player and the house. One of the house cards is dealt face down. Based on the visible cards, the player should think out what to do next – this is known as ‘the player’s decision.’

Hole card in blackjack online

Let’s lend clarity to the ‘hole card’ phrase. In blackjack lingo, this is a face-down card in the dealer’s hand. There are two blackjack variants, European and American, which treat the hole card differently.

According to the American blackjack rules, the dealer (the software in online blackjack) looks for natural blackjack when the face-up card is 10. This happens immediately after the player gets his initial cards and before the player makes any gaming decision. If the hole card is a ten-pointer (any 10, J, Q or K), the game ends with the dealer having 21. If the player also has 21, there’s normally a push (a tie).  

European blackjack rules read that the dealer peeks at the hole card after the player finishes with his hand. So, the software deals two cards to the player and one to the dealer’s box. In some variations, the second card is also dealt, but it remains face-down until the end of the round. Once the player completes all moves with the available hand, the dealer then reveals the face-down card. If you play online blackjack, keep in mind this difference because the American hole card version is often more beneficial in the long run.    

Player’s decisions in blackjack 21 online

After the two cards are dealt, the player must decide what to do with the initial cards. The decision must be made, taking into account the dealer’s open card. This is perhaps the most complicated part when you play blackjack online because each small change in rules necessitates tweaking the player’s decisions. So here are the options you can pick after receiving the two cards:

  • Stand: If the player is satisfied with the current hand and needs no more cards, the Stand option is the best choice. The turn goes to the dealer.
  • Hit: This option is picked if the player wants one more card. Taking the third, fourth, etc. card can result in a bust, so this decision must be well-grounded.
  • Split: This option is often greyed out unless you have the qualifying hand, i.e. any pair or a specific pair, for example, two tens. If you get a pair, you can split it, thus forming a new hand. In this situation, the software deals two new cards, and the amount equal to your first bet is taken from your balance automatically.
  • Double Down: When the player has 9, 10, 11 or other score (this depends on the game variation), online blackjack can highlight the Double Down button. This move is similar to Hit, but the player must also increase the ante by x2. Some games limit how often the Double Down can be performed in one round. A player is usually allowed to do this only once.

Insurance bet  

These options are offered to players at an early stage of a game, usually immediately after the initial cards are distributed. The Insurance Bet can only be placed if the dealer’s faceup card is an ace. By making this kind of bet, the player actually insures himself against the dealer’s having a 10-valued card, which can result in the natural blackjack and the dealer’s win.

This wager costs half the original bet and pays out 2:1. So if your ante is $10 and you decide to click the Insurance option against the house’s ace, $5 is deducted from your balance. If the dealer turns out to have a natural bj, your original $10 is lost, but the Insurance bet awards $5 x 2 = $10, so you actually break even.

Expert players do not recommend taking Insurance as it has a high house edge: about 8%. Let’s do maths: suppose you are playing a six-deck game (312 cards in the virtual stack), and your hand has no tens. This means 96 of the remaining 309 cards have a value of ten. So, on average, your insurance bet wins 96 times and loses 213 times. The best option is to avoid this bet.  

Early Surrender feature

This is another option enabling one to terminate the round early in an effort to minimise the potential loss. Some games offer a late surrender option against the dealer’s ace or 10 (or only ace). If you know you have a weak hand, e.g. 12 to 15, you should consider surrendering because the chances of the dealer’s having a natural blackjack are higher than your chances of creating a good hand.

A late surrender is offered after the dealer peeks for blackjack. So, if the round hasn’t ended at that point due to the dealer’s natural, you can use the Surrender option. As a result, you get 50% of your initial wager back, and the game ends regardless of the dealer’s hand.

Late Surrender feature

When you play blackjack online for real money, you can come across a game version with an Early Surrender feature, though it is rare nowadays. Many American Blackjack games were originally fitted with that player-centric option; however, it had a small negative mathematical expectation for the house, and many casinos removed that game from their parlours. Today, the Early Surrender rule is still found in some online blackjack casinos, but its house edge has become slightly higher (0.5% – 1%) due to a few new rule modifications.

When you surrender early, you do this before the game’s software looks at the dealer’s hole card. The implication is that you forfeit your current hand and get 50% of the bet back, even if the dealer’s face-down card would have brought about a natural blackjack if the dealer had opened it. Of course, you should pick this option to exit the round if you have a weak set of cards.  

Card values

Online blackjack casinos have many BJ variations. However, in 100% of titles, except for some exotic ones, a uniform card value system is used in line with classic blackjack rules. A total hand score is the sum of points that each card in the hand has:

  • Cards 2-10: give 2 to 10 points, according to their pip values
  • Jack, Queen, King: 10 points each
  • Ace: 1 or 11 points.

For example, a 5/9 hand gives 14 points, while a J/10 hand is worth 20. As for aces, their value is dictated by the situation. Card suits are irrelevant and have no effect on rankings.

Soft and hard hands in online blackjack

Any hand in real blackjack online can be characterised as soft or hard. This aspect is essential in understanding the dealer’s actions, especially when the dealer’s cards have a 16 or 17 score. Besides, knowing the difference between the two types will help you implement the basic strategy more efficiently.

A hand is called soft when it can have more than one total score without going bust. For example, a 5/A can total 6 or 16, so this is a soft hand. A hard hand has a single value, e.g. 10/5 makes a 15-score hand with no other options. Similarly, a K/Q/A hand is also hard because the ace cannot be counted as 11 points since the hand will exceed 21 in this case.  

Dealer’s moves in blackjack online

At what moment of the gameplay does the dealer (software) begin to do something with its hand? This occurs when the player

  • Hits (stops at the first two cards)
  • Gets 21 points as a result of taking one or more additional cards

If either condition is met, the dealer’s hand comes into play. First, the software evaluates the available cards, including the hole card, and decides how many extra cards to get from the shoe. There is an essential provision available in every real money blackjack online: the dealer must stand on all 17s or only on hard 17s (but hit on soft 17s). Contrary to a human who can do whatever he wants, e.g. hit on 19, the dealer (software) cannot.

Hitting and standing are the only two moves for the dealer’s hand. In blackjack, only the player may split, double down, and do other rule-driven actions. The dealer’s hand has a limited range of choices.

Online blackjack payouts

Classic blackjack games with no side bets and bonus features attached have uniform payouts. Whatever BJ variation you are going to play for real money, you will always have the following cash prizes:

  • Natural blackjack: 3 to 2. A natural hand always has two cards received in the initial deal. It always beats the dealer’s hand unless the dealer also has BJ, in which case there’s a push. Also, note that any two-card combination with a 21 score created after a split is not considered a natural blackjack.
  • Player’s hand wins: 1 to 1. When the player’s hand is higher than the dealer’s, this is a normal win with a 1:1 return. The total score of the player’s hand is irrelevant. If the dealer exceeds 21, the player wins either.
  • Insurance: 2 to 1. This optional stake is explained in detail above. In most situations, Insurance is a poor choice and must be avoided.

Some blackjack online casinos offer titles with uncommon payouts.

Card counting in blackjack online games

Some braggy guys claim they can count cards in online blackjack and win more often as a result. But this cannot be true – no one is able to perform card counting in any blackjack online game. At land-based casinos, smart guys have a chance to count the dealt and remaining cards if they are strong in maths. However, if pit bosses suspect them of that, this player will be kicked out.

In online blackjack casinos, the situation is different. The virtual, computer-generated nature of all games, including blackjack, makes it impossible to count cards. The matter is that the entire content of the virtual shoe is automatically re-generated after each round. This means that even the cards that were in the previous rounds can be dealt in the following rounds. So, there’s no sense in trying to perform card counting. This is useless and of no effect.

The same limitations apply to live online blackjack. The dealer always changes the shoe when the burn card is reached somewhere in the middle of the card stack. Given that the deck penetration is about 50% in live blackjack, card counting is also useless, like in any online blackjack.

Side bets in online blackjack

A classic blackjack game has only one main bet. But gambling on table games would be boring without some variety added to the tried-and-tested classic rules. That is why some studios have released online blackjack tables with side bets attached. They relive the monotony of a standard blackjack and open the way for increased winnings.

As you know, the best you can grab in BJ is a 3:2 loot for a natural hand. With side bets, you can hit over 1000x bet. Side bets are voluntary. They accompany the main bet, but you can also play without them. Here is the breakdown of the most frequent and interesting optional bets in blackjack games online:

Perfect Pairs

A player wins if the two cards in his hand make up a pair. Here, there are three versions and potential outcomes:

  • Simple pair: Same-valued cards of different suits and colours, e.g. 10S+10H
  • Coloured pair: Same-valued cards of the same colour, e.g. 10S+10C
  • Perfect pair: Two identical cards, e.g. 10S+10S.

Cash rewards for the above are not uniform and differ across game variations. The most frequent scheme is when the player gets 6:1, 12:1 and 25:1, accordingly. There are tables where the player receives 5:1, 10:1 and 30:1. The probability of getting any pair is about 7.5%.

Moreover, Some live games from Evolution have a Double Perfect Pair outcome with a 200:1 prize, given if the player’s and dealer’s hands match in both suit and rank.


The side bet pays based on the player's first two cards and the dealer's faceup card. If the three cards form a poker hand, the player gets a payout. Like the side bet listed above, 21+3 payouts are not uniform. Here is the most widespread pattern for the combinations and payouts:

  • Straight Flush: 9 to 1, 35 to 1
  • Three of a kind: 9 to 1, 33 to 1
  • Straight: 9 to 1, 10 to 1
  • Flush: 9 to 1, 5 to 1
  • Pair: 2.5 to 1

The house edge is 3 to 7% for various numbers of decks. Experts believe this is a good side bet option; however, you should carefully learn the pay table of the specific game to avoid curveballs and excessive losses.

Bust It (Bust)

This is a rare optional bet where the player wins 5:2 if the dealer busts the hand. The probability of dealer busting is about 28%, and the ‘Soft/Hard 17’ rule has a tiny effect on the returns. In games with a ‘Stand on soft 17’ system, the house edge is a mere 1.3%, so this is a good side bet.

Best online blackjack variations

Online blackjack is based on a set of rules that set forth the player’s choices with a card hand, e.g. how many times a player may split or which cards qualify for a double down. Knowing the rules of a specific table is essential for surging the potential returns from each hand. Also, you should realise that each minor modification has sway with the house/player edge. Even the number of decks figures into the probabilities in online blackjack. This is how it works:

  • 1 deck: the house edge increases by 0.01%
  • 2: +0.34%
  • 4: +0.5%
  • 6: +0.55%
  • 8: +0.57%

Another thing to realise is that the player must adhere to the basic strategy framed specifically for this game variation. Failure to do this will reduce the theoretical player edge significantly because the player will miss the opportunities and make incorrect moves, e.g. Hit where the strategy dictates to Stand. Below, you can sit alongside the main variations found in online blackjack casinos.  

European Blackjack

This is a classic online blackjack model whose standout feature is that the dealer does not peek for blackjack. A hole card can be on the table or inside the shoe, but this does not matter. Under the ‘no-peek’ rule, the player loses against the dealer’s blackjack alongside all the additional bets made when splitting or doubling down. This version may seem like a non-friendly type of blackjack. However, the other rules of European blackjack leverage that core deficiency. These are the main provisions behind this online casino blackjack:

  • Number of decks: normally, 8. Rarely, 4 or 6
  • Dealer stands on soft 17
  • Player may double down after splitting
  • Player may double down on 9, 10 or 11

The house edge is about 1% to 0.5%, and the gameplay is pretty easy for novices. Most game providers release European Blackjack, so you will undoubtedly find it posted in many online casinos.

American Blackjack

This is a hole-card game where the dealer (software) peeks for blackjack if the dealer’s upcard is 10 or Ace. The hidden card is not revealed unless it adds to the natural blackjack. However, if the card is not shown, the player already knows the dealer does not have blackjack, implying the player has more chances to win than if he did not know the dealer had no natural. This makes American Blackjack allegedly the friendliest BJ version of all. Here is a short analysis of the main rules linked to this kind of real-money blackjack online:

  • Player may double down on any two equal cards
  • Player may re-split, except for aces
  • Dealer can hit or stand on soft 17 (game-dependent)

The casino’s advantage is also about 1%, much like European Blackjack. Also, note that both types have no visual difference. Even a pro will hardly know one from another, judging only by the table markings layout. One of the ways to distinguish the versions is to enter the rules and find hole-card info.  

Double Exposure Blackjack

This is a rare variation (found in Betsoft and Microgaming collections) in which both dealer cards are visible from the very beginning. Despite the apparent simplicity, the game’s RTP is 98.5% to 99.4%. The classic rules attached to EB or AB are a bit changed to make up for the player’s knowledge of both cards of the dealer. The most important rules are: The Player earns 1:1 for natural blackjack, and the Dealer wins on all ties unless the player has a natural. Double Exposure Blackjack can go by other names, e.g. Face Up 21 (Realtime Gaming).


Pontoon normally uses 4 decks with 48 cards each; these are 52 cards minus tens. Removal of even one 10-point card benefits the dealer, so Pontoon contains a couple of rules compensating for this downside. If you look closer at the list below, you’ll see it features some definitely favourable provisions that ultimately result in the 99.5% house edge under the optimal strategy:

  • No hole card (a European rule element)
  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Player may double down on 9 and 11
  • Player’s 21 wins immediately (no turn is given to the dealer, even if the dealer’s hand features blackjack)
  • Player may surround after doubling, even before the dealer opens the second card.

Live blackjack online

The best online blackjack casinos often have live dealer lobbies where the blackjack action is guided and hosted by human dealers. Evolution, Pragmatic Play, Vivo, LuckyStreak and Playtech are just a few names standing behind the richest collections of live blackjack options in online casinos.

Generally, the rules, player’s options, dealer’s rules, RTP, payouts, and other aspects are similar to what a standard online blackjack can offer. Stunning visual perfection and the feeling of immersion and involvement in the gameplay are the fundamental properties that stand apart in live blackjack.

The most alluring feature of live blackjack is its multiplayer environment and the Bet Behind functionality put in place in some live tables. You can see other players’ bets and place your chips on any of them, thus delegating them the right to make decisions on your behalf.

Live blackjack games have many facets and peculiarities, which make them a more appealing solution than online blackjack. However, this is a matter of opinion, and many gamblers still adore classic online blackjack tables run by software. If you are interested in real-life action, try Lightning Blackjack, ONE Blackjack, PowerUp Blackjack and Prive Blackjack (the latter is ideal for high rollers).  

Online blackjack RTP

A return to player in blackjack is the ideal value that shows how much a user can potentially get back against when betting in a specific game. Therefore, a 99% RTP means a player may count on retrieving $99 against a $100 bet, so the net loss will be $1. However, this is the ultimate mark that requires great skills and deep knowledge of blackjack rules and optimal strategies.

As mentioned several times above, every clause of the rules tilts the RTP toward the player or decreases it. The rules are compiled in a way that leaves a minimal house edge for skilled players. In this respect, online and live blackjack is deemed to be one of the loosest casino games, perhaps being second to only video poker. Below are the RTP figures for the most common types of blackjack online games:

  • Blackjack Surrender: 99.66%
  • Vegas Downtown: 99.60%
  • Pontoon: 99.64%
  • Atlantic City Blackjack: 99.65%
  • Blackjack Switch: 99.92%
  • Lucky Lucky Blackjack: 99.51%
  • Single-Deck Blackjack: 99.85%

Online blackjack strategies

A winning strategy in blackjack determines the proper play for each hand of the dealer and player. For example, it shows what is a preferable decision if the player has 10 and the dealer’s upcard is 5, and so on. A blackjack strategy is designed in a way to provide the best possible outcome in terms of winning probability and odds for each possible combination of cards.

Given a large number of possible hand combinations, an optimal strategy is arranged as a table where the column names are the player’s cards and the horizontal row names are the dealer’s cards. If you want to find out how to act, you should find a cell at the intersection of the needed column and row. Each cell shows a value corresponding to the player’s decision which is recommended in that situation. Cell values can be as follows: S - Stand, H - Hit, D - Double, P - Split, and so on.  

Not every online blackjack game has a strategy inside the rules, so you will have to look for BJ charts somewhere else. Generally, if you follow the strategy unfailingly, you will make your play as beneficial as possible, and your actual return will reasonably match the game’s potential RTP.  


What is online blackjack?

Online blackjack is the virtual version of the classic card game where players aim to have a hand closer to 21 than the dealer's, without exceeding 21.

Is online blackjack rigged?

Reliable game providers use random number generators to ensure the randomness and fairness of game outcomes, including online blackjack. These systems are regularly audited by third parties. Playing in licensed and regulated online casinos significantly reduces the risk of encountering rigged games.

How to play online blackjack?

The fundamental goal in blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand without going over 21. A player starts with two cards, and the dealer has one card face up. Players can choose to hit (take another card) or stand (keep their current hand), aiming to get as close to 21 as possible. If your hand exceeds 21, it's a bust, and you lose.

How do I win in online blackjack?

Winning in blackjack requires a combination of luck and strategy. Understanding the basic strategy, which guides decisions on when to hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender based on your hand and the dealer's upcard, can significantly improve your chances of winning.

What variations of online blackjack are there?

Online casinos offer a wide range of blackjack variations, each with unique rules and betting options. Common variations include Classic Blackjack, European Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, and Blackjack Switch, among others.

Can I play online blackjack on my mobile?

Yes, most online casinos and gaming platforms are optimised for mobile devices, allowing players to enjoy blackjack on smartphones and tablets. Some offer apps, while others can be accessed directly through a mobile web browser.

What is live dealer blackjack?

Many online casinos offer live dealer blackjack, which allows players to experience a more immersive gaming environment. In live dealer games, a real dealer deals the cards in real time from a studio, and players can interact with the dealer and sometimes other players via a chat function. This format aims to replicate the feeling of playing at a land-based casino.

What is the house edge in online blackjack?

The house edge in online blackjack varies based on the game rules and the player's strategy. Generally, with optimal play, the house edge can be as low as 0.5% in some blackjack variants. However, this edge can increase with less favourable rules or if players do not follow the optimal strategy.

Can I count cards in online blackjack?

While card counting is a viable strategy in land-based casinos, it is not effective in online and live blackjack.