Have you played blackjack online before?
If not, you should give it a shot. There are so many perks to playing online compared to playing live. I’ll go over these later on, but at a bare minimum, think about the money you spend traveling to the casino – the gas, airfare, hotels, food, days of work, etc. – you can save all that when you choose to play online instead.
The first step to getting started is to join a casino.
There are hundreds of casinos to choose from – some are better than others. You can take the time to find the best casinos yourself, but that can take you days, or even weeks.
A much faster option is to pick from one from our recommended casinos list below.
The rest of this page will more or less be a primer to playing blackjack online for real money. More specifically, we’ll cover:
This will cover the basics of gambling online, ranging from banking to promotions to software.
We go into more detail about blackjack software, including the different variants and rules you can expect to find online.
In this section, we talk about the types of promotions casinos have for blackjack players – which are unlike those you’ll see offline – and, more importantly, how these offers work.
This page will be more useful for beginners who haven’t gambled online before, as this info will help just about anyone wanting to play online. Especially the first section. The rest of the page will cover specific stuff for online blackjack players.
Let’s get to it.
Let’s start with online blackjack casinos. Here’s what’s important for you to know.
Banking options vary wildly depending on what country you’re playing from and where you’re playing. For example, Americans will have fewer options than Canadians or UK players. But Americans will have more banking options at 5Dimes and BetOnline than they will at Bovada.
It just depends. Which is why it’s helpful to read reviews before you choose a casino.
With that in mind, these are the most common banking options you’ll find casinos accept:
Most casinos will have banking limits, too, for both deposits and cash outs. Many will also charge fees, which will either be a percentage (credit/debit cards) or flat cost.
None of this will be new to you if you’ve done any amount of shopping online. It works the same way – punch in your details, hit submit, and then you’ll have money (your ‘purchase’) in your player account.
A big concern about gambling online is safety and security. You don’t want to be ripped off, nor do you want to play rigged casino games.
One way to reduce the chances of this happening to you is to only play at licensed casinos.
Now, I don’t recommend putting a ton of weight behind licensing and regulation – especially for casinos who don’t accept UK/Euro players – because the rules they have to follow are pretty lax. But it IS a barrier to entry, even if only a small one.
That said, if you play at a casino who has a UK / Euro license, it’ll all but guarantee you’re playing at a legit casino. Because they’ll actually face consequences if they fail to follow the rules and/or screw players over.
It’s not hard to make sure a casino is licensed – most post the details in the footer of their website, or on their about page.
You can learn more about license and jurisdictions and how all that stuff works by heading to our section on gambling laws and jurisdictions.
If you’re an American and cannot play at one of the legal online casinos or poker rooms in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, your only option is to play at an offshore casino. This comes with risks, primarily because these casinos are operating illegally.
They get away with it because they somehow operate outside the US’ jurisdiction. One way they do this is by using a domain extension such as .eu, .lv or .ag.
Because they’re not legal or regulated by the US, one of the biggest risks you take playing at one of these casinos is that they can screw you over and bail. You can try to lawyer up and fight them, but from what I’ve read this is often pointless for the amounts most players are ripped off for.
That’s the biggest risk.
Another risk is if the US ever does get jurisdiction over these domains, or finds another way to go after these casinos – if you have money with the casino, then chances are when the US confiscates the funds, yours will be confiscated too. We saw that happen with PokerStars and Full Tilt, and Full Tilt players had to wait a couple years to get their balances back.
Don’t let this scare you from gambling online. Just know that, if you’re from the US, you’re going to be gambling at casinos who’re offering their services illegally. Then there’s the possibility that it’s illegal to gamble (online) in your state.
And that all comes with risks.
We cover software in more detail below. But, like brick and mortar casinos, there’s more than one software company that provides games to online casinos. You’ll find nearly 180 active software companies listed on vegasslotsonline.com.
Software matters for a few different reasons:
Some casinos use one software company, while others use several. It’s helpful to know who the bigger software companies are and the types of games they offer, especially if you’re after a specific blackjack variant or side bet.
Online casinos offer promotions. But they don’t just offer comp points like brick and mortar casinos do. They also offer deposit bonuses. These are offers where the casino matches a percentage of your deposit up to so many dollars. These aren’t entirely free – there’s a catch – but it can be a great way to add a few bucks to your bankroll if you’re up for it.
There are a few important things to know about blackjack offers that makes them different from offers for, say, slots players. We’ll cover this in more detail below.
That’s about it.
Online gambling isn’t overly complicated, though it might seem that way if you’ve never played online before.
But one of the great things about playing online is that most casinos let you create accounts and play their games for free. And while we assume most people reading a page about ‘real money blackjack’ will want to gamble for real money, it’s still good to know that you can first get your feet wet playing blackjack for free – something you can’t do in a B/M casino.
It’s especially helpful if you want to get familiar with a casino’s software first, or if you want to learn a new game or side bet – things we’ll be discussing in the next section.
Now let’s talk about software – specifically, blackjack software.
This isn’t something you have to think about or will experience in a brick and mortar casino. The casino will have whatever games they offer out there on the floor, and they pretty much all look and run the same way.
Online, though, you’ll often have different variants, rules, side bets, stakes and payouts from casino to casino.
Because of that, what I want to do now is highlight some of the most important blackjack rules and how much or little they favor the player. Then I’ll highlight which rules you should look for when choosing a game to play.
After that, I’ll cover the most common blackjack variants available online, followed by how you can play them.
Rules will vary from online casino to casino. But it’s less about the casino changing the rules – like they do in B/M casinos – and more about how each software provider sets their own rules.
Here are the rules that will affect your odds of winning most. Then after this I’ll show you the best and worst rules for blackjack players.
Blackjack games are played with one to eight decks. This creates a house edge ranging from .17 to .65 percent. The fewer decks used, the better.
Can you double down on a new hand following a split? If not, the house edge is bumped up by .12%.
Surrendering allows you to forfeit your hand while keeping half of your bet. This boosts your edge, when allowed.
All blackjack rules will let you know if the dealer will need to stand or hit on a soft 17 (a hand with an ace). You want games where the dealer hits soft 17s, as this lowers the house edge by .2%.
Can you split new hands after you split your original hand? If so, this lowers the house edge.
Can you split aces? And if you split aces, do you get only one card or as many cards as you need? The more splits you can do, the better your odds.
There are two common payouts – 3:2 and 6:5. 3:2 is the preferred payout, as 6:5 payouts increase the house edge by 1.4%. Some casinos even pay even money, which increases the house edge by 2.3%.
Those are the most common/important rules. But the following rules are what I recommend looking at first:
You want to avoid games with the following rules (whenever possible):
Keep in mind these rules are for a standard game of blackjack. There are tons of other blackjack variants you can play. The following section shares the most common variants you’ll find online.
Most online casinos will have at least 2-3 blackjack games. But more common are casinos with 7-10 variants. Some casinos even have 20+ (usually casinos using Microgaming)!
Here are some of the more common variants you’ll come across online, as well as a few details about each one.
A game where a natural blackjack always defeats a dealer’s natural 21. You can also split hands up to 4 times and a 6-card hand worth 20 is an automatic winner.
In this variant an ace is worth a single point. The objective is to get a hand with one ace and two face cards, also known as a Caribbean 21.
Both of the dealer’s cards are dealt face up. This variant is also known as Double Exposure or Dealer’s Disclosure.
Manage two hands at the same time, with the option of swapping one card from each hand.
A variant where the ten point cards have been removed from the deck.
Blackjack games dealt by real croupiers – often in real casinos from around the world – that are streamed to online casinos in real time. These have several variants of their own, sometimes the game itself, but often times the dealer type (Playboy), gender (male/female) or ethnicity (Asian, European, etc.).
Another variant where the ten cards are removed. Players can also late surrender anytime; a natural 21 beats the dealer’s 21; you can surrender after doubling down; you can double down on any two cards.
A standard game of blackjack, but with a side bet bonus. Play the side bet and get paid if you get a mixed pair (a pair of different suits), colored pair (same color suits (red or black), or perfect pair (two cards of the same suit).
Those are the most common variants. But there are always outliers – a variant or side bet that only one software company offers. If you’re into trying new blackjack games, this would be another reason why it makes sense to become familiar with different software providers.
You can also read our reviews. We usually list all of a casino’s table game option and point out which of their variants are new, interesting or unique.
One other thing I want to cover regarding casino software is compatibility. Now, this doesn’t have much to do with blackjack specifically, but it is a byproduct of the casino and who they get their software from.
Compatibility simply boils down to what platforms you can play the casino’s games on. There are 3-4 different options depending on how you want to categorize them.
Here are your options:
The oldest and most common option. You’ll download the casino’s software to your computer. Downloads are usually only available for Windows operating systems.
This is also called a browser or no download casino. The games are made using Flash or Java, and more recently HTML5, which allows you to play them from your browser – no download necessary.
This option is available for Windows, Macs, Linux and often mobile devices. You can play from any computer, so long as you have internet access.
A native app is an app made specifically for your phone. The upsides include better graphics and usability. The downside is that fewer devices – like Blackberry and Windows – are supported.
If the casino doesn’t have a native app, they’ll have a mobile website. The thing that sucks about some of these is that they won’t have nearly the number of blackjack games their download or instant play casino does. If you can, try to find a responsive and/or HTML5 casino as your chances are better at having more blackjack variants.
There’s not a better or bet software option, though I prefer instant play casinos due to the convenience.
Alright, let’s wrap this page up with a discussion about blackjack promotions.
Most deals for blackjack players will be the same as for everyone else. The biggest difference, though, is the terms you need to follow – or the “catch.”
I’ll get to the “catch” in just a second. But first I want to explain the types of offers online casinos make to real money blackjack players.
Here are the most common offers:
Those are the most common offers for blackjack players. And you’ll want to keep in mind that these offers don’t come free, nor do they come cheap.
All offers have a catch.
All casino offers will have a catch. They call this a playthrough or rollover requirement.
A rollover requirement is where the casino will have you wager so much money, usually relative to your bonus and/or deposit.
Now, that default playthrough – that 40x – is for slots, keno and scratch card players. It’s for people clearing bonuses on games that favor the house. These don’t apply to blackjack players, or any other game where the house edge is low. Not usually.
I’m not 100% sure why casinos do this. I know some games are easy to manipulate so that the casino doesn’t stand a chance of making any money. But I think the other reason is because games like blackjack have such a low house edge that a little bit of good luck can screw a casino out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
So, what some casinos do is say that their offers aren’t for blackjack players (or any low edged game). But that’s not as common as it used to be.
What other casinos do is handicap their offers so that if you play these games, you’ll have to play more to clear the same offer.
For example, the casino might say that bets made on blackjack are worth only 10% of a bet made on slots. This means you’ll need to wager 10x the regular playthrough (because 10 times 10% equals 100%). Using our example above, that means you’ll need to wager the bonus 400x, or $40,000.
Some blackjack games are handicapped worse than that. Single deck blackjack games, for example, are often handicapped to 2-5%.
This applies to comp/VIP point programs, too. You’ll either spend the same amount of money, but earn less points, or have to spend more to earn the same number of points (as slots players), and/or your exchange rate will be higher than points earned from higher house edged games.
At the end of the day, blackjack players will have to spend more to get the same perks as slots/keno players.
Well, one of the perks to gambling for real money online are the offers. Brick and mortar casinos don’t offer deposit bonuses or extensive VIP programs.
This might even be one of the reasons that drew you in to playing blackjack online.
The problem is that these offers are hardly worthwhile for blackjack players. You have to clear these terms BEFORE you can cash out, or else there are consequences. You either don’t get to keep your winnings or bonus money, or something else negative.
And we want to make sure you’re well aware of both the good AND bad to playing blackjack online before you jump in with both feet.
Last thing – not all casino’s bonus terms are this bad. Some are a bit better. But I’ve found that they’re almost always handicapped to the point to where you’re spending LOTS of money for a small return.
We cover each casino’s exact terms for their blackjack games, and give you our opinions of whether they’re worthwhile or not, in our casino reviews.
For that reason, I think it makes far more sense to skip the bonus and maybe play for comp points, but only if you plan on sticking with a specific casino for the long run.
Playing online blackjack for real money is the way to go. It trumps B/M casino blackjack for several reasons including:
It’s not terribly hard to get started, either. Choose a casino (using our recommendations or by reading our reviews) and get signed up. Then log in and start playing.
It’s really that easy to play blackjack online for real money.