This is a card game classic. Also known as “21”, blackjack is one of the best known casino games and you are likely to find it in pretty much every bitcoin casino – perhaps except in Asia where baccarat is a more popular card game.
You might have played it as a kid – we did at least – as the rules are so simple that a child can understand it. And it is great for practising your math skills too! Blackjack is also one of the most popular games in an online bitcoin casino and you can play hand after hand after hand after hand…
An interesting fact – and very important fact – is that the house edge in blackjack is the lowest among all the casino games. However, this is only the case when you are using the optimal strategy for blackjack. Fortunately, this is easy to learn and if you are able to count cards (which is not an option in an online casino and very difficult to do in a live casino) can you actually achieve an edge over the casino.
Sounds like a great game? It is! Let’s introduce you to it more closely.
How to play blackjack
We will just briefly go through the rules and set-up of a standard blackjack game here. There are some variations so we will create a specific rules page at some point.
You get two cards face up and the dealer also gets two cards, but only one of them face up. The object of the game for you is to get as close to 21 as possible – preferably closer than the dealer - without getting over 21. All face cards count as 10, numeric cards count as their normal value while an ace counts as either 11 or 1.
After getting the two cards you generally have to choose between “Stand” (not taking another card) or “Hit” (taking another card), but you can also choose to “Split” (dividing the two cards into two hands) or Double (double your bet and only take one more card). The last two options should only be used when you have a good starting hand.
Let’s say that you have a King and Queen. In that case you have 20 points, and it would not make sense for you to take another card. So you choose “Stand”, and you see how many points the dealer ends up with. The dealer is playing according to a fixed guideline, where he has to take another card when being below 16 points while standing on 17 and up to 21.
So let’s say the dealer also has a King and the second card shows a 9. In that case he has 19 points and you win! You always win you bet back at even money, meaning that if you bet 10 you win a total of 20 (your bet of 10 + 10 won). We can also say that the dealer gets a 4 as his second card and then afterwards an 8. In that case he has a total of 22 points and he has busted – and you win!
If the dealer also gets a face card as his second card he also ends up with 20 points. In this case it is a push, and you get back your bet. The final option, which you of course do not want to experience, is where the dealer gets an ace and ends up with 21 points. Then the dealer wins and you lose your bet.
If you get an ace and face card or a 10 you have 21 points, which means you get blackjack. This ends the game before the dealer can play his hand and pays back your money 3:2, meaning that if you bet 10 you bet 25 back. This is only possible to do with your starting hand. All other combinations just count as a regular 21.
Online Bitcoin blackjack
There is very little difference between online and live blackjack. The only major difference is that that the cards are always shuffled after every hand online so there is absolutely no chance for you to count cards. Nowadays this is also almost impossible in a live casino as they use several decks and shuffle them before it runs out, but it might be possible in some casinos.
Another small, but positive difference is that you can play at much lower stakes online than at a real casino. You are unlikely to find a live casino which allows bets below 5 $/€/£, but in an online bitcoin casino you can play as low as you want – while at the same time having the possibility to play as high as you want.
Blackjack is a unique casino game in the sense that there is actually some skill involved. A good blackjack player is more likely to win than someone playing for the first time. You can play for hours and make your decisions based on your experience, but the best is to learn the optimal blackjack strategy. It is very simple and in some live casinos you will even get a chart where you can see what you should do with your starting hands.
Most of the time it is fairly simple – such as you should stand on 20 when the dealer has any card – but the strategy may also suggest some more surprising moves, for example, you should always stand on 12 to 16 when the dealer only has 4 to 6. By doing this you allow the dealer to bust quite frequently.
The optimal strategy will not guarantee you a win as you might always be unlucky. But to play according to the strategy is highly recommended. The optimal strategy is based on what starting hand you have and the dealer’s revealed card. Based on mathematical equations the optimal strategy then suggests the best decision for you.
If you follow the strategy to the dot you reduce the house edge from approximately 5% to 0.5%. So just find your starting hand and the dealers hand in the chart below to become a winning player in blackjack. It is really that simple!