21, pontoon or just blackjack, whether you're a casino go-er or not, chances are that you have heard of the game. Traces date back to as early as the 17th century, yet blackjack is still one of the UK's most popular card games. Let's just say that you won't find many brick and mortar casinos that don't offer at least some form of the game today. With the launch of online gaming, it was only a matter of time before casino sites caught on. With such a wide choice out there, our list of the best online blackjack casinos should get you off to a flying start.

Top 7 Blackjack Casino Sites in the UK

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What is Blackjack?

You may have more of an insight into where to play online blackjack, but perhaps you're a total newcomer to the game. Sometimes referred to as Vingt-et-Un or 21, blackjack falls under the card game family, just like poker and baccarat. While there are some similarities, on a global scale, blackjack continues to come out on top. The same can goes for the online version of the game. The aim of casino blackjack is straightforward, the hand value closest to '21' wins. There are however various types, each with their own set of rules. Read on as we take you through it all.

How to Play Blackjack Online?

As seen previously, for those looking to play cards online; in most cases, blackjack is usually a winner. Perhaps one of the main reasons behind this is the fact that learning the ropes won't take much. Blackjack card rules are quite simple to grasp, as we are about to find out in this next section. For starters, it's important to point out that if you are looking to play blackjack online, you'll notice many variations. Each come with their own set of house rules as we'll learn about later.

In some cases, payouts will also vary slightly. This is particularly important when betting using real money. For the time being, we'll look at underlining the fundamentals. Before getting into things, here's a list of the card values to be aware of before you play online blackjack.

  • Ace Card: 1 / 11 points
  • Face Cards: 10 points
  • Other Cards: points in line with natural value

While blackjack table size can differ, the starting point is always the same, placing bets. Once betting is complete, only then will the blackjack dealer initiate the game. As a general rule, each player receives two cards.

In some cases, both cards a placed face up. Other variations follow what is know as the hole card rule. In this case, the second card is placed face down. Only the player can see their full hand. Based on the total hand value, each individual must decide what to do next.

Standing means that the player will not receive any more cards. Hitting, on the other hand, will mean that the player wants to accept more cards. Other options include doubling or splitting and in some instances, surrendering. The aim is to get as close to 21 as possible without busting. Below is a list of critical terminology to be aware of when learning how to play 21.

  • Hole Card: second card dealt which remains face down
  • Hit: decision to take another card
  • Stand: decision to stop taking cards
  • Double: option of doubling the original bet in return for one additional card
  • Split: if the first two cards dealt are the same, the player can opt to separate them into two individual hands
  • Bust: when the hand value exceeds 21, the player loses all bets placed
  • Surrender: a house rule sometimes applied where it is possible to opt-out of the game before/after the dealer has checked for blackjack. This only occurs when the dealer's first card is an ace or 10-value.
  • Blackjack: the best hand in the game which is always an ace and a 10. Payout for this type of hand is usually higher.

Online Blackjack Dealer Rules

Unlike other casino games like roulette, a dealer at an online blackjack casino is also considered a player. While they deal themselves a hand, different rules do apply for croupiers. The individual to the left of the dealer begins, and the game follows a clockwise rotation. The dealer is always the last to play in a blackjack card game online. In most games, the croupier is the only hand with a hole card. The dealer reveals this card once all other players have finished their round.

If the value is below 17, the dealer must continue to take cards. The ace card must be counted as 11 if the total gives a number of 17 and over. They have no control over the decision but must follow general rules. There are of course some exceptions to these rules, for instance in the case of games where the early/late surrender rule applies.

Blackjack Online Game Variations

Now that you know the basics of how to play blackjack cards, we'll move onto more complex matters. If you're ever visited a UK online casino, then you're well aware of the fact that slots tend to take up a more significant portion of the games lobby. In many cases, you will however, still find multiple variations of online casino blackjack. The truth is that there are many different types out there. Below we have looked at outlining the more major ones. This is particularly important for players looking to try their luck at real money blackjack.

American Blackjack

Similar to roulette, there are American and European versions of blackjack. As we're about to find out, the American spin-off is usually more player-friendly. This is due to specific rules that decrease house advantage. Firstly, most games following these rules at blackjack sites use the hole card principle.

Furthermore, players also benefit from early/late surrenders, depending on the online blackjack casino provider. To top it all off, there are no restrictions on doubling down and re-splitting. One downside is that this blackjack card game uses 6 to 8 decks.

European Blackjack

One major difference to the previous version is the fact that European blackjack uses two decks. Another player-friendly rule is what is know as an insurance bet. This is a side bet which can be placed on a dealer winning blackjack. There are, however, some disadvantages. Blackjack sites following these rules won't allow for hole cards or surrenders. Aces cannot be resplit, and there are limitations on doubling in general. These all result in higher house advantage. Then again, this version still tends to come out on top with UK players.

Single-Deck Blackjack

As the name implies, this version uses one 52-card deck. Because of this, it tends to have a higher return to player than other options. Previously, this type of blackjack had a reputation with card counting. A lot of Vegas casinos opted for multiple decks. It was only a matter of time before the UK caught on. Online blackjack put an end to this due to the use of RNG software as well as automatic shuffle features. In fact, top providers such as NetEnt still offer this as one of their options.

Multi-Hand Blackjack

Another fashionable twist to the game often found at blackjack sites is the opportunity to have multiple hands. Microgaming, for instance, allows players to have up to 5 hands in one go. Although it requires more care when devising a strategy, it also tends to have a higher return to player. With complex variations like this one, we always suggest trying out a blackjack demo before playing for real money. This helps to protect your bankroll fully.

Perfect Pairs

Although this next variation is not as common at online casinos, if you do happen to come across it, you're going to want to play for real money. Perfect Pairs follows the same blackjack rules as the regular version with an added side bet. The game uses two decks to achieve a 'pair'. Whenever the first two cards dealt are of the same number, players win the perfect pair side bet. There are several combinations to be aware of. There is a risk of placing real money wagers on this side bet. Players stand to lose all of their initial bet.

Double Exposure

Another popular online blackjack game, double exposure is another variant of blackjack 21 with added perks. Both cards are dealt to the dealer face-up. You can already begin to imagine the negative effect this has on house edge, which in players eyes, is a bonus. Unfortunately, though, most online versions found at blackjack sites still have lower return to players. This is down to it following European rules with restrictions on splitting and doubling. The most significant disadvantage to this game is the actual payouts. While in most other online blackjack games, hitting a blackjack pays as 3:2, in this variation it pays a mere 1:1.

Live Blackjack Online

Live dealer blackjack cannot be considered a specific type since there are various options available at online casinos. It does, however, deserve a mention since it is becoming prevalent at blackjack sites. Virtual games can be a lot of fun and boast quality graphics to bridge the gap between the online and land-based casino experience. Moreover, stick to any of the trustworthy online casinos we mentioned previously, and you can rest assured that games are as fair as any establishment on land. They will, however, always raise some doubts.

This is where live casinos have stepped in. Moreover, nowadays we are seeing new variations of live blackjack cropping up regularly. From country-specific games to VIP tables, this is the closest you are ever going to get to a real-life casino. Did we mention that ever-increasing table limits have deemed these games an excellent opportunity to win real money?!

Best Blackjack Online House Edge & RTP

So far there has been a lot of talk of house edge. Truth be told with so many different blackjack games available at online casinos, it is impossible to come up with standardised statistics. Most software providers offer variations with their own house rules. Choosing the best online blackjack type by RTP thus depends entirely on the game developer. What we can do at this stage is to provide some information on how specific rules affect the house advantage.

Blackjack Game Rules %House Advantage
No splitting increases by 0.57%
No re-splitting increases by 0.10%
No splitting of Aces increases by 0.18%
No doubling increases by 1.48%
No doubling after splitting increases by 0.14%
No hole card increases by 0.11%
Single deck decreases by 0.48%
Double deck decreases by 0.19%
Late surrender decreases by 0.08%
Blackjack 2:1 payout instead of 3:2 decreases by 2.27%

One thing to keep in mind about the above is that the stats only apply when all other rules are standardised. Most actual online blackjack variants use a mix of different rules. This is precisely why it is impossible to come up with a general RTP table. Always check the house rules before playing blackjack games for real money. This will help a lot when figuring out the best betting strategy to implement.

How to Win at Blackjack - Online Strategies

One key difference with online blackjack and most other table games is that unlike slots, winning doesn't boil down to straight-up luck. Of course, this will always be a key element, but gamblers are also able to make use of basic strategy. This is particularly helpful when playing online blackjack for real money. Before we delve into this next section, we do have something important to point out. While following a blackjack strategy will help you, there is no secret formula on how to beat the game.

One thing which we have already looked into is house advantage. As you are probably well aware of, some rules are more favourable to gamblers. This is particularly important to keep in mind when playing real money blackjack. Always look for user-friendly options like the American version as opposed to European blackjack. Aside from this, we also suggest separating your personal bankroll from your gambling one when making real money bets. Although this won't help you win at a blackjack table online, it can help with money management. This is a crucial element in understanding how to devise a blackjack strategy.

Blackjack Strategy Chart

Now that you have a better understanding of money management when gambling, we can look into blackjack strategy charts. Unlike other casino games, real money blackjack gamblers can make use of charts. While they won't help predict when you hit a win, they act as a good guide to fall back on when you come unstuck on the best move. Blackjack strategy charts work to provide the best possible move based on a particular hand. One crucial factor to be aware of though, is that they are based on previous statistics. While they can help gamblers, they can't ever beat the game. Even if you decide to use one, always bet with caution when playing with real money. Remember that luck plays a vital role in online blackjack too.

Blackjack Promotions & Bonus Policies

One of the most significant advantages of casinos online as opposed to brick and mortar establishments is the fact that they are jam-packed with promotions. What with free spins and other deposit bonuses, slots tend to come out on top. This doesn't mean that table games have been completely ruled out of casino deals though. If you're a new player or even an existing one looking to pick up a blackjack bonus, then you are in fact in luck. While some deposit bonuses are limited to slot games, many do allow players to complete wagering requirements playing table games. The only downside is that in most cases, these casino games contribute much less to the turnover. As for specific blackjack bonuses, these too aren't unheard of. They are however, much harder to come by and in most cases, game weighting rules will still applying. This is why it's always important to read the fine print at casino sites.

Blackjack FAQs