Blackjack is one of the most popular online casino games, and it’s easy to see why. This card game is a thrilling mix of strategy and luck and offers some of the lowest house edges of all casino games. With plenty of variations on offer, including live dealer tables, there’s plenty of fun to be had. This is why we’ve picked out the very best online blackjack sites, so that you can easily compare and pick out your favourite. Want to find out more about this much-loved casino classic? Read on for everything you need to know about playing blackjack online.
The aim of the game is to hit 21 or get as close as you can without going bust, which means going over 21. In blackjack, number cards are their face value, face cards are worth 10, while Aces are worth 1 or 11, depending on which suits your hand. The exact rules vary depending on the blackjack variation you’re playing, but most games play out in a similar way. Before we take a look at how a game of blackjack plays out, let’s take a look at the moves available to players:
Hit – You’re dealt another card to add to your hand.
Stand – You keep your hand as it is and don’t receive any more cards.
Split – If your first two cards are the same value, you can choose to split them into two separate hands. You’ll need to add a second bet equal to the first if you split.
Double down – You double your initial bet and receive one more card before standing. In some variations, you can’t double down after splitting.
Surrender – This move is only available in certain games and allows you to surrender the round and only lose half your bet.
Now we’ve got to grips with the blackjack moves, let’s take a step-by-step look at how to play blackjack:
The dealer deals two cards to both yourself and the house. Your two cards will be dealt face up, while the dealer will have one face up—-the hole card—-and one face down.
If you or the dealer get a ‘natural’ blackjack on the first draw, then the round ends there. If not, you can choose to hit, stand, double down or split.
If either you or the dealer hit, another card is dealt. The process then repeats until both players stand, one player hits 21, or goes bust. If both players stand, the one with the hand closest to 21 wins the round.
One of the biggest draws of blackjack is that it offers some of the lowest house edges of all casino games. As blackjack is partly skill-based, the house edge is affected by your strategy. This means that, unlike in other games like slots and roulette, making the right moves can give you a better chance of winning. The house edge for a standard blackjack game when playing with basic strategy is around 0.42%. The house edge differs depending on the blackjack variation you’re playing and whether you’re wagering on side bets.
You can check the return to player (RTP) of online blackjack games by clicking on the ‘i’ or ‘help’ button once you load up a game. The house edge is the opposite of the RTP – so if the RTP is 9.58%, the house edge is 0.42%.
Improve your chances with blackjack strategy
If you want the best chance of winning at blackjack, you’ll need to use optimal strategy. This involves knowing what move to make depending on the strength of your hand. While blackjack strategy can’t guarantee you a win, seeing as you have no control over what cards are drawn, it can lower the house edge.
Some basic blackjack strategy tips are well known and easy to remember, such as always hit on a hard 11 or always stand on a hard 17. It’s not easy to learn the right move for every scenario by heart, but there are many blackjack strategy charts available online which tell you the best move to make. Luckily, you can play online blackjack while having your strategy chart at hand until you get the hang of things.
In classic blackjack, the payout for blackjack is 3:2, or 1.5 times your bet amount. If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealers or the dealer goes bust, you’ll receive a 1:1 payout. In most variations, if the round ends in a tie and both the player and the dealer’s hands total 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21, ?
Lots of blackjack variations offer different payout rates. For example, many variations that have additional rules that benefit the player, like seeing both the dealer’s first cards, make up for this advantage by offering lower payout rates. Similarly, some games have rules that make it harder for the player but make up for this with increased payouts.
Try out different blackjack variations
There are a wide range of exciting game variations available at Ireland’s best blackjack sites. Let’s take a look at the top titles on offer.
Blackjack surrender – This variation allows you to cut your losses if you don’t fancy your first hand by only losing half your bet. While most games don’t allow you to surrender if the dealer gets a natural, a few variations do – this is known as early surrender.
Blackjack switch – In blackjack switch, you’re dealt two hands instead of one. You can choose to switch the second cards of each hand to create the strongest possible hands.
Double exposure – Here, both the dealers cards are face up. This is an advantage for the player, but casinos make up for this by offering slightly lower payouts. In this variation the dealer also wins on ties unless you land a natural.
Pontoon – This is essentially the opposite to double exposure – both the dealer’s cards are face down. This obviously makes things more difficult for the player, but in exchange there’s an increased payout for natural blackjack of 2:1 rather than 3:2.
Multi-hand blackjack – This variation uses the standard blackjack rules but lets you play multiple hands at once. Some games allow you to play up to five hands at a time, meaning five times the fun.
Many online blackjack games have optional side bets that you can wager on as well as wagering on your hand. These bets are separate to the main game and are based purely on luck. Side bets are popular because they offer high payouts if you get lucky. The side bets on offer vary depending on the blackjack game you’re playing, but here are the most popular:
Perfect pairs – This is a bet that your first two cards will be a pair. The payout depends on the strength of the pairing – a ‘perfect’ pair of the same rank and suit usually pays out 25:1, while a red and black pair typically pays 6:1.
23+1 – Here you’re betting that your first two cards and the dealer’s hole card will form a flush, straight, three of a king, straight flush or suited three of a kind. Again, the payouts depend on the strength of the hand.
Insurance – If the dealer’s hole card is an Ace, you can insure your bets against the dealer by placing an insurance bet equal to half the amount of your initial wager. If the dealer does have blackjack your insurance bet pays 2:1, meaning you don’t lose your original bet.
Progressive – Some blackjack games offer a progressive jackpot siddbet. In most progressive blackjack variations, this involves betting on Aces. Depending on the variation, you may need to draw four consecutive Aces of the same suit to land the jackpot.
While side bets offer high payouts, they also increase the house edge due to the slim odds involved. For example, your chances of correctly betting on a perfect pair is only around 1.6%.
Enjoy an immersive live blackjack experience
Fancy a more realistic game of blackjack? Live dealer blackjack is as close as it gets to being at an actual land-based casino. The top live games are streamed in HD from purpose built studios, so they look and feel just like the real thing. Games are also run by professionally trained dealers using authentic equipment, making for more immersive blackjack gaming.
Ireland’s best online blackjack sites host a wide range of tables to choose from. There are different variations on offer, with different side bets and betting limits, including low stakes games. Live dealer blackjack games are also a great option for high rollers, as the top sites host exclusive VIP tables, some of which allow you to bet as much as €20,000 per hand.
The best blackjack software developers
A number of the top casino software providers have developed online blackjack games. As casinos often use different software, the blackjack titles on offer vary from site to site, so knowing the differences between providers can help you find the best blackjack site for you. Here are the developers responsible for the top blackjack titles:
NetEnt is one of the biggest casino software providers and has developed a range of both animated and live dealer blackjack games. When it comes to RNG blackjack titles, NetEnt has developed games like Pontoon, Single Deck Blackjack and Double Exposure Blackjack. NetEnt also offers great live dealer blackjack tables, including the industry first Perfect Blackjack, which deals cards according to perfect blackjack strategy. There’s also Common Draw Blackjack, which caters to an unlimited number of players at each table.
This developer is the leading provider of live casino software, so it’s blackjack offering is naturally top notch. From low stakes Blackjack Party and Infinite Blackjack to VIP Salon Privé tables, there’s something for players of all budgets. Evolution’s live blackjack tables feature Bet Behind, which allows you to place bets on players’ hands while you wait for a seat, as well as side bets such as perfect pairs and 21+3. These games are also some of the most realistic live blackjack games you can play at online casinos.
Playtech is another developer that boasts a range of both RNG and live blackjack titles. When it comes to the live casino, Ultimate Blackjack enables an endless number of players to join in the fun at the same time. Some of the top animated blackjack games from Playtech include Lucky Lucky Blackjack and Buster Blackjack, which offer some unique side bet opportunities. Other variations include Double Attack Blackjack, Blackjack Peek and Free Chip Blackjack, so it’s safe to say Playtech games are ideal for players who fancy mixing up their gameplay.
This software giant has developed some of the best animated blackjack games. There are loads of exciting variations to try out if you’re bored of classic blackjack, including Spanish Blackjack, Super Fun 21, and Single Deck Blackjack. There’s even High Streak Blackjack that offers a side bet that boosts your returns each time you win. Microgaming is a good option for high rollers, with a range of high limit variations. There’s also the famous Gold Series blackjack games with enhanced graphics and soundtracks, creating a more immersive gaming experience.
Play blackjack on your mobile
You don’t need to be sat on your desktop to play online blackjack. These days, the top software providers develop their blackjack games specifically with mobile players in mind, meaning they’re perfectly optimised to the smaller touch screens of iPhones and Androids. The best developers have also adapted many of their older titles for mobile player, meaning you have plenty of mobile blackjack games to choose from, including live blackjack games.
All Ireland’s top online casinos we recommend have mobile-friendly websites, so you can play mobile blackjack through your smartphone web browser. Some of the best blackjack sites have also developed native mobile apps, which make for an even better mobile gaming experience. This is because mobile casino apps make it quicker and easier to navigate from your home screen to your favourite titles They also come with push notifications, which means you’ll be alerted to all the latest blackjack bonuses and the hottest new games.
Play real money blackjack with a casino bonus
Loads of Ireland’s best online casinos offer bonuses that you can use to play at real money blackjack tables. Fancy bagging one for yourself? Let’s take a look at the top bonuses on offer when you sign up to the best online blackjack sites.
Make sure to read the terms and conditions before claiming your blackjack bonus. Terms like wagering requirements, game restrictions and win limits determine the true value of a bonus.
The best blackjack casino sites offer free demo games that you can play without having to deposit. These games are perfect if you just want to play blackjack online for fun. They’re also ideal for new players, as well allow you to get to grips with things and work on your strategy without wagering real money. We’d recommend beginners try free blackjack games before jumping in and putting your own cash on the line.
Live dealer games aren’t available in free play mode, as these games have much higher running costs for online casinos.
Play online blackjack today
We’ve taking you through the ins and outs of playing blackjack online, so you’ve got everything you need to get out there and have a go for yourself. Use our list of Ireland’s top casinos for June, 2021 to find the best blackjack site for you. Simply compare, sign up and starting playing blackjack today!
Your Questions Answered
Is online blackjack fair?
Yes. All the casinos on our list are licensed. All the animated blackjack games at these sites use random number generator (RNG) technology and are audited to ensure fairness, while the live blackjack games are run by unbias dealers.
What’s the difference between hard and soft hands?
A hard hand is one that includes an Ace, whereas a soft doesn’t. Hard hands are stronger because if the round ends in a tie and you have a hard hand whereas the dealer doesn’t, you’ll win the round.
How many decks do online blackjack games use?
Most blackjack games use six or eight decks. A few online casino sites offer single deck blackjack, which has a house edge of around just 0.1% when played using optimal strategy, but this game isn’t available at all casinos. You can also play European blackjack at some online blackjack sites, which uses just two decks.
Can I play online blackjack for free?
Sure. Most of Ireland’s best online casinos offer free demo blackjack games that you can play without having to deposit. Free blackjack games are perfect if you just want to play for fun, and they’re also ideal if you want to work on your strategy before playing online blackjack for real money. Keep in mind that you can’t play live dealer blackjack games for free, due to the highest running costs these tables have for online casinos.
Can I play blackjack at new casinos?
Of course. Pretty much all of 2021’s top brand new casinos offer online blackjack games, meaning you can take your pick from both the best latest sites and the more established casino brands.
Can I deposit with PayPal at online blackjack sites?
Yes. Many of the best blackjack casinos accept PayPal deposits and withdrawals, meaning you can enjoy fast and secure casino banking when you play real money blackjack online. Compare the banking options, deposit limits and withdrawal times on offer at different blackjack casino sites to find the one best suited to you.
Can I play all blackjack games on mobile?
Not of all of them. While the majority of online blackjack games are suitable for mobile play, some of the older titles haven’t been adapted for smartphones. Don’t worry, though – there are still plenty of top mobile blackjack games to choose from at the bet online casinos.