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Introduction to blackjack
Blackjack is one of the best known casino games in the world. While it’s difficult to pin an exact date on it, historians believe that blackjack was invented some time in the 1700s in France. And went by the name ‘Vingt-et-Un’, which means 21.
Easy to learn and fun to play, blackjack has been a firm favourite with casino-goers for centuries. And for good reason! It’s a great, lively game with the highest return to player (RTP) of any casino game.
So, how do you play blackjack? And where can you find a great blackjack casino? Well, sit back and relax. As we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about this popular casino game in our extensive guide to blackjack.
One of the best things about blackjack is that it’s super easy to play. The aim of the game is to reach a value of 21, without going over. And an important thing to remember is that you’re playing against the dealer. Not other players.
The game starts with you placing your bet. And then you receive 2 cards, face up. The value of each card is as follows:
- Number cards equal their face value. E.g. 3 = 3, 4 = 4, 5 = 5 etc.
- Picture cards (also known as face cards) equal 10
- Ace equals either 1 or 11. It’s your choice which value you want to use
- Jokers are not included in the game
Your aim is to get to 21 (blackjack!) or as close as possible, without going over. This is also the dealer’s goal. And, as you’re playing against them, you can still win with a lower total amount, as long as it’s higher than the dealer’s hand.
Let’s look at an example:
- Your 2 cards are a 9 and a 10. This makes 19.
- The dealer’s cards are a 9 and a 6. This makes 15
- You win!
So, although you didn’t reach 21, you still beat the dealer’s hand, as your cards have a higher value.
But, of course, it isn’t always that easy! And there’s lots more to the game than just the initial 2 cards you’re dealt.
Stand or hit?
So, we know you want to make 21. And you have your first 2 cards in front of you. But you have a 3 and a 5. This equals 8. So what now? In blackjack, you have some different moves you can make. Let’s take a look:
- Stand: you want to stick with the cards that you have. This ends your turn
- Hit: you request another card from the dealer. You can do this as often as you want
In the example above, you wouldn’t choose to stand. Because you only have 8, the chances of the dealer having a greater value is much higher, so you would lose. In this case, you would choose to hit and receive another card.
The general rule of thumb is to stand on a value of 16 or higher, and to hit on 15 or under. However, it’s completely up to you what you want to do!
And this is where the ace comes in very useful. If you’re at a high number and you turn over an ace, use it as a 1 in order to add it to your score, without going over 21.
Other blackjack moves
Apart from deciding whether you want to hit or stand, there are some other moves you can make during the game. Let’s take a look:
- Split: if you have 2 cards of the same value, you can split them into 2 hands. Effectively, this means you’re playing 2 games at the same time
- Double: also known as ‘double down’. This is when you double your bet before getting another card. This can usually only be done on your first 2 cards. Not after you’ve hit
- Surrender: this is where you fold (admit defeat!) and only lose half your stake. This is not common in online casinos, so check the rules before you play
- Insurance: when you bet half your stake, to insure yourself against the dealer getting 21. In essence, you’re now betting on the dealer getting blackjack. This is only an option when the dealer’s visible card is an ace
With all these options available, you have lots of chances to beat the dealer. Or get out early in the game, if you don’t think you’ve got a winning hand. These are just some of the elements that make blackjack an exciting, skill-based game.
Different blackjack game variations
Like most casino games, there are lots of different variations of blackjack. They’re all based on the same principals of the original game, but have their own rules. Therefore, it’s important to read up on how to play each version before sitting down to a hand.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular variations of blackjack that you can play today:
- Pontoon: similar to the original, but brings in the five-card trick. This makes it a more versatile game
- Spanish 21: also known as Australian Pontoon. Eliminates the 10 from the game, as well as limiting some of the dealer’s moves
- Switch: as the name suggests, players can switch cards over 2 hands in the same game. Lots of fun, but a test of skill and concentration
- Multi-hand: another fun variation involving multiple hands in the same game. You need some serious skill to master this variation!
Blackjack rtp (return to player)
In simple terms, return to player (RTP) refers to the amount of money a casino expects a player to get back over a period of playing one game. Some games, like slots, have an RTP of between 75 and 85%, and roulette has an RTP of up to 97.3%. The great news about blackjack is that the RTP is usually around 99.5%. This makes it the best RTP game to play at a casino!
How we review and select blackjack sites
Here at Gamble.xyz we’re dedicated to bringing you the very best that the casino industry has to offer. And our experts carefully vet every casino that we review, using a strict set of criteria. So that you know you’re getting the most up-to-date info about the top blackjack sites in the UK.
So, let’s take a closer look at how we review and select our top blackjack casino sites:
✅ Specific blackjack casino bonuses
We know that bonuses are what make playing at a casino super fun! And some casinos will offer specific bonuses to their blackjack players.
Our experts look at every bonus a casino has to offer, to both new and existing players, and bring you all the info you need. This includes which casinos offer bonuses for playing blackjack, as well as other casino games.
Like with any bonus, make sure you read the T&Cs, as every casino will have different wagering requirements.
✅ Varied selection of live blackjack games
As we’ve seen, there are lots of different variations of blackjack that you can play. And a great casino will offer you plenty of different games. Pontoon, Spanish 21 and Switch are a fun twist on the classic.
Our experts look at each casino’s game selection. So always check our lists of trusted and reviewed casino sites to see where is offering the best selection of games.
✅ Professional Live Dealers
With the invention of live casinos, you can now feel like you’re right there on the casino floor. Speak with your real-life dealer directly, and size up your competition!
Blackjack is one of the most popular live casino games. And at the best blackjack online sites you’ll find lots of variations of the game, as well as live dealers to play against.
We update our lists of trusted casinos regularly. So we tell you which casinos are bringing you the best live games at the moment.
✅ Quick and efficient support
Having great staff is essential to any good business. And that’s true of online casinos as well. We want you to have the very best customer service on the market. So, when we vet any site, one of our top priorities is finding casinos that have trained and professional staff available whenever you need them.
Not only do we only list sites that have helpful personnel, but we also check their customer service hours. For instance, we like to see that a casino has representatives for you to reach over the weekends. As well as late into the evenings. That way, you can get through to someone at almost any hour of the day.
Finally, we also expect to see a variety of different ways for you to contact the casino staff, including an email and telephone number, as well as web form and live chat features. So that you can always get in touch with someone helpful, in the most convenient way for you.
✅ UK Licence
Finally, before we list any site at all, our experts make sure that the casino in question is fully licensed to operate in the UK. And that means checking that the site carries the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) logo.
All gambling sites that work in the UK must be licensed by the UKGC. So it’s not a matter of opting in; it’s a legal obligation. Therefore, if a site doesn’t carry the UKGC logo, then it’s possible they’re operating illegally here. And, if that’s the case, then they definitely don’t get listed with us!
So, whenever you choose a site through us, you can be sure that you’re playing on fully licensed and safe UK casinos.
Things to think about when selecting an online blackjack casino
So now you know what our experts look for when reviewing a blackjack casino. But what should you be looking for?
Let’s take a peek at some of the things you should think about when choosing your next best online blackjack site:
Offers several variations of blackjack
A great casino will offer their customers a fantastic selection of games. And that goes for blackjack too! Look for a site that has lots of variations, from Pontoon to Multi-hand blackjack. So that you can enjoy everything you love about the classic game over many different varieties.
Offers live blackjack
Live blackjack is super fun, and a great casino site will offer you many different versions of blackjack that you can play with a live dealer.
Make sure the casino you’re playing on offers live blackjack. That way you can feel like you’re right there at the table in the casino. And enable the chat function to speak with the dealer directly. You can’t get any closer to the action than that!
Have specially tailored blackjack/live casino bonuses
As we’ve said, our experts look into all the bonuses a casino offers. And we’ll bring you the latest info on where’s offering specific bonuses for playing certain games.
If you want to get a bonus for playing blackjack, check our lists of reviewed sites. Or go to the casino directly and check out their bonus offers. Some casinos will reward you for playing blackjack. So you could have even more chances to win big.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
Blackjack is the perfect mix of luck and strategy. Yes, the outcome depends a lot on the first two cards you’re dealt. But how you play tactically after that will decide the fate of the game.
A basic rule of thumb that a lot of players go by is to stand on anything over the value of 17. As the chances of the next card taking you over 21 is more probable than not. That being said, if the dealer gets anything above 17 that means he/she has won. So it’s not a fool-proof strategy by any means!
Another good tactic is to always keep your eye on the dealer’s hand. If they have an ace, you could be in trouble. This is because the ace can act as a 1 or 11 and is therefore can be adapted to suit the hand. Being constantly aware of what the dealer has will hold you in good stead to make better decisions regarding your next move.
Depending on which version you play, there are plenty of other basic blackjack strategies. But our advice is always to play a few hands, to get a feel for the game. The rules are so simple, it’s very easy to get the hang of blackjack quickly. And you will figure out your own tactics the more you play.
Finally, if you’re new to the game, then start your bets off small. You can always increase your wagers as you get more confident and develop your skills.
Ways to play blackjack online
Finding out how to play blackjack UK at an online casino is easy. Simply look at the ‘table games’ section of the website and select blackjack. Or, on some casinos, you can use the search bar at the top of the screen.
There are plenty of variations of blackjack, and you will find them all in the same section of a casino’s website. Choose from traditional online casino blackjack to live blackjack online, where you can play against a real dealer.
If you’re new to blackjack, and don’t have the confidence to face up to a real-life dealer straight away, video blackjack is a great way to get started.
A blackjack online casino will have video blackjack as an option. And the best thing about this is that you can play with a smaller bank roll than at a live casino table. The other great advantage is that you can play without the watchful eyes of the dealer putting pressure on you. Great, if you’re new to the game and want to build up your confidence.
Blackjack live games
Live games are some of the most popular at casino sites. With real-life dealers and the most sophisticated equipment and tech, live casinos are the new way to play games live, like online blackjack for money, from the comfort of your own home.
And with live blackjack, you get an experience like no other! Speak with your dealer directly via the chat function. And watch them turn over the cards in real time, right in front of you.
Finally, live blackjack offers some of the very best RTP percentages on the market. For example, Playtech’s Unlimited Blackjack offers an RTP of 99.54%. So, there’s never been a better time to try out live blackjack games at your favourite online casino.
Free blackjack vs real money blackjack
If you’re a newbie, and don’t want to play with real money, then why not try free blackjack? It’s a great way to practise your skills, and build your confidence. Or, if you want to spice things up a bit, you can play with real money. It is a casino after all! But let’s take a look at the two versions in a little more detail:
Free blackjack – Demo Play
There are lots of free blackjack sites available, where you can play for nothing. And a lot of casinos offer something called ‘demo play’. This is exactly how it sounds, and you can try your hand at blackjack with no obligation to spend any of your own money.
Demo play and free blackjack sites are a great way to practise, before deciding if you want to play for real money or not.
Online blackjack with real money
Once you’ve mastered the game, it’s time to get serious! Of course, you can continue to play blackjack for free as long as you want. But if you want to up the ante, you can opt to play blackjack for real money.
Always check our lists of trusted and reviewed sites. As we’ll tell you where is offering the best selection of games. As well as what bonuses you can snatch up by playing real money blackjack. Good luck!
Blackjack bonuses explained
There are loads of great bonuses up for grabs when playing online blackjack UK. Getting extra bang for your buck is always a welcome treat, so let’s see what’s on offer:
Free Blackjack no deposit
A no deposit bonus is the easiest way to boost your balance without spending a penny. It’s not the most frequent bonus that you’ll find, but when you see it, you’ll want to grab it with both hands!
The idea is simple. When you register at an online casino with a no deposit bonus offer, you will be given a fixed amount of money to play with. You don’t have to spend any of your own cash. You just start playing.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there are usually some rules attached to this gift. The most common is that it must be wagered a certain number of times. For example, if a £10 no deposit bonus has a 30x wagering rule, then you must gamble that £10 a full 30 times. If you are lucky enough to have some winnings left at the end of it, then you can collect the money.
The lower the wagering amount, the better. You want to get hold of the winnings as soon as possible, so keep an eye out for the terms and conditions.
Sign up blackjack bonus
Signup or welcome bonuses are available pretty much across the board. With the exception of a few casinos, you can expect some kind of bonus for joining.
The size of the bonus will differ from site to site but can be anywhere from 100% to a massive 650%. The enormous bonuses are normally found offshore; however, you need to bear in mind that it’s not free money.
For a standard signup bonus, you’ll need to make a deposit of your own cash first. The casino will then match this amount up to a certain figure. Let’s say you see a bonus of 100% up to £100, for example. You’ll have to deposit £100 into your account to get the full £100 bonus.
So if you’re tempted by an offer of 650% up to £5000, keep in mind that these extravagant offers usually come with pretty harsh terms – you’ll probably have a 50x wagering requirement.
It is sometimes better to check out the more realistic bonuses with less wagering. You’re more likely to see some of the winnings at the end of the day.
Reload blackjack bonus
The reload bonus is another great way to get some cash into your casino bonus for doing very little in return.
Think of it as a loyalty gift. It’s usually a bonus that’s given to players who show up regularly —the online casino’s answer to free drinks.
When you’ve been a customer for a while, you may get an offer from the casino to match any future deposits that you make. Again, they usually restrict it to a fixed amount and it will probably have wagering rules. You may also want to check what games you are allowed to play while spending the bonus cash. Game weighting is commonly used to ensure specific games process the bonus offers.
Blackjack progressive jackpot
In a similar way to how a slot machine can build up a collective jackpot, so too can blackjack. It’s not as common as the slots but there are a fair few available.
How it works is that a small % of each player’s stake will go into the kitty. Anyone playing that specific blackjack game will be contributing. There could be thousands of people adding to the pile over the course of days or even weeks. This means that a huge amount can eventually add up.
One lucky winner will win the pot at a specific time —usually upon hitting a blackjack. The program that runs the game will determine the win cycle and nobody else knows when it might happen.
How live blackjack works
Live blackjack is strategic, fast-paced and exhilarating. So, if that sounds like something you’d like to try, read on! We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about live games and, specifically, live blackjack.
First up, let’s take a look at exactly what live casinos are and how they work.
What are live casinos?
Live casinos are exactly what they sound like. It’s when you have real-life dealers and croupiers to play with, as well as physical cards, chips, dice, wheels etc. that are used in gameplay.
Whereas online casinos typically use computer programs to replicate the look and feel of a real casino, with today’s tech, software companies have taken things to the next level. So now, with a live casino, you can tune into a game with a real human dealer in real time. And play games, just like you would at a land-based establishment.
In the case of blackjack, when you select a game, you’ll be taken to your ‘seat’ at the table. And in front of you will be the lush green table and a professional, trained and friendly dealer. You can then turn on the chat function and speak with your dealer correctly. And then, it’s time to play! Your dealer will turn over physical cards right in front of you, as you bet using your online account. It’s about as close to the real thing as you can possibly get without leaving your home!
Plus, live games are now available direct to your mobile. So you can play live blackjack whenever and wherever you want.
The pros of live gaming
Live casino games are super popular. So, let’s take a look at some of the major upsides of playing live titles, like blackjack:
- Truly immersive experience
- You can chat to your dealer, croupier and other players
- Live games offer some of the highest RTPs on the market
- Live games are available on PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone
- Play free blackjack online live using a no deposit bonus
The cons of live gaming
And now, let’s take a look at some of the possible downsides to live gaming:
- Live games often aren’t available in demo mode
- Higher buy-in for games
- More room for human error during gameplay
Mobile blackjack casino websites
Years ago, having access to a fantastic online casino via your mobile would have been thought of as crazy! But nowadays, with so much technology in the palm of our hands, mobile-friendly casinos have become commonplace. And all the top UK casinos online now offer an excellent mobile experience, as well as their usual desktop versions.
Mobile casinos have all the same great graphics, sounds and ease-of-use that you’d expect from a PC or laptop. So playing games like blackjack is just as much fun as ever!
To find your next great mobile casino that offers blackjack, check out our lists of trusted and reviewed sites. We only list the very best. And each one offers a great selection of blackjack, including live titles.
Live mobile blackjack
Live blackjack means that you can experience all the fun of a real-life blackjack table, from the palm of your hand. With live versions of casino games, you get to play with a real human dealer or croupier. And they use the most cutting-edge equipment and film from glamorous locations across the UK and rest of the world.
So, if you like playing games on the go, it’s time to give live blackjack a try. You still get the same great selection of live titles on your phone. And you still get access to bonuses and the most convenient payment methods.
Apps for iOS and Android
One of the best ways to access your favourite blackjack titles is via a dedicated casino app for your smartphone. Apps offer the quickest possible connection to your casino account. And you can choose games and may deposits and withdrawals quickly, easily and securely.
Plus, some casinos actually give out bonuses specifically for app users, as an incentive to download the app. So you could be looking at some great bonus offers to use on games like blackjack, just for playing via a cool and convenient app!
Casino apps are available for both Android and iOS users. Simply visit the Play or Apple Store or the casino directly.
Playing directly in mobile browser
If you don’t fancy downloading an app, accessing your favourite blackjack sites is just as easy via your phone’s internet browser. While not quite as lightning-fast as an app, you can still be logged into your account quickly and easily. And you get all the same selection of games and payment methods.
Also, by using your browser, you don’t take up any internal storage on your phone. So, if your phone is already crammed full of other stuff, using your phone’s internet will be better for you than downloading yet another app!
New blackjack casinos in the UK 2023
Here at Gamble.xyz, you can trust us to keep you up-to-date on the latest new blackjack sites in the UK. Our experts love vetting and reviewing new sites. So, if there’s a new blackjack operator in town, you can be sure we’ll know about it!
Every site we list is put through its paces. And that means you get the top blackjack sites with the best games selection. As well as the best user experience, most convenient payment methods, best bonuses and 5-star customer service, as standard.
So, if you’re in the market for a new blackjack casino, then check our lists of trusted and reviewed sites.
How to register at a blackjack casino
Registering at a fun and exciting new blackjack site is super easy. Simply follow our easy 5-step guide and you’ll be up and running and enjoying all the blackjack you can handle in minutes!
Choose a casino from our lists
First and foremost, you have to choose a casino that offers blackjack. But that’s where we come in! We’ve already vetted and reviewed all the top blackjack sites in the UK. And each one of them offers an amazing array of blackjack titles. As well as mobile-friendly versions of their games, the best ways to pay and an unparalleled level of customer service. Plus, every site on our list is fully licensed by the UKGC.
So, to find your next great blackjack sites, simply pick a casino from one of our lists and relax; you’re in good hands.
Fill in your personal details
Each casino is different. But, generally speaking, the sign-up process will be more or less the same. You’ll be asked to supply some basic personal info, in order to register your account. This will include your full name, address, telephone number and email address.
Once you’ve completed the information, you’ll be sent an email to verify your account. Done!
Go through the KYC procedure
KYC means ‘know your customer’, and refers to the process of proving your identity with the casino site. You will be asked for a photo ID and a proof of address. But, depending on the site, you might also be asked for photos of yourself holding these documents, or even more proof of your identity.
While this might seem tedious to you, it’s a legal requirement. And KYC is actually put in place to protect you from fraudulent activity from third parties. So it’s there for a good reason! Plus, you only have to do it once, and then you can forget about it and enjoy your gaming session.
Pick out a good bonus
Now we’re getting to the fun parts; choosing a bonus. As you know, welcome packages can be extremely generous, so you could be looking at a no deposit or deposit bonus. And, using the bonus cash from these offers, you can play online blackjack real money games.
Once you’ve chosen the right bonus for you, the casino will let you know how to apply your bonus. In the case of a no deposit bonus, it might be automatically added to your account. Or you may have to enter a code. And, with a deposit bonus, your bonus will be applied after you’ve made your first deposit.
But, whichever one it is, the casino will give you clear instructions on how to activate your bonus.
Fund your account and play
Once you’ve set up your account, it’s time to make that all-important first deposit. Again, each site’s layout will be different, but generally, you’re looking for the ‘cashier’ section.
When you’ve found it, simply select your preferred method and follow the casino’s instructions on how to pay using your chosen option. Services like debit cards and e-wallets will usually deposit your funds instantly. And you’ll be able to see them in your ‘balance’.
Now it’s time to play. Go to the games section of the casino’s site and look for blackjack. Select the game you want and wait for it to load (it should be pretty instant). Then it’s time to get serious and take on the dealer!
Blackjack game providers
Live blackjack UK is available at some of the most popular casino sites across the UK. There’s a great buzz and something special about having a live dealer there in front of you. However, it’s not always an option so the next best thing is the regular blackjack versions which comes pretty close to its live counterpart.
Some of the biggest names in gambling software create games for the best blackjack sites. It’s not just the slots that they’re famous for.
Evolution is one of the software companies that are better known for live dealer blackjack games. They have studios around the world where they are able to film and stream all your favourite blackjack, baccarat and other live dealer games. If you’ve ever played any live casino games online, then the chances are Evolution had a hand in making it.
In June 2020 they announced a public offering of 19bn SEK to acquire competing software provider NetEnt, a deal that went ahead in October 2020.
Some of the biggest slots have come out of the NetEnt studios. They are responsible for some of the massive hits such as Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst, for example.
However, not only do they make slots, but they’re also big in the classic table games market too. Their state-of-the-art tech drives some of the most popular blackjack games around as well. They have been there since the inception of internet gaming and are now part of the Evolution group of companies.
Another one of the original gaming software providers is Microgaming. Gamblers around the world know them for producing some of the best-loved blackjack games online.
They created the basic platform for online gambling back in the mid-90s, and thanks to them the industry has gone from strength to strength. A few years later, they remodelled their software and made mobile gaming a reality as well. They provide some of the best blackjack games for various casinos across the globe.
For over 20 years Playtech has been one of the biggest names in online gaming. They produce classic card games and live dealer systems for some of the best-known brands in the industry. Over the years they have acquired many smaller design studios making them a powerhouse in online casinos. Playtech’s Blackjack software and live Blackjack games are widely regarded as some of the best in the business.
Extreme Live Gaming
Another one of the greats in live blackjack solutions. It may not have been around as long as some of the others, but they have a fantastic reputation and work with some of the big brands that we all know and love. They have created some of the crispest graphics and smoothest blackjack gameplay around today.
Responsible gaming and Blackjack
Playing real-money casino games is fun and exciting. But it can also lead to bad habits and financial problems. That’s why it’s essential that you play games like blackjack online responsibly.
Therefore, we’ve put together some handy tips, to help you avoid overspending and/or developing bad habits.
Always stick to your budget
Setting yourself a budget is always a good idea when it comes to spending money. But sticking to the amount you’ve set yourself is even more important! It can be far too easy to get carried away when you’re having fun gambling, but it’s important that you never go over your budget.
One of our favourite ways of setting a budget is by getting your hands on a prepaid debit card. These cards are excellent as you can load them with funds you’ve given yourself to spend on casino games. And, because they don’t have an overdraft facility, you’ll know when you’ve run out of funds!
Take breaks during your session
Another way to make sure you don’t go over budget, or get too carried away, is by taking regular breaks. Just like work, your concentration will wane after a while. Plus, it’s not a good idea to look at a screen for hours at a time anyway.
So, by taking a break at frequent intervals, you can give your eyes a rest and take stock of how your blackjack online session is going. You might have already played for longer than you thought, so it could be time to call it a day.
Set a timer for when to end each session
Just like taking regular breaks, it’s also important to know when you stop your session. If you’re having a good time it can be tempting to tell yourself ‘just 10 more minutes’. But this can lead very easily to spending far longer than you intended online. And, ultimately, overspending.
Or, if you’re not having a good time, you might start to chase your losses, which is never a good idea. And this will inevitably lead you to going over your budget.
In summary, if you set yourself a timer for when to finish your session, you can continue to enjoy your hobby without spending too much money or too much time on casino sites.
The history of Blackjack
There are many theories about where blackjack originated, including as far back as Ancient Rome! However, the most common theory is that it gained popularity in France around the 1700’s. And is based on the game ‘Vingt-et-Un’ which, unsurprisingly, means 21 in French.
From the French casinos the game spread to the rest of Europe and the USA, where it picked up a lot of alternative names, like Pontoon, 21 and Veintiuna.
Nowadays, blackjack online is enjoyed in every corner of the globe, in one form or another. It’s simple rules but tactical play has made it a firm favourite with casino lovers and casual players alike. And it’s popularity isn’t going anywhere.
A selection of our most frequently asked questions.