An Expert Guide to Blackjack

This simple guide to online blackjack has everything players should know. From the rules to betting strategies – it’s all in one place.

If you’ve been to any land-based or online casino in the Philippines, you’ve certainly come across different blackjack games. Blackjack is one of the most popular skill-based card games that both new and expert gamblers love. Of course, playing blackjack online is just as popular, if not more, as offline.

Because blackjack allows you to apply strategies to lower the house edge and increase winning odds, it’s a top choice for many. Besides, there are many variations to meet the preferences and skills of each player. Payouts can be huge with a bit of luck, too.

Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or not, this complete guide has everything you need to know about the game. You’ll learn about the history of blackjack, how to play, and our top tips.

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A Brief History of Blackjack

While the exact origin of blackjack remains unknown, most likely the game has its roots in France. Most experts believe blackjack emerged from French casinos in the 17th century. Allegedly, it evolved from other popular card games, such as Chemin de Fer and French Ferme. The original game was known as ‘ving-et-un,’ which translates to ‘twenty-one.’ As the name suggests, the objective in blackjack is to get a hand as close to 21 as possible. But players can only win against the dealer if their hand does not exceed 21. Often this is possible because the value of the ace card can be either 1 or 11. From France, blackjack spread to different parts of the world, including Spain and North America. It became popular worldwide because it’s easy and brings big profits. Of course, now the game is popular online as well and the rules of online blackjack are the same.

Online Blackjack Guide

How to Play Blackjack

The rules of playing blackjack are pretty simple. Basically, the aim of the game is to try to get your total cards as close to 21 as possible. But players’ hands must not exceed 21 to remain in the game. In order to win, you must have a higher value hand than the dealer’s.

So, the game starts with each player receiving two cards, face up or face down, depending on the casino. The dealer also gets two cards – one is face up and the other one face down. Most importantly, each card has different values and their sum is what determines whether you win or lose. 

While all cards with faces have a value ranging from 2 to 10, the ace cards can count as 1 or 11. Simply put, the value of your hand is the total sum of all card values in it. Players are free to draw more cards as long as they want. However, if the total amount exceeds 21 it’s a burst and you lose your bet.

After receiving the first two cards, there are different options such as hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender. Based on their cards, players make decisions on what route to take. They can continue playing or give up the bet if the cards don’t look promising.

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Basic Terminology

If you are new to blackjack, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the different terms associated with the game. For example:

Hand – The cards players receive in a blackjack game; 

Hit – To request for another card from the dealer;

Stand – No more extra cards; you keep cards as they are;

Bust – When you get a blackjack hand exceeding 21;

Double down – To place an additional bet and take only one extra card;

Push – When your hand and the dealer’s hand tie;

Hole Card – It is the face-down card given to the dealer;

Deal – The process of giving out cards by the dealer to players;

House Edge – It is the expected advantage of the casino in the long run.

Popular Blackjack Variations in the Philippines

Online blackjack comes with a wide range of variations. These games may have different features, including variations in the number of decks or a twist in the rules. Here are some of the most popular blackjack variations you can find in Philippine casinos:

Blackjack Switch – This is a variant where players get two hands: the objective is to get the best hand from both.

Free Bet Blackjack – This is a popular variant where the house pays a wager for the player to double down or to split. Players get up to seven free bets in hand for splitting three times and doubling down on all opportunities.

Spanish 21 – This variant is popular for offering better odds. But the payout depends on the rules of the variation you are playing.

Super Fun 21 – This is an incredible variant that pays even money. It’s loved by many people because of the player-friendly rules. 

Double Exposure – In this game, the dealer gets two cards face up. The game has a better house edge but requires an optimal strategy to win.

Double Attack – This variant uses a Spanish deck with 48 cards, which doesn’t have tens. Players can double the stake after viewing the dealer’s card.

Progressive Blackjack – This blackjack variation follows standard rules. The only difference is that it comes with an additional side bet you can choose to play.

Perfect Pairs – Perfect pairs blackjack has a side bet that wins only if a player is dealt any pair. The payouts for this game varies depending on the casino.

How to Play Blackjack

Online vs. Live Dealer Blackjack

What makes classic online blackjack work is the Random Number Generator (RNG) software which generates the results. Unlike the classic online version, where you play against a computer program, live casino games are facilitated by real human dealers. The social interaction in live blackjack games is preferred by many, as it gives the chance to chat with dealers in real-time. 

But in some live blackjack games, you may have to wait for an open sit to join. On the other hand, you can start playing at any time with the classic online blackjack versions. Besides, the betting limits in online blackjack games are lower, making them suitable for beginners. In addition, there are more online blackjack options than in live casinos. Whether you want a realistic atmosphere or more gaming options with low bet limits is up to you.

What is Blackjack House Edge

Similar to other casino table games, blackjack always comes with a house edge. In other words, games have an in-built advantage that generates profit for the casino in the long run. Since the player is the first to act, it leaves the dealer with the opportunity to win instantly if the player’s hand busts. Overall, a classic blackjack game has a house edge of 2%. But you can lower this percentage to around 0.5% with some tips:

  • Always double your bet after splitting;
  • Make sure you know the rules well;
  • Stick to a budget for both your time and money;
  • Stay away from progressive betting systems;
  • Avoid blackjack tables with continuous shufflers;
  • Take advantage of casino bonuses and promotions.
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Best Strategies to Win

There is a wide variety of blackjack betting strategies and tips you can use to increase your odds of winning one of the most popular and complicated being card counting of course. The most popular and reliable ones are:

Surrender – Always surrender when the odds of winning are against you;

Split – Always split aces and a pair of 8s;

Double – Always double down with a 10 or 11 or any two cards you prefer;

Hit/Stand – Stand when you have a hand that can bust against the dealer’s card; 

Soft/Hard Totals – Choose tables that allow dealers to stand on soft 17 as it lowers the house edge in your favor;

Insurance – Never take insurance as it has a payout rate of 2:1, which is lower than the odds of a dealer getting a blackjack.

Where to Play Online Blackjack

Besides learning the rules of the game, another challenging aspect for players is finding a good gaming destination. When evaluating an online casino, there are a few key aspects to consider: 

License – Make sure the operator has a license from PACGOR or other recognized authorities in the gambling industry.

Security and Fairplay – The casino should use the latest technology to protect customers’ privacy and offer RNG-powered games for fair results.

Payment Options – Players should be able to transact directly in the local currency. Moreover, a good casino supports multiple trusted payment methods like e-wallets, cryptocurrencies, Visa/MasterCard, and mobile options.

Bonuses – The casino should have a selection of bonuses and ongoing promotions for all players.

Range of Games – The game library should accommodate players with different preferences by offering popular table and card games, online slots, and live dealer games.

Compatibility – A good online casino should be compatible with many devices, including smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. 

Customer Support – The casino should have a team of professional support agents ready to help players via email, live chat, and telephone 24/7.

Extra Tips

In addition to selecting a reputable real money casino, we recommend players:

  • Choose games with liberal playing rules;
  • Use at least a basic betting strategy;
  • Avoid the insurance wagers, tables that use a continuous shuffler, and progressive strategies;
  • Be prepared to lose;
  • Make independent decisions, regardless of what other players do.
Popular Blackjack Strategies

Blackjack on Mobile

Mobile gaming has become very popular in the Philippines. Many online casinos now have mobile versions that allow you to play blackjack and other casino games. Besides, you can claim bonuses, deposits, contact support, and access other casino products on the go. Some online casinos are optimized for standard browsers like Chrome and Firefox. More competitive platforms also have downloadable mobile apps for Android and iOS. 

Real Money vs. Free Games

One of the advantages of online gaming is that players can either wager real money or just play for fun. Of course, both these options are usually available for online blackjack. But each mode comes with advantages and disadvantages for the player. For example, free blackjack games allow players to practice and learn rules before betting with real money. This is important, especially for beginners.

With real money blackjack, you can withdraw your winnings anytime you want. On the other hand, free-play winnings are not withdrawable. Additionally, real money games allow players to take advantage of casino bonuses and promotions to boost their bankroll. Playing for free is best to test different features of the casino, and try a new game variation, or strategy.

The Bottom Line

Blackjack is an intriguing casino game that is loved by many players in the Philippines. Because it allows for different strategies to lower the house edge, blackjack is a top choice for many. Moreover, the game is available at virtually any casino – online or not – hence its popularity.

There are many variations you can play and enjoy a thrilling experience. But make sure you learn the rules before you start playing for real money. Moreover, remember that finding a reputable casino to play at is super important. To save you some time from research, we have a casino reviews library. There you can find a good match quickly.

FAQ

Yes. You can use a betting strategy to increase the odds of winning in any online blackjack.

There is no ultimate strategy that guarantees a 100% win in blackjack. The approaches are meant to help players maximize winning opportunities.

Yes. Many online blackjack games are optimized for small-screen devices like smartphones and tablets.

A standard online blackjack game has a house edge of 2%, but it can reduce to 0.5% with a good strategy.

No. Online blackjack uses RNG software to determine fair payouts, while live blackjack games are operated by professional dealers.

The most popular variations are Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, Double Attack, and Progressive Blackjack.

Yes. If played with equal rules, single-deck blackjack has a lower house edge than multi-deck games.

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