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Online Blackjack Guide
What is it about 21 that captivates gamblers? It’s the magic number that can make or break your fortune at Online Blackjack. Out of all online casino games, Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games of all times.
At Silver Oak Casino you will have access to play our online casino games for free. Blackjack is a game of strategy and wits with a very low house edge which allows players win a lot more often if the game is properly played. With Silver Oak’s Play for Fun feature you will be able to play any game totally risk free, including 7 free online blackjack games.
By downloading our casino software you will not only get access to free blackjack games but over 130 of the most popular casino games. You will be able to play everything from Keno and Slots to Roulette and Video Poker. Online casino gambling is lived at its best at Silver Oak.
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How to Play Online Blackjack
A game of Online Blackjack begins with the player taking the initiative.
Click on the chips to place a bet. You can place a minimum of $2 and a maximum of $250 as bet at our Blackjack table.
After placing a bet, you should click on ‘Deal.’ Two cards each are dealt to the player and the Dealer. Player cards are dealt face up and a voice calls out the value of your cards. One Dealer card is face up (Up Card) and the other is face down (Hole Card).
Number cards carry their face value and Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10. You can count an Ace as either one point (Hard Hand) or 11 (Soft Hand), whatever fits best.
If the two cards held either by the player or Dealer includes an Ace and any card worth 10, it adds up to 21 and is a Blackjack. The term Blackjack originates from earlier versions of the game where only a hand with an Ace of Spades and a Jack was called a Blackjack. Three cards with a value of 21 wins, but is not called Blackjack.
Let us now go over the moves available to a player after the first deal.
If you are dealt a hand which is good-with the value of the cards already close to 21-you don’t have to take another card. Click on the Stand button to exercise this option.
If you need to add more points to your hand, opt to Hit. The Dealer gives you another card. Remember, if you choose to hit and overshoot the 21 figure, you go Bust (lose automatically).
Doubling Down means doubling your bet. Let’s say, for example, you hold a hand valued at ten or 11. There is a good chance your next card will take you to 21, especially if the Dealer’s Up Card is anything between 2 and 9.You click on the double option which automatically doubles (2X) your original bet, say $100. If you hit an Ace or ten, you win the $200 double bet. If you don’t, you lose the same. At Silver Oak Casino, the double option is provided when you are holding two cards. Though it is available on any two cards, judge your hand carefully before you opt for it. For instance, your 5, 3 hand may not lead to a high score with the next card. If you opt to double your bet, and hit a 5, your total would be 13. The Dealer may come in with 8 and 2 and add another 9, beating you with 19.
When you are dealt two cards of the same value, you can split them into two hands. Let’s say you are dealt two Queens. As it adds to 20, you may wish to try your luck with each as the first card of two hands. When you click on the Split option, the hand splits into two. It also means an equal wager is placed on the second hand. The rules of the game require you to hit at least once on each hand. However if you split on two aces, you can only hit once on each hand.
Here is an example of a split: Let us say the first hand reaches a value of 21 (Q, 8, 3) and the second holds a value of 19 (Q, 6, 3); the Dealer then plays their round and comes up with just 18 (10, 8). You win twice over, for taking an educated risk.
Another scenario is of an Ace split. You hold two hands with Ace as the first card. The second card you draw on the first hand may be any card worth ten. This takes the value to 21; you draw another A on the second hand -this means you have to opt for a hard Ace and hold a hand of 12. The Dealer’s hand goes bust (10, 4, K) and you win!
Even if the Dealer’s hand does not bust, and remains below 21, you win because you hold a hand worth 21. In this case, though the cards constitute a Blackjack in the strict sense of the term, it is not one. A Blackjack is not recognized on split Aces.
After you play your cards, the Dealer reveals their other card. Depending on the hand, they will opt to hit or stand based on a series of rules that the Dealer must follow:
- Hit on any total of 16 or less
- Stand on any total of 17 or more
There may be a case when the Dealer’s card value matches yours. This is a tie, also called a Push and your bet is returned. There is a rebet option which you can click to repeat the same amount each time you make a bet.
You Win When
- You get a Blackjack.
- Your hand is closer to (but does not exceed) 21 points than the Dealer’s hand.
- If the Dealer busts and you do not.
At Silver Oak Casino our Online Blackjack carries a 3:2 payout. This means that when you are dealt two cards adding up to 21, you win 1.5 times your bet amount (3 divided by 2). This has to be a combination of an Ace with 10 or any of the face cards. A $100 bet fetches you $150. If there is a tie, you get back your ante (first bet).
Playing two hands at once
Not many casinos let you play two hands at the same time. But at Silver Oak Casino there is a choice to place two bets and be dealt two hands at the start of every game of online blackjack.
This means you have two hands to beat the Dealer’s hand with.
After you click on the ‘bet’ button and place a wager, an arrow pops up pointing to the other betting circle, asking you if you wish to place another bet. If you want to, then click on the chips again and place a second bet before you click on deal. Two hands are dealt one after the other, after which the Dealer is dealt their hand. Proceed with all the moves for each hand one after the other. The Dealer will play after you stand on both. If you bust on any hand or reach 21 with one, you continue playing on the other. You can choose other options of split or double on each hand independently.
Playing two hands against one of the Dealer means the Player can win both or lose both bets or win at least one. Of course, a tie is always a possibility.
An insurance bet is one in which you can insure yourself against losing when the Dealer’s up card is an Ace. There is a possibility that the Hole Card could reveal a Blackjack, so you can buy yourself insurance for half the cost of your original wager. If you placed a $100 bet, buy insurance for $50. An insurance bet carries a payout rate of 2:1, so if the Dealer has a Blackjack, you are paid $100 on your insurance bet and play ends. If the Dealer doesn’t have a Blackjack, then you lose your insurance bet and continue to play your hand. Insurance bets are
an additional or side bet. So while you may lose your original wager, bagging the insurance helps you break even.
Online Blackjack Strategy and Tips
The simple truth about Blackjack is that there are only 16 cards with the value of 10 in a 52-deck card, but many casinos use multiple decks, reshuffled between hands. Some players rely on card counting strategies, but the idea of tracking cards on multiple decks that are reshuffled would be virtually impossible.
- One way is to assume that the Dealer’s second card is also worth 10.
- If the Dealer holds 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, the chances of busting are more. If they hold 5 or 6, the chances of busting are so great that you just have to play safe and avoid busting.
- If the Dealer’s cards reveal 7 or anything higher, their hand could add to 18, 19, 20 and 21. In such cases, hit to improve your own hand.
Some Other Blackjack Scenarios
- If your hand is equal to 17 or greater, and the Dealer is not showing a 7 or higher, the risk of busting is high. So you should stand.
- If your hand is valued anywhere between 12 and 16, and the Dealer’s Up Card is of high value, it is better to stand and see what their second card reveals. Chances are the higher value cards out there will make the Dealer bust.
- If your hand carries a value of 12 to 16 and the Dealer has a 7 or higher, you should hit. As the Dealer is likely to get a better hand than you do, you have little option but to risk busting.
The earliest traces of Blackjack can be traced to 17th Century France, in a game called Vingt-et-Un (meaning 21). However, the Italian Seven and a Half card game has also shaped modern day Blackjack.
Vingt-et-Un revolved around getting a ‘natural’ Blackjack –when one had a hand comprising Jack and an Ace of Spades. In Seven and a Half played with 7, 8 and 9 and the face cards, the goal was to reach a hand of 7.5 points. The value of 7, 8 and 9 was one while face cards carried half a point. If players busted the 7.5 value, they lost. In fact, the term “bust” in Blackjack is derived from this feature.
The game variations migrated to North America in the 19th century when governments took stern action against gambling. This forced Blackjack underground, where it flourished. In 1931 when Nevada legalized gambling, Blackjack resurfaced.
Since then, much of its evolution can be attributed to efforts by statisticians who researched and published strategies to reduce the house edge in the game.
In 1962, Professor Edward O. Thorp published his much-acclaimed card counting strategy in his book “Beat the Dealer.” It topped the New York Times’ best seller list the next year.
In the second edition of “Beat the Dealer”, published many years later, strategies were worked out by Julian Braun, an IBM employee, who used computers and played Blackjack with a simulator. Ever since, Blackjack card counting has taken casinos by storm as many try to outwit the Dealer through complicated strategies.
The pleasure of playing Blackjack is enhanced if you are well-versed in all the terminology associated with the game. Below are common terms that you will come across while playing Blackjack.
Action: A gambling term that refers to a specific amount of money wagered in a certain amount of time. Five bets of $20 each is a $100 of action.
Banker: Usually the Dealer — online casino.
Bankroll: Money that a player has set aside to bet with.
Blackjack: A natural 21 using an Ace and a Face Card.
Bust: When the total value of a hand exceeds 21 the player loses the bet.
Card Counting: Tracking the cards that have been played to score over the Dealer with the remaining cards.
Double: Doubling your initial bet after receiving the first two cards dealt
Draw: Addition of another card to your hand-the same as a hit.
Even Money: When you cash in your bet at a 1:1 payout ratio.
Face Cards: Jack, Queen or King, all with a face value of 10.
Hard Hand: A hand in which any Ace is counted as a one and not as 11. This is done to prevent the hand from exceeding 21 as it would then go bust.
Hit: Ask for another card to be dealt.
Hole Card: The Dealer’s face down card.
Insurance: A bet that you place when the Dealer’s up card is an Ace. You are betting half of your initial bet that the Dealer will get a natural blackjack. If the Dealer gets a natural blackjack the bet doubles, if not the bet is lost.
Pat Hand: A hand with a total of 17.
Push: The Dealer’s hand and the player’s hand have the same total, leading to the players bet being returned.
Soft Hand: A hand in which an Ace is counted as 11 but whose value does not exceed 21. A hand can go from ‘soft’ to ‘hard’. Take the example of an Ace and seven. It adds up to 18. If the player takes another card whose value is anything between 4 and 10, it means a bust. So the Ace will assume a value of 1.
Split Hands: If the first two cards dealt are of equal value, you have the option to play them as two separate hands.
Stand: When a player decides not to hit anymore.
Stand Hand: A hand that has a total of a hard 17, when the player takes no further action.
Stiff Hand: Stiff hands are usually hands that are valued from 12 to 16 and have little chances of winning.
Up Card: The Dealer’s first dealt card, placed face up.