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Online blackjack, like the classic and traditional blackjack, is also known as 21 or pontoon. When playing online blackjack, players compete against the dealer to get 21 points or a number that is closer without exceeding 21. It is a fast paced casino game which is much-loved all around South Africa – from the sun soaked shores of Durban and Cape Town, to the buzzing Jozi city. It is easy to understand, and especially exhilarating when you wait for the reveal of the card that may make you a little richer. Whether you are already an online blackjack pro or are just starting out, our 2017 guide to online blackjack is a must read.

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First, here are some of the reasons why you should try your hand at online blackjack:
•The rules are easy to follow.
•The goal is clear.
•You have more control over the game as you choose what to do next.
•It is a favourite casino game both locally and internationally, so knowing how to play it well will work in your favour, no matter where you are.
•You don’t need a big bankroll to play online blackjack.
•Most online casinos offer different variations of blackjack and not just the standard game. The different variations allow you to master the various alternatives of the game, and play it with slight twists.

image of online blackjack gambler placing chips - bet

Online Blackjack basics for SA Players

Image of gambler playing blackjack online

The goal of online blackjack is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible, without going over (bust). The game begins with the dealer handing out two cards for you and two for him/her. One of the dealer’s cards faces up (the ‘up’ card), and the other card faces down (the ‘hole’ card). After you have a look at your cards and the dealer’s up the card, you can make a decision whether to stand, hit, double down, split or give up your hand by surrendering. The game moves between you and the dealer until someone wins or loses.

Online Blackjack Card Values

Type Value
King 10
Queen 10
Jack 10
Ace Either 1 or 11
Other The indicated card value

Online Blackjack Variations South Africa

Online Blackjack is a relatively easy game to follow which is why it is easy to build different variations of it. Here are some of the most common variations of online blackjack as well as the basic rules of each game.

European Online Blackjack

  • There are two decks for this version of online blackjack.
  • The dealer stands on a soft 17.
  • A blackjack hand is a hand with an ace with the value of 11, and any other card with a value of 10. This blackjack hand beats any other hand with a value of 21 as it is the best hand.
  • A player is only allowed to split once.
  • A player may split like cards with a value of 10 (example: a King and a Queen).
  • If the dealer has an ace, he/she may not look at his/her cards to see if he/she has blackjack. When this happens, it is known as a peek.
  • A player may only double down on hands with a value of 9, 10 or 11.
  • If both the dealer and the player have blackjack, it is a tie and no one wins. The players can get his wager back. This is also known as a push.

Atlantic City Online Blackjack

  • This version of online blackjack is played with eight decks.
  • A player may double down on their first two cards, and may split their hands three times to play a maximum of four hands at the same time.
  • You are allowed to a late surrender.
  • You are allowed insurance.

Classic Online Blackjack Gold

  • Playing this version of online blackjack requires five decks. The dealer then combines and shuffles them at the beginning of each game.
  • The game is played one hand at a time.
  • A player cannot double down after a split.
  • The dealer stands on 17.
  • The rules do not allow players to give up their hand by surrendering.
  • A player may double down on the first two cards with a hard value of 9, 10 or 11

Gold Bonus Online Blackjack

  • This version of online blackjack is played with two decks.
  • The rules do not allow players to give up their hand by surrendering.

Online Blackjack Rules for South African Players

The rules of online blackjack are simple and easy to follow. So, if you want to improve your online blackjack game, read on.

  • If you bust or surrender, you lose, and the game is over.
  • Likewise, if the dealer busts or surrenders the game is over, and you win.
  • If you and the dealer do not bust, the person with the highest hand wins.
  • The numbered cards retain their face value.
  • The value of the King, Queen and Jack is at 10 each.
  • You choose the value of the Ace, as it can have a value of either 1 or 11, depending on your choice.
  • Any pair of cards which consists of an ace and a 10 is “blackjack”.

Online Blackjack Tips for SA Players 2017

  • Remember the actual goal of online blackjack is not to get 21 but to beat the dealer.
  • Choose a variation of online blackjack you are comfortable with and know well.
  • Concentrate on the game to make the best decisions.
  • Do not play online blackjack intoxicated because this will probably limit your concentration and ability to make decisions.
  • Know your bankroll limit and stick to it.
  • Always check the dealers up card before making a decision.
  • Hit on a hard eight or less.
  • Hit on a soft 15 or less.

Online Blackjack History

  • There are many theories as to where online blackjack began. Two methods most blackjack players seem to agree on is that it originated in Spain in 1440, and in France in the 1700’s. The Spanish influence came from a game known as ‘Trente-un,’ which translates to thirty-one. This game had a mention in the literary classic Don Quixote. The French influence stems from the game known as “vingt-et-un,” which translates to twenty-one. Another influence comes from the Italian game called ‘seven and a half’ which is believed to have started the concept of going ‘bust.’
  • All of these games involved the use of cards, decision making, and the main idea of trying to get as close to a certain number, without going over. These games then filtered over to America where the game got a name change to ‘blackjack’. The player whose hands consisted of an ace of spades and a blackjack will win a large sum. It was in America where new rules were added to the game and were only declared legal in the state of Nevada in 1831.
  • In 1990 online blackjack casinos were introduced and in 1994 by Microgaming. Microgaming then combined forces with Cryptologic, to create safe online gambling software and financial transactions. The number of online casino sites rose from 15 in 1996 to 200 in 1997. Online blackjack has a rich history which shows it was and still is beloved all over the world, and in South Africa, with its popularity status continuing to grow in 2017.

Online Blackjack Terms and Glossary

  • Bust – this means you have gone over 21 and have lost the game
  • The up card – this is one of the dealer’s cards that has to face up
  • The hole card – this is one of the dealer’s cards that he places face down
  • Stand – this action says that you will stay with the cards you have and will not take any more cards
  • Hit – this actions say that you choose another card and may continue to hit until you bust or get a value which you opt to stand on
  • Double down – this doubles your bet and allows you to take one more card only
  • Split – this action is allowed when you have two cards of the same value, which lets you double your bet and split your hand, where each card forms the first card of a new hand
  • Surrender – this allows you to reduce your loss by giving up your hand and losing half the amount you bet if you feel you have a losing hand
  • Insurance – a player can take insurance on hand if the dealer’s up card is an ace. This is to protect yourself in case the dealer hits 21. Insurance is half the amount of the initial wager.
  • Push – when the dealer and the player reach a tie, depending on the rules of that particular version of online blackjack, either no one wins, or the player wins
  • Dealer peeks–  the rules allow a dealer to see if he/she has blackjack if he/she has an ace or a ten showing, this, however, does depend on the variation of blackjack
  • Hard value/hand – a hand without an ace or a hand where the ace counts as 1
  • Soft value/hand – a hand with an ace that counts as 11

Online Blackjack FAQs

Just like with other online casino games, gamblers have questions about blackjack. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about online blackjack.

What is pair splitting in online blackjack?
What cards should I split in online blackjack?
When should I hit and when should I stand?
What happens when the game is a push?
What is the worst mistake in online blackjack?
Why is online blackjack so popular?