Real Money Blackjack Guide
We know what you are thinking as soon as you clicked on this page: a guide to playing Blackjack, the easiest table game to play in the casino? Well, hopefully when you are done with this page, you will have learned something, whether you are a casino expert or a rank beginner on the topic.
The game of Blackjack has been around for ages; we won’t go into the history of the game here. However, what we will tell you is that the popularity of the game of 21 is continuing to increase, especially as new land based casinos and online gambling sites are giving players more and more options to play the game.
This page is meant to be a review of playing Blackjack for real money. We are going to cover all the basics, and then you will also find links to some more detailed pages on some of the topics we are going to discuss. When all is said and done, you will have more information than when you arrived, and that’s a good thing, right?
Recommended Online Blackjack Sites
Online gambling sites have made it possible for people to play Blackjack for real money from pretty much anywhere you can get an internet connection. On the bus on the way to work, out on the dock at your lake house, or from the comfort of your bed (no judging), you now don’t even have to put on clothes to start placing your Blackjack bets and having the cards dealt to you.
With so many choices for real money Blackjack online, we thought we would start you off with our Top 5 Online Blackjack Sites list. There are hundreds of online casinos that we have reviews at Legit Casinos Online, and we encourage you to read through our detailed reports, but if you need a quick fix right now, we can recommend the following sites:
Why play Blackjack for real money?
If you don’t know the reason to play Blackjack for real money, then perhaps you are in the wrong place. But, we will give you the benefit of the doubt, and in fact, we are going to give you a couple of reasons that you should be playing Blackjack for real money
To Win Real Money
Isn’t that why we all sit down and place our money on any gaming table either live or online? We want to be that person in the movies shoving chips in and getting piles of them back, getting high fives from complete strangers, and making our way to the cage or to our online casino lobby to take our winnings home with us. Well, when you are playing Blackjack for real money that is the preferred outcome for us all! In all seriousness though, you can be playing Blackjack for free at many online gambling sites or at home with your friends using peanuts for chips. However, the excitement and adrenaline that comes from doubling down against a 6 for a big real money bet are tough to find at your kitchen table, so most people quickly graduate to the real thing.
Ease of play
Maybe you are new to gambling, and casino gambling in particular. If you are, then Blackjack can take away some of your anxiety. The game itself is very simple to play; place a bet, receive some cards, and try to get to 21 without going over. Then the dealer does the same, and if your hand beats theirs, then you are a winner! OF course, there is far more strategy involved as you get better at the game, which we will cover later. From a learning curve perspective, there aren’t too many games easier to learn for gamblers than Blackjack. In fact, you can easily download a guide that will give you the basic strategy for playing the game (many casinos offer this to their players right at the table).
Another reason to choose real money Blackjack as your game is that it has if played correctly according to basic strategy, some of the best odds for a player in a casino. We know they don’t open casinos to hand out money to players; all the games have a house edge to them. However, unlike a game like American Roulette that has a house edge of over 5%, real money standard Blackjack (we’ll explain the different variants in a bit) can have as low as a 0.39% edge for the casino.
If you are going to bet real money, wouldn’t you want to have the best odds of coming out a winner? We know we would, and that is why we always recommend playing real money Blackjack for those not willing to take significant risks.
Types of Real Money Blackjack
While the basic rules of Blackjack have not changed over the years, even after being converted from the European game of 21, the rules around the gameplay itself have evolved. These days, you can find all different types of Blackjack options when entering a live casino or while playing for real money at your favorite online casino.
Let’s be clear about these different variants: none of them are designed to make it easier for you to win money. In fact, so many of these games are just offering bonuses for particular starting hands or play, most of which require a side bet which increases the house revenue per hand. This change to the house edge means that while the casino may have to pay a big jackpot to players every so often, that is more than compensated by the extra money contributed by players.
Depending on the casino you find yourself playing real money Blackjack, you may find tweaks to rules such as whether or not the dealer must stand on soft 17, or what cards you are allowed to double down on your bet. All of these little tweaks make small changes to the house edge for the game, and not usually in the player’s favor. This adds a bit more risk for the player, but there is also a chance of a bigger payout for some of these rules.
Another big difference in the type of real money Blackjack that you could find yourself playing is the number of decks in play. Some casinos spread 6-deck games while the standard now seems to be 8-decks. These larger shoes of cards make it more difficult to count cards, which is a way that some players can game the system. With more cards in play, a casino can cut the deck in a manner that will allow for more gameplay without shuffling while also reducing the potential for a counter to take advantage of the information they gathered when getting to the end of the shoe.
Many casinos offer a single or double deck version of the game, however, to maintain a house edge in that game, they offer players less money for a Blackjack. In fact, this became so popular that many casinos change the payouts for Blackjack on other tables as well. This can cause a change in the house edge as well, so when you are playing, make sure you look for a table that offers the full 3 to 2 payout for getting that elusive Blackjack.
When you are looking for real money Blackjack games, whether online or in a land-based casino, you may find these different types of variants:
- Perfect Pairs
- Lucky Ladies
- Blackjack Switch
- Spanish 21
- Vegas Strip Blackjack
- Atlantic City Blackjack
- European Blackjack
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Double Deck Blackjack
We go into the details of these variants and the differences between each game on our Blackjack Variants page which you can access by clicking this link.
Real Money Blackjack Strategy
Well, this is a topic that could take on a life of its own. For a game with very simple rules, there are an incredible number of articles, books, and websites written on the topic of strategy. There is a plan for beginner players all the way up to the most advanced betting patterns for professional players.
We won’t cover all the strategy on this page; we have many pages dedicated to strategy for real money Blackjack if you follow this link.
For the purposes of this real money Blackjack overview, we are going to focus on two main points to consider when you are playing.
Play Within Your Limits
This is the number one reason that real money Blackjack players come out on the losing end of a session is their betting patterns. Many players think that they can bet their way out of a losing streak of hands; the most obvious way to accomplish this is to double your bet after a loss, attempting to break even on the next hand. Blackjack can be a fickle beast, however, and sometimes those streaks can be several hands in a row. Add into the mix the fact that most Blackjack tables have a maximum bet amount (usually designed to deter this behavior) and players can find themselves chasing their chips far too long. We recommend that beginner players make the same wager every hand for consistency, and then when you are comfortable with the game theory, you can start to review some of the intermediate and advanced betting strategies we outline in our Real Money Blackjack Strategy Guide.
Avoid Poor play
Another reason players find themselves with fewer chips than when they started is due to poor play, usually defined by taking cards at the wrong time. Sometimes players will feel “lucky” and draw a card they shouldn’t; in some cases, the card drawn will be the exact card they need. When a player wins a hand after a play like that, the hand goes right into the memory bank; however, players rarely remember the dozens of mistakes they made to achieve that one winning hand.
As we mentioned above, real money Blackjack has some of the best odds for a player in the casino. This, however, is only if the game is played by the proper strategic rules. Take advantage of the basic strategy card they offer you when you sit down, or that is for sale in the casino’s store; following the basis of when to stay and when to hit can make the difference between winning and losing at a real money Blackjack table.
Best Bonuses for Blackjack
You are going to find much more bonuses and promotions at an online casino than a land-based casino, but in either case, any extra money is a great way to make your balance grow. When you are playing real money Blackjack at a land-based casino, make sure to have your play tracked with a player card, as that usually results in you receiving a match play ticket. These match play chips must be used with your real money bet, but if you win the hand, then you give real money back for the voucher – an instant double up of your win! The more you play, the larger your match play is likely to be. Also, don’t be shy – when you sit down at a table, you should always ask the dealer and the pit boss if they are offering any match play. Although most casinos rely on an algorithm to determine who and how much bonus to give out, many spots still give some leeway to the floor staff, and if it is your lucky day you may be rewarded just for being a nice, polite player!
Online casinos are an entirely different animal. Once you register for the site, you are likely offered a free chip of some sort that you can use at a Blackjack table without ever putting down your own money. Now, these free chips come with many strings attached, including wagering requirements, withdrawal limits on wings, etc. No matter, free bets are free bets, so when you are looking at our online gambling site reviews keep an eye out for sites that offer a free chip program.
All your play at an online casino is tracked (it’s much easier for the casino as you have to log in so you can’t play anonymously). As a result, online casinos can reward their real money Blackjack players in a more robust fashion, and on a more individual basis. You may find a special Blackjack Deposit bonus in your email, seemingly designed just for you; this is common among the casinos that offer real money Blackjack online. Furthermore, many online casinos offer bonus Blackjack tournaments to their most valuable players. These events reward players who make the most money in a particular time period with bonus cash, and we have seen these tournaments with prize pools of over $100,000 in the past.
Whatever way you like to be rewarded for your real money Blackjack play, bonuses are waiting for you. Make sure you do all your research and take advantage of these offers so you can improve your chances of walking away a winner.
Online vs. Land Based Blackjack
We have talked a little bit on this page about what you can expect when you play real money Blackjack online or in a live casino environment. We have an entire page dedicated to online Blackjack play at Legit Casinos Online; let’s review a couple of the main differences between live and online play.
The most noticeable difference between the two is the speed of the game. When you are playing in a land based casino, you are at the mercy of the speed of the dealer, and often times the speed of play of the other gamblers at your table. In theory, up to 6 hands have to be played before you are dealt a fresh hand, so it gives you time to watch other hands as they are played, to pick up some strategy, or if you are trying to game the system to employ some sort of card counting technique. Of course, you can speed the game up by sitting at a table by yourself, but some players like more than just the gameplay at a real money Blackjack table in a land-based casino.
The online version of real money Blackjack is quick. It’s really, really fast. Hands are dealt with lightning speed, and you can get your bets in just as quickly, even if you choose to play more than one hand at once. This can often cause players to lose money at an alarming rate. We recommend using some sort of “game clock” to allow yourself a chance to breathe between hands. Another way to combat the speed on online real money Blackjack is to choose a live dealer option. Live Dealer Blackjack is a game you can play on your computer but with a real dealer playing the hands from a casino studio. These games are much more like the land-based version of real money Blackjack so you can play at a much more acceptable rate.
Slight Odds Change
We mentioned that in a land-based casino, real money Blackjack tables may use different numbers of decks, but all these cards need to be manually shuffled at some point. What this means is that the theoretical odds of each hand are different based on the cards that are left in the shoe; if you can keep track of the cards you have seen, then you can gain a slight advantage.
Online real money Blackjack tables do not have this change in odds. In fact, it trends the other direction; the cards are usually “shuffled” after every hand, meaning that each hand has the same odds as the last one, based on the number of decks an online casino uses in their digital shoe. With every hand dealing like the first one after a fresh shuffle, online Blackjack can sometimes feel like a slot machine than the game we all play live. Again, playing a live dealer real money Blackjack game can alleviate this issue as the dealer in the casino studio is using a real (albeit cartoonish) deck of cards to play each hand.
Is Blackjack Rigged?
While we now that sometimes when you in the middle of a long losing streak, it sure can feel like Blackjack is rigged, we can assure you that, in legitimate casinos, real-money Blackjack is not rigged. With all the security measures out in place, it would be very tough to change the outcome of a hand. Remember that over time, the odds work out to a slight house edge. If you want to take the idea of hands being rigged out of play, keep a simple tab of the number of winning and losing hands during your session…you will likely see the same after your research.
How much can I win playing real money Blackjack?
The amount of money you can win playing real money Blackjack is, of course, limitless. Assuming you have all the money in the world and no aversion to risk, you can play high limit games and walk away with millions. Most of us do not fit into that category, however, and we play with many more financial and emotional restrictions.
While it is difficult to say exactly how much money you can win playing real money Blackjack, one thing we encourage is setting a goal for winnings in any session. All too often, players enter a casino with a firm number in mind they are willing to lose; we believe you should go in with the firm number you are ready to get up and walk away if you win. If you employ this kind of strategy, you may find your session ending a little faster than you might have hoped, but we suggest if that is the case, you can spend the extra time counting your winnings.
How do I know if the online Blackjack is safe?
The operators of online casinos don’t want to jeopardize their reputation (and depending on where they operate, their freedom) by offering real money Blackjack games to their players that aren’t legit. Having said that, not every operator uses software that we can ensure is reputable. When you read one of our online casino reviews at Legit Casinos Online, you will see where a casino is licensed and which software they offer. A quick way to tell if your casino uses a software we can confirm is safe is by looking at the homepage of the site for the logo of one of the independent auditing firms. They are charged with testing Random Number Generators to ensure that the real money Blackjack game is playing by the same rules and odds that you would find in a land-based casino.
Can I play Blackjack for free?
Yes, you can play Blackjack for free at almost all online casino sites. If you are an entirely new player, then it may be best for you to give these games a try for free at first. You can have a look at the graphics and gameplay of the casino’s Blackjack game. However, we think you will quickly realize that playing Blackjack for real money is where the real excitement lies. Once that feeling sinks in, we encourage you to come back to our site for some quick tips and tricks before you put down your cash and start playing for some real winnings.