While the origins of blackjack are still up for debate, it’s clear that along with roulette it is one of the most popular games to play at an online casino in India, especially in its live dealer format. One version of the history books records Blackjack or the French ‘Vingt-et-Un’ (meaning 21) as originating in Spain, with ‘Don Quixote’ author Cervantes mentioning a Spanish game called ‘Veintiuna’ (also meaning 21) as far back as the 1600s. But whatever its early history, we’re glad that the game was passed on down the generations so we can enjoy it in its present form today.
You have two main options for playing blackjack at Indian online casinos. One of these options is to play the digital versions where the cards are dealt in accordance with a random number generator (RNG) to ensure complete fairness throughout – you can do everything you can do at a real life casino, but you’re relying on computer graphics and sounds to create the atmosphere.
If you want the real thing, aside from getting on a plane to Goa for the weekend, then your best option is to play the exciting live dealer versions of blackjack at your favourite online casino. You will get HD quality streams of the action and you will hear the dealer call out the cards, plus you can interact with them via a live chat window that’s always available. With all this in mind, we’ll be concentrating on the live versions as we explore the game and the strategies for playing it.
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How to Experience Live Blackjack Online
Nothing beats the thrill of sitting at the blackjack table, seeing the cards being shuffled expertly by a beautiful croupier and being able to shout blackjack when you win a round with a perfect 21. To get in on this action, simply read the CasinoTop reviews, sign up to an Indian online casino that offers Live Casino games and make your first deposit. Once you’ve got your playing funds, head to the Live Casino area of the site and fire up the most appealing blackjack game.
Wait for the next round to start and take your place at the famous green blackjack table. The dealer will then burn the first card (taking it out of play), then deal your cards face up and their cards either face up or down depending on the version of the game you are playing. Your objective is to get as close to 21 (blackjack) without going over that number, so look at the cards you have and make a decision to ‘hit’ (receive another card) or ‘stand’ (receive no more cards because you’re pretty sure the dealer won’t have a hand any closer to 21 than yours).
As for card values, aces are worth either 1 or 11 (depending on which one makes the better hand), face cards (king, queen, jack) are worth 10, while all other cards have the value of the number on the card (2 of diamonds is worth 2, 5 of clubs is worth 5, and so on and so forth).
Aside from playing one hand at one table, there are a few more options for those wishing to spice things up when playing live dealer blackjack. You can choose to play multi-seat blackjack. This enables you to play multiple hands from multiple seats at the same table at the same time. However, when the casino is super busy, this option will be denied in order to give everyone a chance to play, which is fair enough. The other option is to play multi-table blackjack, which is pretty much exactly as it sounds. You can play hands at up to four tables at once. Do note that this is only for expert level playing, as it can sometimes get really confusing and stressful fast.
What’s the RTP?
Standard blackjack has a high Return to Player (RTP) of 99.5%. This means for every ₹100 you wager on the blackjack table, you will on average win back ₹99.50. That doesn’t mean you can’t hit a lucky streak to consistently beat the house – it’s just the mathematical average that has been calculated if we assume that the game went on indefinitely. Note that other types of blackjack have slightly different RTPs, the most common of which we’ve laid out below:
- Surrender Blackjack has an RTP of 99.7%
- American Blackjack has an RTP of 99.6%
- Classic Blackjack has an RTP of 99.4%
- Micro Blackjack has an RTP of 99.2%
What Are the Different Types of Online Blackjack?
The main differences between the various versions of online blackjack concern how the cards are dealt in the first place. Some games keep everything face up, so it’s easier to see if you have a winning hand or not versus what the dealer has. More difficult versions of the game keep the cards face down, meaning that it’s almost impossible to predict if you’re close to blackjack. Below we’ve given an explanation of some of the most common varieties you’re likely to encounter when playing online in India:
American vs European
American blackjack is played all over the world, not just in the United States. Typically, the dealer will deal one card face up but keep another ‘in the hole’, so to speak, meaning it will be kept face down. However, there is one instance where the dealer can view the hole card – when the face up card happens to be an ace, meaning that it can be considered a 1 or an 11.
European blackjack, on the other hand (excuse the pun), does not have a card in the hole – ie, all the cards are dealt face up. And another consideration to take into account is that some blackjack games only reward a perfect score of 21, so rather than simply getting closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, the dealer doesn’t have any cards and you must get blackjack – the holy grail score of 21.
As we stated earlier, we far prefer to play live dealer blackjack and we encourage you to do the same so that you can get the full Las Vegas style experience from the comfort of your own home. When playing live blackjack, you take a virtual seat with up to six other players who could be playing from anywhere in the world, giving it an extra edge of competitiveness. Even though you are only competing against the dealer and not against each other, it can be fun trying to gain more wins than the other players at the table. Another added advantage is that you can chat with the other players as you play, so there’s an additional social element to the game.
While you can play blackjack at traditional land based casinos, online blackjack gives you even more options for playing this rich game. For instance, a land based casino will only offer a few varieties of the game or otherwise stick to one set of rules across all its tables. Online blackjack, on the other hand, will give you every single version of the game at the click of a button. You can also play blackjack in fun mode (otherwise known as ‘playing for free’), so that you can learn all the rules in your own time and perfect your blackjack strategies before wagering real money.
There are as many varieties of blackjack as you can possibly imagine, which is great news if you want to switch things up for a time. For example, the game provider NYX Interactive has a game called Red Queen Blackjack, giving you additional bonuses for winning hands containing a queen of hearts or diamonds. Another popular variation is Blackjack Player’s Choice, where you can choose to reject the first hand if you don’t like the look of the first card you’re dealt.
Strategies for Playing Blackjack Online
With the most basic versions of the game, there are many simple rules that will always apply and work in your favour. But mastering the game is, of course, going to take a lot of experience and know how. A perfect example of something you should always do is ask for another card by saying ‘hit’ when your first two cards total 11 or less – this is because it is impossible to go bust by adding another card and you will definitely get closer to your goal of 21. Another good rule of thumb is to never ‘hit’ when you already have a total of 17 or more, as you’re very likely to go bust by adding another card. In that case, you should always request to ‘stand’. This rule can be bent when you have a so-called ‘soft hand’ where an ace is standing in for a score of 11.
Splitting Your Aces and Eights
If you are dealt two of any card, you are allowed to split them by placing the same bet down again and asking for two extra cards for each of the split sides (so that you are essentially playing two hands in that round). Splitting aces or 8s is an extremely good strategy because they are both very strong cards. The 8 is near enough in the middle, while an ace can be used as a 1 or an 11, giving you so many more combinations.
Some blackjack games allow you to double down after you have received your first two cards. This means that you want to double your bet after assessing that you have a good chance of beating the dealer’s hand by what you’ve seen so far. Just note that the rules differ for each game, so while some games allow you to double down on any hand, while others only allow doubling down when you are below a certain total at the two card stage. So, always check the rules of the game you’re playing to double down when it’s in your favour to do so.
In Game Bonuses
There is a 1 in 20 chance of getting blackjack (otherwise known as a natural hand) with your first two cards. This means an ace (standing in for 11) and a face card (scoring 10) together, making 21 from the start. As it is quite rare to get this total with just two cards, online casinos will reward you with a payout of 3:2, rather than the normal 1:1 payout for all other wins.
And as we mentioned earlier, NYX’s Red Queen Blackjack will bump your payouts if your winning hands contain a red queen – meaning a queen or hearts or a queen of diamonds.
Another variation of additional in game bonuses are side bets. Perfect Pairs is one such game. So, if your two initial cards are of the same value, you will receive an extra special bonus. Sometimes you will get rewarded for a pair of the same colour and other times a pair of mixed colours. It all depends on the game and its rules, so be sure to read up on them before playing.
There are so many factors to consider when trying out different versions of online blackjack, all of which change the RTP either in your favour or in favour of the house. So, firstly you should always check what the stated RTP is and figure out why the house might have more or less of an advantage depending on how the game rules have been formulated. Most of all, familiarise yourself with each of the games by playing at first in demo or fun mode, then head to a live blackjack casino to put the strategies you have learned here into practice. And good luck!