Online Blackjack

Blackjack is the classic casino game – and one of the most popular in New Zealand.  Kiwis avidly flock to the game because it is one that, if played correctly, gives the “house” the narrowest advantage or “edge”. That’s because success in blackjack is not just about blind luck.  It’s a matter of strategy – techniques and tactics you can learn to master and exploit.

The Best Blackjack Sites For Kiwis In 2017

The list below highlights some of the best vetted New Zealand sites for playing Blackjack in 2017.  They offer a range of stakes and the option to practice for free before wagering real money.

Playing Live Blackjack

Online Blackjack can be played against a computerized “house” or live via webcam. When you play blackjack live, you face a real human dealer and share the table with other real-time players. It’s all real and more entertaining than any simulated experience. You can meet the other players and the lovely dealers who run the show.

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Blackjack Rules – How To Play

The rules for Blackjack are simple. Blackjack is all about getting dealt a hand with a total combined card value exceeding that of the dealer, without going over the 21.

A round of blackjack starts when you choose how much to wager. This initial bet is called the “ante”. The minimum and maximum bets allowed vary from table to table. Typically, the minimum is between $1 and $5, while the maximum is between $100 and $200.

After you’ve decided how much you want to bet, you will be dealt two cards by the dealer. The dealer also takes two, with the second card face up for all to see. After you get your two cards, calculate their combined value by adding the individual values of each card.  The value of an Ace can be either 1 or 11, while face cards are worth 10 (along with the ten card). Other cards, of course, have the value of the numbers that appear on them.

Blackjack Combinations

play-blackjackThe combination of a card with the value of 10 plus an ace has a special status of being a “blackjack” and an automatic winner — unless you and the dealer both get blackjack in the same round, in which case the round is consider a “push” or “standoff” and no money is lost or won.

The same holds true for other cases where your total card value equals that of the dealer.
If neither you nor the dealer gets blackjack, then the round proceeds beyond the first two cards.

The Six Basic Moves You Can Make

There are six different play options that you can choose after the initial deal in your quest to beat the dealer and win the hand.

  • Hit: You will receive a card. You can get as many cards as you want, but remember that if your total card value exceeds 21, you are busted!
  • Stand: You decide to not get any more cards. Then it’s the dealer’s turn.
  • Double: You decide to double your bet and can get just one card more.
  • Split: You divide your two cards into two separate “hands” and add cards to each hand independently, with a distinct total for each hand. To split your hand you have to place a bet equivalent to the value of your initial bet.
  • Insurance: If the dealer shows an ace, some casinos give you the option to buy insurance for half the value of your ante. If the dealer gets blackjack and you are insured, you get your ante back.
  • Fold / Retire / Surrender: Some casinos allows you to give up your dealt hand, for half the value of your ante, if you think your chances of winning are bad.

As a player, you are at a disadvantage because you have the first chance to go bust and automatically lose, even if the dealer busts their hand later in the game.  That is the house’s essential edge.

The Dealer’s Turn

After you have completed your hand, made your moves and hopefully haven’t busted your hand yet, it is the dealer’s turn to draw. The dealer must draw cards until their combined value is at least 17. When the dealer has 17 or more, no more cards can be drawn.

If your combined total is more than that of the casino, you win the value of your ante, essentially doubling what you wagered. If you have a blackjack, and the dealer does not, you will receive your ante back plus one and a half times (150%) its value. As noted, equal values result in the house winning.

Online Blackjack Variants

When visiting one of our approved casinos, you will find that an abundance of variations on the classic game of Blackjack. The disparities are usually relatively small and easy to learn, but you do need to study up on the subtle differences so you will have a better chance to beat the odds. Many players enjoy trying out the variants, and we recommend checking some of these entertaining alternatives to the basic game.

Double Exposure Blackjack

The game is played with 8 sets of cards. But the biggest difference in Double Exposure is that the player immediately sees both of the dealer’s cards. This removes some of the mystery and strategy, simplifying your choices. As in classic blackjack, you need to hit 21 or get closer to 21 than the dealer without going bust. In Double Exposure, blackjack pays only the value of your ante.

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European Blackjack

The rules of European Blackjack briefly: In European Blackjack, you play 6 game cards. The Dealer must stand on soft 17 (an ace and any number of cards that have the sum 6) The player may only double down on a hard hand consisting of a total value of 9-11. The player must double after a split. The player loses his total bet, including after any double or split, if the dealer gets blackjack.

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Atlantic City Blackjack

In the Atlantic City variant of blackjack, the dealer must draw to all totals of 16 or less, and stand on all totals of 17 to 21. Players may double down on any initial hand and split any initial pair. While doubling after a split is allowed, re-splitting is not. Only one card each is allowed on split aces. Blackjacks pay 1 1/2 to 1 (150%) and insurance on a dealer Ace pays 2 to 1.

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Blackjack Bonus

As you start playing blackjack at a new online casino, you should definitely accept the welcome bonus that most operators offer for the game. However, while all online casinos have welcome bonuses, not all of them allow you to use it on blackjack, so read terms and conditions carefully. In addition, many casinos have a play-through requirement, which mandates that the welcome bonus must be played on slots or other chance games rather than of games that are affected by player strategy, blackjack being one of them. While it won’t be worth trying to run after your wins on these bonuses, they do provide excellent real-life practice on real money blackjack, especially with Live Dealer games, which almost never let you play for free.

On the other hand, some casinos will have special bonuses for table games – it can be in the form of welcome bonuses, but more often than not, the most exciting deals are the promos offered for returning players. Other than the usual bonuses, there might be extra prize-winning options added to a game, where players can win prizes even if they don’t win that particular game.

Blackjack Schedule – Learn To Calculate Your Probabilities

Before you begin to play blackjack for real stakes, it’s a great idea to study up on the statistics concerning the best way to play your hand. You quickly can become an expert at calculating the odds for various hands and therefore what are the optimal moves at any given moment.

Blackjack FAQ

New blackjack players typically have questions about the nuances of blackjack play. Here are some of the questions most frequently asked, and some answers which we hope will be helpful:

How many cards are there in blackjack?

An ordinary game of blackjack is played with one or more set of 52-card card games. There are thus no jokers in blackjack. At casinos, up to 8 card decks are used to make life more difficult for players who are adept at counting cards. Much has been written about card-counting, and the practice has often been depicted by Hollywood. Suffice it to say that the practice is discouraged by casinos because it improves the player’s odd, but it is not always easy to detect counting!

How do I win in blackjack?

Experienced players know that blackjack is much more than just pure dumb luck. There are many tips to help you get more out of your game and improve your chances of winning:

  • Never split two 5s
    If you are dealt double 5’s, you have a total of 10 at hand. It’s almost always the smartest move to “Double Down” and hope for a 10 or face card next.
  • Always split two 8’s
    Whichever card the dealer has face up, it’s a good idea to always split two 8’s. A hand with the total value 16 is about the worst one can be dealt in blackjack. It is very likely that the dealer will have or draw something higher. At best, you may draw a card worth 10 or an ace worth 11 for each of your 8’s and thus improve your chances considerably. Or you might lose one hand and win the other and break even for a hand. It could be worse!
  • Never split two 10’s
    20 is the second-best hand you can get. While it may be tempting to split two face cards in hopes of doubling your winnings or even getting one or more blackjack, the odds say you’re more likely to lose both hands and thus lose twice as much. The old saying about a bird in hand being worth two in the bush comes to mind!
  • Rules for the “hard” hand
    If your dealt hand has a value of 12 or more, here are some “rules of thumb” to follow:
    – Stand if you have 17 or above
    – Stand with total values between 12 and 16 if the dealer has 2 to 6 as his open card
    – Take a card if you have a hand is valued between 12 and 16 and the dealer show a 7 or     higher.
  • The “soft” hand (Ace + another card)
    If you have been dealt an ace and your cards would total at least 18 if you value the ace at 11 rather than 1, you should only take an extra card if the dealer’s open card is 8, 9 or 10. The best way to maximize your winnings in this situation is, according to most experts, to double down.
    Always take a card when you have with a soft hand with a value of 17 or less.

What are your chances of winning in blackjack?

Since blackjack is not just about dumb luck, smart players stand a much better chance to win. In fact, blackjack is the casino game that gives the least benefit to the house. Consider how classic blackjack stacks up against other casino alternatives:

Game House Advantage
Blackjack 0.28% (Las Vegas Rules)
Video Poker 0.5% – 5%
Baccarat 1.06%
American Roulette 5.26%
French Roulette 2.70%
Pokies /Slots 5% – 17%

Might that explain why casinos typically promote pokies so heavily? 

How do you count cards in blackjack?

The saying goes that the card counting is simple to learn, but takes a lifetime to master. You must be very good, have an exceptional memory and plenty of practice to make it work. If you possess those three talents, however, there is a big advantage to the players in counting cards, and therefore no love lost among casino operators for gifted card-counters. The art of counting cards consists of four simple steps:

  • Give each card a value.
  • Keep track of the number of each card with a given value that leaves the deck.
  • Leverage this information to calculate the chances of a given card appearing next.
  • The higher your confidence of knowing the next card, the higher you should bet

The question, naturally, is whether you can use this technique in online casino. After all, while real-world casinos are invariably equipped with high tech cameras monitored by hawk-eyed spotters of card-counters, no such supervision exists in the privacy of your own home. (At least we hope not!)

So certainly you can try counting cards to the best of your ability, but take into account that most online blackjack games electronically “shuffle” the cards after each round, which makes it practically impossible to gain any practical benefit from counting cards.

till, there are casino operators and blackjack variants which advertise using an 8 deck rotation without intermittent shuffling like their real-world counterparts. There is software that counts cards for you, although its usefulness online is dubious for the reasons mentioned. But certainly you should keep your eyes open and seek any edge that may improve your chances to beat the house. All is fair in love and blackjack!

What is insurance and is it worth it?

There is a reason that insurance companies prosper, and casinos too. The odds are calculated in advance to be in their favor. In blackjack, for half the value of your ante, you can buy “insurance” if the dealer’s open card is an ace. The dealer then checks for a blackjack and if so, you must have been dealt a blackjack of your own to win. Otherwise, you will only win 2: 1 on your insurance and you will get no other winnings or losses. Insurance improves the house’s edge to 7.4%, so the odds says that taking what amounts to a side bet is usually not worth it, unless you are like Hollywood’s “Rain Man” and absolutely certain that the dealer’s hole card is a 10!