Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, so naturally, many new players are attracted to the online version.  For several players, the big problem is choosing from the vast selection of different variants.  Others have a tough time adjusting to the rules of the internet world.  If you have a general knowledge of blackjack but are new to playing online, this article will serve as the introduction that will help you get started.

Online vs. Offline Play

When playing blackjack in a land-based casino, the rules pretty much remain the same regardless of the venue.  Blackjack payouts at 3 to 1, a tie pushes and the dealer busts if their hand goes over 21.  However, the rules of the game often change when playing online, which is typically done to give the house a greater advantage.  For instance, in many online casinos, blackjack pays out at 1 to 1, the dealer wins on a tie, and rather than the dealer busting with 22, the hand round results in a push.

Despite the disadvantages that come along with playing blackjack online, there are still some benefits that make the game attractive to players.  One popular variant is a game known as Blackjack Switch.  In this exclusive online variation, players begin with two separate hands and can exchange the second set of cards dealt should it provide them with an advantage.  The downside is that the rules of this particular variant are in favor of the house, so the player is more susceptible to losing money than winning.  Because the dealer is allowed to hit on a soft 17 in a game of Black Switch, the return to the player is greatly reduced.

Online Blackjack Variants and The House Edge

Another thing you should know about playing blackjack online is that different variants are played with a different number of card decks.  The number of decks typically ranges from one to eight.  This has a huge impact on the player because the more decks that are used, the higher the house edge.  So while the basic rules remain the same, you can expect a lower average return when playing blackjack with more decks of cards.  The house edge is also increased as a result of the restrictions imposed on tactics such as splitting and doubling down.   A classic example are variants in which the rules state that you cannot double following a split or only double if the value of your hand is between 9 and 11.  Likewise, there are variants in which you can only split once or twice.  In these games, the dealer is usually required to stand on a soft 17, but the player’s advantage is neutralized by the restrictions placed on splits and doubling down.


If you are a master at playing blackjack in the real world and want to take your skills online, your previous experience is only half the battle.  There are so many variants online that it can make it feel as if you are playing an entirely new game.  For this reason, it would be wise to read up on different variants and their rules before making a wager online.

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