Everything You Need to Know About Blackjack and its Bonuses
Blackjack remains among the top-played casino games across the world. Every single land-based casino you can walk into, you’ll find at least one Blackjack table. It goes for Canada just as much. Not only that but online Blackjack has also been popularised in the last 2 decades.
We’re aware that many of you are very much interested in how to play Blackjack but not sure where to start. If you’re one of them, this guide is for you. We’re going to cover how to play Blackjack, how different rules work, how to choose the right Blackjack casino, and what bonuses you can use for this game.
What is Blackjack?
Blackjack is a game of chance that you can play at casinos. This is, of course, a very vague and simple answer to a very complicated question. To be a little more precise, Blackjack is a card game where you play against the casino dealer.
It’s widely believed that Blackjack originated in France and it was known as Vingt-et-Un. Since the 1700s, French casinos have been marketing this game and it became extremely popular near the end of the century.
In the next 100 years, the game traveled the world and finally made its way to American land. There, it had its own rules and to this day, all Blackjack games at online and offline casinos follow those rules.
Vingt-et-un translates to 21 in English. This is significant because your goal in the game is to reach as close to 21 as possible with the cards you’re dealt. When you do get to 21, the hand is called a natural or, you guessed it, a Blackjack.
Now, it’s important to note that you’re playing against the casino in Blackjack. The dealer represents the house and he’s playing against all players. In retrospect, poker is the only casino game where you play against other players instead of the house.
How to Play Blackjack
To successfully play any table game at a casino, you must be ahead of the rules. You can’t hope to learn as you go when real money is involved. The only type of game feasible enough to do it is slots.
Coming back to the point, a game of Blackjack starts with the dealer dealing cards for all the players as well as for themselves. It happens in 2 phases, 1 card at a time. All the players get face up cards. But the dealer gets a face down card and a face up card.
Once every player on the table including the dealer gets 2 cards, that’s where the player's actions come into play. In online Blackjack, each player gets a fixed time slot to decide what they want to do with their cards.
After all the players have provided their input, the dealer reveals the face down card, also known as the hole card. This puts an end to the existing round. However, the winner gets their payout. In online casinos, however, the whole process is automated so it doesn’t take any more than a few minutes to complete.
Blackjack Card Values
By now, it should be clear to you that it’s the cards that make or break your hand in Blackjack. So, it’s crucial that you understand the card values. There is a very interesting aspect of a particular card. Stay tuned for that.
Blackjack is played with a standard card deck. Well, not always a single deck. Some versions use up to 8 decks in a single game! Whatever the case, all the decks are standard, meaning you have 4 suits of the same cards.
Cards through 2 to 10 have their face value. So, if you get a 5 and an 8, your hand value is 13. The picture cards are valued at 10. So, King, Queen, and Jack are 10. A King and a Jack will give you 20 on the hand!
It gets interesting with the Ace. If you’ve heard the term “ace up my sleeve”, it probably came from Blackjack. It’s because the card can either be a 1 or an 11, allowing you to manipulate your hand based on the other card.
The Ace is also responsible for the hard hand/soft hand phenomenon. This is significant because you can turn a badly losing hand into a winning one by simply using your Ace!
For an example’s sake, let’s consider you have an Ace and a 6 from the initial dealing. If you consider the Ace as 11, your hand stands at 17, which is a very good hand in Blackjack. If you want, you can dial the Ace back to 1 and have a 7. In that case, you can hit more cards.
After the hit, if you get a 4, you can again make the Ace an 11. In this case, your hand will become 21, which is a direct winner.
This is a classic example of a soft hand. You can wiggle the value of the Ace based on what other cards you get. If you know what you’re doing, you can increase your winnings in Blackjack by quite a fair margin.
Now, if the 3rd card you get is a 5, your total hand value becomes 22 with the Ace as 11. In this case, you go “bust” which means you lost the round. Thankfully, it’s not a direct loss because you can still consider the Ace as a 1. But for this case, it’s a hard hand as changing the value results in a loss.
Blackjack Player Actions
Player actions refer to the things you can do in a game. As we’re primarily dealing with online Blackjack and live dealer Blackjack in Canada, we have to consider the console. A console is simply the ensemble of buttons you see on your screen.
In Blackjack, you have quite a few options to choose from. Let’s list them all here and try to understand what they mean.
Standing in Blackjack means not doing anything. You stand when you’re satisfied with the first 2 cards you’re dealt. As long as your hand is 17 or more, you should always stand. Because hitting may cause you to go bust unless one of the first 2 cards is an Ace. You can also stand if your hand is between 12 and 16 as long as the dealer’s up card is between 2 and 6.
As we’ve already hinted, hitting refers to drawing another card for your hand. There are no fixed rules on how many times you can hit. The only catch is that you lose as soon as your hand goes over 21. A general rule is to hit when you have 12-16 and the dealer shows 7 and up.
This is where a lot of new players go wrong. Most Blackjack guides encourage you to split when you have a pair of the same card. However, not all pairs are suitable for splitting. You have to pick and choose based on the dealer’s face up card. In simple words, splitting means splitting your existing bet into 2 and covering 2 bets at once. You’ll get an additional card for each of the split hands.
- Double Down
Doubling down simply refers to you doubling your bet value. This term is very glamourised thanks to pop culture. While you can double your bet in many other games, the term “Double Down” is exclusive to Blackjack. If you get a natural or a 20, you should always double down.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
The phrase “Basic Blackjack strategy” comes wrapped in a sheet of confusion. Most new players think that it’s a trick to apply when playing the game that might help them “cheat” the casino.
In reality, the basic Blackjack strategy is no such thing. Rather, it’s a huge matrix of player options that you should keep handy. The matrix covers all possible combinations of cards you can get in Blackjack and what you should do. Most modern strategies are broken into hard hands and soft hands separately for better understanding.
It’s not necessary that you have to follow the basic strategy to the T every time. It’s there as a general guideline to what you should do. It’s especially helpful to new players because they need a little time to develop the gut feeling to play Blackjack on their own.
Bonuses in Online Blackjack
Online bonuses are one of the major attractions of online gambling all over the world. Canadian players like the bonuses just as much as the rest of the world. To keep up with the demand, casino operators in Canada also offer different types of bonuses.
Unfortunately, not all bonuses are suitable for RNG Blackjack or live dealer Blackjack. Let us try our best to list the bonuses you can use with the game in Canada.
Welcome Bonus/Deposit Match Bonus
Even if an online casino doesn’t offer any other bonuses, it should offer a welcome bonus. It’s supposed to “welcome” you to the platform, usually through a monetary boost to your bankroll. When we say “match”, it automatically refers to a 100% bonus.
Some operators even offer upwards of 200% match bonuses but they’re not very easy to come by. It’s best if you manage your expectations and keep looking for a 100% match bonus.
Of course, when it comes to an online casino bonus, you can’t ignore the wagering requirement. It’s the biggest obstacle between you and the bonus. You must wager up to the necessary amount before the bonus is converted to real money.
The reason we’re bringing in wagering requirements in this discussion is due to the low contribution from Blackjack. Most online casinos only allow 10%-20% of your bets to contribute toward the wagering. It’s 100% for slots.
We know it’s a bit unfair to Blackjack lovers but this is how the industry operates at this point in time.
Cashback/Live Casino Cashback
Cashbacks are not as common as deposit bonuses in the iGaming industry. But in our opinion, they should be. Cashbacks are a great way to recoup some of the losses as they’re calculated based on the total loss you incur.
If the bonus says “live casino cashback”, it means you can only qualify by losing on live casino games. Just like all other games, you win and lose in Blackjack. If you’re a big fan of the game, you should target the cashback bonuses.
The reason we love it more than other bonuses is simply that you don’t have to wager the bonus to release it for withdrawal. You can directly withdraw it or start using it to play even more Blackjack.
No Deposit Bonus
When you don’t have to deposit to get a bonus in an online casino, that’s considered a no deposit bonus. For obvious reasons, these bonuses are extremely hard to come by. Among the casino operators we’re recommending on our website, a lot of them are offering no deposit bonuses.
For the most part, a no deposit bonus is a monetary credit. And when it comes to monetary bonus, you’re free to use it across any games you want, including Blackjack.
How to Choose the Right Blackjack Casino for Bonuses
Now that you know pretty much everything to know about online Blackjack in Canada, you might be feeling the urge of getting started. And for that to happen, you’ll need a reliable online casino. Let’s go over the process of selecting the best operator for yourself.
Check for a License
In Canada, you must play at a licensed online casino. So, before you even look into the game library, you need to check the license.
Do You Have a Payment Method?
A major area of failure for new players is the payment method. If you don’t have a payment method that you can use at a Blackjack casino, how do you deposit and withdraw? So, make sure the methods you have in your name and the methods the casino is offering align.
Last but not least, you should check the efficiency of the customer support team of an online casino. Ask them questions to see what the process is like and how fast they get back to you.