What Is Insurance in Blackjack and Should You Use It?

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games ever, and its popularity stems from the fact that it is super entertaining to play and has a low house edge. The entertaining part is quite clear, as players usually love spending time playing this game.

When it comes to the house edge, it gets a bit more complicated, as this concept is not always familiar to the players who are new to blackjack. Therefore, before we proceed to talk about insurance bets, we need to discuss the concept of “house edge.”

When you read articles that review blackjack, you usually come across the term house edge, and it is nothing more than the approximate amount of money that the house (casino) earns from games. For example, slots have a house edge of approximately 2% to as much as 20-30% (don’t play the latter). However, blackjack has a house edge of only 1.5%, and if you apply the right strategy, you can lower it even further to 0.5%. In other words, gains from this game are usually very low for casinos.

In order to have a larger house edge, casinos decided to offer the so-called “insurance” bets, which are side bets that are treated separately from the main wager. The idea of this bet is to buy yourself an “insurance” if the dealer has a blackjack. This bet pays 2:1, meaning that you will receive $2 for every $1 that you bet. However, in order for this bet to make sense, you need to make the maximum insurance bet and only then will you be able to earn a lot of money if the dealer beats you in the main game.

The thing with insurance bet is that they don’t rely on strategy at all and are pure chance. They are often missed, and it is not advised for people who want to play blackjack seriously to place this bets at all. In other words, if you want to follow some of the basic strategies and refer to the blackjack strategy chart, insurance bets are a big no-no for you as they will probably make you lose more money.

In other words, the house edge gets much higher with this type of bets, and they can do nothing but harm in the long run. However, if you play blackjack for fun and want to take risks, feel free to place insurance bets whenever your gut tells you to do so, but make sure not to overdo it.

What Is the Difference Between American and European Blackjack?

If you like playing blackjack, you probably know that there are a couple of different variants of the game, with the two most popular being American blackjack and European blackjack. Although both games are based on virtually identical blackjack rules, there are a couple of differences that you need to take into account so that you know what kind of strategy you need to apply in order to minimize losses and maximize wins.

The main difference is that in the European blackjack, there is no hole card. Meaning that the dealer cannot peek at his card to see whether there is a chance for a blackjack. Instead, he receives the second card only after all the player hands are completed. In other words, he is dealt only one face-up card so that means that there is no chance for the round to end immediately after the cards have been dealt. When hands end early by the dealer who managed to get a blackjack, that prevents players from losing more money. However, that rule doesn’t exist in European blackjack. Furthermore, it means that the American blackjack strategy chart is probably not going to work on the European variant.

Another important rule is that doubling down in the European blackjack is possible only on hands that have a value of 9, 10, or 11. On the other hand, players can use the double down option on virtually any hand in the American blackjack.

Also, the number of decks that are used for playing the European type of blackjack is two, while in America, dealers usually use six to eight decks when playing. The main difference here is that the fewer decks there are, the easier card counting becomes. However, card counting is not allowed in casinos, so don’t try it even when playing the European blackjack.

When it comes to splitting, European blackjack allows players to split only cards that are like valued and have a value of 10, meaning 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings. Furthermore, they are allowed to split only once, whereas in American blackjack, players can split three times.

Finally, there is no late surrender in European blackjack, which makes things a bit more difficult compared to the American variant where players can surrender whenever they think there is no chance to win a hand.

To sum up, if we were to choose what blackjack type is the most suitable for the majority of players, we would have to go for the American one as its users are more user-friendly and flexible. If you want to play the best American and European blackjack, make sure to check out sites that review blackjack and find an online casino that suits your tastes.

How to Play Spanish 21

Blackjack comes in various shapes and sizes, and one of the popular variants is called Spanish 21. It was introduced to American casinos back in 1995, although the game itself originated in Spain long before that. The game is heavily based on classic blackjack, with a couple of differences that make it very entertaining.

If you are interested in trying this type of game, make sure to check out sites that review blackjack casinos and find the one includes this blackjack variant. Even if you don’t manage to find it, there will always be the classic type of blackjack which is very similar and equally enjoyable to Spanish 21.

The game is played on a custom table layout which is pretty similar to the classic table. Furthermore, six to eight decks are used, but all suited 10 cards are not included in the game like in other forms of blackjack. On the other hand, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are in the game.

Furthermore, one of the interesting rules is that a players 21 will always beat 21 that dealer has. Also, a dealer can choose to hit or stand if being on a soft 17, and some casinos will enable players to redouble up to three times.

One of the interesting rules is that late surrender while the player is on the first two cards is also enabled much like double after a split. Players are allowed to draw several cards after Aces are split.

When it comes to hit, stand and split rules, they are actually pretty much similar to the classic blackjack games. You can choose to hit, stand or split only after you place your bet and the dealer gives you the first card. Nevertheless, make sure to check out some of the Spanish 21 strategy sheets and charts before you actually start playing the game in order to get the most out of it. As a matter of fact, even if you want to play an ordinary blackjack game, you should check out a blackjack strategy chart to understand how to deal with most of the possible situations when playing this game.

To sum up, if you like playing online blackjack and all of its variants, make sure to claim welcome bonuses in casinos you choose to register at and boost your blackjack experience. These bonuses usually reward you with extra money that you can use to play games such as blackjack and other popular online casino games.

What is Progressive Blackjack and How to Play

Have you ever played blackjack before? If your answer to this question is a positive one, then you probably already know how to play progressive blackjack. All people who have at least some casino experience are familiar with the concept of progressive prizes, and the only thing that makes progressive blackjack different from the standard version of this game is its prizes.

The Concept of Progressive Prizes
With all the progressive blackjack rules being virtually identical to the standard blackjack game, we only need to explain the concept of progressive prizes. This type of jackpots are often seen in online slots, but they were only recently introduced to blackjack, thanks to the technology that exists at online casinos.

Basically, the ordinary type of jackpot is a fixed sum, while the progressive type is a sum that goes up every passing minute. The trick is that every bet you make contributes to the final progressive jackpot, and with thousands of players playing the game, the progressive jackpot is bound to rise quicker.

This is done by placing a special side bet whenever you play online blackjack. By doing so, you contribute to the progressive jackpot prize and even get a chance to win additional cash prizes. If you are really lucky, you might as well win the progressive jackpot.

The sum of your jackpot, therefore, can substantially vary, and various things affect it. First of all, if more players play the game, the jackpot will rise quicker. Furthermore, every progressive jackpot has a default starting value. In other words, when somebody wins a progressive jackpot, it resets to its default value instead of starting with a zero. Therefore, the time and the number of players are two crucial things that affect every progressive jackpot.

If you win it immediately after somebody else, you would probably win a jackpot which is very close to its starting value. On the other hand, if nobody wins a progressive jackpot for a long time, you are up for a very lucrative prize that can make you rich overnight.

Whenever you want to play an online casino game, you should read more about it. Therefore, before you start playing any kind of blackjack, make sure to look for professional websites on the web that will review blackjack games for you and help you pick the one that you like the most. If a progressive jackpot is an idea that seems appealing to you, make sure to check out progressive blackjack!

What Is European Blackjack and How to Play It?

Have you ever tried playing a card game but the rules were not quite the same as you know them? Some card games do not have standardized rules, which often confuses casual card players, but blackjack has some well established standard rules. As an added bonus, it is difficult not to remember them, as they are pretty easy. The problem with this game is that it lived several separate lives in several different areas of the world, one of them being Europe.

If you are interested in other types of this popular card game, make sure to read how we  review blackjack variants, including the one that is known as European blackjack.

How to Play It?
European Blackjack is very similar to the standard blackjack, and the main goal is to play against the dealer. The usual number of decks used in European blackjack is six, but it can also be played with four or eight. Furthermore, some people opt to play it with just two decks, but it is extremely rare.

The main difference is that the dealer takes his hole card after the dealing of the cards to players. The aim is to simply beat the dealer and get as close to 21 as possible without actually going over 21. The card values are pretty much identical to the standard American blackjack, with face cards being worth 10 points each and Aces being worth either 10 or 1 point.

Furthermore, if the dealer has a Blackjack, the player will lose his total bet, which is also an important thing to know about this game variant. Also, it is not allowed to split 4s, 5s, and 10-valued cards, which makes things pretty interesting. Aces can be split, but the player is allowed to receive only one other card for each ace.

Finally, the surrender option is almost never allowed when it comes to European Blackjack, and this is something which is extremely important, so please take it into account.

If you think that you can do well when playing European Blackjack, you can check out some online casinos to see whether they have this type of card game available. Even if you cannot find one, you can always test your luck and skills by playing the standard blackjack, which can be pretty rewarding as well. Therefore, make sure to open up an online casino account so you will be ready to improve your blackjack skill!

What Types of Blackjack Are There?

If you like playing blackjack, you are probably aware that there are quite a few variants of this card game. They may differ only in some minor details, but sometimes these details are very important. Let’s take a look at the most popular types of blackjack.

Classic Blackjack
If you didn’t have an opportunity to play this game, make sure to check a page that will review blackjack for you and give you all the valuable tips and tricks on how to play one of the most popular card games in the world.

Progressive Blackjack
The only difference here is that this type of blackjack has an increasing jackpot which players can win if they are lucky. All other rules remain the same, but there can be some variations regarding rules connected to hit, split, and stand.

European Blackjack
European Blackjack is more complicated as it is played with two decks. Players receive two face-up cards, and the dealer gets one face-up card. However, his hole card is dealt only after the player makes a decision about what to do with their cards.

AC Blackjack
Eight decks are included in Atlantic City blackjack, and the dealer is even allowed to peek at his hole card and stand on a soft seventeen. Furthermore, some options such as insurance and late surrender are also available.

Spanish 21
There is a legend that the original blackjack was played by the Spaniards, and they now play something that is a combination of their original game and classic blackjack. They use six to eight deck cards with 10 value cards removed from the deck. One of the best features here is that players can surrender after doubling down.

Blackjack Switch
The main feature of this blackjack type is that players are allowed to switch between two card pairs. In other words, the player receives two hands of cards, and they are dealt face up so that they can plan their switching strategy.

Vegas Strip Blackjack
This is one of the most popular blackjack versions on the web. The dealer is allowed to peek at his hole card and has to stand on the soft seventeen.

Honorable Mentions
There are a lot of other blackjack games that you can enjoy, such as Pontoon, Live Dealer Blackjack, and Super Fun 21. Make sure to check out some of them, as they are all very entertaining, especially if you enjoy playing card games and other games which are based on a combination of luck and skill!

Playing Online Pontoon

If you normally play online blackjack then pontoon could be a great new game to try if you want something similar to your favorite game but just a little different, if only to spice things up. All of the best US blackjack sites and online casinos will offer standard online and possibly mobile blackjack but they will also, more than likely, offer other blackjack variants, including pontoon. Here we take a closer look at pontoon, explaining how to play and in what ways it is similar to, and also different from, standard blackjack.

Before we look into the game, let us start by clarifying what we mean by pontoon, as in many countries the word usually refers to a game that is actually more like what we in the States call Spanish 21. All of these games are very similar and are linked through a common ancestor but when we refer to pontoon we mean the US version, as featured at real money USA casinos powered by RTG (Realtime Gaming) software.

As with blackjack, the aim of the game in pontoon is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over that total. So far, so similar. “Pontoon”, as with a natural blackjack, is the best possible hand and is formed by an ace with any card worth 10 to make 21. Pontoon pays out at odds of 2/1, as opposed to 3/2 to blackjack and the next best hand, a five card trick, also pays out at generous odds of 2/1.

A five card trick is any hand featuring five cards and staying under 22, with 21 the next best hand, followed by 20, 19 and so on, and anything over 21 being bust and thus automatically losing. There are various other minor rule differences between the two games but these result in perhaps the best thing about pontoon – it’s got a very low house edge.

The casino’s advantage over the player, dependent on the precise rules, is just 0.38%, making pontoon a great choice for those wanting to play for a long time. Note that tied hands are losers for the player in pontoon and they must twist, meaning take another card, on hands of 14 or below. The other big difference between blackjack and pontoon, played online or in a casino, is that the dealer’s two cards are both face down until the players have had their turns.

Pontoon really is great fun and with that big 2/1 payout, the possibility of a five card trick and a low house edge, why not give it a shot?

What is the House Edge at Blackjack?

Here we take a look at the house edge at online blackjack and consider why and how blackjack is somewhat different to a lot of other casino games when it comes to the house edge.

First off though, let’s explain what the house edge is. The house edge is the name given to the advantage the casino holds over the player, with every game designed to ensure that in the long term the casino wins and the player loses. Normal statistical variation – or luck if you prefer – means that the player can win in the short term but overall the house retains the advantage.

Roulette is perhaps the easiest game to use to illustrate this. A standard American roulette table has 36 numbers and two zeroes, for a total of 38 possible results. In a totally “fair” game with zero house edge the casino would pay a single number at odds of 37/1. You could bet $10 on every number, staking a total of $380 and whatever number came up you would get $370 for the win, plus your $10 stake back, thus breaking even.

However, the casino doesn’t pay at odds of 37/1 but at 35/1, meaning you would lose $20 from your $380. The house edge expresses the percentage of total stake the player will lose and so playing double zero roulette the house edge is 5.26%. The existence of the zeroes creates the house edge, or at least the odds that don’t reflect their existence do.

In blackjack things are slightly more complex because there are a huge range of rules and variations that impact on the house edge. What is so clever about the game of blackjack is that it’s created in such a way that despite all the different options and possibilities, the dealer, that is to say the house, always has a slight edge. The game is almost even but the house has the slightest of advantages that ensures their long term success.

Much of the advantage the dealer has in blackjack is that the player goes first and can bust, automatically losing their stake regardless of what the dealer does. However, all the intricacies of the game also contribute towards the house edge and the different rules you will find slightly alter the house edge.

For example, the more decks used, the greater the edge, such that a game with a single deck will usually have a house edge around 0.5%, whilst eight decks significantly increases that. Other rules, such as what value the player can double on, splitting rules, blackjack payouts and surrender terms also have an impact.

Regardless of all this, online blackjack remains one of the most competitive games when it comes to the house edge, making it a great option for the savvy casino fan.