Unlike other games such as online slots, blackjack allows a player several options once the initial cards have been dealt. This article aims to explain them.
It’s important to remember there are potentially more options in spin-offs of blackjack such as Pontoon or online blackjack versions which have side bets.
Hit, Stand, Split, Double Down, Surrender & Insurance
Hit: To hit simply means to take another card. An online casino player can continue to hit on any hand valued below 21.
Stand: To stand means to leave your hand as is. A player choosing to stand will not receive any more cards and is not allowed to change his or her bet in any way.
Splitting pairs: If a player is dealt a pair of matching cards, such as two 8s or any two face cards, he or she has the option of splitting them into two separate hands which will be played independently. Normal betting rules apply to these new hands. A bet matching your original must be made to do this.
Splitting a pair of aces is always advisable, as drawing a 10 or any face card will result in a 21. Online casino players should note, however, that this will not be considered a Blackjack. A winning hand will pay out at the regular rate, and not the Blackjack rate.
Many online casinos allow up to three additional split bets to be made, should more pairs occur during subsequent card draws.
Doubling down: Doubling down is to increase an online casino player’s initial bet by up to double the original amount (the full amount is not required). This is only allowed during the initial two-card hand, before any additional cards have been dealt. After a double-down bet has been declared, only one additional card is dealt, at which point the player must stand.
Surrender: In a surrender bet, the player forfeits their existing hand and loses half of his or her initial bet. This is a good choice if the odds of winning are minimal, as the entire initial bet will not be lost. An online casino player can no longer surrender after any other action, such as a hit.
Surrender can fall into two categories: Early surrender and late surrender.
Early surrender is done before the online casino checks to see if they have been dealt a blackjack. Many online casinos do not use this option as it greatly increases a player’s odds.
Late surrender is performed after the dealer checks for blackjack. If a blackjack occurs, surrender is no longer an option to the player.
Insurance: An insurance bet is allowed if the online casino turns up an ace. A player may bet up to half of the amount of his or her original bet as an insurance bet. An insurance bet will pay out at odds of 2:1 should the dealer reveal a 10 or face card (resulting in Blackjack). This results in the player breaking even for the hand, though they lose their initial bet. Should the casino not achieve Blackjack, the insurance bet is lost.