Blackjack or twenty-one is enjoyed in land-based casinos across the world. Because of its popularity, you can play online blackjack in most South African casinos. It is an online variation of the game. In a land-based casino, you would be playing against a dealer. In the online version, you play against the machine.

The end goal of the game is to win against the dealer and receive a payout on your bet. You can win by scoring 21 or more than the dealer does. It may sound rather intuitive that you have to outperform the dealer no matter what, but if you get more than 22, you lose automatically.

This article tells you everything you need to know to win.

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Blackjack History

The leading theory of blackjack’s origin states that it comes from a Spanish game of twenty-one. It was first mentioned back in the 1600s in a novel by Miguel de Cervantes, the man famous for writing the legendary Don Quixote.

The name “blackjack” comes from the US. In the early versions of the game, casinos used to attract new players by 10 to 1 payouts if they have the ace of spades, and “blackjack,” jack of spades or clubs. The bonus was soon removed, but the name stuck. However, a combination of an ace and a ten or a face card is still called blackjack.

How to Play Blackjack

Whether you want to play online blackjack for fun, or to gain a fortune, knowing the rules and strategies is essential for your success. Read this chapter to learn the basics.

General rules of blackjack gambling

The main idea behind blackjack is to win against the dealer. To do that, you have to gather more points than him, but not more than 21. If you have 22 or more, you are disqualified and stand no chance of winning.

How do you count points? That’s really easy. Number cards count as their pip value. Face cards give you 10 points. Ace can stand for 1 or 11, depending on the hand you have. If you have another blackjack, it’s 11. If you have 6, 7, and 5, ace will count as one.

After you place your bet, the dealer starts dealing cards to all the players. You can stop getting new cards every time. The dealer has the advantage of acting last, and players only get to see one of its cards when they make decisions during the game. However, many things can be a significant advantage to the player.

For instance, if you hit 21, you get paid 3 to 2, which is 2.5 times your bet. If you hit 20, it is extremely unlikely that the dealer can beat your hand. He’s also forced to hit cards until his hand reaches the value of 17, even if he can beat your hand already.

Players can double down in online blackjack, increasing the bet if the hand is good, and taking advantage of it. Some particular moves that are only available to players also increase your chances of winning, or at least help you save money.

Player actions in online blackjack

Online blackjack is a game of chance, but it’s all about your own actions as a player. Despite the kind of luck you have, you can’t win if you keep getting new cards once you already have 20 or 21. Here are your options when it comes to blackjack.


Since online blackjack is played with a deck of 52 cards, the chances of getting 21 from the start are very low. You start most blackjack games with quite a low number of points on your hand. Players take turns to hit, that is to ask the dealer for another card.


Once you think your hand is strong enough to beat whatever the dealer has, you can choose to stand. This means to get no more cards and wait for everyone else to stand. Once every player at a table stands, you reveal your hands and the dealer announces winning bets.

Most online blackjack strategies are centered around this decision. If you keep on hitting wanting to get closer to 21, you may go bust. If you receive more than 21, you lose. Even if the dealer goes bust too, you still lose your bet.

This is why whether to stand or to hit again with a certain number of points on your hand is considered the hardest decision in the game. Read the chapter about online blackjack strategies to learn more.

Double down.

Another move in blackjack that allows you to take advantage of the situation is to double down. You can increase your bet two times if you choose to stand after receiving exactly one more card. If you think the hand is strong, you can increase your winnings by doing this.

Some online blackjacks differ in rules that allow doubling down. Read the rules of the particular game to know the best strategy.


If you receive two cards of the same value, you can split them into two hands. In most variations of the rules getting 21 points in a split hand would not count as a blackjack.


You can’t surrender after you chose to hit. Surrendering your hand will only make you lose half your bet. Many players do this if they believe the dealer might have blackjack or an upper hand. Different variants of online blackjack have different rules. Some may only allow early surrender, before the dealer checks for blackjack. Others allow late surrender, after the dealer looks at their cards.

Take insurance.

If the dealer’s card is an ace, players can take insurance before the dealer checks the other card. It’s a side bet that pays 2 for 1 and acts as a way being on the safe side in case the dealer has blackjack. Many advise against taking insurance, as it leads to more spending than winning.

Online blackjack game buttons

South African online blackjack sites offer different kinds of blackjack games. They come from different developers and may have a different number of decks. However, the game buttons are pretty much universal.


This is not exactly a button, as betting is done interactively. In some games, for instance, you have to hover over the chip you want to bet and click on your betting box to place it there. Do this with different chips until you have the amount you want to bet.

Clear bets

This button clears everything you put on the table before, and you can start anew. Only available before you press “deal.”


When you have placed your bet, you press this button to get the initial two cards.

Double down

Sometimes it is called simply double. This button activates the double down rule that allows you to increase your bet if you choose to stand after one card. The rules vary on this one. Make sure to check them before playing.


When you click this button, you are given an additional card by the dealer.


This button comes with a cross over it to signal to you that it ends the distribution of cards. Click it, when you want to stand.


Press this button, if you want to split your hand in two. It is only available when you have two cards of the same value on your hand.


Click this button, if you want to place a side bet as an insurance against the dealer’s blackjack.


This button cancels your previous move. In most games, it would cost you something.


Click this button after the end of the game to place the same bet again. In some online blackjacks, you can see a “Rebet x2” button.

Odds in online blackjack

Online blackjack is a game of chance. Knowing the odds is essential for winning. People have been trying to apply mathematical theories to blackjack for the whole time this game exists. Many have been successful and won due to their knowledge of the odds.

The house edge in blackjack differs depending on the number of decks you have in the game. Since the deck acts almost like a random number generator, the more cards you have in the shuffling machine, the more random it is. It is virtually impossible to count cards when there are six decks in the game, this is why many casinos use that number. However, some online blackjacks have only one deck, allowing you to count cards.

The rules also change the odds of the game. For instance in the variation of rules where the dealer must stand on soft 17, the house edge drops by 0.2%. Other things, like the number of hands you can get while splitting or the double down rules, can mean lower odds.

The house edge with the proper play is actually not as high as in roulette, for instance. It is only 0,5%. In comparison with 2,7% that roulette has over players, online blackjack is a fair game.

There are a lot of calculations on when to hit or when to stand. For instance, your chances to go bust on 17 are 69%. However, the worst possible hand is when you have 10-6, and the dealer shows a 7. You stand a 70% chance of losing whether you hit or stand.

Best Online Blackjack Games

Online Blackjack Tips & Strategy

Despite being a game of chance, online blackjack can be mastered. If you apply the basic strategy well, you can decrease the house edge by a considerable margin and increase your chances to win. This chapter discusses just that.

Cards Counting

Card counting may be the first thing that comes into your mind when you think of a masterful blackjack player. It may sound intimidating, but anyone can become good at it given the time.

In essence, the very basic card counting system called Hi-Lo is this. Every time you see a card you add a value ascribed to it to your running count. Add 1 for value cards of 2 to 6, subtract 1 for 10s and Aces, and do nothing for the other cards. Each time players reveal their hands, calculate the overall score of the round and add it to the running count.

The numbers represent the probability of a good combination landing in your hand. If the running count increases, you can bet more. If it’s lowered, bet less.

However, it is much more complicated for online blackjack. This works well for blackjack played with one deck. If there are more decks, you can divide the running count by the number of decks left.

However, the advantage of card counting is down to zero if continuous shuffling methods are used. In land-based casinos, this means having a shuffling machine that shuffles the decks in real time. You can still try to track what cards are going to have higher chances of being lumped together if you count what was inserted in the machine.

In online blackjack, the cards are shuffled after every hand. This means counting doesn’t give you an edge, because the randomness is that much higher. You can try looking for a blackjack that uses only one deck to get the full advantage of your card counting skills.

Standing & Hitting in Online Blackjack

The strategy of when to stand and when to keep hitting will help you out regardless of the number of decks and the way of shuffling. The common approach is to play to get a hand of 17 or more before standing.

If the dealer is showing an Ace or a 10, it’s going to be very hard for you to win. The chance of getting a blackjack is high, as there are more cards with a value of 10 than the others in the deck. The risk to bust is also low.

If the dealer is showing 9, 8, or 7, their chances to bust are higher. You can stand on 17 but will have to risk busting and hit on 12-16. If their card the dealer is showing is even lower in value, you can stand on 13+.

General tips on playing blackjack

Seek more information on hitting and standing. The examples we provide above are rather basic. There are dozens of tables that tell you when to hit and when to stand. Play with these to see what works and what doesn’t.

Always split 8s and Aces. There are lots of opinions on what pairs should be split, but these two are agreed upon almost universally. Two Aces give you two possibilities for blackjack, or at the very least two soft hands. Two 8s in one hand amount to 16, which is not a very strong hand with good chances of busting.

Do not risk it to get 19 or more. The odds are you can beat the dealer with 17 or even less. Especially so, if he’s showing 8 or less. Stand on 17 and wait for the dealer to bust.

Many players believe that insurance is the casino’s way of getting money out of you. There’s 4 in 13 chance that the dealer gets a blackjack if he’s showing an Ace. This means you have 9 in 13 chance of losing your bet.

Choose the rules so that the odds favor you, not the casino. Choose the variant of the game where the dealer has to stand on soft 17, and that allow late surrender to decrease the house edge.

Online blackjack glossary & abbreviations

Hit – Receive another card.

Stand – Remain with the current hand and stop receiving cards

Bust – You go bust if your total card value is over 21. You lose your bet even if the dealer goes bust too.

Insurance – A side bet placed on the fact that the dealer may have blackjack.

Push – A stalemate, when you and the dealer have the same number of points. You win nothing but keep your bet.

Soft – A hand that is flexible, because it has an Ace in it.

Split – A player action that splits the two cards with the same value into two hands.

Double Down – Doubling your bet and receiving one card.

Surrender – Refusing to play while keeping half your bet.

BSE: Basic Strategy Edge. This means you have better odds if you are using basic strategy.

DOA: You can double down with any cards

D10/11: You can double down if you have 10 or 11

DAS: You can only double down if you split.

ESR: This means early surrender is allowed. You can surrender your hand if the dealer has a natural blackjack.

LSR: In late surrender, you can lose half your bet and surrender if the dealer has 21, but not blackjack.

H17: The dealer hits on soft 17

S17: The dealer stands on soft 17.

O/U: Bet over or under 13

RSA: Re-splitting Aces is allowed


How is online blackjack different from the one I play at land-based casinos?
Two significant factors affect the play. First, there is no dealer. The second is that most online blackjacks use continuous shuffling. This makes card counting ineffective.
Are all blackjacks the same?
No, they’re not. Different software developers make different games, and blackjack is no exception. You can find a great deal of variation in rules and looks.
Is online blackjack popular in South Africa?
It is very popular. So popular in fact, that you can play it pretty much in any casino. Find the best ones here at CasinoHEX.
Should I use a strategy to win at blackjack?
Yes, you should. Using proper strategy greatly decreases the house edge on you. There are many things like counting cards and knowing when to hit and when to stand. Mostly it is not the strategy to win, but a strategy that leads you to decisions that have more chances of winning. You’re still taking chances, but the risk is more estimated when you use a strategy
Are blackjack games rigged?
Some of them may be. The ones we offer at CasinoHEX are not. Check out our list of trustworthy casinos. All of them are proven to be fair.
Leah Shepherd
Chief Editor at

I’m Leah and I joined the team in July 2020 as a second editor of

Now I review licensed online casinos and slots on the South African market to provide the readers with juicy and rich bonuses, the newest promotions, and other useful information to help them make the right choice and enjoy safe and joyful gambling.