Searching for the best blackjack casinos online can be difficult if you don't know what you're looking for. There are a tremendous number of sites to choose from, and each claims to offer something that the competition doesn't.
What Makes a Great Blackjack Online Casino?
So how do you find the best blackjack sites for you? The best advice I can give is to seek out a gambling destination that meets a number of exacting qualifications. As long as it satisfies all of these requirements, which I've listed below, you really can't go wrong.
Superior Customer Service - A top-notch customer service department should have multiple methods of contact available, especially phone, email, and fax. Their email response time should be no longer than 24 hours, and the best blackjack sites offer almost immediate interaction with a customer representative. Phone courtesy is also a big issue for me, although I try not to judge a casino by the attitudes of a single employee.
Generous Sign-Up Bonuses - If you bother to read the fine print, you'll find that most sign-up bonuses require the player to make a huge number of wagers before the free money can be withdrawn. If you plan on playing regularly, however, you might as well pick the casino that gives you the most bang for your buck. High rollers should also check to see if any VIP options are available.
Multiple Deposit Options - While most players use a single method for depositing money into their account, it's always wise to have as many options as possible. Credit and debit cards are often unreliable, but e-wallets and wire transfers should always be available.
Solid Reputation - The best Internet blackjack sites will always have a strong reputation in the industry, both for fairness and continual improvement. If a problem arises, superior casinos should always rise to meet the challenge and ensure customer satisfaction, even if a more convenient option is available to them (such as ignoring a customer complaint).
If you really want to know the reputation of a site, just visit the leading gambling forums or a watchdog site like Casinomeister. With a minimum of effort, you should be able to tell if certain blackjack sites are reputable or rogue.
Game Variants - Most sites make single deck, double deck, and European blackjack available to players, but the best sites for 21 also offer inventive variants. Bovada, for example, includes an exclusive game named Zappit Blackjack, where players can exchange cards on a hard total of 15, 16, or 17.
Mobile Gaming Option - Does the site allow you to play blackjack on your mobile device? This is becoming increasingly important to consumers, and the most cutting-edge casinos offer options for everything from iPads to Android.
Live Dealers - While this option isn't critical to your enjoyment of a casino, it's an indication that the site is doing everything possible to make sure that you enjoy yourself. In case you aren't familiar with this growing phenomenon, live dealer blackjack utilizes streaming technology to present real dealers on the other side of your computer screen. While you can't directly interact with them, it adds an exciting element that's lacking in many static versions of the game.
Fast Payouts - There's nothing more frustrating than having to wait a long time for your blackjack winnings to be paid out. Select a site with a solid track record of paying customers in a timely manner, as well as a posted list of processing times for their various payout options.
Wide Range of Betting Limits - The perfect online blackjack site should offer minimum betting requirements that are low enough to allow for hours of play, while at the same time leaving upper limits high enough to accommodate high rollers. This allows a diverse range of customers to enjoy the game, and you can be assured of a satisfying session regardless of your financial situation.
Other Gambling Options - There are few blackjack casino sites that feature only blackjack. In most cases, the casino offers blackjack alongside a multitude of virtual slot machines and favorites such as poker and craps.
I want my casino of choice to have as many options as possible, and you should look for the same. In a perfect world, they'll also have a sportsbook where you can wager on your favorite team to beat the point spread. Even if you don't play these games often, it's still nice to have additional options.
Keep in mind that the best blackjack casinos online are constantly striving to improve their business and please their customers. While this won't always translate into wins at the blackjack table, it should give you the confidence to return time after time to once again try your luck. Just think of it like dating: you want a relationship you can feel comfortable with, and anything less is best avoided.
Why You Should Be Playing Real Money 21 Online
There are a lot of reasons to play online blackjack for cash, and many can't be matched by brick-and-mortar establishments. Here are some of the most notable examples:
- Less Distractions - Real casinos are filled with noise, whether it's the perpetually buzzing slot machines or the chatter of excited patrons. This can be distracting, especially if you're new to the game or trying out a different strategy. When you play online, you have more control over your environment and can adjust it to fit your needs.
- Privacy - Real casinos have dress codes, and many of them no longer allow smoking. That's not the case with virtual gaming, so you can play in your boxer shorts and smoke until you're content. You'll also be able to do anything else you desire, and no meddlesome pit boss can tell you otherwise. One of the greatest advantages is being able to keep a basic strategy sheet in front of you without drawing looks from casino employees and patrons.
- Ego Boost - While success at the free tables provides a temporary feeling of happiness, it pales in comparison to winning actual money. This also has a massive effect on your ego, giving you a boost of self-confidence that's likely to last for weeks.
- More Desirable House Edge - There's a tremendous amount of competition in the online gaming world, and this is reflected by house edges that are more favorable to players. The lower the casino advantage, the less money you're likely to lose each hour.
- Real Money - The money you win from playing blackjack online spends just the same, and the method of transfer is much safer for the customer. You'll never have to walk across a dark parking lot with several thousand dollars in your pocket.
- Bonus Cash & VIP Rewards - You might get a free room or meal for frequent play at a live casino, but there are no guarantees. When you try your luck at an online establishment, all their bonuses and rewards are explained in detail. There should never be any surprises, especially if you read the fine print.
- More Game Variations - Regular casinos offer the standard game of 21, and that's often the extent of their selection. With online sites, however, you can find a wide array of interesting variations.
- Increased Skills - When you play for real money, you have two choices: get better or go broke. While free blackjack can be a novel way to pass the time, it doesn't force you to improve like the real-money version of the game. If you want to see your skill level rise, put some cash on the line.
- Complete Record of Play - Serious players like to chart their progress and analyze data, and it's hard to do that when playing at a live casino. Virtual establishments, on the other hand, provide you with a detailed account of all your wins and losses.
- Greater Casino Access - While playing for fun gets you access to some parts of a casino, real money gamblers should find the whole site wide open. That means bonus incentives and more games to choose from. Some sites even have VIP areas that are reserved for high rollers.
Online Variations of Blackjack
While the rules of 21 are known to even the most casual of gamblers, you might be surprised to learn that a number of wild blackjack variants also exist at online casinos. In this section, we'll look at some of the most popular examples. Just keep in mind that the game selection may differ at each site.
Super Fun Twenty-One - The player's hand may be split up to four times, and an automatic win occurs if they get six cards with a total of 20.
Vegas Style - A player bust doesn't always result in a loss. If the dealer busts with a higher total, then the player can achieve a push.
European Blackjack - In this version of the game, the dealer doesn't receive a second card until the player has completed all their actions. Otherwise, it's identical to traditional blackjack.
Spanish 21 - This variant is perfect for those seeking more liberal rules. While there are no 10 cards in the deck, the player has a number of unique options. They can double down on any number of cards, choose the late surrender option, and receive bonus payouts for any 21 comprised of five or more cards. The player also wins every time with a 21 or natural blackjack.
Double Attack - While blackjack only pays even money, the player has the option of raising their bet after seeing the dealer's up card.
Blackjack Switch - The player is dealt two hands, and the second card of each may be exchanged with one another. A dealer 22 counts as a push, and natural blackjacks pay even money instead of the usual 3:2.
Double Exposure - The first two dealer cards are dealt face up. The player loses on a tie, and a blackjack pays out at even money.
Zappit Blackjack - Available at the Bovada casino, Zappit plays much like the traditional version of the game, but with one major exception. When the player is dealt a hard total of 15, 16, or 17, they can choose to click the "zap" button and receive two new cards.
21 Burn Blackjack - Up to three hands can be played simultaneously, and the player is also dealt a face-down "burn" card in addition to his two-card hand. If you're unhappy with the second card you've been dealt, the rules allow you to replace it with the burn card. Additional winnings are paid out if the burn card happens to be an ace. This variant is available at Drake Casino.
Multiple Action - The player is allowed to place two or three bets on a single hand. For each wager made, the bettor is dealt a hand. This can double or triple the number of potential hands played in an hour, which is perfect for volume gamers.
Thanks to the massive popularity of smart phones and tablet computers, a growing number of online casinos are now offering their software to the mobile generation. Whether your device says Apple, Android, or Blackberry on the label, you should have no trouble finding a virtual casino that supports your gizmo.
This opens up unprecedented opportunities for the player, as games of 21 can be enjoyed everywhere from your home to the dentist's office. Mobile casino software features fewer overall games than its PC counterpart, but there's still more than enough to keep you busy.
I've been playing real-money online blackjack for years, and I've come to prefer it over the brick-and-mortar versions of the game. I never have to pay for gas or airfare, and there's never a crowd of drunken onlookers to deal with (unless I invite them to my house). The entire experience is convenient, and the addition of promotional bonuses and mobile gaming gives Internet casinos an advantage that can never be matched by their land-based counterparts.
Once you're ready to take the plunge, choose a reputable virtual casino and sign up for a free membership. From there, all you'll need to do is deposit money into your account, select your favorite version of blackjack, and start winning some cash.