Online Blackjack for Real Money in Canada 2022

Online blackjack

Online blackjack is a card game of chance, the objective of which is to score higher than the dealer without exceeding 21 points. Although the outcome is totally governed by a random number generator, there is still much room for the player's skills. Knowing the rules of a specific blackjack, a punter can maximise the odds and get the most out of the game when playing in the best online blackjack casinos in Canada.

Actually, blackjack boasts the most beneficial returns to players among all game types in online casinos. Some blackjack variations have a very thin house edge of about 2% or even 0.5%. The key to profitable gaming experience in online blackjack is to avoid blackjack variations with unfavourable rules for a player, pick the proper game and make correct decisions in the course of the game. Reading this article, you will get to grips with online blackjack rules and find out top online casinos with the most popular blackjack games on offer.

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How to play online blackjack

Online blackjack for real money actually has hundreds of minor and major rule variations, including some exotic games in which 21 (blackjack) awards 1:1 instead of 3:2. But the classic rules are generally as follows: At the beginning of each card deal, a player should place a bet on the assigned betting area. Limits per hand vary across CA online casinos and specific game versions. The minimum bet is usually CA$1 to CA$10 per hand, while the max amount can be CA$500, CA$1000, and higher. Some casinos operate cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, etc.), so Canadian players can also bet bitcoins where it is possible.

When a bet is placed on the blackjack table, the dealer and player receive two cards each (one of the dealer's cards is face-down). The player then should make a decision what to do next. There are several options to pick from and they are determined by the total points that the current hand carries. Before making a proper decision, the player should calculate the scoring of the available hand. Every card has a specific value: Numeric cards are worth their face values; Jacks, Queens and Kings count as 10 points, while Ace is worth 1 or 11 points, depending on which is more efficient for the player in the current situation.

Upon getting dealt the two initial cards, the player then decides whether to take one more card to the hand (this online blackjack action is called "Hit"), keep the current hand and take no more cards ("Stand"), split the current hand and take a new card to each of the two ("Split") or increase the existing bet by x2 and take one more card at the same time ("Double Down"). Every decision should be based on the blackjack card values currently held by the player.

A player may take as many cards as needed until satisfied with the total score. If the next requested card results in player's exceeding 21, the dealer is considered to have won and the player loses his bet.

In many real money blackjack versions, the current total is clearly marked near each hand, so a player will always have a refresher and will not have to do calculations. Besides, actions which are not available at the moment, for example, Split, are blurred out. In mobile casinos, blackjack is also easy to play because providers make tables intuitive and easy to handle. To find out detailed info about live dealer blackjack, read our expert review.

Dealer's actions in blackjack rules

When the player is finished with his hand (without going over twenty-one), the dealer then takes an action according to strictly defined rules which are available for view in each online blackjack game.

In general, the dealer must take one more card (Hit) if the total of the initial two cards is soft 17 or less. A "soft 17" hand has an Ace, which can be counted as 11 or 1 (for example, an Ace + Six totals 17 or 7) in addition to other cards. Contrary to that, a "hard 17" has no Aces. If the dealer holds hard 17 or higher, no more cards are taken (Stand).

Each dealer's action may give rise to any of the three outcomes: win to the dealer, push or win to the player. When the dealer stops picking cards and their total count is 21 or less, the hands are compared and the game determines the blackjack table winner automatically.

Online blackjack basic strategy

When it comes to deciding on what action to take on getting dealt the first two cards, players are sometimes at a loss, whether to hit, stand or click other buttons. The point is that every online blackjack in Canada has a specific set of rules that can be translated to a basic strategy chart showing a player when to hit, stand, etc. A correct decision always depends on several factors: a dealer upcard, whether you have a hard or soft total, whether the online blackjack offers a surrender option, and so on.

Applying a proper basic strategy, players can enhance their winning chances and beat the dealer more often than without the strategy. The most typical hints and tips for Canadian punters who play for real money are as follows:

  • Before hitting/standing, think of a Split option if you have a pair. Two Aces are always split, while 2 tens or fives should never be split. Besides, you should always split eights.
  • If the blackjack rules provide a Late Surrender option, always surrender if your total is 16 and the dealer's upcard is 9, 10 or Ace.
  • If the specific blackjack does permit doubling, consider this option on all hard 11 hands, no matter dealer's upcard. In general, doubling down in blackjack is a good option if used wisely. It can shift blackjack odds in your favour.

Card counting in online blackjack

Casinos always watch out for card counters as they use their mathematical skills and royal memory to file away the cards that were dealt on the table they are sitting at. By doing mental arithmetic, they calculate probabilities of having a specific card in the next deal. This tactic can lead to cutting the house edge to a negative value, that is why land-based venues try to spot and catch card counters and then ask them to leave.

Contrary to what is happening at casino venues, card counting is impossible in online blackjack games. On a real casino floor, cards are shuffled when about half a deck is played out, with a cut card visible. In online blackjack, the virtual cards are “shuffled” by software after each round, with the implication being that playing out two aces of diamonds in the previous round does not mean there are only six of them left in the virtual deck (if the blackjack game uses eight decks). You can give up on card counting when playing online blackjack.

Blackjack odds and probabilities

Assuming the player knows perfectly the basic strategy and plays correctly on every hand, the edge can be higher than 99%. However, there are a few minor variations in blackjack rules that decrease the player edge by a few points each. For example:

  • The number of decks used affect the edge. The more decks are in play, the less is the player edge.
  • Dealer's hitting on soft 17 declines the player edge slightly, at 0.22%.
  • If the player may double on 10 and 11 only, the house edge increases by 0.18%.

The above list illustrates that every smallest deviation from the standard rule brings about a slight change in winning odds. If compared with other online casino games out there, blackjack boasts of more profitable gameplay than other popular game types like slots and roulette.

Winning real money in online casino blackjack

As is said above in this review, the player wins if the total of his cards is higher than dealer's. In case that the first two cards show blackjack (Ace and any 10-value card), the player wins immediately with the payout of 3:2, and the dealer does not expose the facedown card. The said configuration of the player's hand is known as "natural blackjack".

If the player has scored higher than dealer, including any 21 (but not a natural blackjack), the payout is 1:1. In case that the player has gone over the maximum threshold of 21 points, he will lose the bet.

There are also overcomes in which both have the same score. Should this happen, there is a push, meaning the player gets the bet back and neither wins nor loses; in other words, a push means a tied round. Note that in some blackjack versions, a push does not result in a tie.

Online blackjack providers in Canadian casinos

Almost every casino software provider produces real money blackjack. CA players may find dozens of exciting variations delivered by the best vendors including Microgaming (Spanish Blackjack, Vegas Downtown, Vegas Strip), RTG (Face Up 21, Pontoon, Match Play 21), Betsoft (American Blackjack, Pirate 21), Red Rake (Switch Blackjack, Double Exposure Blackjack), and many other popular providers, some of which are examined below.

NetEnt online blackjack

This slot master is extremely popular in Canada but its table game library remains wanted. However, a couple of blackjack tables are still present in the collection:

  • Classic Blackjack (CA$1-CA$5000): Dealer stands on all 17s; two side bets (Perfect Pairs, 21+3); Player may split all initial cards of equal value.
  • Single Deck Blackjack (CA$1-CA$40): This game is exclusive to mobile casinos. Dealer must stand on hard 17s. Blackjack insurance is present. Even-money option if Dealer has an ace.

Microgaming online blackjack

Though Microgaming ceased its operations as a slot and table game developer, selling its assets to Games Global, the latter still produces slots under the Microgaming brand name. The back catalogue of the stellar company features over ten blackjack variations, some of which have an RTP of 98.5% and up. In terms of graphics, some of their online blackjack games appear dated, given the company was on the market for over two decades. Some of the best titles are

  • Double Exposure Blackjack
  • Bonus Blackjack
  • European Blackjack
  • Atlantic City Blackjack

Pragmatic Play online blackjack

The studio is a first-tier provider of slots and live dealer games. Besides, they have a wonderful set of progressive jackpots and the global Drops & Wins event offered almost everywhere. Given their standing on the gambling market, it is surprising that their bj suite remains wanted. Anyway, Canadian players love their blackjack casino titles for a high RTP. Pragmatic Play games on offer include as follows:

  • American Blackjack (bet sizes CA$1 to CA$100, RTP 99.6%): Four decks, Dealer stands on all 17s, Insurance bet, Player may split any pair of 10-point cards (Q+J).
  • Multihand Blackjack (bet sizes CA$1 to CA$100, RTP 99.51%): Eight decks, Dealer stands on all 17s, Doubling down on any two cards.

Blackjack online with bonus bets and payouts

There are many blackjack tables with special bonus wins available in Canada-friendly online casinos. For example, there is Perfect Pairs Blackjack from RTG. It is played with 6 decks in the shoe and features the min/max bets of CA$1/CA$250, respectively. In addition to traditional wins, it offers three bonus payouts: Mixed Pair (for getting two equally ranked cards of different colours, 6:1), Coloured Pair (the same rank and colour, 12:1) and Perfect Pair (two identical cards, 25:1).

Super Fun 21 from Microgaming (min bet CA$1, max bet CA$200) is another online blackjack with bonus payouts. On the one hand, it is a bit disadvantageous for the player because the player's blackjack awards 1:1. However, players are compensated with some special prizes to neutralise this drawback: getting a Diamond Blackjack awards 2:1 and there is also a five-card Charlie rule that awards 2:1 for a combination of 5+ cards with a total value of 21.

For more blackjack games with bonus payouts, players from Canada are recommended to read our online casino reviews that provide coverage for all game content including online blackjack.

Conclusion

Canadian online casinos offer many dozen blackjack games from fabulous and young but upcoming providers. Though all blackjack games look the same, differing only on the table colour, bet sizes, and user interface, its rules are surprisingly diverse. While the basic rules are to have the cards higher than the dealer's ones, the supplementary provisions concerning the dealer's actions, Split/Double Down scope, availability of Insurance and Surrender options as well as other smaller rules make online blackjack for real money an ideal game for intelligent gamblers who love thinking over each move. On the other hand, the best online blackjack casinos in Canada have lots of classic variations with quite easy rules for beginners. If this is not enough, a high 98% to 99.50% player return in blackjack is a sound reason why you should give it a try.

By Richard Binns
Updated: 19.09.2022