Guide to online blackjack

A basic overview of online blackjack and the mechanics of depositing money and gambling online.

The world of online blackjack can seem overwhelming and frightening to the novice gambler, or even to an experienced live gambler who has never ventured into the online arena. However, once you are familiar with the sites and transaction rules, you should become quite comfortable with gambling online.

Because many major credit cards now decline online gambling transactions, the first thing you should do is open an account with an online payment system (sometimes called e-wallets). Paypal is the most popular e-wallet, but they do not permit transactions to gaming sites, so another system must be used. The two most popular systems at the moment are Neteller and Firepay. They can typically be linked to a checking account or credit card and provide near-instantaneous access to your funds once the accounts are registered and verified.

Most online blackjack sites offer bonuses to new players or occasionally for reloading your account. They are typically given as a percentage of the player's deposit (50% up to a total bonus of $100, for example). The bonuses are usually held in a pending account until the player has completed a required number of hands or certain dollar level of betting. The casinos are able to give away this "free" money because a large percentage of people will bust out before earning the bonus. Make sure to read each site's Terms and Conditions to find the number of hands required to clear their bonus. Some sites exclude all money wagered on blackjack from bonus clearing eligibility, so make sure to read carefully before depositing.

Other than the quirky bonus rules, you will find standardized rules on most of the sites. You may find different variations, such as Atlantic City or Vegas Strip blackjack. These have small modifications on the basic rules. Whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17 is a good example of one of these minor rule changes. While it becomes impossible to count cards online, the player can gain back some advantage by playing multiple spots per deal. This is one area where online blackjack can be much better than a live game. It can be hard to find a table with several open spots in a crowded casino or the house rules may limit the number of spots per player.

Most gambling sites are reputable, but it it may be a good idea to stick with the more popular sites that are known to pay until you get more familiar with online gaming. A good way to find out which sites are paying and which may have problems is to look at some gambling forums on the Internet. People will usually post when they are either very satisfied or very unhappy with a site.

Online blackjack sites work the same way as a regular brick-and-mortar casino. The player risks his money against the house, not against the other players. The main difference between gambling at these sites and gambling in real-life is that you do not have any contact with the other online players. The advantage of this is that you can play many more hands since you do not have to wait for the other players to act. The downside is that you miss out on the comraderie of gambling with other people against a common opponent (the house).

Whether you are gambling online or in real-life, remember to use caution and keep an eye out for warning signs of problem gambling. Don't play when you are tired or stressed and don't play with money you can't afford to lose. Use common sense, keep it fun, and enjoy your new hobby of online blackjack.

© High Speed Ventures 2011