We’ll Explain Why, Where, and How
Did you know you can play blackjack online?
What about practicing online for free before traveling to your local casino?
You can even play on your phone or other mobile device on the way to the casino!
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I realize you may have already known all three of those things, but in case you didn’t or need additional information I’ve put together a quick tutorial about practicing blackjack online. It includes sections covering why you might want to practice online, where you can practice online, and how to practice online.
Why Practice Online?
Two main areas come to mind when I think of the advantages of practicing blackjack online.
Every blackjack player should try to play as close to perfect basic strategy as possible. If you always use the best strategy you can usually reduce the house edge to less than one percent. With favorable rules and perfect strategy you can reduce the edge to around a half percent. Combine perfect strategy, favorable rules, and player’s club benefits, and you may be able to play a break even game.
It all starts with learning basic strategy.
When you practice online you can have a strategy card or chart with you at the computer and take your time to make sure you’re always making the correct play. The more you practice the easier it gets to play without the card or chart. Before you know it you can play perfect strategy without looking up any plays.
If you’re learning to count cards or need help maintaining your skills, online practice is a great tool. You can play as fast or as slow as you want online so you can always make sure your count is accurate.
Where to Practice Online
You can find thousands of places to practice blackjack online. Take a quick look around just about any gambling related web site or do a search in a popular search engine and you’ll find plenty of options.
If you expand the search to include all of the mobile devices and app stores littering the cyber world you’ll find thousands more.
While you can pick just about anywhere to practice, the best places to use have a few things in common. Here’s a quick list to help you find the best places to practice blackjack online.
- Online casinos that offer real money play offer the best options for free and practice play. They invest more into making their games the best they can be than most free games companies.
- Read reviews of popular online casinos to find ones you like and start playing at them. You can always find others and add them to your playing rotation later.
- Try to find a game that offers the same rules as the game you’re practicing for. For example, if the game you usually play has the dealer hits on soft 17 and double after splits is allowed, try to find a game to practice with dealer hits soft 17 and double after splits is allowed. It may be impossible to find the exact rules online that you usually play, but the closer the better.
- Keep an eye out for sign up bonuses that can be used for blackjack play if you play for real money. Not all bonuses can be used to play blackjack so read the terms.
How to Practice Online
Practicing blackjack online is easy. Once you find a place to practice, either download the software or load a no download version if it’s available. Sign up for an account or log into a pre-existing account and start playing.
I recommend trying out two or three different software providers to see which blackjack versions you like the best, but almost all of them play the same.
The table fills most of the screen and the action buttons for placing bets, hitting, standing, etc. are located along the bottom of the screen.
Free or Real Money Practice
I always suggest playing for free online and real money in person.
The main reason for this is because you can do more things in live play to reduce or eliminate the house edge.
I can’t tell you what to do, so if you want to enjoy free online blackjack that’s great and if you want to play online for real money that’s great too. I can offer you some sound advice for real money online play though.
If you play for real money online you need to understand that you can’t beat the game in the long run. You can practice counting cards like I mentioned above but each deal is with a freshly shuffled deck so you can’t actually get ahead using a count.
Because the game is a negative expectation situation, even when you play perfect strategy and with the best rules you can find the casino will slowly win your money.
Of course the same can be said for blackjack and most other games you play in a casino.
You need to be aware that you can play two to three times more hands per hour playing online than you can in a local casino. This means that even if you play a game offering a slightly better edge you can still lose more per hour playing online than live.
Here’s an example to illustrate the difference.
If you play 50 hands per hour in live play and only 100 hands per hour online and your average bet is $25 and everything else is the same, you’ll lose twice as much per hour online on average.
Even if you find an online game with a half percent (.005) edge and compare it to a live game with a three quarter percent (.0075) edge you’ll still lose more on average per hour playing online.
50 hands per hour times $25 per hand times a house edge of .0075 is an expected loss of $9.38.
100 hands per hour times $25 per hand times a house edge of .005 is an expected loss of $12.50.
Plus you’ll usually play more than twice as many hands online, making the difference in expected loss greater.
I’m not telling you to avoid online play, I’m telling you to slow down and enjoy the experience or you’ll end up losing more than you would at a local blackjack table.
If you play blackjack on a regular basis or want to get started there’s no reason to avoid online play. You can play for free or real money without the pressure or noise of a live casino environment.
You can use the practice time to learn how to count cards or learn basic blackjack strategy. Finding a place to practice is easy and fast, so don’t wait another minute. Start practicing your blackjack skills online today.