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Playing blackjack online vs. brick and mortar: Are there differences?

Blackjack Online vs Casino

What's the difference between playing blackjack online and going to a casino? Plenty.

Used to playing blackjack in person? Here are five things to know about betting online, compared to at brick-and-mortar casino

No longer do gamblers have to head to Las Vegas or Atlantic City to wager a few dollars. Depending where you live, playing some blackjack online has become as easy as grabbing that laptop — or mobile phone — and logging in to your account.

But what’s the difference in gambling online versus playing in a real casino? Here's some advice and five key things to know about your quest for 21 at the online tables.

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1. Lower limits

While a few casinos in Las Vegas may offer bargain blackjack for a buck or two per hand, playing at lower levels is much easier online. It’s a great way to practice your memory of blackjack basic strategy. A few New Jersey online casinos even offer micro-stakes for as low as 10 cents.

2. Cut the counting

If you’re an advanced player and thinking about counting cards, it’s pointless to do so online. The computer system’s random number generator “reshuffles” after every hand. It’s best just to master basic strategy and find a game with good rules.

Blackjack Online Gambling3. Better rules online

As mentioned above, look for games with rules in favor of the player. Fortunately, many online operators often offer favorable rules that might not be found in a traditional brick-and mortar-casino, and players should definitely take advantage.

For example, early surrender allows a player to forfeit half his bet before the dealer looks at his hole card (for example, if you have 16 vs. a dealer’s 10, you can surrender half your bet instead of playing the hand with tough odds). Many online casinos also force dealers to stand on soft 17 and allow players to double down on any two cards and even after splitting hands.

Here are a few other favorable rules:

• Blackjack payouts of 3 to 2 or even occasionally 2 to 1
• Doubling down on three or more cards
• Resplitting aces
• Doubling down after splitting aces

4. Heads-up

Most blackjack games will put players heads-up against the dealer, but some operators are working to incorporate some of the game’s social aspects. Some sites now offer multiplayer games allowing for a better simulation of how the game would be played in a live casino.

Another high-tech twist is the recent addition of live dealer blackjack, which features a real person dealing cards for multiple players. A major difference? Action moves slower than a normal online game, something many players might enjoy in making that bankroll last a little longer.

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5. Fewer disturbances

The virtual blackjack table offers another positive you don’t usually find at a real casino — fewer distractions. No blaring slot machines, no cigarette smoke, no drunks at your table. Card-playing at your computer offers some advantages and allows for more focus on the cards. Take advantage, utilize basic blackjack strategy, favorable rules, and trim that house advantage to as small as you can get it.

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Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.