Should You Practice Free Blackjack Online?

Free online Blackjack

It’s tempting to think that you don’t need free blackjack online. After all, many people grew up playing practice blackjack games on the kitchen table with their moms when they were kids. I certainly did.

But it didn’t take much time in the casino before I realized that my mom left out many of the intricacies of blackjack.

If you’re a seasoned pro, you might have no use for free blackjack online. But if you’re a beginner, I have some ideas about how practice games on the internet might be useful to you.

You Can’t Lose Money in Free Online Blackjack

When you play a free online blackjack game, you’re playing with play money chips that online casinos have provided you to practice with. These play money chips have no real value. They’re just a means of keeping score.

You can lose your entire blackjack bankroll at a free blackjack game online and have just as much money when you finish as you had when you started.

That’s the best thing about practice games.

It’s impossible to lose money playing them.

The casino, though, is hoping you’ll have so much fun that you’ll try their real money games. If you’re absolutely committed to not losing any money at blackjack online, be sure you have the self-control necessary to resist the siren call of the real money games.

You Can’t Win Any Money in Free Online Blackjack

Have you ever heard the expression, “No risk, no reward?”

That applies to free blackjack in a big way because it’s impossible to win money at these games. That’s fair, though.

How could it be fair to expect to be able to win money playing a game where you’re not risking any money?

That’s not how gambling works, and you should understand that before sitting down at any kind of practice blackjack game.

Practice Games Are Great for Learning Blackjack

If you’ve never played blackjack for real money in a casino, you are probably unprepared for how fast the game moves. If you’re playing heads-up with a dealer, you can easily see 200 hands of blackjack per hour.

That’s more than three hands per minute—a hand every 20 seconds.
Savvy blackjack players have no trouble with the rhythm of such a fast-paced game, but I think new players should try the online games to get a feel for how fast the game is before playing for real money in person or online.

Playing Blackjack

I’m convinced that online blackjack is even faster than playing heads-up with a dealer in a live casino. I’m guessing that you could see 300 or 400 hands per hour if you wanted to maximize how fast you can play.

This might be a fun experiment to try at the free games. Clock how many hands of blackjack you’re playing online, and also, track how much money you’re winning or losing on average per hand.

The results might surprise you.

But if speed is your goal, don’t risk real money while you’re trying to play fast online. That’s a good way to make mistakes and lose more money than you ought to.

You Can Learn How to Do All the “Fancy” Blackjack Moves

When my mom taught me to play blackjack at the kitchen table, I learned the two most basic moves in blackjack:

  1. Hit
  2. Stand

Lo and behold, the first time I visited Vegas, I had no idea how to do any of the following:

  • Double down
  • Split
  • Surrender
  • Take insurance

Doubling down is just doubling the size of your bet and agreeing to take one (and only one) more card. If you’re not doubling down on totals of 10 and 11, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. This is a great move to learn on the free blackjack games.

Here’s an example:

You’ve bet $5 on a hand of blackjack, and you get dealt an eight and a three for a total of 11. The dealer is showing a six. You double down, which means you have $10 in action. You’re dealt a 10, and the dealer busts. Your total of 21 wins, so you win $10 on the hand instead of five.

Splitting is when you get two cards of the same rank, like aces or eights. You put up a second bet and play two hands, and the first card in each of those hands is one of the cards from your original hand.

Online Casino Chips

Here’s an example:

You’re dealt two aces on a hand where you’ve bet $10. You split the aces, which means you now have two hands in action with $10 on each hand. You’re dealt a 10 on top of each ace, which means you have a blackjack. The dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, so you win $15 on each of your two hands.

Surrendering is giving up your hand while sacrificing half your bet. You don’t even play your hand.

Here’s an example:

You’ve bet $10 on a hand of blackjack, and you get a total of 16. The dealer has a 10 showing as her up-card. You surrender, which means you get $5 of your original bet back.

Taking insurance is a sucker bet unless you’re counting cards, but if you eventually want to count cards, you’ll eventually want to take insurance, too.

You have the option of taking insurance when the dealer has an ace as her face-up card. The insurance bet is a bet that the dealer has a blackjack—a two-card hand totaling 21. It pays off at 2 to 1, and you must bet half your original bet.

Here’s an example:

You bet $10, and the dealer has an ace showing. You place an insurance bet of $5. The dealer does, indeed, have a blackjack, so you win $10 on your insurance bet. Of course, you lose your original $10 bet, so you still only break even on the hand.

You Can Find Free Blackjack Games Through Other Venues

I used to hang out at a Dave and Busters in Dallas, Texas, that offered free blackjack for play money chips on the weekends. It was a fun way to while away the time. You could even practice counting cards there. They just wanted to sell drinks.

You couldn’t win prizes or anything.

Maybe a bar in your area does something similar?

Some corporations host casino nights where there are prizes for the gamblers who wind up with the most chips at the end of the evening. They usually don’t require you to spend any money to get those chips.

In this case, you have an exception to my rule about how you can’t win anything playing free blackjack. The prizes might not be worth much, but if you’re good at blackjack, it probably offers you the best opportunity to win something.

Using a Casino Bonus to Get Free Hands Doesn’t Work

Many casinos offer signup bonuses as a percentage of your initial deposit. Some casinos even offer bonus amounts without a deposit requirement. This would seem like a way to get in some free blackjack hands.

For the most part, this doesn’t work. Casinos offering bonuses have wagering requirements; they want you to give them a certain amount of action in exchange for the bonus. You’re not allowed to cash out until you’ve met those wagering requirements.

Most online casinos only allow wagers on their slot machines to count toward their wagering requirements.

Playing blackjack can even invalidate your bonus, so be sure to read the terms and conditions of your bonus offer before placing your first wager.

Or just stick with the slots. That’s always a safe bet when you’re playing for real money and you want to meet some wagering requirements.

Blackjack Is the Best Game in the Casino

No casino game has a lower house edge than blackjack, but to get that low house edge, you must master basic strategy.

What’s the house edge?

That’s the statistical advantage the casino has over you based on the rules of the game. It’s expressed as a percentage, and the lower it is, the less expensive it is to play the game.

Most casino games have a house edge of around 5%, but playing blackjack with perfect basic strategy has a minuscule house edge of between 0.5% and 1%.

Play the free games for a few hundred hands, and you’ll see that you don’t lose much money — especially if you contrast it with the kind of money you lose playing free slots.

Conclusion

Free blackjack online has its uses for beginners, but it’s a waste of time if you’re a seasoned blackjack player. Most gamblers who’ve been at it a while certainly don’t feel the need to play practice games.

But if you’re new to the game, it’s a great way to get some seasoning without risking any real money.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …

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