Blackjack is an essential casino game. Easy to learn, fun to play, and to top it all off, it has a low house edge. While players can now choose from several variations, the core remains the same to this day, which is one of the reasons why blackjack maintains its popularity.
Below we delve into the rules of the game, strategies, and the best places to play in the state of Michigan. Let’s begin.
Blackjack rules: How to play
The core rules of Blackjack are simple. Regardless of the number of players at a table, everyone is competing with the dealer. The objective is to beat the dealer’s hand by getting as close as possible to 21 points without going over.
When it comes to card value, cards 2 through 10 retain their face value. Face cards like Jacks, Queens, and Kings are all worth 10 points. Finally, Aces can be worth either 11 or 1, depending on the player’s needs.
MI Online Blackjack Gameplay
At the beginning of the game each player at the table is dealt two cards, face up. The dealer gets one card that’s face up, and one that’s face down. This is where things get interesting: based on the face-up cards, players must analyze the situation and take one of the following actions:
- Hit – Choose to add another card to the hand. If a player exceeds 21 points after hitting, this is called a bust. A bust indicates a total loss of the wager.
- Stand – To stand, pat the felt and take no additional cards from the dealer. Whatever total is showing is what will go against the dealer’s total.
- Double Down – Double the initial wager and take another card. When they double down, players can take no more than one new card.
- Split – Those dealt a pair are allowed to split their hand into two. If they do this, they will need to place an equal bet on the second hand. The dealer will deal another card to each of the split hands. Players then have the option to stand, hit, double down, or even split again if the same card rolls out a third time on either of the hands in play.
- Surrender – Finally, players can wave the white flag, cut their losses, take back half of their wager, and withdraw from the current hand. It’s not ideal, but when you’re beat – you’re beat.
In addition to these actions, there are a few other important terms that refer to specific game states:
- Insurance – If a dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, players can buy insurance to protect their wager against a natural blackjack. This essentially allows players to make a side bet that the dealer’s face-down card is a 10-value card. Players are allowed to bet half of their original wager and if the bet is won, they will be paid out 2/1.
- Push – If the player and the dealer get the same hand value at the end of the game, the hand is declared a push (a tie). The player will then receive their wager back. The hand will also be a push if both the dealer and the player get a natural blackjack.
Once the players have taken their actions, the dealer reveals their face-down card. Depending on the variation of the game, the dealer might need to draw more cards as long as the value total is lower than 16. The dealer must stand on a value of 17 or more.
Where is online blackjack offered in Michigan?
So which operators offer online blackjack games in the state of Michigan? It’s kind of a trick question, as the answer is currently none. While Michigan has legalized online casino gaming, the industry is not yet live. We expect the first online casinos to open their virtual doors (and blackjack tables!) in 2021.
Based on the rollouts in other U.S. states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we are confident that each online casino will launch with at least one blackjack variation. Online casino gamers expect blackjack, and online operators will deliver it. A few of the online casinos confirmed for Michigan include:
Michigan retail blackjack
Though online casinos have yet to launch in Michigan, the state has a lively brick-and-mortar casino scene. You can be sure that each and every one of these casinos spreads blackjack. Here is the list of all land-based casinos operating in the state where you can play the game:
|Bay Mills Resort & Casino||DraftKings||11386 W Lakeshore Dr.|
Brimley, MI 49715
|Greektown Casino-Hotel||Penn National (Barstool projected)||555 E Lafayette St.|
Detroit, MI 48226
|Leelanau Sands Casino||William Hill||2521 N West Bay Shore Peshawbestown, MI 49628||231-534-8100|
|MGM Grand||BetMGM||1777 3rd Ave|
Detroit, MI 48226
|MotorCity Casino Hotel||FanDuel||2901 Grand River Ave|
Detroit, MI 48201
|Northern Waters Casino Resort||PointsBet||N5384 US-45|
Watersmeet, MI 49969
|Odawa Casino Resorts||FOX Bet||1760 Lears Rd|
Petoskey ,MI 49770
|Soaring Eagle Casino & Resorts||PointsBet||6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd|
Mt Pleasant, MI 48858
|Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel||William Hill||7741 M-72, Williamsburg,|
As we’ve already mentioned, online casinos regularly offer more than one blackjack variation. While the core game is the same, there are slight shifts in the rules based on the title and provider.
These variations differ based on the number of decks used, whether players are allowed to play one or multiple hands, whether (or if) they can split, surrender, double up, etc. Ultimately it’s up to players to find the version that they prefer.
Some of the most popular options include European Blackjack, Single Deck, Multi-Hand, Spanish 21, Pontoon and Blackjack Switch. In Blackjack Switch, for example, players start off with two hands. Once players are dealt their second card, they are allowed to swap them between the two hands.
Side bets add an additional layer to casino games, creating the possibility of a lucrative score. They are additional bets players can opt for and are based on which cards are about to be dealt. Generally speaking, they rely heavily on chance.
Some of the most popular side bets include Insurance, Perfect Pairs, and 21+3. We mentioned insurance bets earlier, so we’ll just briefly touch on Perfect Pairs and 21+3.
You can only place a Perfect Pair bet on the player’s cards. Wagers are made before the dealer passes out any cards, and the bet pays out under the following conditions:
- Mixed Pair – The player gets two cards of the same value, but different color and suit.
- Colored Pair – The player gets two cards of the same color and value.
- Perfect Pair – The player gets two of the exact same card.
21+3 bets include both of the player’s cards and the dealer’s face-up card. The bet pays out based on the combinations the three cards make.
- Flush – All three cards are the same suit.
- Straight – The card values are in consecutive order. For example: 8, 9, 10.
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same value, but different suits.
- Straight Flush – The cards are consecutive and have the same suit.
- Suited Triple – All three cards have the same value and suit.
As the industry is evolving, new side bets are constantly being invented and incorporated. Apart from the ones we’ve mentioned, other prominent bets include Royal Match, Super Sevens, Over/Under 13, and Lucky Ladies. The returns on these side bets can vary significantly between the casino, online operator, software provider, etc. Naturally, the number of decks being used will impact the odds of winning a side bet, so take this into consideration when picking a table.
Blackjack software providers
Virtually every online gaming provider has dipped their toe in the blackjack pond. Within legal, regulated online casinos it’s not uncommon to see titles from the following:
Again, we always encourage customers to try out the free, demo versions of the available options. Get a sense for the rules, side bets, graphics, and theme of each game to determine which you like best.
Live dealer blackjack
Playing online blackjack doesn’t just have to be about interacting with a random number generator. Players who want a more authentic casino experience can opt to play in a Michigan Live Dealer online casino.
The service allows players to play at virtual tables hosted by real-life dealers. The games are live-streamed and its possible to interact with dealers and other players through an integrated live chat. Since blackjack tables are usually among the most popular Live Dealer options, online casinos usually devote a significant amount of their “Live” studio floor space for it.
The downside of Live Dealer blackjack is that it doesn’t scale particularly well. Unlike craps or roulette where you can seat an infinite number of players around one table or wheel, for blackjack every participant requires their own hand in order to make their own, unique choices. With limits on Live Dealer table space, casinos have come up with clever solutions.
- Bet Behind – Some online casinos allow you to bet behind another player. You essentially ride in the side-car with a seated player while placing your own, unique bets. The only catch is: you can’t control what they do. It’s important to make sure that the player you’re following knows what they’re doing or it could cost you.
- Unlimited Blackjack – A modified version of blackjack that cuts out a few player choices and replaces them with hard, fast rules. This allows more players to sit-in and enjoy the Live Dealer experience.
We expect most online casinos in the state of Michigan to eventually offer a Live Dealer experience, though it may take some time for them to launch. Be patient, they’re on the way.
Michigan online blackjack bonuses
Online casino bonuses add tremendous value to your blackjack play. While generally associated with new sign ups, bonuses and other promotional offers are frequently available for existing customers, too. Each bonus will come with a set of wager requirements that must be met before the gifted bonus is yours to keep and cash out. We advise all bettors to check the restricted games stipulation for each bonus, though, because many online casino bonuses must be wagered more times over at the blackjack table than at something like slots.
But if optimal strategy is used on blackjack it’s possible to attain an extremely high return, which is exactly what you’re looking for with regard to bonus clearance. If you find a bonus that allows you to clear it at the blackjack table, snap it up!
General blackjack tips and strategy
If you are just starting out with online blackjack, there are a few things to consider before you even start playing. First off, you should choose the right version of the game for you. Shop around and pay attention to the promotions, rules, and the limits they offer.
Choose the table limits you are comfortable with and bet low if you are just starting out. Needless to say, play only with Michigan’s licensed and regulated online casinos. This will protect you from both fraud and abuse, and ensure that the games are always fair. The Michigan Gaming Control Board keeps a watchful eye on all licensed operators, guaranteeing that they are trustworthy.
When it comes to general gameplay tips, these are some general rules you should keep in mind:
- Stand pat if your hand is a hard 17 or higher. The dealer generally has to stand on 17, which makes this the optimal play.
- Hit on a soft 17, since there is a decent chance your hand will improve. Soft 17 means you have an ace, so it’s possible to decrease its value from 11 to 1. There’s a good chance you can draw to a better holding.
- Assume that the dealer’s face-down card is a 10. Without counting cards, the odds are around 30% that the dealer’s hidden card is a 10 – far higher than any other possibility.
- Hit when you are facing a 10, and you are holding a 16 point hand. The dealer just needs a 7 or higher to take your money.
- Be sure to double down on 11.
- If the dealer has a seven or higher, always hit when you hand is 12-16.
- Always split Aces and 8s.
- Don’t take insurance – in the long run it’s not going to make you money.
Why blackjack is a great online casino game
Unlike some casino games, blackjack excels in an online setting. This is true for a number of reasons.
- Speed – Playing online blackjack is significantly faster than playing it in person. For starters, you don’t have to wait for other players to make a decision. Furthermore, your dealer is automated, which means card shuffling is instantaneous. Just how much faster is it? On average, a full table at a land-based casino will go though around 50 hands per hour – at most. Online, that number can reach as high as 200. Of course this could be both good and bad, depending on if you are winning or losing in a session.
- Lower Limits – Since there’s no staff or dealer to pay, online blackjack tables can have minimums that go as low as $0.10 per hand. In contrast, the smallest stakes at land-based casinos usually range from $10 to $100 per hand. Additionally, many online casinos will allow you to play free of charge. This is an excellent way for novices to get some practice before spending any money.
- Availability – You can play online blackjack wherever you are within the state of Michigan. All Michigan online casinos will provide users with access to a mobile app or website, which allows them to take the blackjack table with them wherever they are going. Exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula? No problem – take real money blackjack with you.
- Higher RTP – Due to lower overhead, online casinos can afford to offer a smaller house edge when compared to retail. Blackjack, in particular, can have an RTP (return to player) as high as 99.8%. This makes it an excellent option for clearing bonus wagering requirements which often come attached to promotional offers.