Free Bet Blackjack
Of all the versions of blackjack available to play online, this one may be the single most tempting. The title says it all: this is blackjack with the opportunity for free bets. But just which bets are available for free, and is a free bet necessarily a good bet? Our guide to this popular game shall explain all.
How to Play Free Bet Blackjack
The main difference between Free Bet Blackjack and classic versions of blackjack is that, in its free bet form, splits and double-downs are sometimes granted for free. If you are new to the game of blackjack, of course, then this will mean nothing. So, if you are eager to play Free Bet Blackjack but have no idea where to start, it will be a good idea for us to talk you through just how blackjack works as a game.
At the start of the game, you will need to place your wager by choosing from the virtual chips onscreen. Once you have done so, the dealer will present two cards to you, and two to themselves; once this has been completed, your cards will both be face up, while the dealer will have one face-up card and one face-down card. The next stage is to add up the total sum of your two cards.
Now, in a game of blackjack, the three court cards are all worth 10 each, while an ace can be worth either 2 or 11 depending on your choice — the only exception being if this would give your hand a value of more than 21. This means that the available combinations are between 4 and 21, and the best combination that you can score is an ace and a 10-point card. This pair is called a Blackjack, and scoring one means that your wager is paid off and you will not need to play through the round -unless, of course, the dealer also has a Blackjack. If both you and the dealer have managed to score a Blackjack, this is known as a “push,” and will result in you neither winning nor losing.
In most cases, of course, neither you nor the dealer will have a blackjack. This situation leaves you with four options to choose from, each represented by a coloured icon that will appear onscreen:
Hit: the green plus icon. This will prompt the dealer to give you another card, expanding your hand. Once they have done so, you will be able to choose another bet. Note that you can, in theory, keep on choosing hit until your hand goes over 21 in value (this is referred to as going “bust”).
Stand: the red minus icon. This will prompt the dealer to turn over their face-down card and reveal their full hand.
Split: the blue arrows icon. This is available only if you are dealt two cards of equal value, and will cause your hand to be split into two separate hands; to start with each hand will have just the one card, but can grow as you are dealt more cards. Note that pairs are defined by in-game value — so that, for example, a queen and a king count as a pair because they are worth 10 each. When you are playing Free Bet Blackjack live, if you are particularly lucky you might be entitled to a free split, in which case the icon turns from blue to gold.
Double down: the orange “2X” icon. Choosing this will double your wager and prompt the dealer to add another card to your hand. As with the split option, you will sometimes get lucky and be entitled to a free double, the symbol turning gold to indicate this option.
Note that a traditional blackjack game will also have the fifth option of surrendering your hand in exchange for the return of half of your original bet, but this is not available in Free Bet Blackjack Live.
Once you have made your choice, it will be time for the dealer to reveal their full hand and then either hit or stand (the dealer is not allowed to split or double down). If the dealer’s hand is worth 17 or higher, then they will automatically stand. If the hand is worth 16 or lower, then the dealer will draw new cards. If the dealer goes bust — that is, they end up with a hand over 21 in value — then you will be paid back your wager. If the dealer’s hand is between 17 and 21, however, then their hand will be in competition against yours. If you have the stronger hand, you win; if you have the weaker hand, you lose. This will bring the round to an end, and the entire cycle will begin for the next round.
The game also allows you to place side bets at the start. There are four of these in all:
Any Pair: You will win this bet if the first two cards in your hand are a pair.
21+3: The two cards in your hand will be combined with the dealer’s upwards-facing card to create a three-card hand; if you get a good score, the bonus will payout.
Hot3: Likewise, this combines your cards with the dealer’s up-facing card. If the total is 19, 20 or 21, or else if the three cards are all sevens, then you will win the bet.
BustIt: This will pay out if the dealer goes bust. The more cards they have, the more you will win.
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Free Bet Blackjack Bonus Games and Features
As noted, the game occasionally offers free splits and double downs. These are the only real bonuses available during play. In terms of features, the game layout includes options for video adjustments, access to your total bankroll size and the option to visit the lobby and inspect other games while still playing this one.
Free Bet Blackjack Strategies
Because the game’s rules do not depart far from traditional blackjack, it will be a good idea to learn general blackjack strategies before playing. While the cards you get will obviously be dictated by pure chance, the element of strategy comes into play when you choose exactly what to do with your hand.
If your opening hand has a value from 4 to 8, then it will be a good idea to hit; if the value is 17 or above, then you are advised to stand. Beyond these outcomes, you will need to take into account the dealer’s upward-facing card. If the dealer’s card is between 2 and 6, then you should either double (if your hand is between 9 an 11) or stand (if your hand is between 12 and 16). If the dealer’s card is a 7 or higher and your hand is 16 or less, then you should generally hit; the one exception is if your hand has a value of 10 or 11 and the dealer’s number is smaller.
As for split votes, well, as a general rule it will be a good idea to split if you have a pair of eights or aces, and a bad idea of your pair is fours, fives or tens (including court cards). If you have a pair of twos, threes, sices, sevens or nines, then whether or not you split will again depend on the dealer’s visible card. Is their card valued between 2 and 6? If so, split. Is it a 7 or higher? If so, do not split. Be warned that, while a free split might be a tempting option, it may be the wrong choice.
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Best Casinos With Free Bet Blackjack
Given how many online casinos carry titles from Evolution Gaming, it should not be too hard finding a good casino that has the Free Bet version of blackjack. A few examples that we can recommend are MrBet Casino, Slotbox Casino, Mr Play Casino, 10Bet Casino and Tortuga Casino.
Should You Play Free Bet Blackjack ?
If you are an experienced blackjack player, then you will feel right at home with the free bet version. If you are new to the game, however, it will provide as good a learning experience as any. The addition of free bets certainly add to the excitement — but remember to make sure you are choosing the right bet at the right time!