There are hundreds of casino table games, although none have come close to the enduring popularity of blackjack.
There are many exciting variations of blackjack using the basic rules, too. Players can also win big jackpots with side bets, and are able to participate in blackjack tournaments.
With Tennessee recently legalizing sports betting, the hope is that casinos will follow at some point down the line.
When this happens, blackjack games are sure to be the first stop for many players. These days, online casinos offer more than just the old player versus dealer software games.
Live dealer casinos stream games in real-time from casino studios, allowing players to bet via mobile phone or desktop computer.
The key to getting the best returns from blackjack is to know basic strategy. This approach tells you what to play for each dealer up-card based on your hand. Deviate from this, and you will lose more money in the long run.
This page is a preview of how online blackjack could look in Tennessee following future legislation.
Below, you’ll find an introduction to real money blackjack. We cover the variations available at both live and online casinos in other states.
Then, we offer notes on live dealer blackjack games.
Finally, learn how to play blackjack for free in Tennessee.
Real money online blackjack games
Currently, Tennessee offers a single legal option for online blackjack. Chumba Casino, a US-based social casino, uses sweepstakes gambling laws to operate legally.
As a Chumba player, you bet with “sweeps cash,” which you can convert into dollars and withdraw if you win. You can find out more about it by reading our review on Chumba Casino or our “Sweepstakes Casinos” page.
Elsewhere, there is a significant choice of real money blackjack games. Casinos in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, for instance, offer multiple blackjack titles. These include variations like Spanish 21 and live dealer games. In live casinos, it is rare to find any table game selection that does not feature blackjack.
The key to enjoying real money blackjack is to keep the house edge to a minimum. This edge is the percentage of every bet that the casino will win over the long term.
The edge can be low for blackjack games, e.g., 1.5% with player-friendly rules. For instance, consider the number of decks and payout (look for 3:2 and avoid 6:5), whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, and the ability to surrender.
Here are some tips on finding real money blackjack games with the lowest house edge:
- Look for games with the fewest decks (single or double deck are usually best).
- Seek out games with favorable rules (dealer should stand on soft 17, liberal splitting or doubling, and so on).
- Avoid side bets. These have a huge house edge, though on the positive side they can add some excitement to the games.
- Learn basic strategy. If you make mistakes, they will cost you money each time.
Weighting for real money blackjack bonuses
In regulated states and countries around the world, online casinos compete with each other for your custom. Players can subsequently take advantage of bonus offers and promotions while they enjoy blackjack and its variants.
There are many types of blackjack bonuses available.
These include free-play (no deposit needed) bonuses, matched welcome bonuses, point collection schemes and promos.
Keep in mind that the lower house edge for blackjack means many casinos give this a weight for bonus clearing. For any casino bonus, you’ll see a playthrough, also known as a wagering requirement, which means you can only withdraw your bonus money after this has been completed.
For example, a bonus might have a 20x playthrough requirement.
If this is given a weighting, only 20% of your blackjack play might count. It is still worth taking bonuses, although you’ll often need a lot of play to clear it.
Deposit and withdrawal methods at online casinos
The other aspect of playing future TN online blackjack games are banking methods.
You’ll need to find a safe way of moving your funds onto an online casino, and your winnings back out. Fortunately, there are many safe and secure methods for casinos in the regulated states. These include:
- Visa, Mastercard, Amex or Discover credit or debit cards.
- PayPal or alternative e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller.
- E-checks (ACH transfers) or bill pay bank transfers.
- Cash via PayNearMe at 7-Eleven stores.
- Wires or money orders.
Blackjack variations: What types of blackjack games could come to Tennessee
Blackjack has a lot of scope for minor rule changes. You’ll find there are two main types of this game with side bets and brand-new games based on the “21” concept.
The main distinctions are:
- The US rules: Here, the dealer will peek at his or her hidden card before the players act. If he or she shows a 10 or ace and this creates a blackjack (natural, two-card 21), then the hand ends. Players who also show a blackjack will push, and all others will lose their bet.
- The European rules: In this variation, the dealer only gets one card at the start of the hand. The players then act, and the dealer is dealt a second (or more) card when they have finished. This does change the player strategy a little since you won’t know whether the dealer has blackjack at the point you choose your action.
Both games are dealt in the US, with the rule and location distinction mostly historical.
Some of blackjack’s many rule distinctions include whether you can double on any card, or only certain scores (9 through 11).
“Splitting” rules, including the ability to double after a split and whether you only get a single card after splitting aces, are also variants.
“Surrendering” involves giving up your bad hand for a forfeit of half of your bet. This is allowed in some games and not in others.
Finally, whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17 will make a big difference. Games where the dealer stands here have a 0.22% better house edge, all else being equal.
Blackjack side bets
Jackpot side bets are common in both live and online casinos.
Some of these will have progressive jackpots, others will have top prizes of around 1000-to-1. These bets do have a bigger house edge than the main game. If you feel they add excitement to your blackjack session, and you know the odds, don’t let this stop you from enjoying them.
Here are some examples of common blackjack side bets:
- Blazing 777s
- Perfect Pairs
- Lucky Ladies
- Match 21+3
Variations on the blackjack theme
Since so many players are familiar with the “21” concept, casino game creators have used this to create brand-new blackjack games. A lot of these exist, although few will have a house edge as low as the original blackjack games.
Here are some popular examples that could come to Tennessee if online casino regulation occurs:
- Spanish 21: This variation removes the 10s from the deck, with prizes awarded for multi-card winning hands.
- Free Bet Blackjack: You can get a free bet in certain split or double spots. To balance this, you push against a dealer 22.
- Blackjack Switch: Here, you get dealt two hands, and can swap cards between them to get the best score.
- Blackjack Burn: If you don’t like your second card in this variation, you can swap it. Obviously, the other rules will balance this advantage.
- Pontoon: While the gameplay is similar, the terms are different. Instead of hit and stand, you “stick” or “twist.”
Live dealer blackjack games in Tennessee
Without real money online casinos, we will have to wait for live dealer games to appear in TN. These are popular in other states, which brings a social feel to online casino gambling.
The concept is simple. Actual dealers handle cards (and spin roulette wheels) at casino studios. They use bigger cards and special tables with cameras in different directions. You sit at a seven-player table after selecting one that matches your bankroll in a lobby.
You bet by dragging and dropping chips overlaid onto your screen. When the cards are dealt, you have a timer for your choice of action, which the dealer will fulfill. If you time out, you’ll stand.
When all the players have acted, the dealer reveals his or her card to complete their hand. All winning bets are then automatically settled, and you have 30 seconds to repeat your bet for the next hand.
This feels far more like the real casino experience compared to playing against animated computer software.
Live dealer blackjack has a social element to it. You can chat (via text) with the other players and the dealer. The dealer will respond out loud.
Many players like to see the cards shuffled and dealt in real-time. This helps with any underlying concerns that the random number generator that controls the computer-based games are somehow unfair.
Blackjack is not the only game you will find at live dealer online casinos. Roulette, baccarat and casino poker table games are also available.
Playing online blackjack for free in Tennessee
You have two choices for free online blackjack games in the Volunteer State.
You can check out Chumba Casino, which allows play for “gold coins” (that have no redeemable value). Also, you can check out the regulated casinos outside of Tennessee, for example, online casinos in New Jersey. Due to being out of state, you can’t deposit or play for real money, but you will be able to see the games and play many of them in demo mode.
Unfortunately, you can’t try out the live dealer blackjack tables for free. There is nothing to stop you watching these games in real-time to see how they work, though.
Wrapping up: When will online blackjack come to Tennessee?
With sports betting legislation fresh on the books, there are some hopes that online casinos are more than just a pipe dream for TN blackjack fans.
However, online sports betting needs to be a success. If casinos are seen to produce significant tax revenues in other states, this could act as a positive catalyst for legal sports betting in Tennessee. Gov. Bill Lee has already stated his opposition to casino gambling, though. Let’s hope the next governor takes a more practical approach.
When casinos do open, we can subsequently expect blackjack to play a central role in the table games lineup. The main questions will be; how favorable are the rules? And, which blackjack variations will be available?