Blackjack is one of the most popular games at New York casinos and elsewhere. While online blackjack for real money is not yet available in New York, people in the state can play blackjack online at social and sweepstakes casinos. They can also travel to nearby New Jersey to play blackjack on NJ online casinos.
Here’s an overview of both live and online blackjack for people in New York.
Download these online casino apps in NY and bet in NJ
Is blackjack legal in New York?
Yes, blackjack is among the many legal games available at commercial and tribal casinos in New York.
Many tribal casinos were already operational when New York legalized commercial casinos in 2013. The new law permitted casinos in phases, starting initially with limits requiring them all to be in upstate NY. Soon, however, the state will move into the second phase of the law, which will allow three casinos in New York City.
Can I play blackjack online in New York?
Whereas live blackjack is legal in the state, you cannot legally play online blackjack for real money in New York at the moment. The state has legalized online sports betting, and lawmakers have also discussed following the path of neighboring New Jersey and legalizing online casinos in New York, but that has yet to happen.
That means, for now, that you cannot play real money blackjack online in NY.
Legal online blackjack options in NY
New Yorkers do have legal options, though, for playing online blackjack. One is to play on social and sweepstakes casinos that use virtual currencies and, in some cases, provide the option to redeem winnings for cash prizes.
Most of these social and sweepstakes casinos focus on slots, but a couple also offer a few blackjack options. Chumba Casino is one, offering a traditional blackjack game plus a variant — Back Blackjack — that allows an extra side bet on whether there will be a blackjack. Pulsz is another that includes blackjack among its slots and a few other table games.
Some New York retail casinos also have online social casinos where you can play the games for fun and entertainment. For example, both Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort and Turning Stone Resort Casino have online options where visitors can play a variety of casino games, including blackjack online for free. These games are not for real money, but they provide ways for players to accumulate points in the casinos’ respective loyalty programs.
New Yorkers also have the option to travel to New Jersey to play online blackjack for real money at NJ online casinos. You can download the NJ apps and even create accounts from New York, but in order to play the games, you’ll have to be located in New Jersey.
The basics of live or online blackjack
Blackjack plays similarly whether you are in a New York casino or playing at a blackjack online casino. The game is relatively simple, which is one reason why blackjack is so popular. There can also be a social element to the game, as you compete alongside other players against a common opponent, the dealer.
The game begins with all players first making bets. You can bet whatever you like, as long as your wager is within the table minimum and maximum. The dealer then deals the cards. You and the dealer both get two cards. Both of yours are face up, while the dealer has one card up and one down.
The object of the game is to try to collect cards adding up to 21 or as close as you can get without going over. Face cards are worth 10, the numbered cards 2 through 10 are worth the equivalent of their rank, and aces can be worth either 1 or 11.
You go first, deciding whether to hit and receive another card or stand and keep what you have. You can keep hitting until you decide to stand. However, if you go over 21, you bust. If that happens, the hand is over with you losing your wager.
If you stand at 21 or something less, the dealer then draws cards. However, while you can hit or stand as you wish, the dealer generally has to follow the house rule for whether to draw more cards.
The dealer usually always hits with 16 or less. With 17, the dealer might also have to hit. However, in some cases, the dealer will stand with a “hard 17” (one that does not contain an ace) and hit with a “soft 17” or a hand that does contain an ace. Check the rules for the game you’re playing to see how the casino handles this situation.
Betting and payout odds in blackjack
Generally speaking, if you win the hand, you double your wager — the payout is 1-to-1. If you bet $50, you’ll win $50 (getting back $100 total — your bet plus your winnings).
However, if your first two cards add up to 21, that’s a natural blackjack, in which case you win more.
Some casinos pay out 3-to-2 for a natural blackjack. In that case, if you bet $50, you’d win $75. You’ll also see 6-to-5 payouts for a natural blackjack, so if you bet $50, you’d win $60.
Note, though, that you still have to beat the dealer to win. If the dealer ends with 21 also, the hand is a push, and you get your original wager back.
There are some other actions you may be able to take as well, depending on the game. The following options come up after the hand has been dealt:
- Doubling down — After you get your first two cards, you can double your original wager while receiving just one additional card.
- Splitting (aka splitting pairs) — If your first two cards are the same, you have the option to split them into two separate hands — getting one more card to go with each — and betting on each hand (effectively doubling the amount you’re wagering).
- Taking insurance — If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, you can bet half your original wager that the dealer’s face-down card equals 10 for a natural blackjack. The bet is like a hedge against the bet on your own hand, which is why it’s called insurance.
- Surrendering — If you really hate your first two cards, you can surrender the hand and lose only half your original wager.
Not all blackjack games include taking insurance or surrendering among your options, so be sure to consult the house rules.
Blackjack variants in New York
When you play blackjack in New York, you’ll find that some casinos offer variants or extra side bets. Here are some of the main examples:
- Blazing 7s Blackjack — A variant that offers a pre-deal side bet on how many sevens appear among your first two cards and the dealer’s up card (also goes by Blazing 777 Blackjack Progressive or similar names). Very popular in NY.
- Spanish 21 — A variant that plays the same as regular blackjack, but removes the 10s from the deck. Very popular in NY.
- Single-Deck Blackjack — Blackjack with just one deck (as opposed to six or eight decks forming a “shoe”). Not too common, but available at Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort.
- Double-Deck Blackjack — Blackjack with just two decks. Available at several NY blackjack casinos.
When playing real blackjack online, you’ll encounter even more variants, many of which feature extra blackjack side bets. Some of these include the following:
- 21+3 Blackjack — A variant that, like Blazing 7’s Blackjack, involves side bets on the three up cards (your two plus the dealer’s). In this case, it’s a bet on whether the three cards form winning poker hands.
- Blackjack Switch — A variant in which players receive two hands and can switch cards between them.
- Blackjack X-Change — An online variant that lets you switch a card for a random one, in some cases paying to switch out bad cards and getting paid to switch out good ones.
- Perfect Pairs — A variant involving a side wager on whether your initial two cards form a pair.
- Vegas Strip Blackjack — A variant that uses four decks and allows extra ways to double down and split hands, plus additional side bets in some cases.
- Vegas Downtown Blackjack — A variant with two decks that also allows extra ways to double down and split.
Keep an eye out as well for electronic blackjack at many NY casinos.
Playing live dealer blackjack in New York
Some casinos in New York feature virtual blackjack tables. At these tables, a real dealer handles the action at a real table using real cards. Meanwhile, up to 10 players watch the action on an HD screen and place bets via touchscreens.
You can also find live dealer blackjack games online, though not in New York. These games allow you to play the hand in the same way as a conventional game of blackjack. A human dealer handles the action using specially coded cards that a camera reads and displays on your screen.
Currently, no free-to-play live dealer blackjack games are available online in New York. However, these games are popular at legal NJ online casinos. We expect live dealer tables to be available if New York eventually legalizes online gambling.
Top online blackjack tips
You can get a head start playing blackjack at online casinos with the following tips:
- Find a good online casino — Your options are somewhat limited when it comes to online blackjack in New York, but there are choices. Free-to-play casinos offer a safe and fun place to play. If you choose the right sweepstakes-style casino, you can take a shot at redeeming your winnings for cash prizes.
- Choose a variant that is right for you — There are several blackjack variants available online. Classic blackjack is a standard option at free-to-play casinos. You should have a basic idea of the blackjack house edge. Classic blackjack has a house edge of 0.5%.
- Print a cheat sheet — The house edge can increase if you don’t employ a basic blackjack strategy. The edge can rise to 2% if you play blackjack badly and make the wrong decisions. To make the right moves, print a cheat sheet. A cheat sheet displays the optimal moves based on your and the dealer’s cards. The sheet recommends when to hit, stand, split and double down. You can also download one and keep it open on your monitor as you play.
- Manage your bankroll — You can go bust in online blackjack if you don’t manage your budget properly. You can typically bet as low as 50 cents on a hand of online blackjack, much lower than the minimum stakes at land-based casinos in New York. You should bet a small percentage of your bankroll on each hand. For example, if your bankroll is $100, bet $1 a hand and stick to it.
Where to play blackjack at New York casinos in January 2023
All 11 casinos in New York prominently feature blackjack among their available table games:
- Akwesasne Mohawk Casino (Hogansburg)
- Del Lago Resort & Casino (Waterloo)
- Point Place Casino (Bridgeport)
- Resorts World Catskills (Monticello)
- Rivers Casino & Resort (Schenectady)
- Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino (Salamanca)
- Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino (Niagara Falls)
- Tioga Downs Casino Resort (Nichols)
- Turning Stone Casino Resort (Verona)
- Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino (Buffalo)
- Yellow Brick Road Casino (Chittenango)
Play online blackjack today
Blackjack is a tremendously fun card game that is one of the most popular to play at online casinos and among the table games at brick-and-mortar locations. Though the luck of the draw certainly affects your chances of winning, the game does incorporate a significant skill element, too, that can impact your chances. Take the time to learn the rules of blackjack, then study a bit more strategy for how to play blackjack to increase your enjoyment.
FAQ about blackjack
Is blackjack the most popular casino card game?
Some argue that blackjack is the most popular card game in casinos. It is certainly one of the most played card games, whether at a retail casino or online.
Is getting five cards in blackjack an automatic win?
Five-card Charlie — getting five cards without going bust — is a common rule in home games. If that occurs in a home game, you’ll probably automatically win the round, provided that the dealer doesn’t have blackjack. However, you’re much less likely to find this rule at actual casinos.
Is blackjack easy to play?
Yes, blackjack is easy to learn and play. The rules are relatively simple, and the rounds finish quickly. Learning basic blackjack strategy isn’t too difficult, either, but it requires a bit of effort when it comes to remembering the recommendations for each situation.
Who wins ties in blackjack?
When there’s a tie (both you and the dealer have the same hand total), nobody wins. The bet is a push, and you get your stake back.