Best PA Online Blackjack Sites
Pennsylvania offers a variety of online blackjack games on top casino websites, and that number will continue to grow as additional license holders join the online gaming market.
Online gaming was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2017 and opened for business two years later. The massive expansion of online casino games included sports betting, poker, slots and tables games, including blackjack.
At the start of 2020, four online casinos were operating in Pennsylvania and more than a half-dozen others were awarded licenses by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Players can find a variety of blackjack games for real money available on both computer and mobile devices on those casino sites. Blackjack is popular because if played with correct basic strategy, the house’s mathematical edge over the player can be as low as 0.4%.
Note, too, that the PCGB established favorable blackjack rules for the player, which include 3-to-2 payouts for blackjack and a surrender option.
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How We Picked the Best Online Casinos for Blackjack in PA
We evaluate a variety of criteria to determine the best online blackjack sites in Pennsylvania. Among the factors considered:
Bonus offers: It’s common for PA online blackjack sites to offer a wide range of bonuses and promotions, especially for new account holders. We sort out the best bonuses for newcomers and existing players.
Mobile options: The mobile blackjack experience is not identical on all apps. It’s important to examine software, speed and overall ease of use in seeking the best mobile blackjack experience.
Safety: Online blackjack casino sites that are licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board are the only ones we recommend.
Payment flexibility: Making sure there are ample options for both deposits and withdrawals.
Game choices: Many players want options: traditional blackjack or one with popular sidebets and real-money games or free-play blackjack, which allows players to improve skills before risking their money.
Online Blackjack Basics
Pennsylvania offers a variety of online blackjack games, and that number will continue to grow as additional license holders join the online gaming market in 2020. These are among the rules and odds of most benefit to players:
Online Blackjack Rules in PA
- Making a blackjack pays 3-to-2 odds
- Multiple splits allowed; doubling after splitting allowed
- Doubling on any two initial cards
- Dealer stands on soft 17 (A-6)
- The surrender option allows players to surrender their hand after receiving first two cards and lose half of original bet.
Simply put, the fewer the decks, the better your odds and the lower the house edge.
- 1 deck: 0.17% house edge
- 2 decks: 0.46%
- 4 decks: 0.60%
- 6 decks: 0.64%
- 8 decks: 0.65%
What are the Different Types of Blackjack Games
Online blackjack operators offer a wider variety of games than land-based casinos, which simply don’t have the floor space. These alternative games include:
Blackjack Switch: Player makes two equal-size bets, plays two hands simultaneously and after four cards are dealt, can switch the top card from each hand. Among the tradeoffs: a dealer’s 22 is a push against non-busted hands.
Atlantic City Blackjack: Similar to the blackjack rules in PA, but slightly less favorable.
European Blackjack: Doubling down is restricted to hands with a value of 9, 10 or 11; players can split their hands only once; no hole card for dealers - their second card is dealt after all players complete their hands.
Live Blackjack: Playing against a live dealer (usually from a studio) in real time instead of a software program.
Perfect Blackjack: Sidebets can be made on whether the player or dealer will be dealt two of the same cards and same suit.
Keep in mind those additional sidebets increase your action, but also increase the house’s edge, making it more difficult to win in the long run.
Why Play Blackjack Online in PA?
Some of the advantages of playing blackjack online vs. brick and mortar casinos:
Promotions and bonuses: Welcome bonuses, deposit matches and reload bonuses are almost always available and allow online players to pad their accounts.
Pace of play: If you prefer faster action, playing online provides an obvious advantage. More hands to play, no waiting for shuffling, no standing around waiting for a spot at the table. In fact, in many online blackjack games, you could be the only player at the table.
Lower stakes: The minimum blackjack bets at land-based casinos may be out of reach for some players, especially on weekends, when the minimums are set higher. In online play, smaller wagers are permitted.
Simultaneous play: Many experienced online players like to place wagers at several positions on the table, not always an option at land-based casino blackjack games.
Downside to Playing Blackjack Online
Pace of losses: While you might enjoy a faster pace to play more hands, that won’t help during losing sessions, placing an added emphasis on a solid money management strategy.
No card counting: The deck is often shuffled after every hand when playing online, making card counting efforts mostly futile.
Less social: In an era of social media, there is no interaction with other players or dealers in online blackjack. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you.
Where to Play Online Blackjack in PA
These PA online casinos went live in 2019, with the option of offering blackjack:
- Unibet online casino
- Hollywood online casino
- PokerStars casino
- SugarHouse online casino
- Parx online casino
More than a half-dozen other online casino operators have been licensed by the PCGB, with most expected to launch in 2020.
Blackjack Tables in Pennsylvania
There are 12 casino/racino properties in Pennsylvania, all offering blackjack tables. Several offer variants of blackjack games.
Harrah’s Philadelphia: The Chester-based casino and harness racing track run by Caesars Entertainment features a large number of blackjack tables as well as Dynasty Stadium Blackjack, which features a live dealer, but players use consoles similar to video poker machines.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National: Casino and thoroughbred racing track in Grantville offers blackjack tables with several sidebets, including 21+3 and Lucky Ladies.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin: Smaller Farmington casino in Laurel Highlands region has 27 table games; offers several blackjack games with sidebets.
Mohegan Sun Pocono: Lots of blackjack options at this Wilkes-Barre racino, including Down Under Blackjack, in which the dealer partly reveals the strength of his hole card as small, medium or large.
Mount Airy Casino Resort: Mount Pocono facility offers blackjack variations including Spanish 21, a game in which the four 10s are removed from the deck (favors the house), but other rules are tweaked to favor the player, including a player’s 21 beating a dealer’s 21.
Parx Casino and Racing: Nearly 200 table games at the Bensalem facility just outside Philadelphia, the state’s annual leader in total casino revenue. Offers Stadium Blackjack and several games with sidebets.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino: Erie racino offers blackjack tables with several sidebets, including 21+3, Lucky Ladies and Blazing 777s, a jackpot bet that pays if three 7s of the same suit are dealt.
Rivers Casinos (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia): Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh has more than 100 table games, including traditional blackjack and Blazing 777s. The Philadelphia property was formerly SugarHouse Casino, but rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia in October 2019.
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino: The Washington-based racino located south of Pittsburgh has 66 table games, including blackjack with Lucky Ladies and Inbet (a sidebet that the dealer will bust) options.
Valley Forge Casino: The King of Prussia resort offers a variety of blackjack games including Spanish 21 and Super 4 Blackjack, a sidebet based on the initial four cards of the player and dealer.
Wind Creek Casino and Resort: While Parx generally tops PA casinos in total revenue, Wind Creek (formerly Sands Bethlehem) is No 1 in table game revenue. Huge casino offers more than 200 table games, including Free Bet Blackjack, in which players can double down on specific totals and only lose their original bet.
Real Money Blackjack vs. Free Blackjack Games
Most Pennsylvania online casinos allow blackjack players the choice of wagering real money or playing for free
Playing for free allows players to become accustomed to the pace of play, learn or master basic strategy before risking funds, or simply enjoy the game for entertainment purposes. Top PA online casinos offer a demo mode for players without signing up for an account.
When playing for real money, the first step is to set up an account and take advantage of welcome or deposit match bonuses. Some offer a no-deposit bonus, which allows you to play hands before risking your own money.
Pennsylvania offers some favorable blackjack rules, so take advantage and find the games with the smallest house edge.
How to Play Safe Blackjack Online
- The safest way to play blackjack online is to choose a site like Hollywood casino licensed by the PGCB, which sets and oversees regulations for all Pennsylvania online casino gambling and ensures that games are fair. Offshore-based online blackjack sites may look perfectly fine, but are not regulated and are risky. Stick with the licensed and regulated legal sites.
- Players should read the rules and conditions of online blackjack bonuses and promotions. While many are in effect free money, be aware that not all bonuses can be collected immediately and many have a play-through requirement in which a set number of hands must be played before funds can be withdrawn.
- Ensure that your account information is protected. Use anti-virus software. Log out of your account when completing a session.
Real Money Blackjack Strategies to Consider
When opening an account, evaluate welcome bonus offers and promotions and their restrictions.
When sitting down to play, know basic strategy. Charts that indicate when players should hit, stand or double down in every situation are readily available and should be consulted when needed.
Choose the PA online blackjack games that give the house the smallest advantage. That means 3-to-2 payouts on blackjacks and the most liberal doubling and splitting rules. Playing blackjack games with sidebets allows for potentially big payoffs but can significantly increase the house’s edge.
Pennsylvania Online Blackjack Laws
- Online blackjack players must be 21 years of age or older.
- Players must be located within the state of Pennsylvania to play. Geolocation software tracks your location.
- Players cannot make online bets when physically inside one of the state’s casinos.
Is blackjack legal in Pennsylvania?
- Yes. PA online gambling, including blackjack, was legalized in 2017. Online blackjack went live in 2019.
Is online blackjack similar to traditional casino blackjack?
- Yes. Both follow the same rules. The difference is in alternative blackjack games that require additional sidebets and may feature slightly different rules and a different strategy.
Can you count cards in online blackjack?
- Not successfully. Most online casinos shuffle after every hand, making card counting difficult.
Can I play online blackjack for free?
- Yes. Several of the best online blackjack casinos in Pennsylvania offer demo games which allow players to compete without risking real money.
How many decks are used on online blackjack?
- PA online blackjack games are available with a variety of decks, usually four to eight. The fewer the decks, the less advantage for the house.
Can you win money playing blackjack online?
- Yes. In fact, both online and land-based blackjack offer PA players the best percentage against the house of all casino games.
Do I need to download to play blackjack online?
- You don’t have to. PA online blackjack sites are available for play through web browsers (Windows and Mac) with no download required.
What are some of the abbreviations used at online blackjack casinos?
- DOA: Double down on any of your initial cards. D10/11: Double down is only allowed on 10 or 11. H17: Dealer hits on soft 17. S17: Dealer stands on soft 17. RSA: Re-splitting of aces is allowed. SP21: Spanish 21 rules, with all four 10s removed from the deck.
Can I play blackjack on mobile devices?
- Yes, on both Android and Apple devices.