No casino table game comes close in popularity to blackjack in Canada. This game balances chance and strategy, giving players plenty of opportunities to go on winning streaks. There is a blackjack variation specific to Canada called ‘Stook 21’ that uses liberal splitting and doubling rules. Most blackjack games you will find at both live and online casinos in Canada follow the regular US blackjack rules.
This page has all the info you need to enjoy blackjack in Canada. Online blackjack is covered first. You will find information on apps, casino sites, and how to get the best from blackjack bonus deals. After that, your options for live blackjack games around the provinces are outlined.
Is online blackjack legal in Canada?
You can enjoy legal online gambling in all Canadian provinces. The parts of the criminal code that cover gambling predate the internet. They make it illegal to run a ‘gambling house’. This has been interpreted to mean no casino site can be based in Canada.
Three provinces have government-operated online gambling portals that offer blackjack games.
Live blackjack is legal in all provinces and can be found in brick and mortar casinos around the country. The legal gambling age is either 18 or 19, depending on where you play.
How to play free online blackjack in Canada
If you want to learn the game play and strategy before you commit real money, then free blackjack games are available. These can be found at the major Canadian casinos. You can register for an account and play the games in ‘demo mode’.
For players learning the games ahead of a live casino visit, it’s important to make sure the rules match the games you are likely to play. Most live blackjack games follow the standard US rules, where the dealer ‘peeks’ at the hidden hole cards before players act. This is labelled ‘Atlantic City’, ‘Vegas’ or simply ‘Blackjack’ at online casinos.
Note that your chip balance will not be remembered when you close the browser window at the casino after playing in demo mode. You will start fresh with a new chip stack every time you play.
How to play real money online blackjack
Online casinos have multiple options for blackjack players. They include live dealer games, where you bet online on hands dealt in real time at a remote studio. There are games that allow you to play several hands at once, variations in key rules, games with different side bets, and other games loosely based on the blackjack concept.
On top of the choice of games, Canadian players get to select from the biggest and best international casino brands. Below, you will find information on how the different casino bonuses work with blackjack games.
Before you play any real money blackjack game, make sure you have the basic strategy nailed. The best blackjack games enjoy a low house edge (i.e. they score at below 1%). This assumes your strategy is ‘perfect’. Any mistakes will cost you money over time, regardless of the outcome of the current hand.
Real money blackjack variations
Here are the different types of blackjack you can expect to find at Canadian online casinos:
- Live dealer: These popular games are dealt in real time. They are at seven-seat tables, just like at a live casino. You bet via your computer or phone, and interact with the other players and dealer via a text chat window.
- US rules: This setup includes a ‘peek’, where the software checks for blackjack when the dealer shows a 10 or an ace. There are variations on the number of decks, splits, and double rules, stand/hit on soft 17, and surrender options.
- European rules: No peek in this game, as the dealer only gets a single card at the start. The dealer will then deal one or more cards once the player has completed their actions.
- Multi-hand blackjack: Also available are software-based games that allow you to play up to three hands against a single dealer hand.
- Blackjack variations: There are multiple games that have blackjack game play, along with rules variations. They include free bet blackjack, blackjack switch, Spanish 21, pontoon, and blackjack burn.
Real money blackjack side bets
Both live and online casinos offer games with side bets. With the core game betting in single units on most hands (doubles or splits notwithstanding), these optional bets add a little excitement to the proceedings.
Compared to the main game, players should understand that the house edge is huge for side bets.
Here are some examples:
- Prefect Pairs
- Lucky Ladies
Blackjack fans consider insurance against dealer blackjack a part of the main game. Since this is optional, it is a side bet. Unless you are an expert card counter, this bet has terrible odds — you will make more money over time by declining insurance every time.
Real money blackjack: depositing and withdrawing
It pays to have a plan for withdrawing your winnings before you play real money blackjack. This will often depend on how you made your initial deposit, as casinos will ask you to use the same method to withdraw whenever possible.
Complicating things, Canadian banks are not gambling site-friendly. While there are no legal requirements to do so, they will block card payments to online casinos. Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways to deposit. Here are the most popular:
- InstaDebit: This is an electronic wallet, which works in a similar way to PayPal. You need to set up an account, fund it from your bank, then use it for deposits and withdrawals at casinos.
- Interac: You can spend money from your bank using Interac online or e-transfer. This works in the same way you would buy goods and services from online merchants.
- eChecks: Also known as ‘ACH’ transfers, this is a modern equivalent to paper checks.
- iDebit: This wallet account works as a bridge between your bank and the casinos. It allows you to send funds to the casinos instantly.
If you cannot get your money from a casino using these methods, there is an alternative: casinos will mail a paper cheque to you. While this is on the slower side, all banks will process these checks.
Blackjack apps: play blackjack on your smartphone/iPhone
Mobile casino games can be played on smartphones, tablets, or desktops. Casinos offer native apps for iPhone and Android smartphones. Other games work on any device via your browser window. They use responsive design, which sees your screen size and automatically adjusts the graphics to work with it.
Some blackjack games are designed with mobile apps in mind. Others are older games, designed before the smartphone era. If you are not sure how well a game will work on your mobile device, you can try it out in demo mode. This will ensure that the cards are easy to read, and the chips are large enough that you will not make bet sizing mistakes before you play for real money.
Live dealer games will work via iPhone apps. The cards used at remote studios are big. If you are playing on a device with a smaller screen size, live dealer games might not be the best option. These games are not available in demo mode. You will be able to watch them at most casinos to make sure you can follow the action clearly.
Casino bonuses available for blackjack players
Blackjack enjoys a low house edge compared to other casino games. The single unit bets make it low in volatility too. While this is a good combination for casino bonus hunters, many casinos “weight” the contribution to bonus clearing from blackjack bets. This means you will need to balance the lower risk with the requirement to bet more hands to clear your bonus into your real money account.
Casino welcome bonuses are typically a 100% match to your first deposit. Maximums vary from $100, up to $1000 or more. What you will find is that the small print makes a big difference. Here are some of the things to look out for:
- Playthrough: Casinos require you to bet your bonus a stated number of times before the bonus funds are available to withdraw. This can be anything from 5x to 50x the bonus amount. Watch out for casinos that list their playthrough as bonus + deposit, effectively doubling the betting requirement.
- Weighting: It’s simple to meet your playthrough requirement playing slots. Play counts as 100% of the money you bet. Other games are given ‘weightings’, which show how much of each bet contributes to your target. Blackjack varies from casino to casino. The typical range is 5% to 25%.
- Time to clear: Some bonuses expire after a week, while others can last for three months. If you have a lot of blackjack hands to play, it can pay to double check this before you claim the bonus.
Note that if you withdraw money before your bonus is complete, most casinos will cancel any outstanding bonuses.
Other types of casino bonus for blackjack players
Matched welcome bonus offers are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits you can get from online casinos. Many of the types of bonus below work with blackjack games. Others (for example, free spins) are for slots. If you win some cash with these, there is absolutely nothing to stop you from adding it to your blackjack bankroll.
- No deposit bonuses: Get a casino bonus simply for registering at major online casino brands. While on the smaller side, this type of bonus gives you a shot at building a casino bankroll with zero money down.
- No lose deposit bonuses: As an alternative to a matched offer, some casino brands will offer a refund on any losses incurred on your first day. You will need to play through this bonus in the same way you would a matched welcome bonus offer.
- Free spins/free chips promos: Look out for deals which give you free spins on specific slots. Similar promotions give you chips the first time you play casino games on a mobile app or try out a live dealer casino room.
- Loyalty reward schemes: Comp schemes have moved from live casinos to online casinos. These schemes offer rewards based on your play. Many have tiers that you climb as you accumulate points, unlocking bigger and better rewards as you go.
- One-off/holiday promotions: The best online casinos offer regular promotions and one-off specials for their players. They can include reload bonuses, free play/spins, and double points. Look out for extra deals tied to the social media accounts of major casino brands.
Most popular blackjack-themed games in Canada
Most blackjack games at live casinos in Canada will follow the standard US rules. Here the dealer will ‘peek’ at the down card for blackjack when an ace- or ten-rated card shows. As you climb the stakes, you will find games with better splitting and doubling rules, along with fewer decks in play. These rules give single or double deck blackjack a smaller house edge.
Smaller casinos will only offer the standard US blackjack tables. The bigger casinos in Montreal, Windsor, and at Niagara Falls offer more choice
Here are the most popular games and variants at live casinos:
- Blackjack (standard US rules)
- European Blackjack
- Spanish 21
- Free Bet Blackjack
- Blackjack Switch
Table minimums on the casino floor range from $5 to $100 a hand. You will find bigger bets available in high-limit lounges in larger casinos.
Online blackjack games available to Canadians see the rules variations, ability to play multiple hands at once, and side bet choices explode. Live dealer games are eight decks. They are dealt from a shoe, not shuffled after every hand like the software-based ‘RNG’ games. Make sure you check the rules on doubles, splits, and early surrender, as these can affect basic strategy.
Canada blackjack rules: Stook 21
There is a Canada-specific variation of blackjack. This looks like a standard game to the casual observer. The difference comes in the liberal rules for splitting and doubling. Dealer soft-17 hands are always a hit in this variation.
Differences include being able to double after a split. An early surrender is allowed against any dealer up-card other than an ace. In most provinces, this game is played without the dealer peeking at the hidden card — though this does vary.
Stook 21/Canadian rules blackjack is not available at online casinos.
Using live casino rewards programs for blackjack play in Canada
You will get extra bonuses and benefits by signing up to a player’s club and tracking your blackjack play at live casinos around Canada. Each casino handles their loyalty rewards differently, though the overall idea is the same everywhere.
Blackjack players need to hand their card to the dealer to be tracked. Your comps will be worked out based on your average bet size and how long you play for. If you play slots, then inserting your card will get that play tracked too.
Benefits of casino loyalty schemes include free play bonuses, discounts at dining and entertainment facilities, or even comped room stays when the casino has a hotel.
Online casinos also have loyalty reward schemes that blackjack players can benefit from. Your play is tracked automatically by the software, ensuring you get rewarded for every hand you play.
Blackjack in Canada
Canada has a huge choice of live casino options. Major cities have big resorts, including the mega-casinos in Vancouver, Montreal, and Windsor. Niagara Falls has a cluster of casinos with a wide choice of blackjack options.
The list below shows the types of games available and biggest casino resorts in each province:
British Columbia: There are 40 casinos in BC. They range from the huge resorts in the Vancouver area, to smaller tribal casinos to the North. The biggest selection of tables, including blackjack, can be found at the River Rock Resort in Richmond. Options include high limit, double deck, and the optional Kings bounty side bet. Other big casinos include the new Parx casino and Edgewater Casino in Vancouver.
Alberta: Blackjack is available at casinos in the Edmonton and Calgary areas. There are 57 casinos in total in Alberta, with the Grey Eagle Resort hosting the most casino table games, including blackjack, roulette, and craps. Alternative big resorts include River Cree Casino, Casino Pure in Edmonton, and Century Casino.
Saskatchewan: Compared to the other provinces, the selection of casinos in Saskatchewan is limited. The biggest single casino would be mid-sized elsewhere. This is Casino Regina. You will find 30 table games there, plus more than 100 slots. Blackjack is offered, along with roulette and casino poker variants.
Manitoba: There are two mid-sized casino resorts in the Winnipeg area. The biggest, Club Regent Casino, includes blackjack tables with minimum bets between $5 and $25. The other venue, McPhillips Station, has 44 table games in total. Elsewhere in Manitoba, smaller tribal casinos have a tiny casino table game selection, or are limited to slots.
Ontario: You have a huge choice of places to enjoy blackjack in Ontario. There are 71 casinos in total. The biggest is the Falls View Casino Resort at Niagara Falls. There are 130 table games, plus 3000 slots. Blackjack options include Spanish 21, free bet blackjack and blackjack Switch. The second biggest casino is OLG slots at Woodbine Racetrack. While there are no traditional table games, you can enjoy blackjack in electronic format.
Québec: Casino de Montréal is one of the world’s largest casinos. This venue has 115 table games, including multiple blackjack options. You can win $77,777 via the ‘Blazing 7’s’ side bet. Table minimums are $10 and up. There are 10 casinos in Québec, though not all of them have blackjack. Options include Casino de Charlevoix and Casino de Mont-Tremblant.
New Brunswick: Only one casino in New Brunswick offers blackjack. Casino New Brunswick has eight table games in total. Blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps can be played. At the other casinos, electronic games and poker are your only options.
Nova Scotia: There are two casinos with blackjack options in Nova Scotia. One is in Halifax and the other in Sydney. The Casino Nova Scotia Halifax has the bigger selection of table games. They have 32 tables, compared to the eight on offer at the Sydney branch.
Prince Edward Island: Only one single blackjack game can be found in this province. This is at the Red Shores Racetrack at the Charlottetown Driving Park. There are four table games, five poker tables and 200 slots at this casino.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories: Your best option for enjoying blackjack in these provinces is to head online.
Wrapping up: enjoy live and online blackjack in Canada
Few countries have as varied a selection of legal blackjack games as Canada. With access to the leading online casino brands, you can enjoy blackjack on your desktop or smartphone. Options include regular games where you play against the software, plus live dealer studio blackjack games. There are plenty of variations to keep you entertained. They include blackjack games with side bets, multi-hand games and variations like free bet blackjack and blackjack switch.
While Stook 21 (the Canadian blackjack variation) is rare these days, you can enjoy a lot of blackjack options at live casinos, such as double deck games, big money side bets, and electronic blackjack games.
With the lowest house edge of almost any casino game, blackjack has a major strategy element. If you learn the basics of when to hit, stand and double down, your bankroll can last for a long time. Combine this with bonuses at online casinos and comp programs at live venues, and you could be getting rewards for every hand you play.