A Beginner’s Guide to Progressive Blackjack

min read
Playing cards showing a ‘blackjack’ with casino chips on a red felt table.
BetMGM Nov 07, 2023, 10:37 AM

Blackjack is tremendously popular with people who play casino card games and for very good reason. It has the best potential return to player (RTP) rate of all casino table games when played well, and it has some of the simplest casino card game rules. For beginners, blackjack is one of the easiest games to learn, unlike poker, which requires a lot of hands and strategies to understand. There’s no need to read other players either, which makes blackjack the ideal game to play at a live table or at an online casino.

But there’s more to blackjack than easy gameplay, with exciting side bets such as Lucky Lucky, Perfect Pairs, Royal Match, 21+3, and Lucky Ladies. Moreover, a wager for a progressive jackpot is one of the more interesting blackjack side bets, and it often has the potential for big wins. 

Read on to learn about blackjack tips for beginners and the basics of progressive blackjack.

Basic Blackjack Rules

To play progressive blackjack, you need to know the basics of blackjack. (Feel free to skip ahead to the “Progressive Jackpots Explained” section if you already know these casino card game rules and don’t need a rundown of blackjack for beginners.)

If you’re learning blackjack, the game aims to build a hand of cards that’s as close to 21 as possible without going above that number. Cards showing numbers (2–10, regardless of suit) are worth their face values, while the royal cards (J, Q, K) are worth 10, and you can choose whether aces are 11 or one — whichever suits your hand the best. At the start of the game, players must place their initial bets. Then, they and the dealer receive two cards each. Your cards are face-up, but only one of the dealer’s cards is face-up. 

Basic options are to “hit” (have another card dealt to you) or “stand” (stick with what you’ve got). Hit as many times as you want, but if you go over 21, you’re “bust,” and the game is over. If you stand, play passes to the next player. When every player has had their turn, the dealer shows their face-down card. Whichever hand is closest to 21 wins. 

If you’re wondering how to bet in blackjack, it’s also very simple (especially thanks to blackjack’s low house edge that makes it one of the least risky games to play). All you need to do is place your bet and any additional side bets before the game begins. You’ll then receive your cards and can play until a winner is decided. The rules of side bets can differ quite drastically, so review the rules of each wager before you place any additional bets.

How Close to 21 Should I Go?

There are many tips and strategies to play blackjack with confidence, but the best way to ensure success is by understanding and focusing on the game’s goal. Hitting 21 or staying close to it is the aim of the game. If you hit 22 and above, you’re out because you went “bust.” If you’re wondering how to play blackjack in a casino for beginners, start by having a few practice rounds before playing for real money and understand the probability of going bust to get a feel for the game. 

Another way of understanding how to play 21 for beginners is by setting up benchmarks of numbers you will “stick” or “hit” with. Sticking is when you decide to leave your cards as is, and hitting is when you want another card from the dealer. 

If the dealer places down a 10 and you have pairs of 7s, 8s, or hold a hand adding up to a 14 to 16, it’s not ideal to hit as your chances of going over 21 are high. Rather, stay and hope the dealer goes bust. Anything between 17 and 20 is regarded as a strong round, so it’s recommended to stay. However, experienced players will often call for another card with any hand 13 and below — sometimes, you have to risk it to win big.

And that’s it. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the easier casino table games. Now, you’re ready to take the next step and learn about progressive blackjack.

Progressive Jackpots Explained

The first progressive jackpot games to surface were online slots like the ever-popular Mega Moolah, which feature a jackpot that keeps growing the longer you play. A fraction of the player’s bet goes into the base jackpot amount, or seed jackpot, along with a fraction of all bets by all players on the same progressive jackpot network. This continues until somebody wins the jackpot, and the seed jackpot reverts to its base amount. 

The potential for mega wins makes these online slots very popular, but what does blackjack have to do with slots? Well, it’s very likely that casino table games like blackjack are increasingly featuring progressive jackpots — both at land-based establishments and online casinos — because of the success of progressive jackpot slots.

So, what is progressive blackjack? Progressive blackjack is simply blackjack with a side bet for a progressive jackpot. If you place this side bet and a specific combination of cards appears, you’ll get your share of the progressive jackpot. A common type of progressive blackjack is played with four decks of cards. You place a side bet in the hope that your two cards will combine with the dealer’s two cards in a way that triggers a jackpot payout. Whether you win or lose, the bet doesn’t affect the outcome of the base game and vice versa. 

This is not to be confused with progressive betting for blackjack, which is a blackjack betting strategy where gamblers wager more after a win and less after a loss.

How To Play Progressive Blackjack

A progressive blackjack side bet pays out winning combinations in addition to the progressive jackpot itself — although it’s worth noting that you will have to stake more to be in the running.

  • One ace of any suit: Payout odds of +300.
  • Two aces of different suits: Payout odds of +1500.
  • Two aces of the same suit: Payout odds of +5000.
  • Three aces of different suits: Payout odds of +20000.
  • Three aces of the same suit: Payout odds of +100000.
  • Four aces of different colors: Payout odds of +200000.
  • Four aces of the same color (either red or black): The progressive jackpot is triggered.

Progressing Further in Blackjack

It’s true that you only need basic blackjack knowledge to play progressive blackjack, but that isn’t the whole story. There are a couple of extra rules. One is that you can’t win the jackpot if you split the aces.

Splitting in blackjack is a concept you’ll need to understand to improve your base game. If your first two cards are a pair — that is, they have the same value — you can split them into two separate hands and get another card for each hand. You also have to place another bet equal to your initial bet. It’s a rule of thumb to always split a pair of aces, but you should keep them together in progressive blackjack.

Another rule concerns doubling down. If you double down, it means you raise your initial bet by up to 100%. But you also have to take one more card in return. The rule in progressive blackjack is that you can only double down when your hand scores 9, 10, or 11, and you can’t double down after you split.

Practice Makes Progress: Live Dealer Blackjack

Ultimately, winning in blackjack can be explained as being the one who is closest to 21. As simple as this sounds, getting used to these concepts takes some practice. A great way to learn the ropes at the blackjack table is to play live dealer blackjack in an online casino. You can literally join a live blackjack table on your mobile phone or tablet and play against a trained blackjack dealer who deals out real cards. 

You can learn all about how to split and double down and explore other side bets, too. There’s also a great social aspect when you play in a casino online. The gaming interface enables you to interact with your friendly online blackjack live dealer and other players at the table via a chat box. Another plus when you play live online blackjack for real money is that you can practice using a blackjack chart, a strategy chart showing the best possible plays for any given card combination. After all, practice makes perfect.

Best Online Casino Side Bets

Live dealer blackjack doesn’t feature progressive jackpots at present, but there are some great online blackjack variants with awesome side bets that come close — a great way to keep blackjack fresh and exciting. 

One of the best online casino side bets for blackjack players comes with Blazing 7s Blackjack. It pays out 5x your stake if either of your first two cards is a 7, and the payout increases the more 7s appear in the draw. Two 7s in your hand payout 35x your side bet, which goes up to 77x if the dealer’s up card is also a 7 and 350x if your first two cards and the dealer’s up card are the same color. If they’re all in the same suit, it’s a big win of 777x your stake. You can play up to three hands of Blazing 7s Blackjack at once. 

Don’t forget to use your blackjack chart to help you judge the best action for the cards you’ve been dealt.

Play Casino Blackjack Online for Real at BetMGM

BetMGM is proud to offer the best online casino blackjack variations, from Blazing 7s Blackjack to live dealer titles. Yes, you can play with your very own online blackjack live dealer or enjoy classic digital blackjack games online when you register with BetMGM. Read up on blackjack etiquette and play online blackjack for real money anywhere you choose on this mobile online casino gaming platform. 

But that’s not all that’s available at this virtual casino. Be sure to explore all our other casino table games, including live dealer variations of online poker, baccarat, and roulette. And when it’s time to unwind, BetMGM’s broad range of online slots and other casino games will be sure to keep you entertained.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.