The Art of Picking the Right Blackjack Bonus

We’re all told that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Well, in the world of Blackjack, there is. Or at least, the lure of it. Many casino sites run promotions designed to get punters signed up and playing their games. Delicious carrots are often dangled in front of users (both new and old). But are these pure gold, or rotten to the core. Let’s have a look at the options.

Welcome Bonuses

Most ‘welcome’ bonuses work in a similar way. You deposit a certain amount of money, and the casino ‘rewards’ you by giving you a bonus equal to a certain percentage of your original deposit. A 100% bonus, for example, would mean that a £100 deposit resulted in an actual playing balance of £200. There is a catch, though..

You’ll generally be expected to stake a certain amount of money before you can withdraw that bonus. For instance, you might be asked to ‘rollover’ 25x your deposit and bonus. In the case of that £100 deposit with its 100% bonus, you’d be expected to play through 25 times £200, or £5,000. If you had anything left in your account by the time you had placed £5,000-worth of bets, you’d be able to withdraw it. However, the casinos know that’s unlikely to be the case.

The point is that, in Blackjack, the casino has a built-in edge (assuming you’re not employing a strategy like card counting). It’s a very small edge in this particular game – 0.5% or less with proper strategy – but it does exist. Over a few hands, the house advantage is unlikely to make much difference. But if you’re working through £5,000 of bets, for instance, placing one pound chips every time, that amounts to 5,000 bets in total. Stretched over a long sequence like that, the casino’s slight edge means your money will gradually trickle away. If you drop to smaller stakes, you’re effectively extending the number of bets you participate in, which renders the casino’s advantage over you even more unbeatable. The edge in Blackjack is very small, but it’s still present, so, unlike sports betting, it’s hard to turn blackjack bonuses into genuine cash.


However, we shouldn’t dismiss them out of hand. You’re still getting ‘free’ money, so if you want to have a night at the cards, it’s generally better to have the bonuses than not. With Blackjack’s low edge, you’ve got more of a chance of success in this game than in almost any other.  You can also try out strategies knowing that you’ve got, perhaps, double the chips. They’re unlikely to be a path to riches, then, but there’s little advantage to turning them down. Do note, though, that Blackjack’s low house edge makes it a less appetising option for casinos. Many offers either exclude Blackjack altogether, or insist that money can only make up 5% of the total towards any rollover requirements – effectively making it unplayable. So pick carefully if you’re looking for hot Blackjack action.

Look for a low rollover where possible. The more hands you have to play, the more decisive the house edge will be on your play, so go low where possible. Betfair Casino lets you get a lower multiplier when you deposit larger sums. If you deposit between £35 and £499, for instance, you have to play through the bonus and deposit 25 times. If you deposit as much as £1,000, though, the rollover multiplier drops to 15x. Admittedly, the lower amount does come with a larger bonus (of up to 200%) attached. But with that high 25x rollover multiplier, we can see why Betfair are keen to seem generous. Some sites may also offer a ‘sticky’ bonus. In this scheme, you won’t ever be able to withdraw the bonus, although you would be able to withdraw winnings on it. Accordingly, rollovers can be lower.

No Deposit Bonuses

These are often very similar to Welcome Bonuses. The big difference is that you don’t have to deposit any money with the site. Accordingly, the wagering requirements tend to be rather steep., for example, lets you play with $30 without making a single deposit. You do, though, have to rollover this bonus 40x, making $1200, before you can make any withdrawals. As with many firms, it’ll take you longer still to pay off this rollover while playing Blackjack. You may also be given the chance to make as much money as possible in a small period of time (30 minutes, for example). Many of the best no deposit schemes don’t hang around for long, so it’s a good idea to check on the web, or to join a service like the free No Deposit Bonus Newsletter (

Loyalty Schemes

Rather than a big one-off welcome bonus, you might want to look for sites that allow you to amass loyalty points that can then be converted into real cash. The more you play, and the larger the sums, the more points you’ll earn. lets you exchange every 1000 points for 10 free casino chips, for example, although you may have to play through this bonus if you’re not a member of their invitation-only Club Rouge.’s Loyalty Points system lets you earn money for every 100 points gained. Admittedly, Blackjack doesn’t pay well on this site (just as it doesn’t on’s ‘Complimentary Points’ scheme), but you’re still getting a chance to make some free money at no risk. You may also get additional monthly bonuses through their My Bonus 4 Life scheme, provided you’re an active player.

Alternative Payments

Occasionally, sites let you make money just from using a different payment option., for example, will pay you an extra 15% on your deposit when you use certain e-Wallet accounts, like Skrill/Moneybookers. You do have to satisfy a 12x rollover to receive this money, though, and most varieties of Blackjack contribute no more than 20% towards paying that off.

Bonus or Booby Prize

It’s best not to take many of these bonuses too seriously. They’re generally a way of adding a few more chips to your account that you may or may not see again. Certainly, as a means of making an easy few hundred, they’re unlikely to come good, although Blackjack’s low edge and rollover requirements of 15x or lower would give you a fighting chance. Essentially, you’re being given free money, and services like the Loyalty Schemes are particularly good at putting a few extra chips into your pocket while not distracting you from your main pastime of playing Blackjack. As such, you should keep an eye open for such deals. Do be careful to read the small print though.