How to Play Blackjack

The game of blackjack is arguably the most popular card games you'll find at any casino, be it online or land based. The reason for its popularity can surely be attributed to its simplicity and ease with which players can learn the game. You can literally learn the game in seconds, however, once you get to learn the game you'll see how in depth the betting strategies can be.

In this article we shall be giving you a quick crash course so that you can hit the blackjack table with at least a bit of confidence.

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How The Game of Blackjack Works

In all honesty the game is extremely simple. All players need to do is make sure that their cards total 21. Easier said than done though, because if you go over 21 you lose. The trick is to get as close to 21 without actually going over it. The same goes for the dealer as no matter how many players are in the game, you're only playing against the dealer themselves.

How To Go About Playing

1

Get a seat at the table

Unlike land based casinos, there will always be a table open for you when playing blackjack online. Just choose a table that's open and join the game.

Get a seat at the table
2

Get dealt your cards

The dealer will start handing out the cards once all the players are ready. He will give each player 2 cards which will be face up. The dealer will also receive 2 cards, however, only one of these cards will be face up while the other is face down.

3

Hit or Stand

Once you've worked out the total value of your initial 2 cards, you will then have to decide on whether you take another card (Hit), or if you stick with what you've got (Stand) and hope it is close enough to 21 to beat the dealer.

When taking another card from the dealer, you are taking the risk of going bust, which means that your total will exceed 21. Only do this if you're quite certain that the next card dealt will not take you above 21.

If you decide to stand, request that the dealer move onto the next player at the table. A good rule of thumb is to stand when your card total is at 18, however, you can never be sure as to what the dealer may do.

Blackjack Hit CardsBlackjack Stand Card
4

Dealer reveals

Once you've taken a new card your hand will have a new value. Once all the players at the table have taken their turns, the dealer will then flip his face down card to reveal what their total is.

Dealer Reveals Card
5

Win or Lose

As you already know that your job is to get 21 or closer to 21 than the dealer. Once the dealer has declared that he will stand, then whoever is closer to 21 will win the hand. Once declared a winner, the dealer will pay out your winnings which is dependent on the type of bet that was placed.

Win or Lose

The basics of blackjack rules

Ok, so you're up to speed on how the game works in its rudimentary form. Now to get to grips with the basic rules that apply when playing blackjack.

  • Regular wins 1:1 - This is paid when the total value of your cards is nearer to 21 than the dealer’s hand.
  • Blackjack wins 3:2 - This is paid when the total value of your cards is exactly 21.
  • 16 & below - This refers to when a dealer is obligated to hit on any hand which is valued 16 and below.
  • Split - Should you have to equal cards, you are permitted to separate these into two hands. A brilliant way of giving you more chance of beating the dealer.
  • Double Down - During the game you'll be able to double your bet, however, there’s a catch. You'll only be permitted to take 1 more card for the duration of the round.

Betting Options - Advanced

So what we've covered are the basic rules and betting options for players. The more experienced players will go a little further thanks to their prowess at the games. Here a few of the more advanced bets that can be placed while playing blackjack.

  • Insurance - Should the dealer have an Ace as a face up card, they'll ask players if they would like to take insurance for protection, just in case they have a 10 as a face down card.
  • Surrendering - You'll be permitted to surrender half your bet should you not like your hand. Not all casinos will allow this and the options will vary.
  • Soft 17 - An Ace in your hand constitutes a soft hand. This is because in the game of blackjack, the Ace can have a value of either 1 or 11. Depending on the casino, the dealer will be required to either hit or stand on a soft hand.

How to Improve Your Chances of Winning

If you want to become a pro at blackjack, it is highly advisable that you do some research into the game to learn the finer nuances. Here are just a couple tips we can give you to help give you an edge over the house.

Don't split two face cards

1. Don't split two face cards

Rookie players will often get excited and make this mistake, thinking they're able to get double the chance of winning. Let me explain: Once you split up two face cards, statistically you're decreasing your chances of winning the hand. This is due to the simple fact that you've now split up 20 thanks to face cards being worth 10. As you can see, this is a risky thing to do considering you could lose twice your money.

Split Aces & 8’s

2. Split Aces & 8’s

This should go without saying, however it’s not always the case. Having 2 Aces in your hand allows you to split seen as it is only worth 1 or 11. The statistics show that this usually bears a much more favourable outcome. With two 8’s, you'll have the dreaded number of 16 which is often considered to be a bad number in blackjack, by splitting them you have the chance to get a face card or even a 1, 2 or 3 which is still better than having 16.

Online vs Land based Blackjack

When it comes to playing blackjack online there are a few benefits which will help you beat the house or at least give you more of an edge against. Unlike playing at a land based casino, when playing online you'll have the option to play the game for free. With no real money being spent, you'll be able to hone your skills, test strategies or just get used to the flow of the game.

Yet another fantastic aspect of playing online is thanks to the fact that you can have multiple screens open simultaneously. This is great because you are able to keep a strategy table open on one page which keeps you honest and to be honest, playing with a strategy is the best way to make your money in the long run.

Don't bet more than you can afford. Always keep a level head when playing and don't play with your heart. Players can often get carried away and it is easier than you think to blow through your funds without noticing.

Now that you know the more advanced basics of this popular card of blackjack, check out some of our recommended casinos where you'll be able to play for free before using real money.