How to Play Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the most famous traditional casino games globally, and you can play it in virtually every UK casino. The rules of Blackjack are easy to learn and aren’t that difficult to master.
The game’s objective is to get a higher hand score than the dealer, as close to 21 as possible, without going over it. But how exactly does Blackjack work?
Blackjack Game Rules
You don’t need to worry if you have never played Blackjack. Below, we will explain the gameplay of a classic game of Blackjack in great detail.
1. Before the Game Starts
To play Blackjack, you need chips. Playing with cash is not allowed. In a land-based casino, you buy chips at the cash register. Sometimes it is also possible to purchase chips at the blackjack table.
When playing Blackjack online, you deposit money into your casino account. When you’re done playing- whether you’ve won or lost – you can leave the virtual table, and the funds will automatically be back in your account.
If you have chips and are seated at the blackjack table, you must place a bet. At land-based casinos, there is often a minimum and maximum bet. This is indicated on a sign next to the table, or the dealer can tell you how much you can bet.
Sometimes all the blackjack tables are full. The casinos have come up with something for that. Behind each box are even more inserts. If you can’t get your seat, you can play along with a player and place so-called “Side Bets.”
2. The Cards are Dealt
The First Two Cards
Each blackjack player is first dealt one card. This card is placed face-up on the table. The dealer’s first card also becomes visible to the players.
After the dealer receives his first card, he deals each player another card. This is again placed face up so that it is visible to everyone.
The dealer’s second card is dealt face down. If the dealer’s first card is an ace, face card, or ten, he looks at his hole card to see if he has instant Blackjack (hand score of 21). If that is the case, the round is over immediately, and only the players who also had Blackjack directly get their bets back.
If the dealer’s first card is an ace, the dealer will ask you if you want insurance. The insurance in blackjack is half of your bet. If the dealer makes a blackjack, you benefit from such insurance because you break even and do not lose. If the dealer does not make a blackjack, you lose your insurance. Insuring yourself against a blackjack before the dealer is a loss-making proposition and is therefore not recommended by blackjack experts.
3. A Possible Third Card
After each player has received two cards and one or two cards are in front of the dealer, the dealer passes the players one by one. He does this clockwise. You have several options as soon as it is your turn as a player. The two most common options are to hit or stand.
With standing, you indicate that you do not want to take another card. It doesn’t mean you give up entirely and can’t win anymore. It means you say no to extra cards and are happy with your current hand value.
As a player, you can stand while playing Blackjack whenever you want. You are not bound to a minimum score. You may pass or stand immediately after the first two cards, but you can also stand after receiving one, two, or more cards. If you stand, the turn passes to the next player.
Do you want more than the total score of your two cards together? Then you choose to hit. You then ask the dealer for an extra card. You can do this as often as possible, provided your total score remains 21 or lower.
After each new card, you will be asked whether you want to hit or stand. Do you score above 21 points? Then you’re bust, and you can’t continue playing. You then lose your bet.
In addition to passing and hitting, you can also choose to split.
Splitting is only possible when the first two cards are the same. When splitting, the cards are placed next to each other, and you have to double your current bet. You are playing two hands of Blackjack in one. A second card is then placed next to both cards. You then choose to hit or stand for both games. If you get two of the same cards, you may split. But it is only sometimes smart to do this. Later in this guide, we will explain when it is good to split and when it is better not to do so.
If your prospects are good after receiving the first two cards, you can choose to double down. With this doubling, you put in your original bet again and receive one more card from the dealer. It is not possible to hit doubling again.
If you are in a terrible starting position after receiving your first two cards, you may choose to give up in some casinos. You get half of your bet back to limit your loss when you give up. This is called surrender.
Blackjack Hand Gestures
The gesture to stand is a swipe across the table from left to right and back again. The hand gesture to hit is a swipe across the table toward your seat from the dealer’s side. Tapping on the table, for example, with an extra chip, indicates that you want to receive another card from the dealer.
4. The Dealer’s Round
When all players at the blackjack table have finished playing, the game begins for the dealer, who receives a second card or turns it over if it is already face-down on the table. It is then immediately clear what the starting position of the dealer is.
More cards for the dealer
If the dealer has a score of less than seventeen, the dealer is obliged to take another card. The dealer is obliged to stand with a total score of seventeen or more. The dealer can also go bust; if he exceeds 21 points.
5. See Who Wins and Who Loses
The aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer. This can be done in various ways.First of all, you beat the dealer by getting blackjack with your first two cards. This is only possible with an ace and a ten or a face card. You then immediately score 21 points. In that case you win one and a half times your bet.
You also win when you score a higher point total than the dealer. So you win, for example, if your cards represent a value of twenty and the dealer has passed at nineteen. Even if you as a player have passed and the dealer comes out with a total score of more than 21 points, you win. In the last two cases you win your bet once.
You lose if your cards score fewer points than the dealer. You also lose if you choose to hit and your point total exceeds 21. In that case, you are busted. The dealer then immediately takes your bet. It does not matter what the dealer does in his turn.
When the player and dealer have the same number of points, it is a tie. This is also known as a push or standoff. In that case, you don’t win anything, but you don’t lose either. Even if the player and dealer both get Blackjack, it is a tie.
In some variants of Blackjack, often called Casino 21 or simply 21, you lose to the bank if you score an even number of points. These variants make the house edge considerably higher than with classic Blackjack.
The dealer pays out each player before the cards are removed, and the next round begins.
Blackjack Card Values
Although the card values at blackjack are pretty straightforward, we will review them quickly so you know what to expect. Note that the suits of the cards you or the dealer get dealt don’t matter, and only the numerical value of the cards is essential.
The cards two up to ten have the same value as their number. Face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) all have a value of 10. The ace can be valued at either 1 or 11, whichever suits you best. This makes the ace one of the most valuable cards during blackjack.
Most blackjack games, online and in land-based casinos, use up to eight decks of cards. For this reason, getting 5 or more of the same cards (especially with multiple players) is possible. Casinos use numerous decks of cards to reduce the effectiveness of Blackjack card counting.
Blackjack Tips for Beginners
Below we will give you some tips to take your blackjack to the next level.
Learn the rules of the game
Of course, it starts with learning the blackjack rules, which will not be surprising. After all, all blackjack tips are only helpful if you know the game well enough to apply them in practice. This also applies to specific blackjack strategies. The basic rules are crucial for recreational players and players who want to make real money by playing blackjack.
Have a blackjack strategy
Any game of chance where skill can make a difference requires a strategy, which also applies to blackjack. In this case, it starts by using the basic blackjack strategy.
Choose a betting system
The simplest, of course, is to make the same bet every hand. By varying your bets, you can increase your chances of winning over the long term. There are different blackjack betting systems, such as the Martingale system and the Labouchère system. These systems require both experience and budget.
Online Blackjack Tips
In addition to the general blackjack tips, several specific recommendations apply to online blackjack. These tips can only be applied to a lesser extent in land-based casinos.
Start with regular blackjack
The big difference between an online casino and a land-based casino is the number of options you get. It is most sensible to start with the standard form of blackjack. We do not advise you to play all kinds of variants right away, especially not when it comes to extra fast versions such as Speed Blackjack. Keep it nice and simple and then build up.
Practice playing free blackjack
Playing with high stakes is also not a good idea if you still consider yourself a beginner. It’s a much better idea to start with the free demo variant. In contrast to physical blackjack, this is possible with online blackjack. Most providers offer a free demo variant with which you can practice blackjack without having to place bets with real money. Only when you feel entirely ready can you choose to start betting with real money.
Put your emotions aside
As with all games of chance, some players can get quite emotional, which is not advisable at any time. While you can make a difference during a game of football or another sport with passion, games of chance are different. The only thing that benefits you is a rational view of things. What can contribute to this is by working with predetermined targets for both profits and losses. This way, you know exactly when to stop.
Make the most of bonuses
Also important are the bonuses. The reason for this is that bonuses directly affect your finances. You reduce your financial risks by receiving rewards or cashback from the casino. As a result, your net result is a lot more favourable than without bonuses. Don’t think of online blackjack as physical blackjack.
We are talking about the same game, but some blackjack tactics are impossible in an online setting. Card counting, for example, but there are also differences regarding the number of decks of cards played. Added to this, the whole vibe is different from a game of blackjack at a real table, so switching from one to the other can take a completely different mindset.
You can play Classic Blackjack at every online casino. However, many variants have emerged of the game over the years. Some blackjack variants completely change the rules, and with other types, it only concerns a side bet you can participate in (or not). Not a pretty separate variant, but still worth mentioning, is Live Blackjack. This version of the game is played in an online casino but with real dealers and cards. You can then follow all the action via a live stream.
An overview of the most famous online blackjack variants:
- Live Blackjack
- 21+3 Blackjack
- All Bets Blackjack
- Blackjack Party
- Blitz Blackjack
- Clubhouse Blackjack 11
- Fortune VIP Blackjack
- Free Bet Blackjack
- Infinite Blackjack
- Lightning Blackjack
- Perfect Blackjack
- Power Blackjack
- Quantum Blackjack
FAQs About Blackjack
What are the card values in Blackjack?
In Blackjack, all cards with numbers directly indicate the number of points. The jack, queen, and king each represent a value of ten points. An ace is worth eleven points, but you can use this card as one point.
Is (online) Blackjack rigged?
No, Blackjack and online Blackjack are not rigged, apart from the built-in house edge. Casinos don't have to put the cards in a particular order to beat you. The rules of the game already make sure you are behind the house in the long run.
What is the house edge in Blackjack?
The house edge in blackjack is usually around 0.4% to 0.5% if you play optimally. If you don't know all the situations by heart, the house edge is many times higher.
How high the house edge is depends on the rules that the casino applies. The following things affect the house edge in blackjack:
– The number of decks used
– Whether a dealer should stand on a soft 17 or not
– Whether players can double after splitting
– Whether players can double (and at what position)
– How many times can be split
– Whether aces may be split
– Whether you can surrender
– How much the blackjack pays (3:2 or 6:5)
And then you also have to play optimally because if you make wrong decisions, the house edge can grow and proliferate.