How to play blackjack

A game of blackjack is a playing cards game that is considered one of the most popular casino games all over the world. Sometimes people refer to this game as twenty-one. In the game of blackjack, the object of the game is to get a score no more than 21 with cards that have a specific value attributed for each card. The player needs to bet against the dealer to have better cards in hand.

It is safe to say there are plenty of blackjack variants available in offline as well as online casinos. The latter provides a place for any type of player to practice their blackjack gambling skills. Whether you a pro player who wants to upgrade your basic strategy in the game of blackjack or you are a new player who wants to try it out and learn to play and show some class afterwards, an online casino is a good place to start playing cards, to explore your skills and bet making talents, to learn the differences between a good hand and a bad hand, good play, and the bad play.

Here we will provide you with a short guide on blackjack rules so simple and clear that you will want to start placing your first bet right away.

General rules

So how to play blackjack. Blackjack aims to get the cards on his hand closer to 21 than the dealer and not going over this score. Usually, it’s a two-deck game, but the dealer can shuffle together between two to eight card decks. Each of the decks consists of 52 playing cards. In some cases, a cut card is used. The cut card is a solid-colour plastic card. After a player cuts the cards, the dealer then inserts the cut card into the deck. If the dealer reaches the cut card while dealing cards, he then proceeds (if the hand is completed) to shuffle the cards. The basic procedure is broken down into a few easy steps like these:

Step 1: Place the bet. Minimum and maximum of player s bet vary from casino to casino. Your bet is generally placed in the middle of the virtual blackjack table.

Step 2: The player and the dealer get two cards dealt. If the dealer dealt an ace, then the players have an option to make an insurance bet (“even money”). The player cards are face down, while the dealer has one card face up (up to card), his second card is a face-down card and is called a hole card.

Step 3: The first move is the player’s to do. You have four options going with a hand signal to choose from:

  • Surrender (only available as first decision of a hand): In some games, the player has the option to “surrender” right after the dealer has checked for blackjack. When the player surrenders his hand, the casino takes half the player’s bet (the other half then returns to the player).
  • Hit: Take another card from the dealer.
  • Stand: Take no more cards from the dealer, also referred to as “stand pat”, “stick”, or “stay”, the hand is complete.
  • Double down: The player has the option to double his starting bet up to 100% but has to stand after exactly one more card being dealt, betting the last card for the player in this round of blackjack. The additional bet is placed next to the original one. Some games only permit the 100% bet increase.
  • Split: If the first two cards give the player the same amount of points, he can split them, forming two hands, by making a second bet on his second hand. After that, each hand is in the play, and the player uses both of the hands in the game, taking two cards (one card for each hand). The player has to face with few restrictions – each hand is treated independently, so the player can win or lose a wager separately for each hand, accordingly.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 as many times as the player wishes to get the best hand or player cards value reaches 21, or as they say, you go bust.

Step 5: Wait for the dealer s hand to get an outcome of whether the player beats the dealer or not. On that stage, the dealer shows the card face of the hidden card, hits the card in a specific manner (this will be covered later) until he completes his hand. When his hand can no longer take more cards, the round is ended.

The Dealer Comes into Play

So, after all the players are done, the dealer comes into play. The dealer shows the down card, adds it to face-up card and must hit the playing cards one at a time (up-card) until he has up to 17 points in his. At 17 points or higher will “stay”. The players are then betting that they have a better hand than the dealer. According to rules, there are several outcomes in the blackjack game:

  • The player has an Ace and a ten-value card as his first two cards ( a “blackjack” ), and the dealer does not, the player wins.
  • The dealer and player receive a blackjack or have the hand with the same score. There is no winner in that situation.
  • The player exceeds a sum of 21, the player loses, even if the dealer has more than 21.
  • The dealer exceeds 21, but the player doesn’t, the player wins.
  • The player has a higher score than the dealer while both of them do not “bust”, the player wins.

Sounds like a simple game. A casino sometimes even provides a player with a basic strategy memo.

Card Values

There are easy to remember rules when it goes to counting card value. Each card in blackjack gives the player a certain amount of points and a hand value is the sum of all the cards in his hand.

  • Cards two through ten have their pip value.
  • Ten value cards are picture cards (Jack, Queen, and King).
  • Aces worth one or eleven. Card values depend on how the card is dealt with.

A player can take additional cards to improve the value of their cards to beat the dealer.

Hand Signal

In blackjack games, when the cards are dealt by the dealer, and the game is on, players have a few options on how to act (hit, stand, double down, split, and in some casino surrender) with a corresponding hand signal for each option:

  • when the player wants to hit, tap the table or wave hand toward the body (in games dealt face up).
  • When the player wants to stand, wave hand horizontally (in games dealt face up).
  • When the player wants to double down, place additional chips beside the original bet and point with one finger.
  • When the player wants to split, point with two V-formed fingers.

There is no standard hand signal for surrender; you have to express your request verbally.

Blackjack Basic Strategy

In the previous section, we described general rules of blackjack, but as with many other games, rules are not all a player has to know to perfect his game. Here we will give you tips on handling your money and expand the meaning of options players can have, hand management, cards value, and overall blackjack strategy.

Bankroll Management

The first thing to remember for all players is to remember that when you gamble your hand in a game of blackjack either online or offline is bankroll management: the better you are with all the money at hand, the longer you can place a bet on your hand, the longer you play. In blackjack games your bet should not exceed 4-5% of your total bankroll, meaning that if your bankroll is 50 dollars, then your bet should fall into the range of 2-2,5 dollars. Minimum and maximum of player s bet can be found on the casino site.

House Edge

House edge is the in-built statistical advantage for the casino as it goes with all gambling games. The more decks (effectively – cards) are shuffled together, the higher chances of house edge meaning that with single deck games the house edge is 0.17%. House edge can be reduced by splitting his hand, doubling down and early surrender, or adapting card counting basic strategy, which is common among the players. Early surrender gives the players the option to surrender his cards before the dealer checks for blackjack or when it a no hole card game.

Doubling Down in Blackjack

In blackjack “Doubling down” means that the player can double his original bet and get another card. Usually, the players go doubling down when a hand value is 10 or 11. The lower the dealer s up card, the greater advantage is for the player. So, if the dealer’s face-up card is 3 through 7 and your cards are 9, 10, or 11, it is a good move to double down. Even though it is a profitable situation, there is always a risk for players to not beat the dealer, especially if the dealer then deals a low card.

Splitting Hands in Blackjack

Splitting hands is one of the ways to reduce the house edge in blackjack, by helping you turn a bad hand into the winning one. For instance, if you are dealt with two 8’s, your hand total is 16. When you split, you have the chance of face cards on each of them—your house edge, in this case, increases as well as your odds of winning. Splitting, though, comes with the disadvantage of doubling your original bet to play two hands. Remember that not all casinos allow splitting 10-value cards. Some players tend to split the hand to form an insurance bet (do not confuse with the “even money”), it’s understandable, but in the long run, gives you no real advantage – especially if there are multiple decks in play. Please do not use the splitting right away, when they are more than one hand in play it gets even harder to do the card counting, and the game becomes way harder for you, try to stick with one at a time, instead of multiple hands.

Card Counting

In blackjack, counting cards is more justified at an offline casino. When a player plays online at a gambling site card, counting cards is impossible since online casino play is based on randomiser to deal cards. The player can start card counting when as few as possible cards remain. That is why single-deck games are of advantage for the card counters. The more decks there are in shoe games, the harder it is for a card counter to predict the dealer s cards. Sometimes the casino uses a shuffling machine to reintroduce the exhausted cards. Card counters are not penalised for card counting as long as a card counter does not use an external device. Otherwise, the player might be banned from playing blackjack at a casino or in some cases a card counter is banned from the property. Try not to get into trouble while playing blackjack.

Insurance/Even Money

If the dealer has an ace, a player is allowed to place an insurance bet or even money. This is a side bet when the player is sure that the dealer has a ten-value card on hand as the down card. The dealer will ask for an insurance bet (even money) from all players before the first player plays.  Then the dealer will proceed to play blackjack as usual.

FAQs

What are the basic rules of blackjack?

In a blackjack game players are dealt with two cards for a starting hand, card face up or down. In some blackjack variations, the dealer is also dealt two cards, one card face up and one card is a face-down card. In most cases, the dealer only receives one card face up. Pip cards give the player the according to the number of points (2 – 10). Face cards give the player ten points. Aces can give the player one or eleven. Players are allowed to draw additional cards to improve their hands.

How do you play blackjack for beginners?

Blackjack is a game involving playing cards. If you are still a beginner-level player and you want to try out blackjack as a deck game, it is better to memorise the blackjack basic strategy and stick to it. For instance, in any blackjack game, a player should never forget about card counting.  Understating your chances is the key to forming a blackjack strategy. Sure, it gets harder to do so when there are multiple decks in play, but still, developing your card counting skills will increase your chances of winning. Remember, when the card is dealt, it cannot be undone, so choose your strategy wisely.

When should a player hit or stay in blackjack?

Some new players try to blackjack in every game. It is advised against that play since the dealer s second card is a down card (hole card) so a player never knows for sure how many points the dealer has. Keep in mind, that the goal in playing blackjack, according to rules,  is not to get as many player blackjacks as possible, but to form the basic strategy that will help the player to win consistently. On a blackjack table, the odds are against you, so the best strategy is to start counting cards the moment the first two cards are dealt by the dealer, from the very first hand. Don’t be afraid to up a card if you feel that this will improve your hand.

How to play blackjack at home?

Blackjack is one of the well-known table games traditionally played at a brick-and-mortar casino, but nowadays it got adjusted for playing at home. Thanks to internet development, you can either sign up for an online casino or buy yourself a few decks of cards, invite a friend, and have a few rounds of the home game. The best strategy is born from a competition (although you mostly compete with the dealer) in a home game, with friendly players. It can be done with one player acting as a dealer, and other players focusing on their play.

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