Blackjack: how to play

blackjack how to playBlackjack, a popular card game that is also known as 21, challenges players to beat the dealer.

Since this is the objective, the game is played against the house, and not against other players, which makes it less formidable for beginners than the game of poker.

Players can play blackjack with up to eight standard decks of playing cards.

Values of cards in blackjack

In blackjack, the suit is of no significance. All numbered cards from deuces to tens are taken at face value, irrespective of their suit. All picture cards, such as kings, queens, and jacks, are assigned a value of ten. The ace can be either one or 11 depending on the situation at the blackjack table.

For example, if a player gets a five and an ace, he/she would have a hand of value six or 16. While hands containing aces are known as soft hands, those without aces are known as hard hands.

If a player gets a ten and an ace, he/she has a hand of value 21. This is the highest hand in blackjack and is therefore called a ‘natural’ or a ‘blackjack’. Players who get this hand automatically win the game and receive a payment of 3 – 2, provided the dealer also does not get blackjack.

If the dealer also gets a blackjack, the game ends up in a push. If only the dealer gets blackjack, all players will lose the game.

Blackjack game options

Blackjack is a game of several options, forcing players to decide quickly and wisely in the course of a game.

While playing blackjack, players can do any of the following:
• Hit or receive another card
• Stand or stop receiving any more cards
• Double down or double their bets after receiving their first two cards
• Split pairs and play two hands at the same time by placing another bet equal to their starting bet
• Purchase insurance on the possibility that the dealer will get blackjack
• Surrender a bad hand and get back half their bets

How to play blackjack

Players are required to place a bet to start the game. Once bets are placed, they will be dealt two face-up cards while the dealer will receive a face-up card and a face-down card. Players should now examine the situation and stand, hit, double down, purchase insurance, surrender, or split.

If the player goes over 21, he automatically loses the bet.

Once all players have made their moves, the dealer will check his cards. The player wins if his/her hand is a blackjack or is stronger than the dealer’s.

If both player and dealer get blackjack or the same result, the game ends up in a push and your bet(s) will be returned.

If the dealer gets a blackjack or a hand stronger than the player’s, the player will lose the game.

Blackjack payouts

The payout you will get on a winning bet is easy to calculate: just multiply the base value times your total bet.

  • Blackjack: 3:2 payout. A $10 bet will pay out $15
  • Winning bet that is not a blackjack: 1:1 payout. A $10 bet will pay out $10
  • Insurance: 2:1 payout. A $10 bet will pay out $20
  • Push: you neither win nor lose. Your bet is returned

Blackjack winning hand

Winning at blackjack

One of the most attractive and unique things about blackjack is that it is a game of strategy. Unlike nearly every other casino game, players can affect the outcome of the game by making the correct decisions.

By using the proper blackjack strategy, you can decrease the casino’s odds to 0,5%, making it the best casino game by far regarding possible player success.

You can always practice your blackjack strategy for free until you feel confident enough to play blackjack for real money. If you want that exciting brick and mortar casino feel at a blackjack table, try a live casino dealer game. Join other players and interact with real live blackjack dealers.

How to improve your odds:

Some rules impact your chances of winning at blackjack in a negative way. When you are seeking out an online blackjack table, try to find one without these rules:

6:5 Blackjack

This is the most important rule that you must avoid at all costs. A standard payout for a natural blackjack is 3:2. By offering a reduced payout of 6:5 for a natural blackjack, the house edge increases by a massive 1.39%.

Dealer must hit on soft 17

If the dealer is required to hit on a soft 17, that’s a negative rule variation for the player and it will increase the house edge by 0.2%.

No doubling after splitting

If the player is not allowed to double down after splitting, the house gains another 0.15% house edge.

Not doubling on any two cards

Many online casinos only allow a player to double down on a total of 9, 10, or 11. If the player is not allowed to double down on any two cards, the house gains another 0,2% edge.

No resplitting of aces 

Some casinos do not allow resplitting of aces, denying the players extra blackjack possibilities. Casinos that do this add another 0.5% to the house edge.

How to find the best blackjack casinos

The best way to locate the best blackjack casinos is to compare the rules between the different blackjack games. It is very hard to find a game that has all favourable rules for the player (single deck, doubling down on any cards, resplitting of aces allowed, dealer stands on soft 17). So you must invest some time to explore and find out see which games offer the lowest house edge to the player.

Most online casinos have multiple blackjack variations, making it easy to compare.

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