How to play Blackjack

Besides poker, Blackjack is one of the most popular card games played at casinos, and our guide is here to help. The game is a classic and over the years it has attracted many players to try their skills and luck as the game has both aspects. The game is always played against the dealer.

The main idea is to win the dealer by having a hand with a total value of 21 points or less yet having a higher hand compared to the dealer’s hand. Player also wins if the dealer’s hand goes over 21. If the hand goes over 21, the player loses the round. Most commonly the dealer has to stand at 17. The values of the cards are easy to remember: cards from 2-10 have the value of the number stated on the card whereas cards above 10 also have the value of 10. Ace is the only exception: it can be either 1 or 11.

  • Blackjack is one of the most popular card games loved by many
  • The aim is to get a hand that is 21 or close to it without going over it
  • The dealer must stand at 17
  • The game is played with at least one deck of 52 cards

Wins are paid 1:1 unless the player wins by blackjack. In that case, the win is paid 3:2.

Options when playing Blackjack

When playing Blackjack, the player can either hit, stand, double down or split. Hitting means asking for another card from the dealer. When the player stands, they decide not to take any more cards from the dealer. These are the two options players face in every single Blackjack game round.

Players can also choose to double down. When doubling, the dealer hands out one more card, the bet is doubled and no cards are dealt after doubling down. The rules regarding doubling vary depending on the type of the Blackjack game. Players may also choose to split their cards when they have two similar cards (for example, two 7s) which happens by placing a bet of the same value next to the original bet.

All in all, players in Blackjack can:

  • Hit
  • Stand
  • Double Down
  • Split

In some versions, surrendering is possible. Also, an insurance can be purchased against the dealer having a blackjack, although rarely it makes sense to do so.

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American Blackjack

The difference between American and Classic is small and the basic rules are the same. In American blackjack, usually 6 to 8 decks of cards are used, making it more challenging for the card counters to narrow the house edge that the casino has due to the larger number of decks used. Although this is a disadvantage, there is also an advantage to American Blackjack – hole card. In American Blackjack, two cards are dealt to the dealer, first one being face up and the second set as face down. This gives players a chance to consider what cards the dealer may have. What is more, the dealer will have a look on the hidden card if the first card happens to be an ace.

American Blackjack has more flexibility in other options as well. In some cases players can surrender, which refers to withdrawing from the game. In this situation, the player loses only half the bet. What makes the game even more exciting is that American version allows the player to double down in any situation, and rules regarding splitting are far more flexible.

In American Blackjack:

  • Players can split up to three times
  • The rules and overall game play has more flexibility compared to its European counterpart
  • Counting cards is far more challenging as 6 to 8 decks of cards are used
  • In some versions, surrendering is allowed

Classic Blackjack

The Classic form of the game is oftentimes defined as conservative. Indeed, Classic Blackjack is based on more traditional rules deriving from the European heritage of the game. In Classic Black jack, the dealer deals only one card to themselves and completes their hand only after players have completed theirs.

Unlike in American Blackjack, players are not able to leave the table by surrendering. Doubling down is allowed only in special cases when the hand is 9, 10 or 11 and splitting can only be done once per game round. However, Classic Blackjack has an advantage to those who are the masters of the basic strategy as well as card counting as Classic Blackjack usually utilizes only 2 decks in game.

In Classic Blackjack:

  • The dealer finishes their hand only after players´ hand is finished
  • The game has more conservative rules compared to the American version
  • Splitting can only be done once per round
  • Doubling down is not allowed if the player has already split their cards

Live Blackjack

Live Blackjack refers to a Blackjack game that is played with a real dealer compared to a machine. Nowadays Live Blackjack refers to the game played at brick and mortar casinos and online casinos where a dealer is on the other side of the table via live video. Oftentimes players are able to engage with the dealer as well as other players in the table via chat.

Live Blackjack comes with many variations besides Classic and American versions of the game. In Blackjack Switch the player has two hands in each round and the player has a chance to switch two cards with each other. Variations to Blackjack may also come in a form of extra side bets that give the game an extra kick. The two most common are 21+3 and Perfect Pairs.

For those who desire to win the casino and minimize the house edge, playing at an online casino may not be as intriguing. Cards are oftentimes shuffled before dealing each hand, meaning that counting cards is rather ineffective. However, it does not mean you should base your game solely on luck – read about basic strategies, focus on the game and make the right moves.

To sum it up:

  • It is nearly impossible to count cards in online Live Blackjack
  • There are more variations available compared to land based casinos
  • The game is fast-paced and highly interactive

Last Updated on September 28, 2020