How to Play Blackjack
The whole aim of playing blackjack is to beat the dealer. And the whole concept of the game is simple: you need to get as close as possible to the number 21 – but the minute you go over, you lose!
Here are some other quick rules you need to know:
- If you have a number closer to 21 than the dealer, or if the dealer goes over 21, then you win.
- If you hit 21 with an Ace and a 10-point card, you automatically get a blackjack.
- If you choose to ‘stand’ (not take any additional cards), and your number is lower than the dealer’s, you lose.
Blackjack is traditionally played with two 52-card decks, with each card worth its number – other than:
- Aces, which are valued either at 11 or 1 (it’s up to the player to decide which number works better for them in their current game)
- Face cards – Jack, Queen and King – all are worth 10.
Playing online blackjack is like playing it offline: at the start of the game, you place your bets, and the dealer deals you two face-up cards. The dealer in turn gives themselves one face-up card, and one face-down card. You then need to decide whether you ‘hit’ (take another card’ or ‘stand’ (stay with your current cards).
There is, however, one key difference to online blackjack – after each hand, the shoe (the deck of cards) is shuffled. This may not drastically change your odds of winning, but it will definitely make any attempts at card counting much more difficult!
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It’s easy to get confused by some of the blackjack terms if you’re a newbie – and even if you aren’t. To make matters more simple, we’ve compiled a list of all the terms you need to know:
• Hit – this is when you want another card/cards, adding to the two you were given at the beginning of the hand.
• Stand – Say this when you want to stop receiving cards, or you’re ready to take your chances against the dealer.
• Bust – ‘Going bust’ means that your card total is over 21 and you’ve lost. Sorry.
• Insurance – If the dealer has an Ace as his face-up card, the player is given the insurance option to protect his cards in case the dealer gets Blackjack. Insurance generally pays out 3:2.
• Push – When the player and the dealer have the same card numbers, it’s known as a push- because your bet is ‘pushed’ away and returned to you.
• Soft – Any hand with an Ace is a soft hand, because an Ace can either be a 1 or 11.
• Split – If a player has two 10-point cards or a pair, he can split these into two hands, and double his wager across the second one. Each hand will then be dealt a second card, and the player now plays with two hands. There are a few exceptions to this general rule, for example when you split on a pair of Aces.
• Double – This means to double your wager and then get dealt only one more card.
• Surrender– If the player doesn’t feel they stand a good chance with the hand they’ve been dealt, based on the first two cards, some versions of the game allow them to surrender half of his bet, ending their round.
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Blackjack is a strange mix of luck and skill, unlike other casino games. There are several strategies which can help players increase their chances of winning, as well as more tactical decisions. By doing so, players can lower the house edge and put the odds their favour.
Blackjack strategy ranges from basic to the more complex, and you can read about them further in our in-depth guide to blackjack strategy. Plus, to get the most out of your game (once you’ve decided to wager), playing free, no download version of blackjack is a great idea – and you can do so at our recommended casinos. It’s best to work out any strategical kinks before deciding to play for real money, so you can put all our tips into practice.
Blackjack Bottom Line
Online blackjack is a popular fan-favourite, if not for the fun of playing, then for the way you can put the odds in your favour. Plus, if you play skillfully enough you can reduce the house edge. The aim of the game is straightforward – to get 21, or as close to – but to become a real blackjack pro, you need to know the rules, and the most effective strategies, as it requires more than just good luck and an ability to count to 21.
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