How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack Cards - Jack of Hearts, Ace of SpadesBlackjack is a popular casino game that is incredibly simple to learn and fun to play. You’ll find classic versions offered at all online casinos, with lots of exciting variations to keep you entertained.

Getting started with blackjack may seem confusing, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide. We’ll help you learn the basics and get to grips with all you need to get you on your way.

You’ll discover basic strategies and find out how to play blackjack online. If you’re already a regular player of blackjack then you’ll find some helpful tips and advice to help sharpen your game.

Latest Blackjack Casinos List

Whether you’d like to take a seat at a table game or play with a live dealer, here you can find a list of all the top new online casino sites to choose from.

You’ll find that each site has a variety of blackjack games, to suit your tastes and budget, as well as other casino games that can be played for real money too.

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Last Update: May 5, 2021
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Blackjack Quick Guide

The aim of blackjack is in a few words, to ‘beat the dealer’. This is accomplished by getting as close to 21 with your cards as possible without going over (or bust!).

Simply saying that is an oversimplification of the blackjack game and its many variations, however, it is indeed quite simple to get started at this game.

Since no previous online casino experience is needed to sit at a blackjack table and have some fun, many beginner players tend to try blackjack tables before other games.

In this online blackjack guide, we will point out the best and fastest way to know what you need to start playing in no time.

Each card has a different value:

  • Face card royals: 10
  • Number cards: Remain true to their values
  • Aces: Either 1 or 11 (whichever is better for your hand)

How to Play Blackjack at Home – Step by Step

The next stage is to test out your new skills and have some fun on a real table. But where do you get started when it comes to choosing a casino to suit you?

1. Finding The Best Blackjack Online Casino

  • The house edge: Not all blackjack games will give you good odds. Do a bit of research first and check out casinos with tables between the 0.3 and 0.6% range.
  • Check out the rules: For a newcomer, it’s best to begin with a classic game and many online casinos will offer these. But always check the rules of any table before you commit your real money.
  • Number of card decks: As a basic player, check this out. Generally, the more decks used will increase the house edge of any game.
  • Table limits: Check the betting minimum and maximums before you join a game.

2. Signing Up

Before you can enjoy all the action and fun of a few rounds of cards, you need to sign up at an online casino.

This will take minutes and requires you to input some basic details before having full access to the casino games, including the live casino lobby.

You’ll usually be asked to put in a code that will be sent to you by SMS to verify your information, asked for a minimum deposit (in most cases) and after that, you’re good to go!

Blackjack Strategies

Once you’ve been dealt your 2 face-up cards, the dealer will give themselves 2 cards – 1 will stay face down.

  • If your cards equal 21 then you’ve won and scored a blackjack– well done!
  • If your hand is over 21 you’ll go ‘Bust’ and lose.
  • If you are still in the game then the dealer will play their cards, if these are closer to 21 then they win.
  • You’ll both score a tie if your cards total the same, and you’ll receive your stake back.

If your cards don’t total 21 then you’ll need to choose one of the following:

Hit or Stand

hit hand signal in BlackjackYou can select to ‘Hit’ and take another card from the pack, giving you another chance to get to 21.

If this takes you over 21 then you’ll instantly go ‘Bust’, and be out of the game for that round.

You can choose to keep the cards you already have and ‘Stand’. Which means that the dealer will play their cards and you’ll end your turn.

Blackjack Double Down

double down hand signal in BlackjackThe blackjack double down move will, as the name suggests, double your bet automatically and give you one extra card.

You’ll then ‘stand’ and the dealer will play their hand.

Be careful with this move to not affect negatively your bankroll as your loses can also be doubled.

Blackjack Split Pairs

how to split on the Blackjack tableBlackjack Split means that your cards will be split into two hands and double your bet, as each hand will now be worth the initial bet anymore.

The dealer will then give you a further 2 cards to make each hand up to 2.

This allows you to change strategy and you can double your winnings if you’re lucky.

Surrender

surrender hand signal in BlackjackIf you feel you haven’t much chance of winning with your hand, then you can ‘surrender’ and give up.

This means that you’ll only lose half of your bet.

This can be useful if you don’t think you can win the round.

Strategy Tables

There are lots of strategy tables online, and they can look pretty daunting. Usually covered in layers of different colours, numbers and letters. But these strategy tables really do hold the key to giving you a better grasp of the game and increasing your chances of winning!

It’s not possible to beat the casino at blackjack because of the house edge. The good news is though that you can lower this edge by using a strategy table.

You’re not required to be a mathematical genius here, those calculations have all been done for you.

It’s totally legit to have a table with you whilst you play online and these are available to download and print off.

As a new player, it’s probably better to begin with a basic strategy table. Once you’ve mastered this, why not learn the extra blackjack rules and deviations to up your game?

Some Useful Blackjack Strategies

Blackjack Strategy Clipboard4s-8s:

If you’re dealt anything between 4 and 8 in total, choose to hit regardless of the dealer’s card. However, if you’re dealt cards totaling 12 to 16, but the dealer’s card is a low number, stand instead.

Blackjack Double Down:

If your game of online blackjack allows you to Double Down, do so when the dealer’s card shows between a 2 and a 6, as they have a higher chance of going bust. Winning isn’t guaranteed, of course, but even if you have to lose double the amount, you stand a good chance of winning twice as much, that’s why blackjack double down is a great way to get those funds up, but only when used with caution.

Do Not Play Insurance:

Most players who have played a long time, would not worry about insurance. While it can be a beneficial high-stakes game to avoid losing big amounts, ultimately, from the moment you play it, you on the back-foot.

Avoid blackjack split:

Avoid this move if your bankroll is limited or your cards are not good, a blackjack split has more changes to yield more if you have 2 aces rather than a 5 and 7, for example. Be wise with this move.

Keep track of your stake amounts:

One minor disadvantage of online blackjack’s fast pace is how quickly your money disappears, even when you’re sticking to low wagers. You can all-too-easily lose touch of your limits and end up agreeing to far more than you probably should. Set yourself a limit ahead of the game, and stop when you know you should. It sounds simpler than it actually is in the moment, but do your best to stick to it.

Finding a Blackjack cheat sheet:

This can really help you get started at blackjack for the first. It is merely a chart that illustrates the best move to play at any given time. Practicing blackjack with these can help avoid making some rookie errors. They also come available for different variations too, so if you are looking to try a new blackjack variation, they are a good way to get to grips with the gameplay. While it is considered bad form to use one in a real-world casino, online there is nothing stopping you.

Do your research:

There is a wealth of reviews out there, and following expert advice can mean all the difference between discovering a terrific range of online blackjack games with great payouts and not. These reviews can also guide you in finding as well as best blackjack, poker, roulette and other top table games you will love.

Blackjack Apps:

The best blackjack apps on the market are also a great way to start practicing blackjack for free. They have all the fun of blackjack experiences, just you don’t need an internet connection or a casino account. Making them the ideal way to play blackjack for free before you are ready to get involved in blackjack for real money.

Bad Strategies

Here the main ‘bad’ rules that you could come across as a blackjack player:

  • Don’t surrender
  • Avoid blackjack double down after a split
  • Only double on 10 and 11
  • Blackjack only pays 5-6
  • Don’t double on ‘soft’ hands
  • Only play with 6-8 decks of cards
  • Avoid blackjack split on a limited bankroll

The Order of a Basic Strategy

We mentioned earlier the basic strategy to follow and what the terminology meant. We’ll now explain the order of this and let you know when to take these steps:

Can I/ Should I Surrender?

With your first hand always check if you’d like to Surrender or not, as you won’t be able to take this route on any other hand. If you’ve taken a ‘Hit’ card then you can’t surrender either.

If you don’t want to or cannot Surrender, then →

Can I/ Should I Split?

If you have 2 ten-value cards or your cards are a pair then you can Split. If this isn’t an option then →

Can I/ Should I Double?

It’s not always possible to do this and some casinos may have restrictions on blackjack double down. So what’s your final option if this happens? →

Should I hit or should I stand?

At this stage, it’s probably not a good idea to take another card but you may have to. Or you could choose to stand and let the dealer play their hand. Good luck!

Player Hand Resolution

At this stage in the basic strategy, one of these outcomes just happened:

  • Your hand is over: This is because you hit and busted, or you chose to surrender. Either way, you’ve lost your bet.
  • You won: You chose to hit, double or split and got to 21 or less but didn’t go bust.
  • You stood: You didn’t take any extra cards.

Blackjack Variations

You’ll find many different versions of online blackjack games to play. The rules will mostly follow the classic ones, though there could be some variations of these thrown in:

  • Playing with up to 8 different decks
  • Both dealer cards dealt upturned
  • Cards with the value 10 removed before play
  • Dealer is able to stand
  • No restrictions on blackjack double down

If you fancy checking out one of these variations then it’s always worth familiarizing yourself with the rules beforehand. Though one of the great things about online blackjack is that you can usually try out a game for free first.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular variants of online blackjack:

  • Blackjack Party
  • Speed Blackjack
  • VIP Blackjack
  • Power Blackjack
  • Blitz Blackjack

Benefits of Online Blackjack vs. Traditional

Blackjack was first enjoyed in land-based casinos all around the world until the boom of the internet hit. Online casinos soon latched onto the popularity of this elegant card game, especially developed live and table games then hit the ground running.

Here are the main pros of playing blackjack in online and traditional casinos:

Online blackjack:

  • Convenience: play at a time that suits you.
  • Play anywhere: either at home or on your mobile.
  • Less intimidating: you won’t be surrounded by other players.
  • Casino bonuses and promotions: most casinos have special offers and even tournaments.
  • Huge variety of games: you’re a few clicks away from a different table.

Land-based casino:

  • The atmosphere: glamorous and exciting.
  • Croupiers: you can easily speak to one for help.
  • Budget: it can be easier to keep a track of this, as your chips are physically visible.

Live Blackjack

Playing blackjack in a live casino is a fantastic experience. Making you feel like you’re in the heart of the action but without having to leave the comfort of your home.

It’s not only convenient but it opens up a whole new world of live dealer games, many that you wouldn’t ever find in a land-based casino.

Live blackjack can be a great place to start for a beginner, with each table hosted by a knowledgeable dealer. It’s easy to play at your own pace and you can speak with the dealer via a chat function on most live tables.

Bonuses to Use at The Blackjack Table

Now you’ve decided that blackjack is your new favourite game, why not score yourself some bonuses to go with those mad skills?

Most sites will offer you some of the most exciting latest casino bonuses for signing up with them. And these can be used specifically on live casino or table games.

Either on classic blackjack or on a range of its other variants, offering you the chance to enjoy a bonus and even try out a new table.

Payouts

There are now 3 possible outcomes which the dealer can possibly have during a blackjack round and these are:

  • The dealer goes bust: you’ll then get paid your even winnings on each hand you still have in play.
  • Have a hand between 17-21: the dealer will then win.
  • Have a hand with the same total as yours: you won’t receive any winnings on your bet but you’ll keep your money.

Well done! You now know how to play blackjack, and the round is over.

Unless you’d like to play on then it’s time to get your hands on those winnings. You can do this quickly and easily by selecting one of the many casino payment options available at your blackjack casino.

The Blackjack Tables’ Layout

Most blackjack games are played on a green semi-circular table, with players sitting around the far edge. Live dealer tables will accommodate a fixed number of players – usually 7.

The dealer will stand behind the table, the chip rack is to one side and the card deck will be closest to the dealer.

Top Blackjack Developers

Most of the leading software developers will offer a large number of quality blackjack games.

Microgaming casinos are a safe bet to head to. With over 20 years experience in the industry –  you’ll find over 50 different blackjack games on offer from this provider.

Evolution Gaming specialises in live dealer games, with some exciting blackjack titles such as VIP, Celebrity, and Blackjack Party.

Pragmatic Play also is a leading live dealer game provider, which are present in most casinos, they range from classic to novel tables.

Games Masquerading As Blackjack

You’ll find several games in online casinos that look and sound just like blackjack, and they can be a lot of fun to try out:

Blackjack Switch: You’ll bet on 2 hands at once and the game has a ‘posted minimum bet’. 2 bets are made to reach this minimum to then win. You’ll be allowed to switch cards between hands, and splitting and doubling are also permitted. This variant will pay even money and a blackjack switch is a 21.

Spanish 21: This game is played without number 10 cards and doubling on any card is allowed. You can surrender after a double and it’s possible to re-split and hit Aces too. You can also score bonus hands for getting a 5 card 21, 6-7-8, and a 7-7-7.

Super Fun 21: You’ll play this with a single deck of cards, though there is a catch involved with this simple styled game. The casino will only pay player blackjacks on even money, with no exception.

Free Bet Blackjack: This will give you free doubles for 9, 10 and 11 hands. You’ll also be able to free split any of your pairs that don’t total 20. With a free double and split afterwards too, if you like. The dealers ‘Push 22’ rule will push/tie all active hands, instead of paying them out.

These exciting variants are released regularly, as well as many other new casino games. So why not give them a try?

Blackjack Guide FAQs

New Casinos FAQ1. What is an ace in blackjack?

Ace cards are worth 1 or 11. If you get an Ace 11 then this is known as a ‘soft’ hand and means that you won’t bust by collecting another card. If you choose to opt for your Ace to be 1 to stop you going bust, then this is known as a ‘hard’ hand.

2. What is a soft 17?

This is a hand that contains a combination of an Ace and a 6, as you’ll treat the Ace as a ‘soft’ hand and play it at 11 to get closer to 21.

3. How do you find a card hand’s total value?

You need to add up the value of both of your cards. For example, an Ace and a 6 will total 17 because it’s better in this case for the Ace to be an 11 rather than a 1.

4. How do you double down?

After you’ve received your hand, you can choose this option to double your bet and receive another card.

5. How do I split in blackjack?

You can only do this if both of your cards are a ten-value, you’ll split them and double your bet. The dealer will then give you another 2 cards to make up 2 pairs.

6. Are all blackjack strategies good?

No, and there are a lot of bad strategies out there that claim to be effective but aren’t. Bad rules such as not doubling after a split and only playing with a 6 or 8 decks of cards for example. These can do more harm to your game, and it’s better to do a bit of research and seek out better strategies.

7. Can you make money playing blackjack online?

Yes! Whilst it’s impossible to beat blackjack because of the house edge, you can use a simple strategy to minimise this. And win some serious cash!

8. Are RNG tables fair?

Absolutely! These tables are regularly audited and tested by gambling regulators and independent agencies. This ensures fair returns for players and 100% trustworthiness.

9. Are there any side bets in blackjack?

Yes! You’ll need to buy into these but they can generate huge payouts in return. Many online casinos will offer them, and the most popular side bets are 21+3, Royal Match, and Super Sevens.

10. Can I play blackjack tournaments online?

Yes! There are loads of online casinos out there that will offer one or more of these. You’ll play against other players rather than the dealer, and the jackpot prizes can be huge.

11. Can I count cards at online blackjack?

It’s impossible to do this on RNG blackjack, and counting cards at live dealer games will easily be spotted. Studios operate within tight security of multi-angle cameras, and many members of staff who watch tables. Card counting is also against casino rules.

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