Those interested in a casino game that is thrilling, simple, and fast-paced should take Blackjack into account. You can find this exciting card game under different names, including Vingt-Un, Pontoon, or Twenty-One (21). Still, most players across the globe know it as Blackjack. According to some sources, Blackjack emerged in the 17th century when it became trendy in Western Europe. Today, this card game is one of the most played games in online casinos, loved by players in every corner of the world.
Gamblers and casual players can choose from a wide range of blackjack variants. Some have side bets, and others have extras that make the game more interesting, but the basic blackjack rules are always the same. Yes, we are talking about the main objective in this activity – getting as close to 21 points as possible without exceeding this value.
Players can play with other players at the table, but their number doesn’t affect the result because they are trying to beat the dealer’s hand. So, you can be the only player at the table in some cases. It’s important to mention that players should always check the rules of each game before investing real money in casino games. Our guide will help you grasp the basics of Blackjack but don’t forget to read the game rules of every online variant you are interested in.
Playing Blackjack like a knowledgeable player
Many people think they know how to play Blackjack because the rules are simple. The latter is true, but mastering the rules doesn’t mean you have an advantage over the dealer. To increase your chances of success, you should become a knowledgeable player who understands the basics and applies certain strategies in specific situations. Now let’s see what you can do this achieve this objective.
Mastering the fundamentals
If you wonder how to play Blackjack the right way, you should pay attention to the basics first. Even though you can find variants that use just one standard deck of 52 cards, there are blackjack games with two, four, six, or even eight decks of playing cards.
As we said before, the goal is to reach 21 points or get as close as possible to this number without going over it. However, your hand won’t matter much (unless you have 21) when the dealer has a better hand. So, it’s your hand against the dealer’s hand – whoever has a better result wins the round.
At the start of each round, players must place their bets to participate in the game. Every online blackjack game has different limits, but they usually have a minimum stake of €0.1 or €0.2 up to several hundred euros. Typically, online casinos have chips with various denominations you can use to get to the desired bet before the round begins. By learning when to stand with your hand and when to ask for an additional card, you should be able to improve your rate of success in this fun game. Participants like you should not look for guides about “how to deal blackjack” because this is the casino dealer’s job.
Not every card has the same value as the displayed value in Blackjack. For example, Ace is an outstanding card because it counts as 11 and 1. It is up to the player to choose its value given their combination. Next, the so-called face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) come with a value of 10 points. Finally, the rest of the cards, starting with 2 and ending with 10, have their face values.
Starting a game of Blackjack
You should begin the process by selecting an online blackjack game. It’s a good idea to read some reviews before making a decision. Literally, dozens of titles are available to all players interested in this activity. In addition to the provider behind the release and the game’s appearance, there are other things you should analyze, with the minimum and maximum bet being the most important ones. It’s also a smart move to read the rules and check the number of decks in play.
Every title has a marked area on the table where players can place their bets. A typical online blackjack game lets players drag the casino chips to the designated area to place the bet. Some will also allow you to click twice on a casino chip of a specific denomination and automatically send it to the area.
When you and the rest of the players (if there are more of you at the table) place the bets, you will get two cards with their faces up. After that, the dealer is dealt two cards. Remember that the dealer receives one face-up card and one face-down card. This is perfectly natural because you are not supposed to know what the dealer has before finishing the round.
If you think that the house has a blackjack (21), you may be given a chance to use an insurance bet. Most games have an option like this for the players. If you opt for this side bet, you can expect to get 2/1 your stake if the dealer has a blackjack. Even if the primary stake is lost, you can break even on the hand. Two other things should be mentioned about insurance bets. First, gamblers can usually use half their primary stake for this purpose. Second, most experts recommend avoiding this opportunity because blackjacks don’t appear frequently.
Now let’s get back to the gameplay. When you see the cards in front of you, it’s time to decide. This is where experienced players can show their skills and strategy. Without a proper plan, you will be at risk of going over 21 (busting) too often. A blackjack pro knows when to take another card (or cards) and when to keep what they have without taking additional cards.
Making the final decision and waiting for the outcome
Several choices are available to all blackjack players once the first phase of this game ends. You must evaluate the risks and opportunities before making deciding.
Hit – This option allows gamblers to ask the dealer for an additional card. Typically, this happens when they believe they can get closer to 21 without exceeding this number with three or more cards. There’s a risk involved, but experienced players know when it’s better to take a risk than to keep a hand without much value.
Stand – The other option you have is to stand. This means that you find your current hand (after being dealt two cards) satisfying, and you don’t want to put your combination at risk by requesting an additional card. If you choose to stand, the game is finished for you, and you get to see the dealer’s hand and learn the outcome.
Split – When players get a pair of identical cards in the first round, they can decide to split them into two separate hands by placing an additional bet equal to the current one. In most cases, cards can be split only one time, and they must have the same denomination regardless of their value. There are exceptions to these rules, though, so you should read them before starting any game.
Double Down – When you believe that you have a strong hand (for example, two face cards), you may choose to double the initial bet. Remember that when you use an option like this, you can usually get just one more card if you want. Once again, every casino and game has different rules.
Surrender – Some blackjack games let the participants surrender their cards and get half of the original bet when they believe the first two cards they’ve received are bad.
Even Money – We have another option available in specific situations. When the dealer gets an Ace as a face-up card and player has a blackjack, the player can decide to take even money. We should mention that Blackjack pays 3 to 2 or 2 to 1.
How to win at Blackjack
This is a million-dollar question which means it’s difficult to answer. We can note that no one can expect to learn how to win at Blackjack all the time. Yet, certain things can help you make the best decisions in given situations and get the most from them.
Learn the blackjack chart
Yes, we are talking about the blackjack hit chart that gives the participants instructions about the actions they should take when they have a specific combination of cards. These charts are based on statistics. For instance, when players have 8 and the dealer’s card is a 3, they should hit. On the other hand, when they have 12 and the dealer’s card is a 2, it’s better to stand. Of course, there are dozens of combinations, and it will take time to memorize them. Luckily, you can get these charts online and look at them while playing this game on a computer or a mobile device without any problems.
Know when to split
You can’t say that you know how to play Blackjack when you are unsure when to split cards. This option is available in all blackjack variants. As a new player, you may be tempted to split the cards whenever you get a pair of identical values, but this is not a good idea. By doing this every time, you risk losing your additional wager for no reason. However, you can expect an extra profit when you are splitting the cards, and at the same time, the dealer has greater chances of busting their hand or ending up with a lousy hand.
Seasoned players have calculated the odds and concluded that splitting a pair of 8s or a pair of Aces is always a good move, at least in theory. On the other hand, combinations with two 10s and two 5s should never be split. The different combination outcomes depend on the dealer’s face-up card. For example, when the dealer has a face-up card worth 2 to 7 points, you should split only when you have a couple of 2s, 3s, or 7s. After that, you can split the cards against values from 2 to 6 when you have two 9s or two 6s. Your hand with a couple of 9s should go well against a dealer’s 8 or 9. Finally, players should consider splitting two 4s when the dealer has 5 or 6 as a face-up card.
The best situations for doubling down
Wouldn’t it be great to multiply your winnings by two in a single round? Something like this can happen when you use the double down option, but only if you have an advantage against the dealer. Keep in mind that you will get an extra card after doubling down. So, when exactly is an excellent time to double down? First, it’s clever to use it when you have 9, and the dealer has a visible card worth 3 to 6 points. When your total is 10, and the dealer has anything except 10 or Ace, this may be a profitable situation for doubling down. Lastly, you should double against anything except an Ace when you have 11 points from the first two cards in your hand.
Know what to do when you have 12 to 16 points
An initial hand worth 12 to 16 points is something that doesn’t bring a smile to the face of experienced blackjack players. These tricky hands will make you wonder whether you should stand or hit because they are not strong enough, but you can easily bust if you ask for an additional card. To stay safe, consider the dealer’s face-up hand. It’s better to stand when the dealer has anything between 2 and 6 and hit when you are facing cards from 7 to 10 or an Ace.
When is surrendering a valuable option?
There is nothing wrong about surrendering or forfeiting a round if the blackjack rules of the particular variant you’ve selected allow something like that. We’ve already mentioned that some combinations are tricky when faced with a specific card held by the dealer. So, it would be helpful to surrender when you have a total of 15, and you face a 10 or when you have 16 points in your hand, and the dealer has an ace, 10, or 9 as a face-up card. You can save half of your wager when there’s a slim chance to win the round.