Blackjack is perhaps one of the most popular online casino games around.
This is, no doubt, down to fact that it has the perfect combination of simplicity and fun. The number of blackjack sites around really seems to help too! On this page, we are going to focus on how to play blackjack. Think of this as the most basic of basic guides. We are also going to share a couple of tips for increasing your chances of winning. Nothing too extravagant, just enough to give you a nudge in the right direction!
The Basic Rules of Blackjack
The basic goal of blackjack is to beat the hand of the dealer. However, the total value of your cards can’t go over 21 while you are attempting to do so! Most of the cards will have the value listed on them e.g. an 8 is worth 8 points. The face cards are all worth 10 points. The value of the A will be dependent on what you want. It can either be a 1 or 11.
The game will begin with each player (including the dealer) being dealt 2 cards. The players will make their cards visible, but the dealer will keep one of their cards hidden. The player will have an opportunity to ‘hit’ which means they are given another card. They can also ‘stand’ which ends their turn. The player can continue to ask for cards (one at a time) until they either choose to stand or they go ‘bust’, which means they have gone over 21 and they are out of the game.
It is worth noting that if you have two cards which are the same value, you will be given the opportunity to split them into two hands. This is not going to be a ‘free hand’; your initial bet is going to be doubled. However, your chances of winning will have increased.
You also have the opportunity to ‘double down’. This is where you commit to doubling your bet in exchange for just one more card. You will stand no matter what that card is (unless you go bust, obviously)
One thing to be on the lookout for during the initial ‘deal’ is called the ‘natural’ or, as some may prefer, blackjack. This is a hand consisting of a face card and an ace. Basically, your hand is valued at exactly 21. If you have this and your dealer does not have a natural, then you will be paid back 1.5x your initial bet. If the dealer has a natural and nobody else does, then they will collect the bets from everybody.
When it comes to the dealer’s turn, he will continue to turn cards i.e. ‘hit’ until the value of his cards is over 17. In most cases, if the dealer goes bust, every player that is left in the game will win.
The odds for blackjack will different from blackjack site to blackjack site. Normally, however, a win will give you back 1.5x your initial bet. It is not a whole lot, but it is good for a game which is relatively risk free.
Top tips for playing blackjack
While the following tips are not going to be a guaranteed ‘always win’ when it comes to winning at blackjack, they do make a useful guide for playing strategy. As you get more proficient in your plays, you can feel free to take a little bit of risk. Sometimes taking this risk is going to pay off in dividends in the long run:
- If the card your dealer has on the table is a 2 to 6, then ‘stand’ if your hand is valued at 12-16.
- If the dealer has a card valued 7 to ace (assuming the ace is 11), then you should be hitting if your hand total is 12 to 16
- If you have aces and 8s, you should always split them into two separate hands.
- If you have aces to six, then hit or double down.
- If you have 11 and the dealer has 2 to 10, then double down.
While this is not going to matter too much on blackjack sites, if you are in a ‘real’ casino, it is never recommended that you sit in the first seat. The dealer will love to move through the game fast. If you are in the first seat then the odds are going to be stacked against you. This is because you will not have time to analyse the hand of the dealer and work out your plan of attack.
Finally, and this is something most people do not seem to realise, you are not playing against the other people at the table. You are playing against the dealer only. It does not matter what the other people playing the game are doing. You just need to focus on you and the dealer.