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How to Play Blackjack Online

How to Play Guides
Reviewed by Arnold Krahn
Updated 07.04.2022

Blackjack, also known as ’21’, is a top casino table game requiring more skills than luck to win. At Best Casino Play, this guide contains basic how to play blackjack rules and details on how to improve your gameplay and chances of winning.

Objectives

The ultimate aim of playing a blackjack casino card game is to ‘defeat the dealer.’ Three situations signify your victory over dealer.

  • Drawing a higher hand value than dealer.
  • Having dealer draw a hand with the number 21.
  • Drawing a hand total of 21 on your first two cards while dealer doesn’t.

The opposite of these scenarios means you lost the bet.

How Does Playing Blackjack Work?

Casino prioritizes card’s face value over the best casino slots when playing Blackjacks. Your 4 spades count as 4 points, 8 diamond counts as 8 points, etc.

The sum of cards’ total number equals the value at hand. However, blackjack cards are of three types, each category having distinct points. They include:

Numbered Cards

These cards include clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades. They are numbered from 2 to 10 and worth their face value, meaning 5 diamonds equals 5 points.

Picture Cards

These are cards with images on them. Picture cards include King, Queen, and Jack. Each of these cards is worth 10 points.

Aces

An ace card is a numberless card with no picture. It is usually worth 1 or 11 points. Players have a chance to decide what their ace is worth. This choice depends on value that helps their hand most.

What is Blackjack Hand?

In blackjack casinos, different terms describe a combination of cards a player gets. Every card combination is referred to as ‘A Hand.’ However, some terms describe what is in a hand. They include:

Blackjack

This term refers to a hand of two cards that adds up to 21. If you have a blackjack if the sum of your both cards’ face value or points equals twenty-one (21).

Soft Hand

This refers to any card combination of two cards that has an ace, irrespective of the points value. A numbered card/picture card + Ace = Soft Hand.

Hard Hand

Hard hand is the opposite of soft hand. It is any combination of two cards with neither one being an ace, i.e., a hand of two cards without an ace.

Push Hand

This term describes a situation where the sum of a player’s hand value equals that of the dealer. This scenario is what we refer to outside the casino as a ‘tie or draw’, but in a blackjack casino, it’s called a ‘Blackjack Push.’

Bust Hand

A casino blackjack player is said to have a burst if his total hand value exceeds 21. Hence, a bust hand is a combination of cards with a total value exceeding twenty-one (21).

Blackjack for Beginners

Blackjack comes with varying numbers of decks and different rules. The important thing a blackjack beginner must ensure is to play by betting rules and follow available guides on how to play black jack.

Black jack rules that guide playing blackjack games remain the same irrespective of deck types you use. If you ever wondered, “How many decks in blackjack?” you should know that 6-decks and 8-decks are currently the most common, replacing the conventional single and double-check.

Procedures below are most suited for the latest blackjack decks. Here are steps to play blackjack:

  • Buy Chips
  • Place your wager
  • Watch dealer deals card to players
  • Decide how to play hands
  • Watch the dealer plays a hand
  • Payouts

1. Buy Chips

After you must have done the necessary research on how to play blackjack at a casino, It is time for you to play. The first step towards playing is buying your chips. The majority of the casinos do not allow players to play with cash. Hence, there is a need to buy the casino chips, which serve as your legal tender at the table. Below are the procedures for buying these chips:

  • Approach the playing table.
  • Place cash equivalent to the number of chips you want to buy on the table’s felt.
  • The dealer comes to lay the cash clearly on the table such that the camera can see the amount.
  • A pit boss comes over to verify the amount.
  • The dealer then counts out the chips equivalent to your cash’s worth and pushes them to you.
  • Then, you can proceed to take your chips, and use them to wager.

2. Place Your Wager

To start each round of the blackjack game, you must place a bet in the designated spot on the table. It’s vital to study the table for possible casino blackjack rules, signs, guides, and instructions that can aid gameplay. One of such is the betting limit. This is usually at the table’s far right or left and indicates the minimum amount a player can wager. Ideally, wagering limits depend on the online casino Canada and its regulatory body. It usually varies between casinos. Hence, players must ensure they find limits before wagering to avoid issues.

3. Watch Dealer Deal Cards to Players

You won’t be the only player at a blackjack table. However, you are playing against the dealer and not each other. Hence, other cards do not affect you. That being said, the dealer starts to deal cards in a clockwise direction. The first round of cards is shared by each player one after the other, with the card face up, but the dealer’s card is faced down. The second dealing follows the same pattern, but the dealer’s card here would also face up. Thus, each player would have two cards facing up, while the dealer has a case facing up and another one facing down, at the beginning of every round.

4. Decide How to Play Hands

You need to be patient and observant when trying to learn blackjack. There are lots of ways to play hands, each of them indicating different things. Playing the wrong hands unintended can make you miss out on winning. Dealers do not respond to verbal communications on table. Hence, you communicate by playing hands to allow camera to record your decisions.

The dealer starts from the ‘first base’, which is usually the person on their left. To place a hand players would first add their black jack card value and get a hand value between 4 and 21. If you’re lucky enough to get a blackjack (A picture card + Ace), you have won that round without having to play through. Provided the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack too. You get paid 1.5 or 2 or 3 times your wager, depending on the casino. However, if nobody has a blackjack on the table, then it’s time to play hands from the first base, to the last player.

Here are ways to play hands:

Stand

This is usually signified by simply putting an open palm on the felt or waving. It indicates that you’re satisfied with what you have and you don’t wish to take any action. It could also translate as you not needing any additional cards. Thus, the dealer can move to the next player.

Hit

Hit is used to indicate that you want an additional card to improve your total hand value. If you keep hitting at each round, the dealer keeps giving you one card at a time until you bust (exceed 21) or choose to stand. The hand gesture for a hit is tapping the felt with your finger.

Double Down

Players play this hand when they’re confident an additional card can give them a winning hand. It involves increasing the initial wager by the same amount i.e., doubling the wager size. It’s usually indicated by bringing an equivalent amount of wagered chips to the left-hand side of the original wager. The dealer then gives you an additional card, but this is sideways to indicate you can’t touch it yet.

Split

This play of hand is usually common to players dealing with two of the same cards i.e two numbered cards, two aces, or two picture cards. They can place a second wager, prompting the dealer to split the two cards and use them as first cards on two new hands. To signify this, a player puts out a second wager equivalent to the first and does the peace sign with his fingers on the felt to indicate it is split and not double-down. This will prompt dealer to deal you a second card on each, making two hands out of first hand.

Surrender

Players play this hand when they’re certain that the initial hand can’t get them a winning hand even with additional cards. They give up and get half the original wager back. To indicate surrender, you have to draw a line across the felt behind your wager and utter “Surrender” to ensure the dealer doesn’t mistake it for the “hit” sign.

5. Dealer Plays Hand

A player can’t determine whether the hand he played is the best until he sees dealer’s up card or when dealer plays the hand. If you are curious to know how to play blackjack in a casino here are two techniques involved here:

Basic Strategy

This technique is dependent on the dealer’s up-card and your hand’s value. The basic strategy is the best possible way arithmetically to play every combination of player hand and dealer up-card. The technique was developed by using a computer to play millions of blackjack rounds. This helped determine the best approach to play every possible hand combination based on the most successful results. It eliminates guesswork, and you’re more likely to hit the blackjack when you follow the basic strategy.

Play Hand Resolution

Following a basic strategy and using any of the five options of playing hand can give only three possible outcomes. It’s either basic strategy leaves you satisfied with the dealt card and you stand, you make a hand without busting, or your hand gets out of play. If the third scenario doesn’t occur and you do not surrender, then it’s the dealer’s turn to play hands. Unlike players, the dealer can’t double-down, split, or surrender. Also, a dealer can’t choose how he plays hands, he must play the same hand every time. There is an exception when the dealer has a soft-17 (A 6 + an ace card). Depending on the casino’s terms, this hand is sometimes hit by the dealer. However, prior notification on this term would be given to players. Hence you know what to expect. To play a hand, the dealer first splits his hole card (the card facing down) over and totals their hand value. If the total is 17 or higher, they automatically stand. Anything below 17, the dealer would take an additional hit-card(s). At the end of the round, the highest point wins or the first to bust loses provided none of the players or dealers hit 21 with their additional card(s).

6. Payouts

After players and dealer successfully play hands, possible outcomes are either the dealer busts or makes a hand. If the former happens, all hands still playing on table are paid 1x wager by dealer. However, if the latter occurs, the one with the higher hands wins. If dealer has a higher hand, he sweeps the bet, if you get paid 1x the wager, and if the hand total is the same, it is considered a push. You don’t get paid on your wager if it pushes, but you do not lose your money either. You get to keep your wager for next round.

After payout, the round is over. Then cards are swept up, and you can follow same procedure to start next round. Remember it’s you against dealer and not other players on your table.

Basic Blackjack Rules to Remember

Knowing the worth of your payouts prevents you from being cheated. Some dealers take advantage of novices in some shady casinos. Shady or not, knowing certain payout rules and the best move to make based on your hand hurts now. Hence, we bring you essential rules for blackjack to remember when playing below:

  • Regular wins a payout of 1:1 – When you have the highest point without exceeding 21, you get paid 1x wager.
  • Blackjack wins a payout of 3:2 – Players with a total of 21 points are paid 3x wager.
  • 16 and below – A dealer must play a hand at 16 and below.

Other basic rules of blackjack involving players playing hand have been discussed above.

How Does Blackjack Work in Special Situations

As a blackjack player, it’s normal to encounter situations where game won’t follow previously outlined procedures. Below are some of those situations:

Insurance/Even Money

It’s a side bet that involves guessing whether a dealer has a blackjack or not. Dealer usually offers blackjack insurance when his up card is an ace. Simply put, you are betting on whether the dealer’s down card is a 10 if his up card is an ace. Punters can make this side bet using half their original wager or less. If you lose, you are paid 2 to 1. When dealer has a 10 underneath, he can call blackjack and win the game. So, he will take everyone’s original wager. It is always advisable not to take even money unless you’re a professional card counter. Thus, a novice shouldn’t participate in this side bet. If you take this and eventually win game your payout won’t be 3 to 2 as usual, it will be 1x your original wager.

Non-Insurable Dealer Blackjack

No download online casinos only offer insurance, when dealer’s up card is an ace. However, in a case it’s a 10, dealer automatically checks her hole card before anyone is permitted to play. If it is an ace, all the wager on table is taken, except you have a blackjack too, which will be a push.

Dead Hand

This is when a player busts before the dealer plays hands. If this happens, dealer immediately flips over her whole card for cameras to see. If it is not equally a bust, he sweeps cards and puts them in the discard tray. The player has automatically lost to dealer.

Side Bets

Casinos offer a lot of side bets. Though this is not a component of the main blackjack game, it affects the proceedings and deals of this game. You can place side bets on your first two blackjack cards being a pair, whether dealer’s card will match yours, on the dealer busting or not, etc. These bets are only advised for professionals because it mostly favors the casino.

Improve Your Chances of Winning

There are lots of basic blackjack strategy guides for players of blackjack. However, we bring you two common pointers to always have in mind when playing blackjack online or in a physical casino. They include:

Avoid splitting two face cards

This mistake is common with rookies. Splitting face cards reduces your chances of winning with a 20. Also, this increases risk of losing double your initial wager if new cards drawn do not match what you envisage.

Always Split Aces and 8s

8s give you a higher chance of making a winning hand. Irrespective of cards you draw with it, you have a fair chance of winning. A pair of aces also gives 2 or 12, and it is much better to split them and hope that you have a 7, 8, 9, or 10 which is highly possible. Any additional card with an 8 or ace gives you a fair to high chance of winning.

Our Top Blackjack Tips

Losing money when playing online is very easy. Hence, you need to be smart and follow basic blackjack guides from professionals. It’s always a game of head and not heart, skills work more than luck and emotions for blackjack. Below are some simple black jack rules to keep in mind:

Don’t bet money you can’t afford

This is a basic gambling rule for every game type. Playing safe in gambling is essential. Only bet what you can afford, and ensure you’re disciplined enough to stick with your gambling budget on table.

Memorize a basic strategy

Blackjack has always been about strategies. Hence, ensure you know one out of numerous ones mentioned in this guide, and stick to it. If you’re playing online, you can keep your strategy guide close to you, to check when necessary.

Do not place half your stack on a single bet

Gambling discipline is essential if you want to end your day happy. It is not advisable to bet more than half of your stack on a single bet because this reduces your playing power quickly if you lose. Learn how to bet in blackjack responsibly.

Hold your nerve

Sometimes, it may seem that tides are against you, but you need to hold your head up and stay true to your strategy. Do not make any rash decisions or deviate from your initial strategy. Top blackjack players have attested that having a strategy increases winning chances.

FAQs

What are the rules of blackjack?

Blackjack betting rules are straightforward. You need to have a total hand value of 21 or go as close as possible without exceeding it. Once you exceed 21, you lose. The dealer deals you cards, and you play hands (if necessary) to get your cards to a total point of 21 or close.

How can I win in Blackjack?

Going through guides on blackjack rules card game, blackjack strategies, constant practice with demo games, reading reviews like this, memorizing and sticking with a strategy boosts your chances of winning every time.

When is it best to hit or stand in Blackjack?

Professionals have identified this as the crux of how to deal blackjack game. With constant practice, this shouldn’t be hard to determine. However, a basic answer is that you hit when you feel an additional card can make you win, but you stand when your 2-card hand is enough to give you a win.

What do you call a split in blackjack?

Split is a hand play that is common to players with two cards that have same number. 2-card hands are split into two new ones, and the wager is doubled.

How do blackjack players count cards?

This is a strategy that is commonly adopted by professionals to play Blackjack card game. Here, players guess blackjack values of cards being removed from deck. So, they can assume the running value of cards remaining in deck.

They assume the value of cards as they are being removed from the deck. This gives them a guess on running value of remaining cards in the deck. They use this information to ascertain whether or not it contains cards with small or large numbers. This helps them adjust their wager and increases how much can you make playing blackjack.

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Arnold Krahn
Author: Arnold Krahn

As a real casino fan, Arnold Krahn has played hundreds of different games and slots. He tried many online casinos, investigated their terms, lost, and won a lot of money just to find the best place for spinning reels. This unique experience has made him a real expert in the casino industry, who wants to share his knowledge with readers of our review site.

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