How to Play Blackjack - Learn and Play in Less Than 5 Minutes
Blackjack is the world’s most popular casino card game but if you want to play online blackjack properly, you’re going to have to learn how to play Blackjack properly first! Today, in five minutes' time, you will learn all the ins and outs in an easy-to-digest format.
🤔 What Is Blackjack?
Blackjack is a casino game of chance with an element of strategy involved. The aim of the game is to get the highest hand on the table without going over a score of 21. However, blackjack is not a game of pure chance as there’s an element of strategy involved.
Blackjack is usually played with six standard 52-card decks shuffled together, from a two to an ace in four suits (including clubs ♣️, spades ♠️, hearts ♥️, and diamonds♦️), excluding jokers.
How to Play Blackjack at a Casino?
Blackjack is a pretty simple game — and it shouldn’t take more than five minutes to learn how to play the blackjack card game. Below, we will explain the basic rules:
Objective of the Game
Blackjack is played against the dealer and the aim is to beat the dealer by getting a count as close as possible to 21 without exceeding it.
- Cards from 2 to 10 count their face value in blackjack.
- Face cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) count as 10.
- Aces are worth 1 or 11, which makes it the most powerful card in the deck. An ace can create so-called ‘soft’ combinations, which means that, if there’s an ace and 8, the total can be either 9 or 19.
- This means that at the start of the round, your hand counts as 19, but if you draw another card and the total sum exceeds 21, the value of the ace is reduced to 1.
Playing the game of blackjack is pretty simple and it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to explain how to play blackjack in an online casino. While there are many variations of blackjack and each comes with its own special rules, the basic blackjack rules are common for all variants.
To start the game round, place your wager. You can also make optional side bets: Perfect Pair and/or 21+3.
The dealer will then deal two cards to you and two cards to himself/herself. One of the dealer’s cards will be dealt face-up so that you can see its value. If the total value of your hand is exactly 21, this is a natural or 'blackjack'.
When neither you, nor the dealer have blackjack upon checking your hand, you can improve the value of your hands. You have the following options:
- Hit: You can ‘Hit’ in order to add another card to your hand. You can also hit more than once to receive additional cards.
- Stand: This means you are satisfied with the value of your hand.
- Double Down: You have the opportunity to increase the value of your initial bet by up to 100% in return to receiving only one additional card to add to your hand.
- Split: If your initial hand is a pair of cards of equal value, (e.g., a pair of sevens or kings), you can ‘split’ the pair and make two separate hands. Please note, when you split, you must make another bet equal to your main bet. A second card is then dealt to both your hands and you can draw as many cards as you want to improve the value of each hand by using the hit option before you stand.
You will keep receiving cards one at a time until you believe your hand is strong enough to beat the dealer.
After you've made your playing decisions, the dealer reveals his/her downcard. Unlike players, the dealer has no playing options in blackjack. The dealer must draw on a hand of 16 or less and stand on a hand of 17 or more.
You win when the value of your final hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s or when the dealer busts.
How Betting Works in Blackjack
Whether playing with money or for fun, betting works the same way. Casinos will impose a minimum and maximum bet. The minimum bet is to make sure hands are played for acceptable amounts of money and not ‘peanuts’, while maximum bets are there to make sure the casino doesn’t incur huge losses if a high roller goes on a really good run.
The player places a chip or chips to a value between the max and minimum amount permitted behind their playing box before the hand is dealt.
Doubling or splitting aside, you’re either going to lose that bet, win it or it’s going to “stand” should you tie with the dealer. You win if the Dealer goes bust and you don’t, if your score is higher than the Dealer’s or if you get Blackjack and they ‘only’ get 21. Wins are paid out at even money, except if you win with Blackjack. In this case, if you bet 10 pounds, you’d win 15, rather than the usual 10.
How Splitting Works in Blackjack
If you’d like to learn how to play casino blackjack, you have to know how to split. Essentially, splitting is one of the slightly more complex aspects of how to play blackjack 21.
The most important thing to know if that if you’re dealt two cards of the same value, you can split them. So, if you’re dealt two 8s or two picture cards/10s, you can split your hand into two hands. You’ll need to put a bet of the equivalent amount of the first bet on the second hand, and then you just play two hands rather than one.
How to Make Side Bets
Side bets are an alternative to the classic way of playing the Blackjack card game.
Instead of focusing on the player vs. dealer showdown, the focus is on:
- The first two cards the player is dealt plus the first one the Dealer is dealt.
- Just the player’s first two cards.
Players need to place additional bets in order to play these side bets. These will also have minimum and maximum amounts. Here are the two most common Blackjack side bets:
With this one, it’s the player’s two cards plus the Dealer’s first card that form the hand.
Those familiar with Poker will recognise the different hands you can form. The odds at which each are paid out are in parenthesis.
- Flush (5/1)
- Straight (10/1)
- Three-of-a-kind (30/1)
- Blackjack straight flush (40/1)
- Suited three-of-a-kind (100/1)
Using just the player’s two cards, you get paid out if your two cards are the same. In this case, a 10 and a King aren’t considered the same card despite being of the same value.
It would have to be two Kings or two 10s. But there are three different types of perfect pairs.
- Mixed pair: A pair made up of two different colours, red and black. It pays 5/1.
- Coloured: Same colour but different suit. For example, one nine of clubs and one of spades, pays 10/1.
- Perfect pair: The highest paying pair where you have two of the same number in the same suit. The payout here is a huge 30/1.
What is Needed to Play Blackjack?
You will need the following to play Blackjack:
- A normal, 52-card deck of cards (take out the jokers)
- A table or any surface to play
At casinos, 6-8 decks of cards are used to play Blackjack. That’s to ensure players can’t take note of which cards might be about to come up, also known as card counting.
You’re also going to need a special Blackjack table, marked with boxes for the Dealer, the Player and extra boxes where chips are placed.
And lastly, chips. Generally, they have different values in terms of the amount of money they represent.
So, if you want to play Blackjack at home, those are the tools you need.
That said, you can probably do without the special table, which can be expensive.
Any baize-like table where you can easily slide cards onto will do. And you probably don’t need quite as many decks, assuming your friends aren’t card counters!
Number of Decks
Wondering how to play blackjack with cards? It’s important to know the number of decks used in the blackjack variant you play as it affects the house edge, even if the difference is rather small. In the table below, we’ve included the number of decks used as well as the house edge in percentages:
|♣️ Number of decks||♦️House edge|
|1 deck of playing cards||0.17%|
|2 decks of playing cards|
|4 decks of playing cards||0.60%|
|6 decks of playing cards||0.64%|
|8 decks of playing cards||0.65%|
How Many Players Can Play Blackjack?
2-7 players can be in action at any given time in a blackjack casino, because that’s the number of boxes generally available. However, additional players can place bets behind a player’s box, effectively backing that player to win.
These players don’t have a say in how the hand is played, nor should they offer advice or opinions on what the player actually playing the hand should do.
Strategies for Playing Blackjack
It's time to learn how to play blackjack online by using the best strategies. Playing online lets you enjoy the game from practically anywhere.
The interesting thing about the blackjack house rules is that they apply to both the player and the dealer. In other words, the dealer has some limitations that can work to your advantage. Blackjack is a game with a low house edge that is already in your favour. By combining these two factors you could make a great strategy.
When learning how to play you’ll find a bunch of real blackjack strategies. Moreover, you should always test them out before you gamble with your money. Testing different variants of the game will show you your skill and you’ll also see the flaws in your strategy, which means you’re able to improve it.
How to Play Online Blackjack — Popular Variants of Blackjack
Essentially playing blackjack online works in the same way as playing the game of 21 in a land-based casino. However, online there are more varieties of blackjack, including live casino blackjack. They all come with extra features, such as extra betting options, bonus features, and more, to add some extra spice to the game.
It’s no surprise there are so many varieties of blackjack since it is one of the most famous card game in casinos. The most popular variants include:
|♥️ Blackjack variant||♠️ Description|
|Lightning Blackjack||A variant that comes with random multipliers in every round, which increases your chances of bigger wins.|
|Blackjack Blitz||A fast-paced variant that follows the same rules as regular blackjack but comes with 2 additional side bets: 21+3 and Perfect Pair|
|Speed Blackjack||A fast version of blackjack that follows the same rules but betting times are reduced by 7 seconds for faster gameplay.|
|Infinite Blackjack||A variation that makes everyone play the same hand. So, if the hand dealt is Blackjack, everyone has Blackjack! But if it’s not everyone gets to play their hand as they wish.|
How to Play Blackjack at a Casino: Etiquette
A few things to remember when playing Blackjack at a land-based casino:
- Never touch the cards.
- Always place money on the table when exchanging for chips; never into the dealer’s hands.
- Learn the appropriate hand signals for hit, stick, and other in-game decisions.
- Don’t try to influence the player’s decisions if you’re playing behind their box.
- Don’t touch the chips when the hand is underway.
History of Blackjack
No guide is complete without a bit of history. Unfortunately, the origin of the game is unknown. However, what’s certain is that it has been around for some time. There is evidence suggesting that the game was popular back in 17th Century Spain.
In the following years, the game made it to France and the rest of Europe, before reaching the US. Nowadays, it’s all over the world. There are land-based casinos all over the globe that let you play this game. Cities like Las Vegas and Monaco are famous for offering this and other games.
Don’t feel like mingling with people? Then you can play online blackjack on a plethora of casino sites. If you need help finding a suitable site just adjust the filter on our search bar. We’ve gone over the potential sites for you and present you with several results.
What are the basic rules of how to play blackjack for beginners?
The basic rules of blackjack are really easy to master. You are dealt two cards face-up, which have the face value. The dealer gives themselves one card, also face up. Assuming the possibility of doubling up or splitting explained in this guide doesn’t come into play, it’s just a case of the player deciding whether to take a card next (called ‘hit’) after their initial two cards, or not take anymore (called ‘stick’).
What are the basic rules of blackjack?
The rules of blackjack are simple. You are dealt cards, which have the face value shown on them. You need to get a hand with a score of as close to 21 as possible, without going over it. Go over 21 and you’re out.
How to win at blackjack?
While blackjack is a game of chance, skills and game knowledge play a major role in determining the outcome. Applying high-level strategies is only possible once you’ve mastered the basics. The basic strategies include knowing when to double down, how to play hard or soft hands, and how to split.
What is a split in blackjack?
If you have a pair of cards of equal value, you have the option to split your into two separate hands, and double your bet in the process.