How to Play Blackjack: Everything You Need to Know To Play Blackjack Like a Pro
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games played in casinos and online gaming sites worldwide. It’s often the go-to game for beginners for a good reason because learning the basics is incredibly easy.
In blackjack, your primary goal is to reach a score of 21 without exceeding it before the dealer’s score reaches 17. And we’re here to teach you how to play blackjack and win big.
You’ll not only learn the basic rules, but we’ll give you some blackjack strategies and tips with which you’ll be playing like a pro in no time. So grab your deck of cards, and let’s begin!
What Is The Objective Of Blackjack?
Before proceeding with how to play the game or what different strategies we have for you, you’ll need to get the hang of what the main goal of the game is.
Beat the dealer! That’s it. The game couldn’t be simpler, right?
At its core, the objective of blackjack is to have a hand total higher than the dealer’s hand total without exceeding 21.
- If you have a score of 21 or less and it’s higher than the dealer’s, you win!
- A score of 21 or less, coupled with the dealer going over 21 (busting), also leads to a win for you.
- If your score is 21 or below, but the dealer beats your score without going bust, then you lose the game.
- If you go bust, it doesn’t matter what the dealer does – you lose.
- In the case of a tie, where you and the dealer have the same score, you get your bet back and the game is a push.
Each card in the deck has a value – numbered cards are worth their face value, face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are worth 10, and aces can be worth 1 or 11, depending on what’s more beneficial for the player’s hand.
- Ace: 1 or 11
- 2: 2
- 3: 3
- 4: 4
- 5: 5
- 6: 6
- 7: 7
- 8: 8
- 9: 9
- 10: 10
- Jack: 10
- Queen: 10
- King: 10
Calculating the value of a hand is simple. All you have to do is, add up the values of all the cards.
Let’s say you hold a hand with a 6 and a 9. The total value of your hand would be 15. If you have a hand with a King and a 5, the hand would have a value of 15 as well.
How To Play Blackjack
Blackjack games have a variety of rule variations and can be played with different numbers of decks. The most common form of blackjack is typically dealt from a shoe, a plastic device that dispenses cards. They are usually either 6-decks or 8-decks. Blackjack is played with a conventional deck of 52 playing cards.
Here are the steps to follow if you want to learn how to play blackjack:
To take part in a blackjack game at the casino, you need chips.
Due to security concerns, casinos generally do not allow players to place cash bets. What this means is that you must first exchange your money for chips with the dealer. Don’t worry. Exchanging money is a breeze.
To do so, approach the blackjack table and place your money on the felt. Do not hand it directly to the dealer, as they are not allowed to take anything from a player’s hand or give anything directly to them.
Once you have placed your money on the felt, the dealer will spread it out on the table so that the cameras can clearly see the amount. A pit boss will then come over to verify the amount.
After that, the dealer will count out the appropriate denomination of chips that match the amount you have purchased, and slide them towards you. Now that you have your chips, you are free to place your bets as you wish.
Before any cards are dealt, players must place their bets. The dealer will specify the minimum and maximum bet limits for each table.
Most tables in the UK require a minimum of £1 per hand, but that depends on the time of day and the regulatory environment of the casino’s location.
Dealing the Cards
Once the bets are placed, the dealer will distribute two cards to each player, including themselves.
The players’ cards are usually dealt face-up, while one of the dealer’s cards face up, and the other is face-down.
Playing Your Hand
Starting from the left of the dealer and moving clockwise, each player takes their turn to play their hand. Players have several options:
Hit: Requesting an additional card to increase your hand total. A common way to indicate it is by tapping the felt with your finger.
Stand: Declining any more cards and keeping your current hand. To indicate that at a casino table, you can either wave your hand or place your open palm over the felt.
Double Down: Doubling your initial bet and receiving one card more. If you have a blackjack hand total that puts you in an advantageous position, but you need one more card, you can choose to double your initial wager. When you do this, the dealer will deal you only one additional card, which will be placed sideways to indicate that you cannot take any more cards. To signal your intention to double down, place a wager equal to your initial bet on the left side of your original bet.
Split: If your initial two cards are of the same rank, you can split them into two separate hands and play them independently. To signal that you want to split your hand at a casino table, place a second wager equal to your initial bet and then give a “peace sign” with your fingers.
Surrender: Some casinos offer the option to surrender, where players can give up their hand and forfeit half of their bet. To signal that you want to surrender your hand at a casino table, draw a line across the felt behind your bet. Imagine it as if you were cutting a slit in the felt with an imaginary knife. But, it’s important to note that this hand signal can sometimes be mistaken for the “hit” signal by dealers, so to avoid any confusion, it’s always best to verbalize the word “surrender” to your dealer. This will ensure that your intention is clear to both the dealer and the cameras that monitor the game.
Once all players have completed their turns, it’s the dealer’s turn to play their hand. The dealer follows a specific set of rules dictated by the casino. Generally, the dealer must hit until their hand total is 17 or higher, and they must stand on a hand total of 17 or more.
Determining the Winner
After the dealer has played their hand, the winner is determined. If a player’s hand total exceeds 21, they bust and automatically lose the bet.
If the player’s hand total is higher than the dealer’s hand total (without going over 21), the player wins.
In the event of a tie, it’s called a push, and the player gets their bet back.
Blackjack Strategy: Increase Your Chance of Winning
While it’s a game of chance, there is a basic blackjack strategy that can significantly improve your odds of winning. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:
Know When to Hit or Stand
One of the fundamental decisions in blackjack is knowing when to hit (take another card) or stand (keep your current hand).
As a general rule, if your hand total is 11 or lower, always hit.
If your hand total is 17 or higher, always stand.
For hand totals between 12 and 16, consider the dealer’s face-up card to make your decision.
Double Down Wisely
Doubling down can be a profitable move when used strategically.
As a rule of thumb, double down when your hand total is 10 or 11 and the dealer’s face-up card is a 9 or lower.
Avoid doubling down when the dealer’s face-up card is a 10 or an Ace.
Learn When to Split
Splitting your hand can increase your chances of winning, but it should only be done in certain circumstances.
Always split Aces and 8s, but avoid splitting 4s, 5s, and 10s.
Whether to split other pairs depends on the dealer’s face-up card and the casino’s rules.
Many casinos offer players the option to buy insurance when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace.
Insurance is essentially a side bet on whether the dealer’s face-down card is a 10-value card, making a blackjack. However, statistically, insurance is a losing bet, and it’s generally best to avoid it.
Tips for Playing Blackjack
In addition to the basic strategy, here are some general tips to keep in mind when playing blackjack:
Set a Budget
Before playing, set a budget for yourself and stick to it.
Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.
Don’t Drink and Play
Alcohol is not your friend, especially when it comes to gambling.
Drinking can have a negative impact on your judgment, and this leads to poor decision-making. It’s best to avoid drinking when playing blackjack.
Know When to Walk Away
Knowing when to walk away is crucial if you want to end the day without losing too much.
If you’re on a losing streak, just accept it and walk away. Don’t try to win back your losses by betting more. This can only lead to even greater losses, which you want to avoid at any cost.
Choose the Right Table
Different tables have different minimum and maximum bet limits, as well as different rules. Choose a table that suits your budget and playing style.
Basic Blackjack Rules
The game of blackjack has relatively simple rules. The main objective is not just to get as close to 21 as possible but to beat the dealer. So, here are the rules you should follow:
- The game is played with one or more decks of standard playing cards, with each deck containing 52 cards.
- The objective of the game is to have a hand value of 21 or as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.
- The value of each card is as follows: Ace is worth 1 or 11, face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) are worth 10, and all other cards are worth their face value.
- At the beginning of each round, the player and the dealer are each dealt two cards. The player’s cards are dealt face up, while the dealer’s cards are dealt with one face up and one face down.
- The player can choose to “hit” (take another card) or “stand” (keep their current hand) in an attempt to improve their hand value.
- If the player’s hand exceeds 21, they lose the round (this is known as “busting”).
- Once the player stands, the dealer reveals their face-down card and must hit until their hand value is 17 or higher. If the dealer busts, the player wins.
- If the player’s hand value is higher than the dealer’s without exceeding 21, the player wins. If the dealer’s hand value is higher than the player’s without exceeding 21, the dealer wins.
- In certain situations, the player may have the option to “double down” (double their bet and receive one additional card) or “split” (divide their hand into two separate hands).
- The payout for a winning hand is typically 1:1 (even money), but certain hands such as blackjack (an Ace and a 10-value card) may have a higher payout.
Blackjack is an exciting and popular casino game that can be mastered with the right strategy and approach.
Understanding the basic rules, knowing when to hit or stand, and avoiding certain moves like insurance can significantly improve your chances of winning.
By setting a budget, avoiding alcohol, and choosing the right table, you can also make the most of your blackjack experience.
What is the objective of blackjack?
The objective of blackjack is to have a hand total higher than the dealer’s hand total, without exceeding 21.
What is the value of each card in blackjack?
Numbered cards are worth their face value, face cards (i.e., Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10, and Aces can be worth either 1 or 11.
What is the basic strategy for blackjack?
The basic strategy for blackjack involves knowing when to hit or stand, doubling down wisely, and learning when to split. Avoid taking insurance.
What tips can help me when playing blackjack?
Setting a budget, avoiding alcohol, and choosing the right table are all important tips to keep in mind when playing blackjack.
What should I do if I’m on a losing streak in blackjack?
If you’re on a losing streak, it’s best to know when to walk away and not try to win back your losses by betting more.