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How To Play Blackjack

There are many reasons why Blackjack remains one of the world’s favorite casino games and a staple of every online casino. The rules aren’t too tricky, no high-level math is required, no bluffing is needed, and there’s a bit of randomness that can make every game a little different. Plus if you learn a Blackjack strategy you can reduce the guesswork and make the game even more enjoyable.

A Casino Blackjack Guide

Blackjack is a card game where the goal is to get the value of your dealt cards to as close to 21 as possible, but not over.

You’ll be competing against the Blackjack dealer who also has the same goal of giving out cards to themselves and any other players.

The game begins by the dealer handing you one card face down and one card face up. In a basic game, if you are satisfied with how close it is to 21, you can stand and choose not to receive any more cards.

How to play blackjack

If you would like to have at least one more card, you hit. This can continue until you either decide to stand or your totals passes 21 and you bust, ending the round.

The dealer will follow the same sequence, with one card face up and one card face down, trying to draw as many cards to reach 21 but busting if they go over. If the dealer busts, the round ends.

If you, the dealer, and any other players all stand and no one busts, the player or dealer whose hand is the closest to 21 or 21 is the winner.

Blackjack Scoring

Blackjack scoring

Each number card, 10 and under, is worth that value.

Any face card, such as Kings, Queens, or Jacks, is worth 10.

Each Ace card is worth either 11 or 1.

How to Bet on Blackjack

How to bet on blacjack

Blackjack is one of the most highly regarded and popular casino games both online and in brick-and-mortar casinos. Blackjack has been traced back to the 1700s, and while the game has modernized since immigrating to America, the game has remained relatively the same – everyone’s trying to add their cards up to 21 without going over.

Blackjack Objectives

Your main and only goal in Blackjack is to beat the dealer. You aren’t playing against any other players like you would in Poker, you simply must have a better hand than the dealer. You can beat the dealer in three different ways:

– You are dealt a hand value that is higher than the dealer’s hand
– The dealer busting (drawing a hand over 21)
– Being dealt 21 on your first two cards (King and Ace, for example)

There are only two ways to lose to the dealer, however, which should be quite obvious:
– Your hand exceeds 21
– Or the dealer has a higher hand than you at the end of the round

Blackjack Card Value

When looking at the cards, there are three different values for three different card types.

Aces are worth either 1 or 11, depending on how you would like to use them. If you’re dealt a 3 and an ace, you may choose to use it as an 11 for 14 or keep it as a 1 and have 4 going into the next round.

Face cards are worth ten. So any Jack, Queen, or King will be worth ten points to your hand.

Cards 2-10 count as face value. If you’re dealt a 5, that’s worth 5.

How to Play Blackjack

Once you sit at your table, in person or virtually in a live blackjack room, you will have your chips and are able to place an amount on your hand. The dealer will give each player two cards face up, and place one card of theirs face down, and one face up. Upon looking at your cards, and have three options:

– Decide your hand is good and stand
– Decide you want another card
– Or if you have two cards that are the same, you can split into two hands.

You will have received a hand value anywhere from 3 to 21, and you will need to add cards to ensure you stay in the game. The player on the left side starts and the dealer will go around and when it’s your turn, you will decide what you would like to do from the above options. Once every player at the table has chosen to stand or ended up busting, the Blackjack dealer will reveal their own hand and play it.

The result of the dealer’s hand will reveal the fates for the players in the game who didn’t bust. If you and the dealer have the same numbers, the wager will ‘push’ and everyone will receive their stakes back.

If you received a ‘natural’ 21, which means you received a 10 or face card and an ace on your first two cards, you will receive 3:2 in winnings.

Blackjack – Insurance

Blackjack Insurance

If the dealer’s first face-up card is an Ace, players can purchase insurance in case the dealer’s other card is a face card, and they have blackjack. Taking an insurance bet is typically half the current bet. Then play continues and the dealer will reveal their card. Perhaps the cards will indicate that the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack and then the insurance bet is lost. Or the insurance bet can be won (sometimes on a 2:1 basis) if the dealer has a 21 from their first two cards.

Blackjack Splitting

Blackjack Splitting

Sometimes, a player will receive their first cards and they are the identical value. When this situation happens you are given permission to separate them into two hands and put down a separate bet for each hand, with the same rules for each.

Learn more about splitting and other player options here

Blackjack – Double Down

Blackjack doubling down

Many people familiar with casino betting in online card games like blackjack enjoy being able to increase their bet in return for having one more card dealt and automatically standing whatever the outcome. This can be risky but can be rewarding if it gets you closer to 21, or you still are far away from 21 but the dealer busts.

Blackjack – Surrender

Blackjack surrender

If a player believes the dealer may have blackjack after the first two cards are dealt but before the dealer draws more cards, they can put their cards down. The dealer will only take half of their bet.

Blackjack – Risk

Blackjack risk

A player potentially can hit as often as they want, even if they have 20. There are fairly slim odds of them getting an Ace for the next card, but they would be permitted to make this bet. Likewise, they could stand after their first two cards even if they only have 10 or less. They potentially still can win the hand for this conservative approach if the dealer busts.

In most casinos, the dealer is required to stand at 17.

Blackjack Strategies

We have a few basic strategies that are fairly common when it comes to Blackjack betting. You can choose to follow them or to do more research and find other strategies from Blackjack experts.

Let’s first identify the difference between soft and hard hands.

What is a Soft Hand in Blackjack?

A soft hand in Blackjack is one that has an ace valued at 11, meaning the hand won’t bust if you decide to take another card as the ace can also be a 1 to prevent you from going over 21. An Ace and a 2 can be called a ‘soft 13’ because you could hit, and receive a 4, to make it a soft 17. An ace and a 4 would be a ‘soft 15’ until you hit an 8, and then you would have a hard 13. It would switch to a hard hand because there isn’t flexibility for that Ace anymore, it has to be a 1.

How to Play a Soft Hand

– With Ace/2 or Ace/3, double if the dealer has a 5-6, if they don’t then hit.
– With Ace/4 or Ace/5, double if the dealer has 4-6, if they don’t then hit.
– With Ace/6, double if the dealer has 3-6, if not then hit.
– With Ace/7, stand if the dealer has a 2,7 or 8. Double if the dealer has 3-6, and if not, hit.
– With Ace/8 or Ace/9, always stand.

What is a Hard Hand in Blackjack?

A hard hand in blackjack is a regular hand that doesn’t have an Ace that could shift from an 11 to a 1. These are considered riskier because you don’t have that flexibility with the Ace, and you could bust fairly easily.

How to Play a Hard Hand

– With a hard 17-21, you should always stand
– With a hard 13-16, you should stand if the dealer has 2-6 as their up-facing card. Otherwise, hit.
– With a hard 12, you should hit if the dealer has a 2 or 3 and stand if the dealer has 4-6. Any other card, you should hit.
– With a hard 11, you should double if the dealers up-facing card is 2-10, and hit if the dealer has an ace.
– With a hard 10, hit
– With a hard 9, hit
– With 8 or less, always hit.

Splitting Cards

There can be excellent times to split cards, and there can be bad times to split cards. The trouble is determining which cards to split. Any double cards can be split, but only certain circumstances allow you to split them successfully and likely win.

Always split Aces, the versatility of the ace allows you to set up for two blackjacks if you’re lucky enough. Never split tens – if you already have 20, there really isn’t a need to split them, you could wind up with 13 and 12.

Keep an eye on what the dealer has as well. You will want to make sure you aren’t making unnecessary splits when the dealer has a potentially weak hand.

Ready to Play Blackjack?

Now that you’ve learned the basic rules of Blackjack and you are ready to dip your toes in and get started, you can sign up or log in at the BetUS casino and play! You can play with real money or practice with free online blackjack games.

At BetUS, we don’t require you to download or install anything to play our Blackjack games, you can play online from your computer or mobile device. And don’t forget to take advantage of any casino bonuses we may have on right now!

A - M

Action
The total bet amount made for a specific time period. The comps you get will be based on it in the Blackjack session.

Blackjack
You get a blackjack when an ace is dealt followed by a 10-value card to a total of 21. A dealer has blackjack it is an automatic win against players who do not, without them taking any further actions. When a player has blackjack it is typically paid out at 3/2.

Bust
Losing hand. Meaning, it exceeds the total of 21.

Double Down
Making the original bet twice as much.

Early surrender
Giving up a hand before the dealer checks for blackjacks on the game.

Face Card
A Jack, Queen, or King. Also known as a Paint card or Paint.

Flat Bet
When bettors place the same wager amount on each hand without varying.

Grinder
A player placing small bets.

Hit
To draw an extra card.

House Edge
Indication of the built-in profit-based advantage casinos have.

Insurance
A side bet offered to players when the dealer is showing an ace. Players have the option of betting half their initial wager which will pay out at 2/1 if it turns out that the dealer a blackjack.

N - Z

Pair
First two cards when they have the same number.

Pit
An enclosed area between gaming tables.

Push
When the player and dealer both have hands on the same value. In these cases, the player’s bet is returned.

Split
Splitting a pair constituted by two equally ranked cards with the purpose of making two separate hands.

Soft Total
The opposite of a hard total. A soft total is any blackjack hand containing an Ace that is valued at 11 points.

Splitting Pairs
Splitting pairs is a player option that allows you to break up identical cards and play them as separate hands.

Stiff Card
Any cards ranked between 2 and 6 usually force the dealer to take a hit.

Stiff Hand
Stiff hands are made up of a ten-point value card and any stiff card, for a total of 12-16.

Surrender
The surrender option in blackjack allows a player to give up half of his bet after the dealer checks for a blackjack.

Unit
A blackjack ‘unit’ is the minimum bet or wager that a player chooses to bet.

Upcard
Known as the dealer’s exposed card, the one that all players can see.

Wager
This is another way of saying bet. In order to play blackjack for real money, a player must place a bet during the initial phase of the game.