How To Play BlackJack

How To Play Blackjack

For those that were wondering, there isn't a great deal of difference between playing blackjack in your local casino or online, save for there being an obvious lack of distracting chatter in your online game. The point being that if you have played blackjack live before, then consider this a refresher (we all need one from time to time) but, if you are completely new to the game, then consider this your introduction.

Basics to the Game

Firstly, some basics. I mean day one stuff. As you are probably aware, a standard card deck features 52 cards divided into four different suits, Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades. Color-wise, diamonds and hearts are red, while spades and clubs are black. So far, so obvious.
Each suit has 13 ranks and one card per rank. Numbered two through ten, the first nine cards are followed but four face cards, Jack, Queen, King and Ace. Aces may be counted as either 1 or 11 points, 2 through 9 according to numeric value while 10s and face cards are all worth ten points.

When you play Blackjack, you always play against the dealer. Incidentally, a Blackjack is a 2-card hand that totals 21 points. Scoring in Blackjack depends on the ranks a player is holding and their ability to calculate their sum according to the above points allocation. This is where the math comes in.

The aim of the game, then, is to collect the cards that the dealer gives you and come as close to 21 as possible, without busting. Busting is where your accumulated card values number higher than 21. Go over that and you are out of the game regardless of the dealer's score. That said, you want high-value cards otherwise you'll struggle to reach 21 so there is a balance that needs to be struck.  A 2 card hand that totals 21 while being higher than the dealer's will, most of the time, win the game. However, if the dealer is also holding a 21 then it's a tie, called a push in blackjack, and will see you stake returned.

Once you have put your money down, the dealer deals the cards, two for you and two for themselves. Critically, you are not able to see both of the dealer's cards and so are blind to his score. After the dealer checks to see if he has a blackjack, play continues. As the game progresses, you will have various options to consider as the cards are dealt. Options such as hitting where you're dealt one additional card or standing where you stick with the hand you have been dealt.

If you have two cards of the same value you have the option of splitting where you'll receive two additional cards, one for each of your original pair. This way you can play a second hand on the side, however it is completely separate and, should it win, any payout will be independent. You might also come across the term double down which means you double the bet and draw one more final card.

Winning Ways

The best strategy for beginners is, after you have mastered the ranking, being able to discern between hard or soft hands. At first, your best bet will be to follow the aces. If there is no ace or an ace that's valued at 1, then you have a hard hand. With a soft hand, you have the luxury of being able to count an ace either as a 1 or 11 making it easier to creep up on your target without breaching it. Oh, and always check the dealer's showing card before you make you move. Master this, try a few games, and you'll pick up the game in no time.

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