Welcome to our How to play Blackjack guide for Beginners. Like every game, you need to learn the rules before playing blackjack. The game is pretty easy to understand at the basic level. However, there are a lot of small tips to know that can increase the chances of winning by a lot.
This guide will teach you the basics if you are entirely new to the game. And it will also give you more advanced tips and strategies.
Blackjack is also known as a 21 card game, or only 21. The basic principles of the game are quite simple, the game is exciting, and the skill-cap is high, meaning there is a lot of room for improvement.
Blackjack is a unique game. Some professional players can count cards( which is forbidden), making the chance to win in their favor. No other casino game has such a backdoor. If you are an average Blackjack player, the odds of winning are also high if you play the game a lot and focus on improving your skills. That's what makes blackjack so appealing to almost anyone playing casino games.
Let's Start With The Basics
When you play in a real-life casino, the dealer will be standing while the players sit around the tables. The dealer is in charge of dealing cards, calling the shots, and organizing the game. He will ask to place bets and offer you to perform specific actions that are part of the game, such as splitting a hand, for example. We will cover all of these standard actions later on in this guide. If you already know how to play blackjack and wish to play online, you can find the best places to do so Here.
Blackjack is played, often, with six standard 52-card packs. That's the most popular type of blackjack we see in most casinos, and it is called The six-deck game (312 cards). There are many other variations of the game. However, we will not discuss them in this guide. One more card is in the deck in blackjack - a plastic card that indicates the dealer the time to shuffle. The dealer shuffles the six decks and places the plastic card somewhere towards the middle of the deck's second half. The dealer will reshuffle the cards when it's almost the plastic card's turn.
Initially, each player receives two cards. Then, each player can request additional cards, in turn. There is no limit to how many cards you can get while the objective is to reach a score of 21. Or as close as possible.
You lose when your hand's total score is higher than 21. Once this occurs, the dealer collects your bet, and you must wait for the next round.
Aces are worth 11 or 1, and it's the player's choice. Each face card is worth 10 (King, Queen, Jack). All the rest of the cards are worth their number. For example, a five is equal to five.
Before receiving cards, you can choose how much you are willing to bet. You place your bet in front of you using chips in a marked area. The minimum and maximum bet change depending on the casino. Real-life casinos are usually ranging from $2 - $500. However, online casinos are far more flexible. Some even accept pennies.
The dealer will shuffle the cards from all six packs of cards. Sometimes a machine will do it for him. Next, he will assign one of the players to cut the deck in two. He will then place the cards in a Blackjack Shoe, a container that assists with dealing one card at a time. But not before he puts the plastic card somewhere around 3/4 of the deck to ensure that at least 60-70 cards won't be in use at all. Casinos do that to guarantee that no one can ever know what cards remain in the deck. This is a way to pevent card counting.
After all the players place their bets, the dealer starts dealing the cards. He will deal himself the first upward-facing card and continue dealing cards to each player, clockwise. When he reaches himself a second time, he will place a downward facing card to himself, while the rest of the table will get a second card, facing up.
A blackjack is when you receive two cards with a total worth of 21, for example, a King ( worth 10 ) and an Ace (worth 1 or 11, players choice ). That's a Blackjack or a natural. When a player has a Blackjack, he will receive 1.5X of his bet on the spot.
If the dealer receives a Blackjack, all the players lose. Except for those who have a Blackjack as well. Those players with blackjack are in a tie situation and will receive their bets back. The dealer must only look at his downward-facing card if the other card is 10. Otherwise, he will look at his card only when it is his turn to play, which is last.
The player on the dealer's left-hand side is the first to play. When it's the player's turn, he has to decide whether he wants to pull another card from the deck (to "hit") or stand. Many strategies tell you when to hit and when to stand. The most basic rule is - if you are below 15, hit. If you are above 16, stand. You want to stand because your bet will go bust if you pull a high card. Remember, you can't get more than 21 because, in this case, the dealer claims your bet and gathers your cards. Once the first player has decided whether to stand or hit, it's the next player's turn to play. When it's the dealer's turn, he will do the same. The dealer has a more strict set of rules on his actions. More on that later.
"Soft Hands" - A unique set of cards you can receive is an ace with a number less than 10. As previously mentioned, an ace is worth either 11 or 1. your choice. For example, if you have an ace with a 6, your hand is equal to 17 (11 + 6 ). Now, you have two choices, hit, or stand. If you hit and receive a 4 - your total is 21. That's great! However, if you received a six or above, your hand is worth 22 or above. What's unique about this situation is that the ace can be worth 1. So, your hand is now worth 1 (Ace) + 6+ 4 = 11. You can continue hitting cards until you choose to stand above 16, or of course, you go bust.
When all players finish and are standing, it's the dealer's turn. He will turn his card up. The dealer must stand when his cards are above 17. And when the cards are 16 or less, he must hit. He must continue hitting until one of these two conditions is met. If the dealer has an ace and the total is more than 17, he must still stand. He can't choose to use the ace as a one as players can.
When it's your turn, you can request a card by saying "Hit", "Hit me", double-tapping the table with your finger, or using your hand like you would tell someone to come closer to you. When you want to stand, you can say "no more", "stand", or wave sideways "no" with your hand. That sums up the essential part of playing blackjack - the objective and how the game is played. However, there are some strategies we can use to improve our game.
Blackjack Guide - Advanced Methods
A pair is when a player receives two of the same card. Two jacks or two sixes, for example. You can separate the hand into two hands if you receive a pair. You get two new cards, one for each of the cards you already have. The bet you placed will now be assigned to one of the hands. You will have to bet the same amount on the other hand. After the split, you can play each hand separately.
A unique pair is a pair of aces. If you get two aces, you can split them and only receive one card for each hand. If one of the two aces gets dealt a ten or equal, you have a blackjack and earn 1.5x of the bet.
Doubling is a unique situation where both cards are worth 9, 10, or 11 combined. At this point, you can choose to double your bet before receiving extra cards. If you choose to do so, you get only one card, face down. You will only see the value of this card when the rest of the players finish with their bets.
If you have a total score of 10 consisting of two fives, you can split or double.
Insurance is a unique option available when the dealer's face-up card is an ace. When the dealer has an ace, there are high chances that he will have a blackjack. So before dealing the cards, you can set a side-bet worth 50% of your initial bet.
Next, the dealer continues betting cards. If he gets a ten, he has a blackjack, which means that he wins, and everyone else loses.
However, you get the insurance + a match to that sum if you place insurance, which means you saved your initial bet.
Taking insurance is typically not recommended. Statistics say that it improves the casino's 'house edge' over time, so you shouldn't use it.
Once you stand and all hands around the table settle. The results evaluation phase begins. The dealer plays last. This way, all players who passed the 21 have already burnt their hands, and the house won their money. When the dealer plays, there are three outcomes.
- He receives less than 16, hits, and burns his hand. In this situation, all the players with a live hand of any number will win twice what they bet.
- The dealer has 17 or above. He must stand - resulting in any player with a higher number than him to win the bet. And earn two times the bet placed.
- The dealer hits 21, resulting in everyone losing besides players who have 21, which is a tie. Those players will receive their bets back.
After playing a complete round of cards. The dealer will collect all the card and place them standing up along the edge of another plastic container shaped like an L called a Blackjack Discard Tray. When the cards are closing up on the plastic card towards the back of the deck, he will decide it is time to reshuffle. He will take the undealt cards with the dealt cards and shuffle them all. He then allows a player to cut the deck, places them in the shoe, and starts dealing again.
How To Play Blackjack - Winning Strategies
Several strategies are popular amongst Blackjack players. Given that each player plays their turn, one after another. The first player may hit a card he shouldn't have. It results in the next player missing out on that card, which he may have needed. There is often criticism in Blackjack tables for performing wrong actions. The common strategies are rules you can follow to improve your odds of winning.
- If the dealer's first card is 7,8,9, 10, or an ace, the player should hit until the point he has at least 17. The reason to do so is that there's a high probability the dealer has a good hand. So a hand equal to 13 will be useless.
- If the dealer has a low face-up card, such as 4,5, or 6, the player should stop hitting at around 12. The reason is that there is a high probability the dealer will go bust.
- Soft Hand - With a soft hand, you would usually hit until you have a total of no less than 18. The reason for attempting to reach a high total is because the ace protects you, and you will get the option to pass 21. If you pass 21, continue to hit and stop at 17.
When to Double - If you receive an initial hand of 11 - you should double. If you hit a ten, you should double only if the dealer does not have a ten or an ace. If you hit a 9, you should double only if the dealer has a low face-up card (2 to 6).
When you should split - Always split 8's and aces. Never split a pair of 4's because an eight total is an excellent place to hit. If the dealer's face-up card is not 8,9,10, or ace, always split 2s, 3s, and 7s.
When you shouldn't split - Never split a pair of tens or fives. If you have a couple of fives, you have a better chance if you double the bet, depending on the dealer's hand. Don't split a pair of 6s unless the dealer has a poor face-up card ( 2 to 6 ).