How To Play Blackjack

Written By Alla Levin
August 03, 2020
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How To Play Blackjack

If you want to play blackjack successfully not only do you want to locate the best online blackjack casinos but also you’ve got to know how to play.

You have to master the strategies of the game—know when to hit, stay, split, and double down.

How Did BlackJack Come Up?

The roots of blackjack can be traced to France where it was initially referred to as 21.

The name stems from the goal of scoring 21 or as close to 21 without going over.

Unfortunately, the game didn’t grow in popularity despite blackjack being mentioned in popular American gambling houses.

To make it as popular as poker, they had to spice it up for mass appeal.

Some gambling houses gave bigger payouts while others adopted huge bonus strategies for certain card combinations.

The combination was named jack of clubs and ace of spades.

And that’s where the “21” game got its blackjack name from.

How To Play Blackjack: Let’s PlayHow To Play Blackjack Let’s Play

Firstly, you need to understand the objective of the game—to beat the dealer. 

So how do you achieve this? 

To beat the dealer, at least one of the following situations must occur.

  • The dealer draws a hand value over 21
  • Drawing a hand value of 21 on your first two cards when the dealer doesn’t
  • Drawing a hand value greater that of the dealer

Let’s dive deeper.  

The dealer kicks off the game by shuffling the cards. Then, she deals the cards to the players and to herself. Then she starts the game with the player to her left. 

In the first round, a player is dealt two cards face down while the dealer deals herself with one card still face down and another face-up.

The dealer’s face-down card is popularly termed the hole-card. 

As the player, you should look at your cards and determine if you can take another card without going over 21.

You got to examine well the dealer’s cards to determine the right strategy to use in playing your own hand. 

The cards are valued as follows:

  • Blackjack = One Ace and any card with a 10-point value
  • Number cards = Face value of the card
  • Ace = Either 1 point or 11 points
  • Face cards = 10 points

It’s commonly believed that scoring 21 with two or more cards doesn’t equate to blackjack, although this might result in a win. If your total reaches 21 before the dealer or other players, you become the winner of the pot.

After your cards are dealt, you will need to add them to determine if it’s appropriate to stand or take another card. In most cases, you will tell the dealer ‘hit me’ or ‘stay’. 

Just figure out your odds: if your cards total 9, chances are high that you will pick another card without going over 21. However, if your cards total to 18, you are likely to get over 21 and therefore you need to stay. 

Also, remember to check the dealer’s cards keenly, you not only want to score close to 21 but also you want to beat the dealer at all costs.

Rules and strategies of playing BlackjackHow To Play Blackjack

Hitting and standing

When playing blackjack, you have to decide whether to hit or to stand. Hitting entails getting another card with hopes of getting close to, but not over, 21. If you exceed 21, this position is called a ‘bust’ and you’ve lost the bet. Verbal calls for hits are not acceptable but signals are preferred for security reasons. The cameras above the table record every signal to be able to settle any disputes. 

On the other hand, standing refers to a position where a player doesn’t want to take more cards hoping that the current combination will win. For a face-up game, signal your stand request by holding a flattened palm over your cards. Slide your cards under your bet in a facedown game to signal a stand.

Double down

You are free to double your original bet and receive only one more card regardless of its denomination.

Some of the best blackjack online casinos restrict doubling down to hands in which your first two cards total 10 or 11, while others do allow you to double down by taking a chip amounting to your initial bet and placing them next to your bet.

Remember to turn your original two cards face up.

Split

This happens when the first two cards are of the same denomination and you make your second bet equal to the first one, splitting the pair and using each card in a separate hand. 

Insurance

You might take insurance if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. As you know, the ace is the card that determines blackjack.

The best blackjack online casinos advise players to take insurance if the player has a blackjack. The net effect of taking insurance is that if you win the insurance bet and lose the hand, you come out even.

Something worth noting is that if the dealer does not have blackjack, you lose your insurance bets and play continues with the original bets. Hence you’re no better off taking insurance.

How To Play Blackjack: Basic StrategyHow To Play Blackjack Basic Strategy

While blackjack depends on the luck of draw, this game is not entirely left to chance. There are strategies that enhance the odds of winning. 

These include:

  • For cards totaling 12 to 16, hit if the dealer has a 7 or higher and stand if the dealer has 2 or 3 points.
  • Always split aces and 8s.
  • When you have 10 points, be sure to double-down when the dealer shows 2 and 9.
  • Never split 4s, 5s, and 10-value cards. The odds will be against you.
  • Always double-down on 11 points.
  • Stand on 17 and over except when you have a soft 17—meaning the hand contains an ace. However, be careful to check out the dealer’s cards before asking for a hit. 
  • Never take insurance.
  • Never double-down below 8 points.
  • Check that you hit any hand that totals 11 or under.

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