How to play Blackjack

When it comes to the best odds at winning in a casino, the game of blackjack is considered one of the best. With its easy gameplay and a ‘manageable house edge’ of just 1 per cent in many casinos, the game of blackjack has consistently attracted players of different playing styles and persuasion.

But this is not just the reason why this card game is popular among enthusiasts looking to beat the casino. The availability of creative and easy-to-follow strategies like card counting allows players to take advantage of the game and beat the house.

While it seems that that winning a game of blackjack is easy at least on paper, one should keep in mind that true success on the casino table still requires patience, persistence and the right attitude towards the game. It’s even a requirement to completely understand the gameplay and rules of the game.

If you are looking to completely understand the game and wants results, then the following guide can prove helpful.

What are the Basic Rules of the Game to Remember?

In the game of blackjack, the players intend to hit a hand value of or closer to 21. To make this happen, players will need to create the right combination of cards. For this table game, the common arrangement is to use at least one standard 52-card deck, and each card comes with an assigned value.

The cards from 2 to 10 will retain their face value. Kings, Queens, and Jacks will assume a value of ‘10’, and the Aces of the deck will get a value of ‘1’ or ‘11’. Of the many combinations that can be made in this game, the best hand is a two-card ‘21’ or a blackjack.

In this game, a player who will get a blackjack will enjoy a payout of 3-2. This means that if a player bets $6 in the game and win, he will take home $9. Now, if the casino dealer also boasts a two-card ‘21’ and it pushes or ties, then the player will only get his wager back. But if the casino dealer draws on ‘21’ with more than 3 cards in hand, then the player’s blackjack is considered better. Thus the player will enjoy the 3-2 payout.

Live blackjack How to Play

Traditionally, this game is played in an arc-shaped table, and each table can accommodate up to 7 players. If you take a look at the design and layout of the blackjack table, you will note that in the corner of the table is a placard that details the accepted betting range. The table will also include a few information or rules that can help players play the game.

Using the image shown above, it indicates the fact that a dealer must draw on ‘16’ and stand on ‘17’, or the payout is 2 to 1. In short, players must be aware of the rules that are indicated on the table before attempting to play for real money.

In a traditional blackjack game, the casino dealer will have access to four to eight deck of playing cards. Right after the shuffling of the cards, these playing cards are then placed in a shoe where the assigned dealer will take one card at a time.

Before the start of play, players are expected to place their bets on the table by stacking the chips in a betting square. After all the players have assigned their bets on the table, the players and dealer are given two cards. When playing the shoe game, the cards dealt with all players are given face-up, and players are not allowed to touch the cards.

But if one is playing the single or double-deck blackjack dealt from the hand, the cards are given face-down, and players are allowed to touch or pick up the cards. In both cases, players can count on one card that’s placed face-up so other players can check it.

After all, cards have been assigned; players are then given a chance on how they will play out the hands according to the standard rules of the game. Based on the standard rules of the game, the dealer is expected to draw additional cards with a hand total of 16 or less, and he’s expected to stand if the hand value is at least 17.

Other casinos may have specific rules on this, so it’s best to confirm the rules before attempting to plat for real money. Here’s a quick look at some of the decisions that the dealer or players can make during the actual blackjack game.

  • Hit. This is the option for many players who want to improve their chances of getting a ‘21’ or close to that. A player who chooses this option will take a card to boost the value of the hand. If after the drawing of the card the value exceeds ‘21’, the player busts and loses the wager.
  • Stand. If you decide to stand, you stick with the hand value that you have formed.
  • Double Down. In this option, you will double the wager and get one more card from the deck. Some casino operators will restrict this option, particularly on cards with a total of ‘10’ or ‘11’. The extra bet is then placed in the box next to the original wager.
  • Split. This is an option given to the player if the first two cards of the hand are of the same denomination. For example, you are dealt with two 7s; you may put a second bet equal to the first one to the betting box. The casino dealer will then separate or ‘split’ the cards, and will then assign the second card on the first ‘7’.
  • Insurance. The insurance can be taken if the face-up card of the dealer is an Ace. This is a bet that the casino dealer is holding a 10-value card which can complete a blackjack. This option will pay 2:1, which means that the player will get $2 for every $1 bet made.

Blackjack Variations You Should Know

While there are standard rules in playing blackjack, keep in mind that some casino operators may also tweak or vary the rules. Here’s a look at some of the popular game variations that players may encounter online.

  • Double down after a split is allowed. This is one great variation in rules that can reward the players as it cuts house edge by an average of 0.13 per cent.
  • Re-splitting of Aces allowed. In many casinos, the player who decides to split the Aces will get one card for each Ace. And if the player gets another Ace, some operators will allow for the next pair to be split. Again, this variation in the rules will also help the players as the house edge is cut by 0.03 per cent.
  • Early Surrender. If the face-up card of the casino dealer is an Ace, he can check the other card if it’s a 10 that can create a blackjack before continuing play. Now, if the player is allowed to surrender half the original wager instead of playing the whole hand before the casino dealer checks for the card, then that action is called an early surrender. If done right, the early surrender can lower house edge by 0.624 per cent.
  • Late Surrender. This is the variation of the early surrender and this time; the player is still allowed to give up half the wager even after the casino dealer has already checked for the other card.

Etiquette on the Blackjack Table

Aside from the basic rules that govern blackjack, the game also calls for etiquette when playing. As soon as you sit in a blackjack table, you should wait for the dealer to complete the hand before pushing your wager towards the casino dealer and say ‘Change Please’.

In most cases, you should only use tokens when placing bets unless the casino has specified that you can also place cash on the table. Once the bet has been completed, keep your hands off the playing chips until the hand has been completed.

There are times when the chips are available in various denominations. The proper way to arrange these is to stack them with the smallest denomination on top.

If you are playing in multiple-deck cards, playing decisions can be communicated through hand signals. If playing in a single or double-deck blackjack game where cards are dealt face-down, you can pick the cards using one hand and scratch the table with the card if you want to ‘Hit’.

But if you want to ‘Stand’, simply slide the card. You may turn the cards face-up the moment you ‘Bust’ or if you want to ‘Split’, say you have two 7s. At the end of the player, you should allow the dealer to turn all available cards under the chips.

If you are just a beginner in this game, it’s best that you should avoid the last seat on the table, to the player’s left. In gaming parlance, it’s called the ‘third base’, and this is the player who is designed to make the last play.

Sometimes, this player will take the heat of the other players for taking the bust card of the dealer instead of standing. If you can’t manage the heat or pressure, better sit in another location.

Takeaway Points
  • Blackjack is a popular table game and is known for its manageable house edge of 1 per cent
  • In this game, players are dealt with two cards with an objective to get a hand value of ‘21’ or close to it
  • A player can ‘Stand’ if he’s satisfied with the hand value, and go for a ‘Hit’ if he desires to improve his hand value by drawing another card
  • Players may also Double Down, Split or bet on an Insurance
  • Just like other table games, players are expected to behave accordingly and play with respect