Blackjack is a card game which, along with Roulette and Slots, is the most popular game in casinos, both online and offline.
The game is played against a Dealer with the aim of getting a higher score than them and as close to 21 as possible without ‘Busting’ – going over. It is normally played with either 6 or 8 decks of cards and can involve several other Players, all of whom are playing directly against the Dealer.
Goal of the game
The aim of the game is to beat the Dealer’s hand. You do this by getting your hand as close to 21 as possible without going over this amount and ‘Busting’.
1. All numbered cards from 2 to 10 are counted at face value
2. All picture cards (Jack, Queen and King) count as 10
3. An Ace can be either 1 or 11
Setting-up the game
1. Set your budget – We recommend that you take the equivalent of 40 hands to a table before you sit down and start playing
2. Choose your table – All will have a minimum and maximum amount you can bet, choose one where you can play a hand for around a fortieth of your budget. i.e. if you have a bankroll of £200, you should be looking at playing £5 per hand
3. Take a seat – You can choose any empty seat at the table, more than one if you wish, and whilst the choice of seat makes no difference to the outcome of any given hand, the Dealer starts from one end when dealing and the action starts with the first Player to be dealt to and goes round until everyone has finished
4. Decide how much you would like to change up and play with. These funds are then changed into Chips which are used for the game, you can cash them into real money and walk away at the end of any hand
Course/progress of the game
1. Place your bet (Remember, if there is room at the table you can play more than 1 hand, if you do this you will need to place a bet for each hand you wish to play)
2. You will be dealt 2 cards face up so all other Players and the Dealer can view them
3. The Dealernormally deals 2 cards for him/her, 1 face up and 1 face down. Some versions of Blackjack see the Dealer giving themselves 1 card only at this point (in this case, the 2nd card is dealt face up after all Players have finished their actions)
4. You now need to decide your move on each of your hands. The 2 main choices are Hit or Stand. Hit means receive another card. Stand means you don’t want another card and you are satisfied with what you have. If you Stand, you take no further action in the hand, if you Hit you have the same decision to make again after receiving your next card
There are sometimes 3 other decisions you can make, Double, Split and Insurance. These will be explained later
5. After all Players have completed their hands, the Dealer deals him/herself cards until they have at least 17. It is worth noting that the Dealer has no say in what they do, they have to Hit until they get at least 17, even if all Players have only 15 and the Dealer has 16.
6. Once the Dealerhas 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21 he will Stand. If he gets 22 or more, the DealerBusts and all Players left in the hand win.
As mentioned above, there are 3 other actions you can sometimes take:
Double/Double Down – This Doubles your bet (you need to place a further bet the same amount as your initial bet) and gives you 1 further card, after which your hand is finished irrespective of what card you get. If you win, you get Double your total bet.
You would normally only Double if you have a 9, 10 or 11 and the Dealer doesn’t have an Ace or a 10 – See the chart below for more details
Split – If you get 2 cards of the same value, you can Split them and play with 2 hands, each containing 1 of the cards. You will need to pay a bet equal to your initial bet and you will get dealt another card for each hand. You then decide for each hand whether to Hit or Stand. If you get 21 after Splitting, this only counts as 21 and not Blackjack. If you Split Aces, you will only get dealt 1 more card and will then need to Stand. At most casinos, if your 2nd card is the same as the first, you will be allowed to Split again if you wish.
Insurance – If the Dealer shows an Ace as their face-up card, all Players have the option of Insurance. If you choose to take Insurance, you will place a bet equal to half your initial bet. If the Dealer then gets Blackjack, so the 2nd card has a value of 10, you will get Double your bet, if not you lose the Insurance bet.
The game ends
1. The hand ends for a Player when either your hand goes over 21 meaning you Bust and lose your bet, or when the Dealer completes their actions.
2. Once the Dealer has completed their action, the payouts take place for all remaining Players still in the hand.
3. If you have a higher total than the Dealer and both totals are 21 or below, you win the hand and get Double your bet. If you and the Dealer have the same total, you Push the hand and get your stake back (Unless one of you has 21 with their first cards, known as Blackjack and the other has 21 with 3 cards or more, in which case whoever has Blackjack will win the Hand). If the Dealer has a higher total than you and both are 21 or less, the Dealer wins and you lose your stake.
4. If the Dealer gets over 21, they Bust and all remaining Players win Double their stake.
5. If you get 21 with 2 cards, you have Blackjack, and if the Dealer doesn’t have 21 with their first 2 cards, you get 1.5 your bet back, as well as the bet itself – equivalent to 2.5 times your bet. If the Dealer also has Blackjack, you Push and get your stake returned.
Example of how a Blackjack table may look, including details of the Payouts.
Hit – Hit means to draw another card. You can request a hit as many times as you like, but if your total goes over twenty-one, you will bust and lose the hand.
Stand – Stand means the player receives no more cards. The hand as it currently stands will be judged against the dealers.
Split – If you have two cards of the same denomination, a Split button will appear. You can split your cards into two hands and play each hand separately. Your original bet will be duplicated for the new hand. Each hand will be played out as usual except when splitting Aces, where only one additional card per hand is dealt. The split option can only be used once per hand — you cannot split part of a split hand. Any winning 21 obtained after splitting a pair is paid 1-to-1.
Double Down – If you select this option, two things will happen: you will get exactly one more card, your turn will end, and your bet will be doubled.
Surrender – Where permitted, a player may give up his first two cards and lose only one-half his original bet.
Payouts – If you win the hand, you will get back your original bet plus the same amount in profit. A hand that consists of an Ace and any ten value card is called a natural twenty-one, or a natural blackjack (except in the case of a Split hand – see details above). If you win with a natural blackjack, you will be paid off at three-to-two, which means you get your original bet back plus 150% profit. (So if you bet £50 and win with a natural twenty-one, you get £50 (your bet) plus £75 (your bet plus half of your bet), which totals to £125).
Blackjack rules are really simple to learn and when combined with our Blackjack strategy you will be a pro before you know it!