Did you know that Blackjack is one of the most popular card games out there?
It draws a bigger following than roulette, baccarat, and craps combined!
But despite its popularity, one of the biggest mistakes that both experienced and novice gamers make is forgetting to consistently follow a basic Blackjack strategy.
Understanding the basics of this game literally represents the difference between being a regular winner or loser!
So if you take some time to learn the basics blackjack rules and a solid blackjack strategy. With precision, discipline, and a bit of luck, gambling on real money on Blackjack can generate great returns.
This article gives you all the information you need to start playing real money blackjack like a pro. It does not matter if you're playing on your mobile at an online casino or a land-based one. This guide fits all environments so buckle up.
How to Play Blackjack
Let’s get down to how the game is played. As you may have heard or already know, Blackjack is a game of luck that can be combined with skill.
The main objective in blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by getting a higher number, without exceeding 21 [hence why it's also called 21].
You Play Against the Dealer
Unlike in card games such as poker where players play against each other, here you play against the dealer. Players start by placing their bets before the dealer distributes the cards amongst the players, two cards each. The dealer will also have two cards, but only one card will be showing, the other will remain face down.
In Blackjack, like in many card games such as Baccarat, the Ace is valued as 1 or 11, royals are worth ten points, and other cards are worth their face values. The rules of Blackjack normally gives the Ace flexible value.
Usually, it will have a value of 11, but the value changes when the player asks for an extra card that gives him or her a total of over 21. This will automatically mean losing, and therefore in such a case, the value of the Ace will change to 1.
Let’s say you already have a hand with a value of 18 and then you receive an Ace. The value of the ace will be 1 to give you a total of 19. However, if you are dealt a 3 and a 6, and then receive an Ace, its value will be 11 to give a total of 20.
Unless the dealer, whether online or in brick and mortar casinos, has a Blackjack, players cannot see the dealer’s cards until the betting process is completed. Based on the card that is revealed [dealer’s] you will decide whether to hit, stand, split, or take insurance.
A Blackjack is when the two cards dealt are already 21; for example, a Jack and an Ace. Based on the basic rule of the game, it is impossible to bust on your two dealt cards. Once all the bets have been finalized, the dealer will reveal their cards.
Determining a Win
21 is the magic number in blackjack, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always need to hit 21. Any hand that tops the dealer’s hand is good enough to give you the win. That is, provided your hand is closer to 21 than that of the dealer (without going burst) you win.
If you are playing in a land-based casino, each hand will be evaluated and whoever closer to 21 than other players will win. In most online casino sites, unless you are playing live Blackjack, you will win automatically if the dealer busts.
Blackjack Options Explained
As noted above, there are several options that come into play in the game of Blackjack. You can either stand, hit, split, double, or take insurance.
Stand—you take a stand when you are satisfied that your hand beats that of the dealer and you do not wish to receive any more cards.
Hit—when you are not content that your hand can top that of the dealer, you can opt to draw a card to increase your value.
Split—when you receive cards of the same value [for instance a 7 and a 7] you can opt to split the cards and play as double hands. When you do this, you’ll need to also bet double as well.
Double—this is when you feel very confident that you will beat the dealer. You can double your bet and receive an extra card. After this, you will not be given any more cards
Insurance—if you feel the dealer already has Blackjack, you can make a side bet which is normally treated independently of the main wager. It pays 2:1, meaning that you receive £2 for every £1 you bet. You can make this bet if the dealer’s exposed card is an Ace.
Many new players mistake Blackjack to be a game of chance like most other card games. But if you ask those experienced enough, they will tell you that there’s also is a lot of mathematics required to maximize your luck.
There are a total of 340 hands that you could end up. And there is no sure way to know which hand you're going to get. For example, let's say that your hand is a double of 6s and the dealer’s face-up card is showing a 4; do you know what to do? Stand? Hit? Split? The following are basic Blackjack strategies that help you increase your chances over the house:
When to Stand
It is recommended to stand only when you’ve got a hand that is 17 and above without going over. For instance, if you have an Ace and a 7, or anything higher than that. This represents a chance of beating the dealer, especially if his/her face-up card is of lower value.
When to Hit
It is recommended to hit when you’ve got an Ace and a 6 or something slightly lower. The advantage of hitting when you have an ace is that its value can shift from 11 to 1, ensuring that you don’t go bust.
When to Double
It's generally adviced to only double down when you have 10 or 11. For instance, if you have a 10, suited, or ace, you can opt to double your bet. Your chances of beating the dealer will be higher on such a bet than doubling down when you have cards of the lower total value.
When to Split
It’s advisable to split when you have pairs of aces, 8s, and 9s. But you should also keep an eye on the dealer’s face-up card. Split a pair of 7s only when the dealer’s card is also 7 or lower. You could split 10s, but they are too powerful to risk. Two 10s gives you a total of 20, which is as great as it gets unless of course you score a Blackjack.
When to Take Insurance
Taking insurance is always a bad idea when you are playing Blackjack. Anytime a dealer posts an Ace you’d think it’s an opportunity for you to take insurance and place a side bet that’s worth half the size of your original bet. This is never a good idea and only raises the casino’s advantage.
Let the Dealer Bust First
You don’t want to hit unless you have an extremely soft hand [one that you are sure can’t bust with an additional card]. Check what the dealer has as a face-up card; if it’s a low-value card that’s not over 6, hold on to your cards.
A general rule in blackjack is to always hold on to your high and hard cards. When your hand is 17 or higher, you should always hold on, even if the dealer's hole card is an Ace. Taking another card will just increase the risk of going bust, so instead let the dealer deal with this risk.
The Origin and History of Blackjack
The most cited origins of blackjack are Spain and France. Historians state that the game was first mentioned in a book authored by Miguel de Cervantes in the early 1600s.
In this book, the author mentions the game ‘Veintiuna;’ a card game that was played without tens, like the present-day Spanish Blackjack, and Aces were either one or 11 points.
In France, the game that was as close to modern-day Blackjack was called “Vingt-et-Un,” which is French for 21. It is said that “Vingt-et-Un,” was popular in the early 1700s and was played in social gatherings, men groupings, and entertainment halls. Sometimes cash would exchange hands.
Another popular school of thought mentions that the game originated in the Roman Empire. This empire’s love of gambling has generated too many historical accounts regarding games played today that it’s often complex to determine which accounts are true and which ones are not.
To conclude, Blackjack is a pretty straightforward game of cards that includes both luck and knowledge. If you’ve read through this entire guide, you’re already halfway there. The next step in your journey to becoming a great blackjack player would be to build on up some experience.
It's also worth remembering that Blackjack odds may be influenced by the various casino rules. But with that said, normally, you should have a 44% to 48% chance of acing almost every hand of the game in Blackjack casinos!
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The goal of the Comeon Content Group is to create the gaming market's best guides. With many years of experience in igaming, I have succeeded in building a team that works together to make this possible.