Everything you need to know about playing blackjack online from the rules to strategies to where to play.
Blackjack is probably the world’s most popular casino games, it is enjoyed by millions of players every day both online and in real world casinos. The game is appealing to players for a number of reasons: the basic rules are relatively straightforward so the game easy to pick up, it is fast paced providing excitement and amusement, and it has a competitive edge – you are competing directly against other players and the house. The game of blackjack has been thrilling players for over 400 years and our love affair with the game shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
The Basic Rules
The basic rules of blackjack are quite straightforward. In a game of blackjack the player is competing against the dealer. All of the cards in a standard deck of 52 cards are assigned a value and the objective of the game is to have a total that exceeds the dealer’s total but is not greater than 21. All cards count as their face value, picture cards count as 10 and aces can count as either 1 or 11. In blackjack the card suits and colors are disregarded and the total of any hand is the sum of the card values in that hand.
To begin the game the dealer deals 2 cards to themselves and to each player. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face up (the upcard) so that the players can see its value while the dealers second card is dealt face down (the downcard). The players cards can be dealt either face up or face depending on the game. The dealer deals from a dealing shoe which normally contains 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards.
After being dealt an initial two cards players then have the option of taking additional cards, known as taking a “Hit”. Players who are happy with the total of their initial cards can ‘Stand’. Players can also ‘Double’ their bet and receive one, and only one, extra card. If the player has a pair or two 10-point cards they ‘Split’ their hand into two individual hands. To do this they need to need to make a new bet for the second-hand equal to the original wager. The two hands are then played simultaneously by the player. If a player is completely unsatisfied with their hand they can ‘Surrender’ and forfeit their wager.
In a given round a player or the dealer wins by having a score of 21, or a score higher than all of the other players and the dealer. If the total of the dealer or a player’s hand exceeds 21 they lose, what’s known as going ‘Bust’.
Some Basic Strategies
There are countless blackjack strategies available but before you explore any of them it’s important to understand the types of hand in blackjack. There are two types of hands in blackjack, ‘Soft’ hands and ‘Hard’ hands. A hard hand is a hand that doesn’t contain an ace or does contain an ace but it has a value of 1. For example, 9-8 is a hard 17. 4-A-10-2 is also a hard 17. Any hand that contains an ace with a value of 11 is known as a soft hand. For example, A-4 is a soft 15. A-2-2 is also a soft 15. If you receive an ace in your first 2 cards it counts as 11.
Most blackjack strategies found online come in the form of a strategy chart or a list of situations when to split, surrender, hit etc. These can be very useful, particularly for new players starting out looking to get an edge on the house. The important thing to remember though is that a strategy chart or list is only useful if you understand it! Before attempting to play aided by a chart make sure you understand it completely. Also bear in mind that strategy charts and lists aren’t fool proof, they are only a solid guideline, as you become a more experienced player you’ll learn additional rules and deviations.
When playing blackjack you should always ask yourself the following questions in the following order:
- Can I/Should I Surrender?
- Can I/Should I Split?
- Can I/Should I Double?
- Should I Hit or should I Stand?
Some of the ‘Golden’ rules of blackjack are:
- Always split aces
- Never split tens
- A hard 17 and up always stands
- A soft 20 always stands
- An 8 always hits
Where to Play
When it comes to blackjack players have an endless choice of where to play. Most, if not all online casinos will provide some form of blackjack. Players have the choice between virtual blackjack and live casino blackjack at most online casinos. Virtual blackjack is a good option for players starting off as the games generally have ‘How to Play’ guides which demonstrate the rules and many can also be played for free and are a great way to practice. For players looking for a more authentic casino experience live blackjack from Evolution Gaming is an excellent choice. Evolution are the market leaders in delivering live casino games to online casinos and work with some of the world’s largest companies such as Betfair and Casino Cruise.
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