How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack newbie to pro in 5 minutes

Strategic, smart and effortlessly cool - Blackjack is one of the world's most popular gambling games. Often referred to as 21, this card game is played in casinos across the globe. For the passerby, it can at first appear daunting - unapproachable even. The good news is that even a casual player can quickly grasp the rules. With this mastery, you can benefit from the lowest house edge of ANY online casino game.

How to win Blackjack

If you beat the dealer, you have won the game. There are three ways to beat the dealer.

Win Conditions

  1. Drawing a hand that exceeds the value of the dealer's hand
  2. Drawing a hand of 21 on your first two cards
  3. Via the dealer busting (drawing a hand that exceeds the value of 21)

Equally, a player can also lose a hand in the event of these two scenarios.

Loss Conditions

  1. You bust (your hand value exceeds 21)
  2. The dealer's hand is a higher value compared to yours at the end of the game.

Blackjack Hand Values

Blackjack uses a simple scoring system to determine the value of hands. Note: the suit of cards holds no impact on the card value.

  1. Numbered cards from 2 - 10 retain their face values
  2. Royal cards (J, Q, K) are all valued at 10
  3. Aces can count as 1 or 11

Blackjack Decks

A deck of standard playing cards typically holds 52 cards. But in casino blackjack, several decks are shuffled together. As a result, up to 8 decks can be used in a single game (416 cards total).

Most casinos use 6 deck rules, resulting in 312 cards. In land-based casinos, an additional plastic card is also placed into the deck. When the dealer hits the plastic card, it's time for a shuffle.

Why do casinos use more than one deck in blackjack? To protect themselves from card counters - regular shuffles and many cards in a deck makes it harder to count. More decks also increase the house edge of the game.

How to place a Blackjack Bet

Both offline and online games work similarly in how you place a bet.

If you're in a brick and mortar store, you will first need to exchange your cash for some casino chips.

Once you have some currency (or you can bet with cash online), here's what you need to do.

  • Step 1. Choose how many chips to play
  • Step 2. Place your chips in the bet area (can be a square or circle) to show you want to be dealt in (very important in land-based casinos)
  • Step. 3 The dealer will now deal you into the game

How to play online blackjack

Once you have placed your bets, it's time for the round to begin. Before we describe the process of a game, it's important to keep in mind that it's always you versus the dealer. Yes, there can be other players on the table resembling a poker game - but the results of other players' hands will have no impact on yours. Each player is locked in a one to one battle with the dealer - so don't worry yourself about other hands. Now without delay, let's look at how a blackjack game plays out.
Stage 1: Betting Phase

Please see the section above for more details on how to bet in blackjack.
Stage 2: Dealing Phase

All players that have wagered will now receive two face-up cards. The dealer will also deal one up card and a face-down card. This is called the "Hole" card.
Stage 3: Player Decision

Once two cards have been dealt to the player(s), each participant has two primary options:

  • Hit - Receive another card increasing their hand value. The player can choose to hit/receive another card as long as the hand value doesn't exceed 21. Going over 21 will make the hand bust and the player loses
  • Stand - The player decides not to accept another card and maintains the hand value.
Stage 4: The Dealer Play

Once the dealer has dealt all player hands, they will now play their own hand. The hole card will be flipped over - and they will deal cards to themselves. If the dealer exceeds 21, they will bust.
Stage 5: The Payout

After the dealer has revealed his cards or busts, the winners are paid out and bets will begin for the next game. Well done, you just completed your first game of blackjack!

Blackjack Special Events & Rules

During a game of blackjack, players can take advantage of several rules for increased payouts and excitement.

Double Down: If you have an advantageous hand - you can choose to double down on your next card. By doubling down, you will pay an additional bet and only receive one extra card. Hands that have double-downed can no longer receive more cards - but they stand for a better payout. Typically, you will use this move if you have a strong hand e.g when your cards equal 11 in value.

Splitting: If you receive a pair of the same value card, you can split them into two hands, giving you a chance for extra payouts. Once the hand is split, an extra card will be dealt to each new hand. It's yet another manoeuvre that's best reserved for strong hands.

Dealer peeks for Blackjack: Many casinos use this rule, so it's one to be wary of. If the dealer's up card is valued 10 or an Ace, then the dealer will look at the hole card and peek for a blackjack win (21). In the event of a dealer blackjack, all bets will lose - unless a player has a natural blackjack, in which case the bet is pushed. Other versions of the game will also let players buy insurance, potentially saving them from an instant wipeout.

Insurance: Insurance is a type of side bet offered if the dealer's up card is an Ace. Before the dealer peeks for blackjack, insurance will be offered - giving the player a chance to recoup some potential winnings from a dangerous situation.

Online Blackjack Tips

  • Use a Blackjack strategy chart - To achieve the highest RTP possible, you will need to play using perfect strategy. A strategy chart designed especially for blackjack can be a quick shortcut to mastery.
  • Adjust your strategy based on the rules of the game - Not all blackjack games are equal - and some rule variations can have an instant impact on how you should play a hand. For example, if a dealer can hit on soft 17, then you will need to adjust your strategy or look for an appropriate strategy chart.
  • Find a rule set that works for you - With so many versions of blackjack available, finding your perfect table can be tricky. Take your time and shop around till you find a game with rules that suit your playing style. This was - you are guaranteed to have more fun.

Top 10 Blackjack Variations

There are many versions of blackjack online - each table coming with subtle rule tweaks that evolve the gameplay experience. Here are some favourite variations to try.

Blackjack VariantRTP(%)Description
Live Blackjack99.29%Quintessential online Blackjack with all of the glitz and glam of the land-based experience. Featuring a live casino dealer hosting on a genuine card casino table, this is all the excitement of the Blackjack table from the comfort of your own home.
Free Bet Blackjack98.45%This variation includes two extra features that can be activated completely for free. Double your bet and get the extra 100% free or split any hand of pairs for no additional cost to your current bet.
First-Person Blackjack99.29%This variation gets you even closer to the action to give you the feel of being right at the casino table. Play with up to 5 hands simultaneously against the dealer. Featuring stunning 3d graphics and lightning-fast round results, this is all the excitement of the land casino at your fingertips.
Blackjack X-Change99.68%Upgrade your hand and make real cash on high-value cards on every round. Don’t like your hand? Pay a small fee and swap out your cards for brand new ones to help you agains the dealer.
Lightning Blackjack99.56%Adds exciting win multipliers to hand wins up to 25x your current bet for a Blackjack. Win on any value range and the visible multiplier will be added to your winnings.
Infinite Blackjack99.47%Live Blackjack action with up to 4 additional side bets to heat up the action. Win cash on any two-card pair, when you bust the dealer, or when the dealer has a hot hand of 19+. Infinite possibilities to bag some winnings in this Blackjack variation.
Multihand Blackjack99.69%Multihand Blackjack allows for up to 5 hands to be played at the same time with each having their own dedicated bets. Each hand is played independently against the dealer with winnings being given for each hand that beats the dealer.
Speed Blackjack99.29%Multi-player Blackjack where all player decisions are made at the same time to speed up the action. Take your spot at the table or back another player as they speed their way to victory.
Power Blackjack98.80%Featuring all of the side bets from Lightning and Infinite Blackjack, this variation adds the ability to double, triple or quadruple down on a two-card hand meaning you can add up to 400% to your current bet on a strong hand.
Blackjack Burnout98.67%A Blackjack variation that allows you to ‘burn’ cards in your hand and replace them with the next card in the deck. This feature can be activated after every Hit and can only apply to the last picked up card in your hand.


Is Blackjack 21?

Yes, blackjack and 21 are the same game. The 21 refers to the best hand you can get in the game - otherwise known as blackjack.

What is the blackjack return to player?

If played with perfect strategy, players can receive returns over 99% - which is significantly higher than other gambling games.

Do you win blackjack if you are dealt five cards?

The Five Card Charlie (or 5 Card Trick) rule can apply to some games of blackjack - and upon being dealt a fifth card can instantly win a game. However, this rule is relatively rare.

Does a 5 card hand beat blackjack?

Depending on the rules, 5 cards can beat a hand with 21. It’s always advised to check the rules of the game you are playing to understand the available win conditions.

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