How to Play Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the simplest games you can play at the casino. If you know how to play it properly, you actually stand a reasonably good chance of winning at Blackjack due to the fact that the most effective Blackjack strategies involve calculating probability.
Like all games at the casino, whether online or offline, you need to switch off your “hunches” and “feelings” in order to be successful. These will notoriously lead you astray. You need to use only your ability to calculate and see whether the hand you have been dealt, in Blackjack or any other game, actually has a good statistical probability of leading t profit.
The Basic Rules of Blackjack
Blackjack is a remarkably simple game with few rules. Here’s how to play a basic game of blackjack:
A game of blackjack is always played against the house.
Each player is dealt two cards to begin with.
The objective of blackjack is to take your cards values as close to 21 as possible without exceeding 21, in which case you will be ‘bust’ and lose automatically.
After receiving his two initial cards, a player may request a ‘hit’ or another card or may decide to ‘stand’, playing with the two cards he/she has initially been dealt.
Face cards (Queen, King, Jack) are worth 10 points.
Number cards retain their value (EG: 2 of spades is worth 2).
Aces can be 1 or 11, depending on what works to the player’s advantage.
As you can see, the simple objective of blackjack is to take your combination of cards as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. You can request as many ‘hits’ as you like.
If you get a combination of 21, for example, an ace and a 10, you have ‘blackjack’ and can’t lose. If you beat the dealer with this combination you will receive a 3:2 payout, EG if you bet $10 you will receive an additional $15 for a total of $25.
If you get a combination of cards which is higher than the dealers but not quite 21, you still win and will receive a 2:1 payout, EG if you bet $10 you will receive an additional $10 for a $20 total.
Terms & Additional Rules of Blackjack
Let’s review some terminology and look at a few other scenarios which may happen during a game of blackjack.
- Hit & Stand: Hit means request another card, while Stand means to play the cards you have.
- Split: If you receive two cards of them same value, EG two 7’s, you can split the bet into two separate bets. In this case, you will receive one more card and no more for each bet. You can only split if the original two cards dealt are of the same value.
- Double Down: If you receive a good hand when the original two cards are dealt you can ‘double down’ or double the original bet. If you opt to double down you will receive one more card.
- Surrender: If the dealers ‘up-card’ is an ace or a ten, you have the option of surrendering. If you choose to surrender you will lose ½ your bet.
- Insurance: If the dealers ‘up card’ is an ace, you can take ‘insurance’. This generally is half of the original bet.
- Push: This is when the house and the player draw. No money exchanges hands in this case.
- Blackjack: A perfect combination of cards totaling exactly 21, EG an ace and a 10.
Blackjack is a game of probability. If you calculate that the combination of cards you are holding has a high probability of beating the dealer, you should ‘stand’ and play your hand.
There are of course no guarantees of victory, but there are various tips & tricks to playing blackjack which can increase your odds of winning. We will explore these in later articles.