One of the things that makes Blackjack such a popular game at both land-based and online casinos in Ireland is the simplicity of the game rules. Once you have learned the basic principles of the card game, you will be able to adapt to the variations of Blackjack found in the marketplace.
Of course, once a keen understanding of the rules and a little helpful strategy (link to poker strategies page) come together in unison, you will be able to narrow the house edge to a measly 0.5%, making Blackjack the game that you will most likely win at on the casino floor.
Read this guide and learn more about the rules behind the game of 21 and set yourself up for an exciting and rewarding time at the casino tables.
What Is My Objective When Playing Blackjack?
Games are made for winning, and to do that in Blackjack, you must outplay the dealer by creating a winning hand that is closer to 21 without going over that value (going bust). The individual with a hand value closest to 21 will win the round and take home the favourable cash prize at stake.
The result is achieved by evaluating your initial unique 2-card hand and making possible additions to it to enhance it. If the combined value of the cards is not close enough to land the optimum 21 score, you can conveniently request more cards (one at a time) from the dealer until you are happy with your hand or until you overshoot the 21 mark, in which case the dealer wins.
To achieve the optimum hand values, you must be familiar with the unique rankings of each card in the deck:
- 2 to 10 each carry their face value.
- Jack, Queen, and King are all valued at 10.
- The Ace is the magic card as it can either be a 1 or an 11 to suit your strategy.
There is a precise order of play involved when playing Blackjack, so stay tuned to learn more about this below so that you can play it seamlessly.
What is Natural Blackjack?
The game gets its name from the highest-ranking hand possible. A Blackjack is a 2-card 21, which is your best possible outcome in any game round and an assurance of a guaranteed win.
It comprises of a 10-value card (10 or royal) and an Ace. If the dealer does not have a Blackjack, you automatically win the round and will usually be rewarded with a generous 3:2 odds on your wager.
Is the Ace a Unique Card in Blackjack?
The Ace is the most player-friendly card in the pack. It provides versatility which can save the player’s round. It can be used conveniently as both a value of 11 or a value of 1.
In the case that you use it as an eleven and somehow manage to go bust, the value of the card will change to 1 and you may find yourself in the safe zone again. Much strategic gameplay revolves around the use of the Ace when playing Blackjack like a pro.
What is the Order of Play in Blackjack?
Like with all casino games, there is a very specific passage of play that is followed at the Blackjack table to ensure optimal efficiency and seamless flow. The dealer is responsible for competently hosting the game and will direct the order of things as smoothly as possible.
This structure remains constant and reliable, so to learn it will stand you in good stead at any Blackjack table.
- You will place your desired wager in your betting space on the table.
- Once betting is complete, the cards will be dealt in a clockwise direction at the table.
- The player’s cards are received face up, a card at a time.
- You will receive 2-cards initially before the game commences.
- The dealer’s cards will show one card up and one card down (hole card). The mystery of the hole card is where the house edge comes into play.
- Hands are played out to completion one player at a time from the dealer’s left.
It is important to remember that the dealer will serve each player individually, one at a time.
As a player, you will make your decisions and complete your hand before the host continues on to the next consecutive player. At a Live Casino, this process is quite speedy.
Are There Particular Rules for the Dealer?
There are specific table rules when it comes to the dealer’s options in the game, which plays out in your favour, especially when it comes to their receiving of new cards. The dealer will be required to play up until 17 and then stand on either a soft or hard 17 or more, depending on the table rules.
The explanation of the two is easy to understand.
A soft 17 or more is a hand with a value of 17 or more where an Ace is in play. With this rule, the dealer will stand on this value whether they win the round or not. This is the most popular and accepted table rule at classic Blackjack tables at Irish-friendly casinos.
A hard 17 or more, means that the hand equals 17 or more without the use of an Ace. If this is the rule at the table, the dealer can play on when the ace is in play and may conveniently use it as a 1 if it is of great benefit to their hand.
Are There Table Wagering Limits to Consider?
All Blackjack tables come with useful Table Limits. This speaks of the size of the bets allowed in that particular game. Different tables have unique requirements, so it is best to make sure you know the limits before you play.
Table limits are a helpful guide to distinguishing whether the game meets your unique budget expectations. Different limits cater specifically to the convenience of a player’s pocket and skill level.
The dealer will gladly inform you of the wagering parameters of the game if it is not already displayed clearly on the table. Online gamers have the convenience of a helpful dropdown rule chart on most of the exciting Blackjack games they play.
How Many Cards Are Used When Playing Blackjack?
Blackjack card decks are made up of a standard 52-card pack. Different exciting variants of the game use a unique number of decks. The most popular game variants will include either a single deck, 6 decks, or 8 decks in the dealer’s shoe.
How Do You Split a Hand in Blackjack?
Splitting a hand in Blackjack essentially gives you the advantage of being able to play two unique hands at one time for an added chance of winning the round. You can conveniently split your hand if you are dealt two cards of the same value (like 2x 9s or 2x 8s, etc).
The cards will then be separated into two unique hands. You will need to place a wager equal to your initial one on the new hand, and the dealer will top up each hand with a second complimenting card. The excitement is essentially intensified.
Be sure to read up on the best strategy for Splitting hands in our Blackjack Strategies Page and turn this gameplay to your advantage at the right moments.
What Does the Useful Double Down Entail in the Game?
A Double Down in Blackjack is probably one of the best moves in the game if you can execute it properly and pull off the win, as you stand to win far more than you would have with classic play.
Once you have received the ideal cards and the situation is optimal, you may ask the dealer to double down on your hand. You will then be allowed to double your stake in an attempt for a more lucrative win.
Once the bet is doubled, the dealer will supply one more card to you, which will hopefully work out wonderfully in your favour. Should your hand rank well and you win, the rewards will payout at a favourable 1:1 odds on your increased wager for a higher win than originally anticipated.
Doubling down is a fine art in Blackjack and forms part of an advanced strategy that you would do well to learn to increase your edge each time you face the dealer. Learn more about this valuable move on our Blackjack Strategies page.
Are There Any Exciting Side-Bets Available in Blackjack?
Blackjack is full of excitement. Part of that entertainment value comes from the additional bonus bets/side-bets possible at some of the tables you play at. While there are quite a few side-bet options, the three most prominent ones for Irish players include:
This is the most popular side-bet available at Blackjack tables and can be played if the dealer displays an Ace up-card. If this is the fact, it could mean that they are holding a Blackjack, in which case they will automatically win the round. At this point, the game/dealer will ask you if you would like to take insurance.
If you opt to take it, you will pay half your original stake into the insurance kitty. If they do land a Blackjack, you will win 2:1 odds on that side-bet, which will soften the blow of your original hand in that round.
Before the cards are dealt, some of the top tables may allow you to play this lucrative and exciting side bet. It involves a bit of fancy poker play in its unique mechanic. You will be paid out a reward based on the value of one of 5 possible hands that are made up of your two cards and the dealer’s face card:
- Flush (suited cards) pays a reasonable 5:1
- Straight (consecutive numbers) pays a favourable 10:1
- Three of a Kind (same card values) pays 30:1
- Straight Flush (consecutive card values all in the same suit) pays a decent 40:1
- Suited Triple (three of the same card value, and suit) pays a generous 100:1
Perfect Pair Side Bet
This unique bet should also be played before the cards are dealt. It will pay out favourably if you are dealt a matching pair of any kind. The type of pair landed will determine the reward that you receive:
- Perfect Pair (two cards of the same value, and suit) will pay a lucrative 25:1
- Coloured Pair (two cards of the same value and the same colour, but different suit) will pay a favourable 12:1
- Mixed Pair (two of the same value, but different suit and colour) will pay a decent 5:1
Classic play will increase your odds at winning, while side bets provide you with a fantastic opportunity to increase your win size and are often played by high rollers. The house edge on these types of side-bets is increased in their favour to between 6.29% and 8.78% in this case.
Is the Art of Card Counting Allowed at Blackjack Tables?
Card counting is a strategy that many professional Blackjack players use to get an extended edge at the casino.
It works on the law of averages and becomes easier to do, the fewer card decks are used in a shoe and the more players there are at the table. For this reason, casinos will stack the shoes with up to 8 decks sometimes to offset this clever strategy.
We suggest that you use strategies that are more acceptable to casino operators.
What are the Unwritten Rules When Playing Live Blackjack?
Playing virtual online Blackjack is the easiest form of the game. Because you play on your own, the code of conduct is far more lenient. When you play Live Blackjack and Land-Based Blackjack, you play with a real dealer and other players at the table. It is in this immersive social environment that a degree of unwritten etiquette must come into play to ensure that the entertainment remains enjoyable for all parties involved. Some of the principles of common decency include:
Play In Time: Make sure that you play timeously within the passage of play so that the game can maintain its natural flow
Courtesy: Remain cordial with both the dealer and other players at the table. This ensures that everyone has fun. Always congratulate other players on their wins and follow the instructions of the dealer.
Know the Game: Be sure that you are clear about the table rules and the passage of play at the table. It could be extremely useful to watch live casino games on the internet to help adequately prepare you for the real live action. Be sure you understand the concepts in this helpful guide to give you the edge and confidence needed to enjoy Live entertainment.
Table Limits: Familiarise yourself with the bet-spread at a table before occupying space there.
Table etiquette is an acceptable ethical set of values that ensures that you remain a pleasure at the Blackjack table.