With its user-friendly rules and ease of accessibility at both land-based and online casinos, Blackjack is a popular choice for players who are looking to hone their card playing skills. While the more basic Blackjack game is a great place to start, more advanced variations and strategies keep experienced gamblers coming back for more.
It is considered to be one of the simplest card games that you can learn and is a popular choice for social players because you don’t need much more than just a deck of playing cards. Brick and mortar casinos often use between 6 and 8 decks at each table to avoid the risk of card sharks, however, playing the game at home can be done with just a single deck.
Because it is a game that can be played at home, when players encounter it in a casino environment, it doesn’t seem as intimidating as other card games like poker where the variations can be mind-boggling and the stakes high. As such, this makes it a very popular table game at casinos all over the world.
To play Blackjack, you need to understand what each card is worth.
Playing cards 2-9 have their respective face values, 2 = 2, 3 = 3 etc while cards 10, Jack, Queen, King are valued at 10. The Ace is the only card that can trip a new player up as it can either be valued as 1 or as 11, depending on how the other card values are dealt.
To delve into the Soft 17 rule, we first need to understand what a Hard hand would be. The Ace is not found in this hand. Which means, whatever cards you are dealt, they have their respective face values added together to get to your total.
A Soft Hand is when an Ace is received in addition to your other cards. Depending on which other cards are received, that Ace’s value can change.
Let’s look at a few examples:
- You receive a 10 value card and a 7. Your total is 17
- You receive a 6 and an Ace. Your total is Soft 17 because the Ace can be 1, which would make it total 7, or it could be valued at 11 which would get you to a Soft 17
According to the rules, the dealer needs to hit for a hand valued at 16 and stand for hands that have a value of 17 or more.
You, on the other hand, can do whatever you like. Choosing to double down, hit, stand, or split is entirely up to you
At some casinos, the rules dictate that the Dealer stands at 17, no matter whether it is hard or soft, which makes it more likely that you can win.
Rules of Blackjack
Blackjack is often called 21 because that is the objective of the game. Receive cards to the value of 21, or as close as possible, and don’t bust by going over that number.
Each game will start with punters placing their bets. While table limits in land-based casinos can range from a few dollars to a few thousand, online casinos allow you to play hands for less than $1.
Once the bets are placed, the dealer shuffles the deck and deals one card per person in a clockwise direction. The dealer also then takes a card for himself. The second round of cards are dealt but the dealer’s card is a secret.
In the case of an online casino, the deck is housed in a shoe that holds multiple decks. As the shoe is automatically shuffled after each hand, no physical shuffling of cards is seen.
Once everyone has their cards, each player assesses their 2 cards and makes decisions based on what they have received. In an ideal situation, the winning player receives a 10 value card like a 10, Jack, King, Queen and an Ace. This is considered a Natural Blackjack and an automatic win.
Should you receive 2x 10 value cards, many Blackjack games allow you to split those 10s into 2 separate hands and receive 2 more cards for an additional stake. You then have 2 chances to win the round!
When you receive cards to the value of 7, 8 or 9, you will have the option to double down for an additional stake. The dealer will then issue you with another card which you can then use to help you decide as to the best way forward.
Stand or Hit
Once everyone has received their cards, the Dealer’s hidden card is revealed. If it totals 17 or more, the Dealer must stand.
The other players can then each decide if they want to stand or take another card as they try to get closer to 21.
Should your cards total more than 21, the game ends. Should you be the closest to 21, you win that round and double your stake in winnings!
Should the dealer’s first card be an Ace, you can take insurance in the form of a side bet of half the original stake. Once the dealer has revealed the card (and should that card lead him to have a Blackjack), those players who have purchased insurance will be rewarded!
Playtech has a version of blackjack called Blackjack Surrender that allows you to surrender your cards if you choose to do so. You’ll still receive half of your bet to soften the blow.
While many of these options are not available at land-based casinos, there is a wide range of online options to choose from where testing strategies can even be done for free by playing the demo version of the game.
As demo versions allow you to play using free virtual credit, wins are virtual too. These games are perfect for understanding the game and how betting works.
Best Blackjack Strategy
As the value of your cards is so crucial to your success, managing the cards you are dealt is the key to winning more games.
Making use of side bets like doubling down and surrendering will help you to play the game to the best of your ability.
How to win at Blackjack
As with most card games, keeping an eye on the cards that were dealt before and who received the winning hand can help when it comes to making decisions about what to do in future rounds.
Ultimately, taking care to choose your next step carefully is the only way to avoid going bust.
Depending on the Blackjack variation you are playing, there are helpful blackjack charts you can memorize to help you learn to play the game. Professional blackjack players have found that following a specific strategy when it comes to certain card combinations can lead to a win more often, and have created these charts to assist others to do the same.
While you would never be allowed to use a printed out version of the chart at a land-based casino, having a copy near your computer can go a long way in helping you understand which cards come up more frequently, and what to do when high-value card combinations come up.
Live casino offers the best of both worlds where you can enjoy all the excitement and ambience of a real-life experience while sitting in the comfort of your own home. Live dealer Blackjack, in particular, is available in various languages, styles and table limits which gives you the option of finding one to suit your needs.
All these variations are available at the click of a button and, depending on the version you’ve selected, offer different side bets and options to make the game even more exciting.
Once you’ve honed your skills, VIP Blackjack is the perfect variation for you to try where you can place large bets on each hand, for the chance to win large cash prizes.
In Evolution Gaming’s Live VIP Blackjack, there is a space for 7 players and, once those seats are filled, the game begins.
Players need to place their bets and side bets before the cards are dealt and, as mentioned in the rules above, each player receives 2 cards.
Stakes range between $250 and $5,000 in this High Roller game.
This is the perfect game for you if you love multitasking and are keen to juggle more than one hand of cards at a time.
Once you have placed the necessary bets per the number of hands you wish to play, the dealer deals the cards as usual and, depending on what you have received, you are paid out accordingly.
What are the Odds?
Blackjack has the lowest odds of most casino games. While you can expect to see odds of between 4 – 6% for some games, the ideal house edge for blackjack is 2%.
The more decks used, the greater the house edge, so playing variations like single deck blackjack will mean that there is a greater chance you will win more often.
Managing your Bankroll
As with all games of chance, getting caught up in the game of Blackjack should be all about the fun. This is why making use of the responsible gambling tools available can go a long way in making sure that gambling remains fun.
Before you start playing, carefully think about your budget and set your limits accordingly. Reputable casinos encourage players to set daily, weekly or monthly deposit limits to manage their budget and play responsibly.
Game providers have added a pop-up notification that offers you a summary of your gameplay every hour, showing you how long you’ve been playing and spent.
This handy tool helps you to step away from the screen and reassess your gameplay. Should it be time to take a break, the customer support team will be glad to help.
Should you find that gambling has started to have an impact on your lifestyle and that of your loved ones, requesting that your account be locked for up to 5 years can help you.
Where to play Live Blackjack?
New online casinos pop up on the gaming horizon almost every month and it is sometimes tricky to tell which one will work for you. Looking for a reputable casino takes some time which is why we do all the hard work for you!
All casinos reviewed here are licenced, audited and safe which means that they are your best bet for playing casino games and having fun. Visit out Where to Play page to find the best Online Live Casinos we have found for you.
Look out for an online casino that ticks all of your boxes and makes you feel comfortable. A valid license, games that are fair and verified, plus secure banking makes all the difference!
As long as these components are present, this is a good guideline to indicate that the casino is above board and legitimate.