How To Play Blackjack

How To Play Blackjack

Blackjack is a popular card game that you can learn in a few minutes. The main objective of the game is for you to have a card count that is higher than the dealer’s count and it should not exceed 21. In This article, I will briefly explain how the game is played and after having understood this article, you should be able to play any blackjack variation.

Understanding The Card Counting Terminology

Most common Blackjack variations are played with two or more decks and each variation has its own set of rules but the concept of play is identical. Each card is given a point value, face cards are given a point equal to their numerical value reflected on the card while Kings, Queens, Jacks are given a point value of 10 and the Aces can represent two point values either 1 or 11.

Therefore, when cards are dealt on the board, both the dealer and the player should hold a hand with point values not exceeding 21.  Players including the dealer having cards with point values over 21 lose their hand. From understanding the card count, we will now look at the terms used in blackjack.

Fundamental Blackjack terms

The fundamental blackjack terms you should know in order to get started are Blackjack, Bust, Hit, Stand, and Push

A Blackjack is when your first two cards make a total count of 21. The Ace and any 10 (K, Q, J, T) are the only two cards that can make a blackjack. By getting a Blackjack, you automatically receive a dividend against your bet and there is no need for you to wait for the dealer to take action.

A Bust is a term used when a card count goes over 21. The dealer and the player are both likely to bust. If the card count of the dealer is a bust, all players with a card count below 21 automatically win and the reverse is true. If you bust, your bet is automatically forfeited by the dealer disregard to whether the dealer busts or not.

Hit and Stand are two common betting options used in blackjack. The Hit is used by the player each time s/he wants an additional card and the Stand is used when you opt to stay in the game or as a way of notifying the dealer that you have finalized your betting actions. Please note, after a Stand, you cannot proceed with any other betting action.

The Push is used when a player’s hand value is equal to the dealer’s hand value. In this case, a player with a push does not win or lose at which it is often known as a draw. But in the event of a Blackjack, the player automatically receives a payout.

Game Proceeds

Blackjack is the only casino game at which players will get to play against the house. However, the house is given two added advantages which include;

  • The dealer is the last player to take action on the table when all players have taken action.
  • One of the dealer’s card is not exposed

Hence, this gives the casino a house edge of 0.17% – 0.64% depending on the number of decks being used. However, players are also able to get an added advantage over the house during game play when using various card counting techniques (read article ‘understanding card counting techniques’).

According to the variation being played, a blackjack table can have a max of 4 or 5 players. The dealer is situated at the top-center of the table and the card deck can be located at the left or right-hand side of the dealer (read article ‘understanding the blackjack table’).

Firstly, all players will set aside the total amount they are willing to bet with. Secondly, each player is dealt with two cards (face-up), the dealer is the last man to receive two cards (one face up and the other face-down) and betting action commences with the first player seated to the left-hand side of the dealer. According to the variation being played, each player is given a set of betting actions on the table which include Stand, Hit, Double Down, Spilt, Surrender, and Insurance.

Other terms used in blackjack

Other terms used in blackjack include Double Down, Surrender, Insurance, Soft Hand, and Split. All these terms with exception of the Soft hand are used as betting actions.

A soft hand in blackjack is a hand that is less likely to bust. For instance, a soft hand can be a hand with point values less than 11. Hence, the hand is denoted as soft at which the player can call any card and will not bust.  In most casino rooms, it is a rule for the dealer to reach ‘soft 17’. This means that the dealer should only target reaching a hand value of 17 points rather than aiming for 21.  This rule also gives an added advantage to the players at which it becomes easier to beat the dealer’s hand.

The Double Down betting option allows a player to double the bet and automatically stand.  However, other blackjack variations can allow you to double down on any hand while other variations allow you to double down on a hand with point values lower than 11 or total values of 11, 10 and 9 only.

The split betting option allows a player to split a hand given that your first 2 cards are of the same rank. Your hand is split and each hand is given the same value of your initial bet. However, some variations will only allow you to split on Aces and others will only allow you to split once.  Please note: your bankroll is used to match your initial bet and if it is insufficient, you cannot split your hand.

The surrender option is used when a player feels that s/he may lose the hand. By opting to surrender, the dealer will forfeit half of your bet. Before sitting on any blackjack table, you should enquire with the casino room if they allow the surrender option.

The Insurance is a betting option given to players when the dealer shows an Ace as the face-up card. The insurance allows a player to place an additional bet if s/he anticipates that the dealer is holding a blackjack. Hence, by placing an additional bet is known as taking insurance. If the dealer reveals the face-down card is a 10 meaning that the dealer has a blackjack, players who did not take insurance will lose while the players who took insurance win. If the dealer reveals a card that does not make a blackjack, players who took insurance will lose their insurance bet only.

The next step to take in understanding blackjack knows the payouts and this will be covered in the next articles.

How to play blackjack online

Playing online blackjack is extremely simple and you won’t have to worry about a lot of inconveniences that come with playing in the land based casinos. Once you have become a registered player at a casino and have deposited funds into your account you can select to play the game of blackjack you wish to participate in. At just about all online casinos the game will open up in a second window.

Place Your Bets

In order to begin a hand of blackjack you will select the chip value you want to wager by clicking on the chip. If you wish to add more chips then you will click the chip the number of times it takes to get to the bet you want to place. Once you have placed your bets you will need to click on the “Deal” button. This will cause the cards to be dealt to both yourself and the dealer. If you want to learn how to play blackjack, you should also be aware of the insurance option. On some of the online casinos you will have the ability to purchase insurance. If the dealer gets an ace which is facing up, then you may want to purchase insurance by clicking on the “insurance” button.

Hit, stand or double down

Once the hands have been dealt you will look at your cards and decide on whether you wish to hit, stand or double down. You can choose by clicking the “hit”, “stand” and “double” buttons which are generally located on the bottom portion of the screen. Once you made your choice it will be the dealers turn. The dealer will be required to keep dealing more cards to himself until he reaches a total of at least 17. Once the dealer is done the hand will come to an end and the winner will be paid out.

How to play blackjack – Different games, different rules

It is important for you to realize that there are different forms of the game and different rules may apply. The best thing you can do is to be sure you read the rules for each blackjack game on every online casino you plan on playing on. This way, you won’t be surprised by something you should have been aware of all along. Always make sure you have a solid money management system put in place and be sure to follow it in a disciplined manner. Never play any games that aren’t within your budget since you can never tell ahead of time how the game is going to go. You may get lucky, but need to be prepared for the worst.

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