Blackjack Rules, Strategy, and Tips

Blackjack is one of the first card games most people learn how to play. It’s very easy to play and it will only take you a minute or two to learn the rules. One factor about blackjack that a lot of people like is the fact the game requires skill. Blackjack has a luck factor, but there is also a skill factor involved. Typically the house edge in blackjack is around 5%, but if you use basic strategy you can lower the house edge down to less than 1%.

Blackjack Rules

Like I mentioned above, blackjack is a very easy card game to learn how to play. Blackjack can be played with 1 or multiple decks and most blackjack games use multiple decks to help prevent card counters from gaining a huge edge. Once sitting at the table you need to place a bet at the start of each hand. Every blackjack table will have a table minimum that you must bet and in most cases there is also a maximum amount that you can bet on a single hand of blackjack.

Once every player places their bet the dealer will start dealing out two cards to each player. The dealer starts dealing to their left with each player being dealt two face-up cards (One at a time). The dealer’s first card is dealt face-up, but the dealer’s second card is dealt face-down so that nobody can see the card. After the deal each player with a hand is allowed to play their hand. There are multiple plays each player can make, which we’ll describe below. The action always starts with the dealer that was dealt first card.

In blackjack the goal is to beat the dealer’s hand only and not the other players at the table. To beat the dealer in blackjack you need to be closer to 21 than the dealer without going over (Busting). Each card in blackjack has a value and it’s important that you remember what value each card has to determine your total and your nest play.

Blackjack Card Values

Aces – 11 or 1

Kings – Tens – 10

Nines – Twos – Value of the card (For instance, an 8 = 8 and a 4 = 4)

Blackjack Lingo

When it’s your turn you’ll be able to play your hand by making the moves you want. Before we get into some tips for blackjack and strategy we’re going to explain each of the plays you can make during a blackjack hand.

Hit – When you “hit” you’re telling the dealer to deal one card to your hand.

Stand – When you “stand” you’re telling the dealer you don’t want anymore cards.

Double Down – When you “double down” you’re telling the dealer you want 1 more card and that you’re doubling your bet (Once you double down you can’t make another play).

Splitting Pairs – When you “split pairs” you’re telling the dealer to make two separate hands using your pair. You need to make another bet that’s equal to your initial wager. You get to play the hands out like any other hand.

Insurance – “Insurance” is a side bet in blackjack. If the dealer is dealt an ace players are given the option of buying insurance. If the dealer ends up getting a natural blackjack insurance pays out 2:1.

Surrender – Some blackjack games allow players to “surrender”, which simply means you don’t want to play your hand and you want half your bet back. You can only surrender before making any other play and not every variation of blackjack offers the ability to surrender half your bet.

How to Win in Blackjack

You need to be closer to 21 than the dealer is to win in blackjack. Blackjack pays out 1:1 (Even money) unless you happen to win with a natural blackjack, which pays out 3:2. A natural blackjack is when you’re dealt an ace and any 10 valued card on the deal, but don’t expect too many of them when playing blackjack. If you and the dealer’s hand is a tie than the hand is a push and you receive your initial bet back. In most blackjack games the dealer has to stand once they’re at 17, which means that if the dealer has a 17 or higher total they can’t take another card to try and beat players.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

As soon as you’re done learning blackjack rules you need to learn the basic strategy. There is blackjack charts all over the internet that will show you exactly how you should play your hand. You simply look at your hand total on the left and the dealer’s up-card at the top to determine what you should do. Follow both rows until you reach a point and there will be a letter telling you whether you should hit, stand, double down or split your pair.

Blackjack Tips & Strategy

You need to make sure you learn the basic strategy chart and memorize everything above. Basic strategy takes the house edge down to less than 1% in blackjack and therefore you can potentially go on a nice run.

You definitely shouldn’t split every pair. There are some pairs that you should never split and there are some pairs that you shouldn’t split when the dealer has a certain up-card. Splitting pairs can cost you 2 units very quickly if you don’t hit on your 2nd card after splitting.

There are lots of card counting systems that players have used throughout the years. Card counting isn’t going to help you beat online blackjack games because the decks are huge and reshuffled very often. Typically 25%-35% of the deck isn’t even used in blackjack to prevent card counters from betting when the deck is loaded.

Make sure you understand that dealers have to play their hand a forced way every time. Most blackjack games the dealer is forced to stand on 17 or higher. This will weight into your strategy a lot. If the dealer has a 6 there is a good chance the dealer will bust and therefore it’s a better time to double down or split pairs if possible.

Buying insurance is a suckers bet that has a huge house edge. There is no doubt people win with insurance, but the math shows up that insurance has a huge house edge and it isn’t worth the premium you’re paying. The odds time good blackjack players will buy insurance, but that’s only if they feel the shoe is loaded with 10’s.

Generally splitting 10’s – King’s in blackjack is a bad idea unless the dealer has a very low up-card. The only other time it can be profitable to split 10’s – King’s is when you’re counting cards and the deck is positive 5 or better. The dealer also has to have a 6 or 7 as their up-card.

Normally when you have a 16 it’s a good idea to hit and take another card to try and improve even if the dealer has an up-card of 7 or higher. There are situations when standing is a better strategy, but only if you’ve been counting the deck and the deck is positive 1 or higher.

Make sure you employ a staking strategy when playing blackjack. There are multiple staking strategies that you can try using. We like using a progressive betting strategy so that we can maximize our full bankroll when we’re winning and ensure we’re not overextending our bankroll during streaks with limited winning hands.

Apart from basic blackjack strategy players should learn card counting strategies if they plan on playing live. There are now a lot of different card counting strategies that blackjack players can utilize. A few of the most popular blackjack card counting strategies include Hi-Lo, Hi-Opt I, Hi-Opt II, Uston SS and many others. Card counting is much easier than most players assume, but you obviously need to make sure it isn’t obvious if playing in brick and mortar casinos.

In conclusion when your going out of town with your friends for some entertainment or decide to even play blackjack online this is indeed a game you can win on. It’s very important to stick with money management and recommended hand strategies while playing.

A few other quick pointers is to avoid blackjack tables that pay 6/5 instead of the regular 3/2. Let’s face it, the game is beatable but if your not wise enough to take advantage of promotions you can receive while joining one of our online casinos your really missing out. Get the most for your return and stick with solid advice provided and the odds will be in your favor of walking away ahead.

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