Gambling.org: Blackjack

Online Blackjack

Learn everything that you need to know before playing blackjack online for real money or trying your luck in a local gaming spot.

Blackjack

Play Online Blackjack for Real Money

It’s a classic game, but how many people can honestly say they know how to play blackjack. 

You don’t want to be at a card table with your friends and find out you’re the only one who can’t keep up! 

This blog will be your resource on absolutely everything you need to step up your blackjack game

What is blackjack?

Maybe you’ve heard of Twenty-One. Blackjack (21) shares the same winning concept.

It’s in the “strategy” family of gambling card games because you, the players, can gain a slight mathematical advantage over the casino’s dealer when you play basic blackjack strategy combined with a hi-lo card counting technique. 

In blackjack casino rules, that dealer has special rules they must follow, but more on this later. 

What is the object of the game?

Luckily, unlike many other gambling card games, blackjack has a very simple objective. 

You are playing cards in order to be the closest at the table to 21. Easy, right? Not so. 

Some of the players’ cards will be secret, known only to their holder. And, if you go over–even by just one–you bust! That is an automatic loss. 

So, you’re looking to get the highest number, without going over 21. 

How is that possible?

Well, it wouldn’t be much of a gamble if it were all straight forward. 

You increase your chances of winning by doubling down, splitting, hitting hands and hoping for a dealer bust all at different times depending on the cards on the table and the cards that have already been played out of the shoe. .

Let’s get to the rules. Once you know how to play, the strategy will emerge. 

How do you play blackjack?

Blackjack is played over a series of actions and player decisions. 

  1. Place initial bets
  2. Dealer shuffles
  3. Players are dealt one face-up card and one face-down card
  4. Players check and are payed for “blackjacks”
  5. One at a time, players choose to stand or hit 
  6. Dealer complete’s their play
  7. Cards are revealed and a winner is chosen. 

Let’s go into these steps with a bit more detail.

Initial bets

Even before a single card is dealt, the first bets are placed. Whether you’re playing at home, online, or in a casino–it is important to pay attention to betting limits. 

Once you know how much or how little you can bet, place your bets and move on to the game.

Shuffling

Blackjack is typically played with a standard 52 card deck. However, at some casinos, up to six of these decks are used. 

The addition of each deck increases, slightly, the house advantage over the game.

During this step, the dealer shuffles the deck or decks. 

Then, in a formal or casino setting, they will ask a player to insert a plastic card into the bottom of the deck to separate out a few cards. These cards will not be used. 

It seems odd, but this is a tradition to impair card counters from running away with the game.

Dealing Initial Hand

The dealer than gives each player around the table their starting hand.

This consists of one face-up card to each player. Then, one face-down card to each player. 

At this point the players can look at their own face-down cards and add up the total of the two cards. 

  • Number cards are worth their value
  • Face cards are worth 10
  • Aces can be worth 1 or 11 (to the player’s advantage)

“Naturals” or Blackjack

At this point, if any of the players or the dealer, have a 21–or a blackjack–they are immediately paid out. Typically this win gives them 1.5x their original bet. 

If no player has a natural, play continues.

Hit or Stand

Each player has the choice to “hit” or “stand” when the dealer comes to them. 

You can announce your actions aloud or signal the dealer. 

  • Signal a “hit” by scratching the table with two fingers or by making a “come here” gesture with your hand (palm up)
  • Signal a “stand” by waving a flat hand (palm down) across the table

A “hit” means you will take another card. It is an attempt to get closer to the target of 21. 

A “stand” means you will not take any more cards. You are either high enough, or may bust if you take more cards.

There has plenty of strategies and blackjack tricks to learn. The best way to learn is to just start playing. 

Additional Player Actions

There are a few more things a player can do.

  • Split pairs
  • Double down

Splitting pairs only happens in the specific instance that both of a player’s original cards are the same. 

If this is the case, they can choose to split them. Thus making two separate hands to be treated entirely as such. 

A second, equal bet is necessary to do this move. 

Doubling down only happens when a player’s original hand totals 9, 10 or 11. 

If this is the case, they can, instead of playing out their turn as normal, double their bet and receive just one face-down card. The card is not revealed until all bets are claimed at the end of the game.

To clarify, a player may be dealt, as their original hand, a pair of fives. If this happens, they will then have the option to play a split pair, double down on their bet, or to hit and stand as normal.

The Dealer’s Turn

The dealer’s turn is as good as automated. This is part of what makes Blackjack a terrific game to play online

The dealer must hit if their hand totals less than 17. And the dealer must stand if their hand totals 17 or more.

But, still they have the advantage for several reasons.

Nothing is left to chance. They will almost never bust because of their restrictions.

And, since players lose their bets as soon as they bust, the house keeps money even if the dealer busts later.

How to Start Playing

Luckily, an important blackjack tip, is that you need nothing to start playing.

You can play with a standard deck of cards, sure. 

But, you can also gamble online. If you have an interest in blackjack, it’s time to check out your local online gambling rules and get started!