Sports Betting Expert
Blackjack- it's been the staple of casino movies since casino movies, and is one of the first games people think of when they imagine gambling. Thanks to the advent of online casinos, it's easier than ever to get on a number of apps and bet on blackjack from your phone or computer.
The main objective when playing blackjack is to beat the dealer, regardless of what everyone else at the table does. Doing this is pretty simple. To win a blackjack hand, all you have to do is have the total value of your cards add up to 21 or lower, while the dealer either has a lower total than you or goes over 21, which is called a bust.
When the cards are first dealt, you will be dealt two cards, both face up, while the dealer will have one card up and one down. The dealer will then go clockwise around the table asking if you want to "hit", which means to receive another card, or "stay", which you would not receive another. You can choose to hit as many times as you want as long as you remain under 21. If you are dealt two of the same card; for example, if you get dealt two 8s, you can choose to "split", which means that you get to play each card as its own hand, which gives you more chances to win.
Blackjack Card Values
When you're playing blackjack, keeping card values in mind is of paramount importance. Card values in blackjack are simple for the most part. From 2 to 10, the values stay as their number. An ace will function as either a 1 or 11. Lastly, kings, queens, and jacks are are valued as 10.
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HOW TO PLAY A HAND IN BLACKJACK
Player Buys In
To buy in at a blackjack table, you obviously need to put down some money. If you are in an actual casino, you will need to purchase casino chips with money to be able to sit at the table. If you are playing on an online casino on one of your favorite apps, you'll need to deposit money into your casino wallet on that app and then buy in that way.
Player Places a Wager
When you go to place a wager at a casino, you'll put your wager in front of you, there will be a designated area for you to put it in every time. Do not touch the wager after the dealer starts to deal.
Dealer Deals the Cards
The dealer will deal clockwise from the right side of the table to the left.
Player Decides How to Play Hand
You can do one of four things when you get dealt your blackjack hand. The first option you have is to stay, which means you no longer want another card. You would typically do this when your holding is between 17-20. You can also hit, which is where the dealer will give you another card, and you have the option to do this until you hold 22 or higher. You can double down, which means you also doubling your bet and you will receive one extra card only, a strategy used when you are holding a card that with one card can beat the dealer's holding most of the time. Lastly, you can split your hand, which as explained above allows you to play two separate hands when you are dealt two of the same numbered/faced cards.
Dealer Plays Hand
Once all players at the table have concluded their own actions, the dealer will use their face-up card to flip over the face-down card and reveal their hand. If they are showing a hand value that is less than 17 (or a soft 17), they will deal cards to themselves until they either get inside the 17-21 range or they bust. Once the dealer busts or wins, the hand is automatically over and players will be paid out or have their chips collected by the house.
HOW BLACKJACK PAYOUTS WORK
Payouts are your goal when playing blackjack, and there are a ton of different ways to beat the house. It's not likely that you'll win against the house over time, but if you do beat the dealer, it'll look like this:
When the dealer gets their cards, they will have one card face up and another face down. Once all the player action is completed, the dealer will then flip their second card and if they have a total of 16 or less, they will continue to add cards until they have at least 17. If the dealer goes over 21, they bust, and the players all win automatically.
Dealer Makes Hand
As noted above, the dealer will play until they have at least 17, and then they'll no longer draw cards. However, if dealer is drawn a "soft" 17, which means they're drawn an Ace and a 6, they have to hit until they get a regular 17 or higher. If the dealer makes a hand in between 17 and 21, all bets lower will lose in that instance.
There are a few special payouts in blackjack. One such payout is called insurance, and you are eligible to take insurance when the dealer is showing an ace. Insurance means that if the dealer has blackjack in that scenario, you will win on your insurance bet, and the odds are usually 2 to 1, meaning you would get paid double your bet.
Blackjack is obviously the name of the game, but it also refers to a hand that you are most targeting to get while playing. Getting blackjack is when you are dealt two cards that add up to 21 by themselves. These hands are made by getting an ace as well as either a king, queen, jack, or ten.
One more interesting special payout is a side game called "Match the Dealer", and the way this works is you put however much down on the MTD button and there are a series of odds for payouts. If you get the same value card but not the same suit, you may get paid out 2 to 1. But if you get the same card AND the same suit, you could win 10 to 1 on that bet. Since blackjack is commonly played with a shoe of 6-8 decks, this happens more than you might think and it can be a fun bet to have on the side.
Of course, these rules aren't going to apply for online play: you don't need etiquette when you're betting with some of the best casino apps on the market. However, if you're used to playing online and you get to a real table at an in-person, retail casino, you might want to look like you know what you're doing by avoiding the following gaffes:
Handing Direct Money to Dealer
You are not supposed to hand your money directly to the dealer when buying in. Place it down on the table instead and the dealer will count it accordingly and give you your desired amount of chips.
Holding Cards with Two Hands
You are also not supposed to pick up your cards with two hands, as it has led to players tampering with or switching their cards in the past.
Touching the Cards
You should never touch the cards once they are dealt to you. This serves the purpose of making sure the casino does not thinking you are tampering with the deck in any way shape or form.
Removing Cards from the Table
You cannot remove your cards from the table once they are pitched to you, for security reasons as well. If the cameras cannot see the cards, the casino doesn't know if you are trying to switch them or do anything else untoward.
Touching Chips After Bets Placed
You are not allowed to touch your chips after you place your bets and the dealer has started to deal the cards out to the table. Doing so might infer to the casino that you are not an honest player and are trying to change your bets after you've already seen a card.
HOW TO WIN AT ONLINE BLACKJACK
While there isn't any such thing as a 100% winning strategy with gambling, we recommend the following tips to keep yourself in the game:
Protecting Your Bankroll Is Winning
Winning at gambling does not mean you make the smartest play ever and beat the house- you know that will never happen. To win at gambling is to have fun, and you can have fun by protecting your bankroll. You can do this a number of ways, but the best are to make low-risk bets, to use smart bet amounts, and to take advantage of free bets by signing up with bonus codes like the ones we offer here .
Make Low-Risk Bets
In Blackjack, this is pretty straightforward-- don't hit on 19. If you're close enough, don't get overzealous by thinking you are hitting a lucky streak. Lucky streaks are a lie! Similarly, it's not a good idea to stay when you're at, say, 16 and the dealer is holding two aces: you have a decent shot of hitting. However, even if you're making a risky play, the best way to protect your bankroll is to use smart bet portions and not bet your whole pot: Kelly betting is a good example of this.
Kelly Betting and More
Kelly betting is essentially betting using only a set portion of your total wallet. We see all these poker players on TV going all in and making dramatic plays, but the real staying power is in making small, formulaic bets based on your overall pot size.
If you're continuing your blackjack journey and you stumble across a term that you're unfamiliar with, we've got you covered with this little glossary:
- Blackjack: obviously the name of the game, but also what the hand you are trying to achieve is called, an ace coupled with a ten or picture card, equaling 21
- Bust: when yours or the dealer's holding goes over 21, and you automatically lose
- Double Down: when the dealer's holding looks weak and you want to double down, you double your bet and you receive one extra card, but cannot hit after that, meaning you're stuck with whatever card you draw
- Hit: When you want the dealer to give you another card, you hit
- Split: You receive two of the same card, (example: you get dealt 88) you can split those and play two separate hands off of them.
- Stand: When you are satisfied with your total and no longer want cards, you can elect to stand.
- Bankroll: The amount of money that you have in your possession to play with
- Shoe: Holds multiple decks of cards, since casino blackjack is typically played with 6+ decks
HOW TO PLAY BLACKJACK FAQ
How Does a Blackjack Game Work?
Blackjack works by you playing against the dealer and trying to finish with a high total value to your hand than theirs, without going over the key number of 21.
Why is Blackjack also called '21'?
Well, it's not the most accurate term, but you will find some people online and in-person referring to Blackjack as "21" or "the 21 game" because the goal is to hit a hand value of 21 points, or as close to it as possible.
Should I hit in Blackjack?
There are plenty of places to read the rules of blackjack, but a lot of the time whether you should hit or stand comes down to a judgement call. There are statistics to back decisions up but at the end of the day you are in control of your own decisions.
When should you leave a Blackjack table?
The old saying is that when you're on a heater (winning a lot), you should never leave the table. But it's very important to exercise self-control while gambling and to know your limits. As soon as things turn the other way, you should know to get up.
How do I win at Blackjack?
Listen- there's no such thing as a 100% winning strategy with gambling, other than to only do it for fun. However, there are ways to increase your odds of not losing, including paying attention to cards that have already been dealt, protect your bankroll with smart bets, and to take advantage of casino bonus offers like the exclusive deals we have at VegasInsider.