Blackjack is the most popular casino card game challenged only by poker. It’s been around for more than a century and many have grown to love it all around the world.
The good news is that you can learn to play it fairly quickly and fall in love too. While not as easy to master, this card game has very simple and straightforward rules.
Blackjack Rules at Casino
Whether you’re going to play online or at a land-based casino, Blackjack has basic universal rules that apply everywhere. Even if you haven’t played it before, you may have heard of the very basics of this game.
- You need to collect cards of a total value of 21, but no more than that
- If you go over the top, you’ll bust and lose instantly
- If you don’t reach 21 precisely, that’s still fine
- You’ll win anyway, as long as you’re closer to 21 than the dealer
Not only does the dealer shuffle and deal the cards to the players, he also deals to himself. All players are opposed to the dealer and his hand plays an essential role in the outcome of each round.
Blackjack Gameplay Order
Blackjack can be played by more than one person at a time, and that’s usually the case everywhere except the single player games online. Here’s how a single round looks like:
- The players place their bets (bet sizes don’t have to be equal among them)
- The dealer deals two cards face-up to each player and two cards to himself, leaving one of them face-down
- If neither you nor the dealer has a blackjack (total card value of 21), you may hit, stand or double
- Hitting is basically asking for another card from the dealer and can be done many times as long as you don’t bust
- When you decide to stand, you won’t get any more cards during this round
- Choosing to double, you double your bet and gain exactly one more card before standing (as opposed to hitting any number of times)
- After every player busts or stands, the dealer will either stand or hit as well (usually, they will hit as long as their total card value is lower than 17)
- Finally, the remaining players’ hands are compared to the hand of the dealer
Just like the players, the dealer can bust too. When that happens, every player who didn’t bust beforehand will automatically win.
If the dealer doesn’t bust, however, you’ll need to be closer to 21 than the dealer to win. In that case, you’ll gain double of your initial bet. Otherwise, you’ll lose all of it.
Blackjack uses one or more international 52-card decks. While most numbered cards have their face value in blackjack, the game also uses face cards. Therefore, it’s important to learn their values before attempting to play Blackjack. They are as follows:
- 2-9: face value
- 10, J, Q, K: 10
- Ace: 1 or 11 (can be counted either way)
Available Bet Sizes
The bets that you’re allowed to place will vary from house to house and from one game variant to another. Generally, however, the bet sizes are much higher at land-based casinos than online.
While online players can also play at high limit blackjack tables, low limit blackjack is also very popular. If you have a choice, here’s what these vague titles translate to:
- Low Limit: roughly 10p to £1 minimum bets
- Medium Limit: roughly £1 to £10 minimum bets
- High Limit: roughly £10 to £100 minimum bets
There are also maximum bets that you’ll be able to stake. Aside from being limited by the amount you cashed in, the maximum bet is usually up to 100x the minimum bet in high limit games or land-based casinos and up to 1,000x in low limit games.
So, if the minimum bet is 20p, you can expect a maximum bet of £100 or even £200.
Some Variant Rules
Most blackjack games online and at land-based casinos have several additional rules. While some of them are valid almost everywhere, others are exclusive only to some game variants. In any case, it wouldn’t hurt to know them if you want to explore Blackjack a little further.
If the dealer’s initial hand has the value of 21, the game ends instantly. However, since one of the dealer’s cards is closed, the players don’t know this beforehand.
Therefore, in most cases, players are offered to place insurance bet before the dealer checks his second card if his face-up card has a value of 10 or 11.
The insurance bet is half the size of the initial bet and pays 2:1 if the dealer does indeed have a blackjack. If it’s not the case, the player loses the insurance bet even if they continue on to win that round.
Another option that’s often available is surrender rather than hitting or standing. Choosing this option, you will regain half of your initial bet.
While not exactly the best way to win at blackjack, it can be a lucrative option if you feel that your hand has little chance of winning in the current round.
Splitting is often available at most casinos and online blackjack games after receiving two initial cards, but before taking an action. Both cards must be worth 10 points in this case.
You’ll first have to double your bet and then split the cards into two separate hands. Each of them will participate in the game separately, which means you may win with one hand and lose with the other.
Different game variants and various casinos may have different rules for splitting. Some may only allow identical cards to be split, sometimes even if their value is less than 10. Some also allow further splitting, while others only allow it once per round.
Basic Blackjack Rules
This detailed guide to Blackjack rules covers the very basics that you need to know to start playing on your own at any land-based, online or mobile casino.
As we’ve already said, learning the ropes of Blackjack is fairly easy, but mastering takes some time. As for now, there’s no better way to learn when to split and when to stand than by actually playing it.
So, good luck at the blackjack table!