Ever since it was invented over 300 years ago, blackjack has captured the attention of gamblers from all over the world. Today, this card game is an integral part of every land-based casino and casino website.
The secret behind blackjack’s massive popularity lies in the game’s simplicity and fast-paced gameplay. Blackjack is also one of the rare casino games that are not fully luck-based, as players who understand basic blackjack strategy can significantly lower the house edge.
Despite blackjack’s rather simple rules, many people still don’t know how to play it. But don’t worry, as we are here with our How to Play Blackjack for Beginners guide, in which we will explain the game of blackjack from top to bottom.
After reading our guide, you will learn how to play blackjack at a casino without the need to ask the dealer any additional questions regarding the game’s rules. You might not become a blackjack expert right away, but with enough patience and practice and by learning various strategies, you will definitely increase your chances of making a profit at a blackjack table.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to business, shall we?
How to Play Blackjack for Beginners — The Basics
The first step in learning how to play blackjack is getting familiar with the game’s basic rules.
In the game of blackjack, each player sitting at the table is playing against the dealer. Unlike poker or some other card games, the players are not competing against each other — they focus on beating the dealer. This means you can play the game alone without other players. Of course, a typical blackjack table will have more than just one seat and can usually host up to seven players.
To win at blackjack, you must have a higher card total than the dealer without exceeding 21. Having a card total over 21 means you have busted and your stake is lost, regardless of what the dealer holds.
After receiving your first two cards, you will have four options: hit and draw another card, stand and wait to see what the dealer gets, surrender and give up on your cards thus only losing half of your stake, or split in case you have pairs and play two hands independently (some blackjack variations allow you to split any two cards and not just pairs).
In the case of splitting, the player will need to double their bet since they will be playing two hands instead of one. If the first two cards you receive amount to a total of 21, you’ve got a blackjack and you win automatically regardless of what the dealer has. Blackjack pays 3:2, while all other wins pay 1:1.
In blackjack, all cards from 2 to 10 have their face value, while Jack, Queen, and King have a value of 10. Ace can count as either 1 or 11, depending on what’s best for your current card total. Depending on the variation of the game, blackjack can be played with one to eight 52-card decks.
How to Play Blackjack — Step-by-Step With Examples
Now that you know the basics of blackjack, we will move on to the game itself and show you how a typical round of blackjack looks like. We will also be using some examples so you can visualize the gameplay more easily. Let’s start!
- Before the dealing begins, you will need to place a bet. There will usually be a sign placed on the table indicating what the betting limits are for that particular table. For the sake of this example, let’s say that the minimum bet here is C$10.
- Once everybody has placed their chips, the dealer will start dealing the cards. Everyone will get one card first, including the dealer, after which everyone gets another card. All the cards will be facing up, except for the dealer’s second card.
- Your first two cards are an ace and a 2, making your total 3 or 13 (remember that aces count as either 1 or 11). The dealer’s up-card is a 4.
- You can now choose to hit and draw another card or stand and see what the dealer gets in the end. Since both 3 and 13 are pretty low totals, the wise decision here is to draw another card. You do so and you get a 6, making your card total 9 or 19. You decide to stand.
- The dealer doesn’t get a decision on whether to hit or stand. Instead, they need to hit until getting a total of at least 17.
- The dealer has a 4 and reveals their face-down card that turns out to be a 9, making their hand’s total 13. According to the rules, the dealer must draw another card, which turns out to be a 3, making a total of 16. Since they must hit until reaching 17, another card is drawn. It is a 2, making a total of 18.
- In this particular situation, you have a higher total than the dealer (19 to 18), which means you’ve won this round. You only get paid 1:1 as you didn’t draw a blackjack. Since you bet C$10, the payout is also C$10.
Push, Insurance, Even Money
This basic example is good for getting a grasp on how to play blackjack, but it doesn’t cover all possible situations and decisions you can make.
The first of these situations and rules we want to talk about is the push. Namely, when both you and the dealer have the same exact hand total, the bet will be considered a push and nobody will win.
Insurance is a side bet in blackjack. If the dealer’s up-card is showing an ace, you are allowed to make an insurance bet and protect yourself from the dealer getting a blackjack if their card facing down turns out to have a value of 10. The insurance bet is equal to half of your current bet. If the dealer does land a blackjack, you are paid 2:1 on the insurance bet only. If you win in any other situation, you will win according to the regular paytable but lose the insurance bet.
Similar to insurance, there’s also an even money bet, which is insurance that you will win when having a blackjack regardless of the fact that the dealer has a blackjack too. When both you and the dealer have a blackjack without the even money bet, the bet will be considered a push.
How to Play Blackjack Online and Win
Playing blackjack in a land-based casino allows you to soak up the casino atmosphere and feel the chips under your fingertips. However, not everybody has the time to visit a land-based casino at any given moment. What’s more, some people live far away from the nearest one.
In such cases, online casinos are your best bet. Not only are they cheaper to play in and easily accessible, but they also come with a set of unique perks, like player bonuses, a chance to play at multiple tables at once, an ability to play on to go using your mobile device, and more.
So, how to play blackjack online? Playing blackjack in a land-based casino is simple — you just buy chips at the cashier desk and find the first available seat. However, playing blackjack online is a bit more complex than that, but we will walk you through it.
First, you have to find a good and trusted online casino website. Luckily, there are thousands of them all over the web, and almost all of them offer not one, but several variations of blackjack. After you’ve found a casino site that suits you, you need to make an account there. Start the registration process by providing all the required details regarding your name, address, date of birth, and more. It’s not that different from creating an email account or a social media profile.
Once your account has been verified and activated, you need to deposit some money in it. Since you can’t pay in cash, you will need to use a credit card, but note that casino sites offer many other online payment methods, like e-wallets, online bank transfers, cryptocurrencies, and more.
After the money has arrived in your account, simply find the blackjack game and load it up. The rules of online blackjack are the same as the ones you can find at your local casino. What’s more, playing blackjack online allows you to explore many other exotic variations of the game you might not find in casinos near you.
How to Play Blackjack in a Casino — Tips
Okay, now you know how to play blackjack and what the game consists of. But how do you play it effectively? Are there some tips you should know about as a beginner? Well, of course there are.
Since you are a beginner, we won’t go into too many details here, but pay attention to these things when playing blackjack for the first time.
- Never play blackjack with a 6:5 payout — The majority of blackjack games pay 3:2 for a blackjack, but some casinos are not as generous, as they offer a payout of only 6:5. Avoid these tables at every cost as they extend the house edge by quite a bit and are not worth playing at.
- Learn blackjack etiquette — Apart from learning how to play blackjack at a casino, you should also learn how to behave at a blackjack table. Never say “hit” or “stand” when making a decision, but learn the corresponding hand signals. Never hand the money to the dealer, as they only take chips. Speaking of chips, always stack them correctly.
- Use basic strategy — If you want to win at blackjack, you should use the basic strategy. It’s the easiest strategy to learn and it will lower the house edge significantly, allowing you to make a huge profit over time.
- Be careful with card counting — Card counting can get you far in blackjack, but you should know that it’s forbidden. If the dealer notices that you’re counting cards, you will likely be warned or even banned from the casino.
We hope that you liked our How to Play Blackjack for Beginners guide and that you now know a lot more about the game than you did a few dozen minutes ago. Blackjack is a very fun game, and it’s ideal for beginner players as it does not have complicated rules. Moreover, it’s one of the few casino games that are not entirely luck-based, meaning you can win a lot of money if you implement the right strategy.
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