Dating back to the early 17th century, blackjack is one of the most popular casino games on the planet. Slot games are now the only more popular choice. Not only can you play it at virtually every land-based casino, but you also have the chance to play it online. Although there is now a multitude of variations to blackjack, in its most basic form the aim is to beat the dealer by landing a higher total.
However, this total must not exceed 21, or the hand is considered ‘Bust’. Depending on the specific variation you play, there are a number of differences in how the game operates. This can include the amount of decks in play, the ability to surrender or the capacity to double down. Before we get to that, we’ll explain the basics.
How to play?
When you first join a table, you will need to determine how much you want to stake on each hand. Whilst land-based casinos usually have a minimum bet of £5, online casinos allow you to bet much less. Once you have placed your bet, the game will begin.
Each player will have two face up cards dealt to them. Depending on the type of blackjack being played, the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier will either deal one face up card to themselves, or one face up and one face down card. We’ll cover this in more detail further down.
Once the player has had their two cards dealt, they then need to tally them up to form a total. Cards ranging from 2-10 are represented by their own value. All picture cards, which covers the Jack, Queen and King, represents 10. Finally, the Ace can be represented by either 1 or 11.
The player now needs to determine whether they want to ‘Hit’ or ‘Stick’. If the player decides to stick, then it means that they do not require any more cards, and are happy to stay on their current total. This option is usually utilised when a high-ranking score is achieved. However, it can also be used if the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier has a weak opening card, such as a 6.
Alternatively, if the player requires an additional card, they can instead choose to hit. There is no limit to the amount of times a player can hit, although if the total score of the cards goes beyond 21, then the player busts. If the player does bust, then they lose that particular game.
Once the player has completed their turn, it is then over to the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier to move. Once their two cards have been revealed, they can only do one of two things. Firstly, if the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier has a score that totals 17 or less, then they must continue to hit. When the total score amounts to 17 or more, then they must stick. Just like in the case of the player, if the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier has a total score that exceeds 21, then they also bust.
Once the hand is finished, the winner is determined by the person that has the higher score. If the player outscores the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier, then they win at odds of Even money. Moreover, if the player lands a ‘Blackjack’ hand in their opening two cards, then they get paid at 6/4. Blackjack is awarded when the player makes 21, via an Ace and any 10-value card.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some of the rules in more detail.
Due to the sheer popularity of blackjack, there are now multiple variations of the rules. Each variation has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you will need to determine which rules you prefer.
In the vast majority of versions, the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier gives the player the chance to double down. This is where the player can decide to double their original bet, based on the opening two cards that at dealt. However, this is on the proviso that only one more card is dealt.
In some versions, such as American Blackjack, the play can double down on any hand combination. However, in the European variation, the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier will only permit a double down when the player’s opening hand amounts to 9, 10 or 11.
When the player gets an opening hand with cards of identical value, the player has the option to split. This splits the two individual cards so that the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier can deal two further cards, subsequently creating two separate hands. In order to do this, the player needs to match their original stake.
Certain Blackjack variations allow you to split on un-like 10-value cards. For example, in the American segment, you have the option of splitting a Jack and a King. However, in other versions, you can only split when the cards are identical (such as two Queens).
In a nutshell, the surrender option allows the player to exit the hand, based on their opening cards. Moreover, the surrender option is also useful when the Blackjack Casino Deal Croupier has a strong opening card, such as an Ace. In doing so, the player exits the hand with 50% of their stake returned. The surrender option is available in American Blackjack, but not in the European version.
There is also a variation in the amount of card decks used in blackjack. In effect, the lower the decks, the greater the chance that the player can calculate what cards are left. These days, it is most common for blackjack dealers to utilise either 6 or 8 decks. Whilst Single Deck Blackjack does exist online, it generally offers a lower payout for hitting blackjack.
Our blackjack guide has illustrated that although the basics remain constant, there are a range of variations to the rules. Whether it’s the double down, surrender or split option, you need to make sure that you understand the implication of a change in rules. Moreover, you also need to check how many decks of cards are being used, as this will affect the house-edge.
Ultimately, the sheer choice of blackjack variations means that you can play the one that best suits your needs. Virtually every single version is now available to play online in the comfort of your own home, either in the form of software or live dealers!