Basic Blackjack Rules and Strategies
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in Canada and in the rest of the world — thousands of gamblers are playing it every day and thousands of dollars are being won and lost. From the first glance, blackjack rules might seem a little bit tricky but once you learn them, you’ll see it’s very easy to play and, what’s more important, easy to win while the blackjack odds are quite high. On this page, you’ll find the complete online blackjack tutorial that includes the rules of blackjack and basic blackjack strategies. After reading it to the end, you will know how to play the game, how to make bets, how to hit, stand and double down and what all these words mean. So sit back, help yourself a cup of tea and let’s get started.
The first thing you need to know is the main aim of the blackjack game that is the same whether you are playing in an online casino or in Vegas. To win a hand, you need to get more point than the dealer but never exceed 21 (which is another name of the game). If you get more than 21 in total, it is called “busting” and you lose.
To count your points, you have to know the card values that are very easy to remember because all the cards count their face value except the ones with the pictures. They count 10 and the Ace can count either 1 or 11 depending on what’s more profitable for the player. So if you are playing blackjack online and get 5+7+a queen, your total is 22 (and you are busted) and if you get 4+8+6, your total is 18.
What kind of hand is that?
According to the online blackjack rules, there are two types of hands: hard and soft one. The hard hand is that one that has no Ace in it or has the Ace that counts as 1. Accordingly, the soft hand is the one with the Ace that counts 11. This information may sound not-so-helpful right now but you will get why the type of hand is important when we start talking about the blackjack basic strategy since soft and hard hands should be treated differently if you want to know how to win at blackjack.
So how the cards are dealt?
Now, when you know the aim of the game and the types of blackjack hands, we can move to the gaming and betting process. The game is usually played with 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards mixed together though there are online casinos where the game is only played with a single deck. Check this information before you start playing and carefully read the rules of blackjack in this exact casino. The bets are made BEFORE the cards are dealt. There is always a minimum bet which is stated in the table rules. If you are a newbie, choose a table with a small minimum bet and raise it when your skills level up. When all the players made their bets, the dealer starts dealing the cards — two cards to each player and two cards to himself or herself. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face down while the players’ cards are usually dealt all face-up. When the cards are dealt and their values can be count, the player has several possible ways to continue the game. If you learn blackjack rules well, you will make the decision quick and easy so carefully read the next passage.
What are the options?
- You can hit. It means you ask the dealer to give you one more card because you think yours two are not enough to win.
- You can stand. Standing means you consider your cards total to be enough and don’t want to get one more card.
- You can split. This option is applicable when you have a pair of two equal cards like 2 queens or 2 seven’s or whatever. In this case, you can split the cards, make one more bet, consider each card to be a separate hand and draw more cards to each of them.
- You can double down which means you can double your bet and get only one additional card from the dealer.
- You can surrender. This is optional and not all of the casinos allow to surrender but if your casino does, you can stop the game and lose only the half of your bet. The surrender is only allowed before the third card is dealt to the player.
Anything else I need to know?
First of all, you need to know when you win and when you lose. A winning hand is the one that exceeds the dealer’s total but doesn’t exceed 21. A losing hand is the one that exceeds 21. If the dealer and the player have the same number of points, it’s called a tie and the player gets his or hers bet back.
There are two more things in the 21 card game rules that should be understood to win. There is such a thing as the insurance wager which can be made when the dealer gets an Ace as the face card. In this case, the player can make an additional bet which will be returned if the dealer gets blackjack (21 points). When the dealer gets an Ace and the player has blackjack, the dealer can offer to play even real money online blackjack meaning paying the 1 to 1 to the player before checking the second card.
These were basically all the blackjack rules for dummies. Now, when you know how to play blackjack, it’s time to learn blackjack strategies and useful online blackjack tips and tricks to make the game not only entertaining but also lucrative which is, let’s admit it, our main aim in gambling.
Online Blackjack Strategies
Blackjack strategy is, in other words, the way of acting after you get first two cards. Let’s look closer at each of the possible options so you can choose the best blackjack strategy every time. As these things can be hard to remember for the first time, you can write them down to the special blackjack cheat sheet and use it while you play.
Here are the blackjack tips concerning the cards splitting.
- Don’t split 4s or 5s;
- Split 8s and Aces;
- Split 2s and 3s only when the dealer has from 4 to 7;
- Split 6s when the dealer has from 3 to 6;
- Split 7s when the dealer has from 2 to 7;
- Always split two 9s except for the cases when the dealer has 7.
Insurance can be used in offline casinos when the player has a chance to count cards (we will talk about it in a minute). Obviously, counting cards is impossible while playing blackjack in an online casino and that’s why it is recommended not to use insurance wager at all. You can’t predict whether the dealer gets blackjack or not but can lose a lot of money on insurance, especially if you are playing for a long time.
Surrendering is for the cowards, isn’t it? We don’t recommend using the surrender strategy even though it can save you a half of your bet. Losing a half of the bet will take a lot of money from you in the long run and you will lose a chance to get a winning hand. Remember, even if the situation looks with no chance for success, it can always turn in your favor within seconds. Blackjack is the game of skill, not the game of chance so you can always win (or not lose, at least), if you know the blackjack rules and strategies.
Doubling down strategy
Here are the tips concerning the doubling down meaning doubling your bet in exchange for getting one more card.
- Always double down if you have hard 9, 10 or 11 (this is why knowing about hard and soft hands is important);
- Always double down if you have 11 except for the cases when the dealer has an Ace;
- Always double down if you have 10 except for the cases when the dealer has an Ace or 10;
- Double down if you have 9 and the dealer has from 3 to 6.
Card counting strategy
This is the strategy that can be used in an offline casino to increase chances to win but is useless in online gambling so we will only slightly touch it without getting into detail. Card counting is used to determine whether the next hand will be winning or losing using mathematics and the good memory to remember which cards have already been played and which are going to come. Card counting is illegal in most of the casinos but if you do it unnoticeable, you can get more winnings (or get thrown out of the casino).
Now you have the understanding of basic blackjack rules and strategies and can start your journey to the amazing world of blackjack. We wish you good luck and winning hands and hope this article was helpful and easy to understand.