How to play Blackjack

The rules and gameplay of blackjack is the same whether you play in a physical setting or online. Follow this guide on how to play blackjack and you’ll be able to get going in no time.

Emma Johnson
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Emma Johnson
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Fact checked by: Johan Lofgren

Basic Rules of Blackjack

The objective of blackjack is simple: get a hand value of 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, and each card is assigned a point value. Number cards are worth their face value, while face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) are worth 10 points. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on which value is more beneficial to the player’s hand.

Card Values

In Blackjack, the cards are valued as follows:

Betting Procedures

Before the game begins, each player places their bet. After the bets are placed, the dealer deals two cards to each player and two cards to themselves. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face-up, while the other is dealt face-down.

Once the cards are dealt, the player can choose to “hit” (take another card) or “stand” (keep their current hand). The player can continue to hit until they are satisfied with their hand or until they bust.

After all players have had a chance to play their hands, the dealer reveals their face-down card. The dealer must hit until their hand value is 17 or higher. If the dealer busts, all remaining players win. If the dealer does not bust, the player with the highest hand value that does not exceed 21 wins. If the player’s hand value is the same as the dealer’s, the game is a push and the player’s bet is returned.

blackjack layout overview
Overview of a typical blackjack table online.

How to Bet on Blackjack in 3 steps

Follow these 4 simple steps on how to put your first bet on blackjack. These steps works both in a physical setting and online blackjack.

1. Place your bet

Select the chip size you want to bet and place the chip on any available free slot at the table.

2. Decide to Hit or Stand

The dealer will hand out 2 cards to each player participating after everyone has placed their bets. Now it’s time for you to work out the value of your hand and decide whether to Hit or Stand.

3. Dealer shows their card

After every player has taken the decision to take more cards or stand, it’s time for the dealer to reveal their facedown card. If the dealer has 21 or closer to 21 than you, the dealer wins. If you’re the one closest to 21, the dealer will issue your winnings.

Strategies for Winning

Basic strategy is a set of rules that tells you the best way to play your hand based on the dealer’s upcard. It is based on mathematical probabilities and can significantly increase your chances of winning.

Using basic blackjack strategy involves memorizing a chart that shows you what to do in each situation. For example, if you have a hard 16 and the dealer’s upcard is a 7, you should hit. If you have a soft 18 and the dealer’s upcard is a 9, you should stand. By following these rules, you can make the best decisions for each hand and reduce the house edge.

Card Counting

Another strategy that some players use is card counting. This involves keeping track of the cards that have been played in order to determine the likelihood of certain cards being dealt in the future. By doing this, players can adjust their bets and make more informed decisions.

Bear in mind that card counting is not easy and requires a lot of practice and concentration. It is also not allowed in many casinos and can result in being banned from playing blackjack. It is important to note that card counting is not illegal, but it is frowned upon by casinos.

Betting Systems

There are many different betting systems that players use in order to try and win at blackjack. However, it is important to remember that no betting system can guarantee a win. Some popular betting systems include the Martingale system, where you double your bet after each loss, and the Paroli system, where you double your bet after each win. While these systems can be fun to try out, they should be used with caution.

Start out by Playing For Free

The main factor we think will help your progress of understanding Blackjack is by playing the game in free mode. There are plenty of online casino sites that offer free blackjack games, where you can hone in on different strategies and get a feel for the game before jumping into real money sites with blackjack. Read our guide on all sites that offer blackjack for free and try out the game before playing with real money.