Blackjack FAQ

What Is Blackjack?
Blackjack is a card game that you play against a dealer and the aim is to get a hand value as close to 21 as you can without going over. Whoever gets closest without going over wins the game. You can read the rules here.

Is it possible to beat the house at blackjack?

It’s certainly possible, but that very word, possible, leaves a lot of wiggle room. In order to beat the house, you need to be able to follow basic strategy, count cards and even then you need luck. While it’s definitely possible, it’s not something that can be relied on either.

What is basic strategy?

Every different hand combination has different odds of winning and has optimal decisions that you should make for the best odds. In simple terms, basic strategy is following a card that will tell you the best decision to make for every hand combination. Go to my page on blackjack strategy to see a card for yourself.

How do you count cards?

The easiest way is using the high-low method where each card is given a value of either +1, 0, -1 and when the deck is favourable towards the player, you can place larger bets. Go to my card counting page to find out more.

Can anybody count cards?

It isn’t as difficult as the movies make out but nor does it provide anywhere near the edge that the movies would have you believe.

Is it illegal to count cards?

Absolutely not. The act of counting cards is perfectly legal, the only exception would be if you were using an electronic device to count cards for you, but even then, it’s the act of using a device to assist you rather than the card counting that’s illegal.

Can a bad player affect my game?

No, if you play in regular casinos you will find yourself on tables with many different kinds of people, from different backgrounds and different levels of skill, but they don’t affect your game. You have your hand of cards and you make your own decisions, they don’t have any say on that.

What about if I come up against a really good dealer?

While blackjack is played against a dealer, they follow the house rules which in most cases is hit on 16 or lower, stand on 17 or higher. The skill or experience of the dealer has no influence on the house rules.

Are the games in online casinos fair?

There are a lot of online casinos out there and I couldn’t comment on all of them, but the ones based here in the UK are regulated by the UK gambling commission and are fair.

Can I count cards online?

No because while the game is fair, the cards you see in an online game are randomly generated rather than drawn from a real shoe, so card counting has no impact on the game.