Blackjack Rules and How to Play

BlackjackBlackjack is one of the most popular casino games, so not much of an introduction is needed. It is a card game that is played against a dealer and the aim is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over.

What I’m going to do here is explain the rules, the house edge and then get into strategy. I will also explain how to play which will become pretty self explanatory from reading the rules.

Blackjack Rules

1 – The game is played with 1 – 8 decks of 52 cards which are dran from a shoe. Most blackjack games will use at least 4 decks.

2 – An Ace is counted either as a 1 or 11. When it’s 11, the hand is “soft” and when it’s 1 the hand is “hard”.

3 – You need to get as close to 21 as you can without going over and your hand is worth the total sum of your cards. For example 10 of Spades and 6 of Hearts is a hand of 16. The best hand in the game is Blackjack which is formed by and Ace and a 10. It beats 21 formed by multiple cards such as 8, 7 and 6.

4 – The games starts with each player placing a bet, then the dealer will give everyone two cards, including for themselves, although you can only see one of the dealer’s cards.

5 – If the dealer is showing an Ace, an Insurance bet is offered which covers you if the dealer has a Blackjack. Once the Insurance bet has been offered, the dealer will peak to see if they have a Blackjack and if they do, all bets are lost with the exception of the Insurance bet. If any of the players also have a Blackjack, then it’s a Push and nobody wins. The Insurance bet pays 2:1 and it will be the same amount of your original bet, meaning that if the dealer has a Blackjack and you placed the Insurance bet, you neither win nor lose because the Insurance bet pays out just enough to cover itself and your original bet, so there’s neither a win or a loss overall.

6 – Play then begins and as a player you have the following options –

Hit – You would like another card.

Stand – No more cards.

Double – You get one more card only and your original bet is doubled.

Split – If you have two of the same card such as 6 – 6, you can split them which means that they become independent hands, and a new bet is placed on the new hand. They’re both given an additional card.

Surrender – You give up the hand and get half your original bet.

7 – If you go over 21, you bust and lose, the idea of the game is to get as close as you can without going over. You can hit as many times as you want but you can only double once.

8 – After all players in the game have chosen to stand or gone bust, the dealer will then reveal the face of their second card. They will then follow the standard house rules which is hit on 16 or lower, stand on 17 and over. At some casinos, the dealer will hit on a soft 17. The dealer will always follow the house rules so you don’t need to worry about coming up against a more skilled dealer. The odds are the same regardless of the dealer.

9 – If the dealer goes over 21, anyone who didn’t bust wins.

10 – If the dealer has the same hand as another player, it’s a push and nobody wins.

11 – The pay out for a win is double your money, so if you bet £1, you win £2 back. If you bet £15, you win £30 back.

12 – The only exception is Blackjack which has a pay out of 3:2 which means that if you bet £1, you will win £2.50 back.

More On The Blackjack I’ve Covered

Blackjack FAQ – A lot of people, especially new players have questions about blackjack, so I’ve answered many of the frequently asked questions here.

Blackjack Strategy – One of the fascinating aspects of blackjack are the numerous strategies you can use, both in terms of the decisions you make as you play and the staking plan or system that you use. I have provided a strategy card that tells you what to do for every possible hand combination and I’ve provided several systems you can use as well, including information on how to count cards.

Card Counting – This is the go to strategy for beating the game of blackjack because it’s possible to gain an edge over the house. It’s easy to learn but takes a long time to master effectively in casino conditions.