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Learn How To Play Blackjack

Posted by Veronica Taylor on
Last updated:

Blackjack, or 21 as it’s sometimes referred, is the most popular casino table game for beginners and novice players. The objective of the game is to build the best hand to beat the dealer’s total without going over 21. Our how to play blackjack guide will walk you through the sign-up process through playing your first hand, break down card values, define blackjack terminology and dealer’s options.

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How to Play Blackjack: Getting Started

Most online casinos require you to sign-up for a new account before you partake in a FREE blackjack games (tutorial) or a real money blackjack game. This shouldn’t take you longer than five minutes to complete. During registration, you’ll provide basic information like your name, email address and home address before creating a unique password and verifying your email address. You may or may not have to make a first deposit before playing.

Before you start playing blackjack for real money, you’ll need to know the values of each card. These are very simple to remember: an Ace is worth 1 (one) or 11 (eleven), face cards are worth 10 (ten) and rest of the cards are worth their ranking (i.e. five of spades is worth five). If you’re dealt an ace and face card to start, some tables pay a bonus out for the two-card blackjack win.

Next, you’ll locate the casino homepage on the site and click on the blackjack icon before joining a new table. When selecting a table for the first time, be sure to note the minimum bet allowed. This will help extend the life of your initial bankroll, while you learn to play the game. To reiterate, free online blackjack does exist on some sites, but you wouldn’t be winning real money.

How to Play Blackjack:

So, you’re sitting at a blackjack table for the first time and dealer starts handing out cards as such:

  • The dealer deals each player and themself one card face up.
  • They then give each player a second card face up, while the dealer’s second card is face down.
  • Based on the card values explained above, you now know how much your cards are worth and a good idea of what the dealer’s initial total could be.
  • You now need to make a decision of what to do with your current two-card hand…

Blackjack, or 21 as it’s sometimes referred, is the most popular casino table game for beginners and novice players. The objective of the game is to build the best hand to beat the dealer’s total without going over 21.

Learn the Lingo

Hit

Hit

If you hit, it means you want another card. For example, say the dealer is showing a 9-of-hearts and you have a 3-of-clubs and 4-of-hearts for a total of 7 (seven), basic strategy assumes the dealer has a face card and is at 19. So, you need to hit and work your way as close to 19 without going over 21, which is also known as busting. You can hit as many times as you feel comfortable, but don’t bust.

Stand

Stand

If you stand, it means you want no more cards. Let’s say the dealer is showing a 7-of-spades and you have a KING-of-hearts and 9-of-diamonds. Remember, the dealer is typically forced to STAY on 17 and you’re at 19 with little wiggle room to hit 21 without going over. So, you would stay without taking anymore cards. You may also stand after taking more than two cards. For example, if you think the dealer – who is showing a KING-of-diamonds is sitting on 20 – you’ll probably “hit” a time or two to get close and if your hand reaches a total of 20, you would then stand and look for the push/tie.

Split

Split

A split is when you’re dealt two of the same cards and are afforded the opportunity to play two separate hands. This does require a second, equal bet as the original.

For example, let’s say you’re holding two 7’s and the dealer is showing a 6, splitting makes a lot of sense here because the odds are in your favor as the dealer must “hit” if they are holding a face card (currently flipped over). However, if a dealer is showing a 9 and you have two 5’s, you probably don’t want to split those cards because the dealer may be sitting on a face card or ace, which would require a lot of work to reach 20 or 21.

A dealer won’t split.

Double Down

Double Down

A double down blackjack bet is when you double the size of your original bet and receive only one more card. This action occurs when you a) like your hand a lot or b) like your hand a lot and the dealer’s hand appears weak.

An example of this would be, you were dealt a 5-of-spades and 5-of-diamonds for a total of 10 and the dealer is showing a 6-of-hearts or 7-of-diamonds. The assumption is they’re sitting on a face card and will either have to sit or stay and you’re double-down bet is looking for an ace or face card.

Blackjack Card Values

  • Aces: worth one (1) or 11 (eleven)
  • Face cards: worth 10 (ten)
  • Numerical: worth their value (i.e. 3 of hearts is worth three)

How to Play Blackjack: Dealer’s Options

In most cases, blackjack dealers must hit on 16 and stay on 17. These two situations provide you the player a slight edge and is where blackjack strategy come into focus.

For example, if a blackjack dealer is showing a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 and you don’t like your hand, it’s okay to remain aggressive. You have to make some assumptions that the dealer’s hidden card is a face card, which increases their chances of busting, i.e. – KING+5 = 15 and being forced to hit isn’t optimal, but dealer’s must do it.

If the dealer hits blackjack on their first two cards, the hand is over.

Who Wins, Who Loses?

You, the player, win if you hit blackjack on your second card OR if the value of your hand is greater than that of the dealer AND does not go over the 21.

The dealer wins and games is automatically over if they hit blackjack on their second “hidden” card, which is then flipped over for the table to see OR their total is greater than yours AND the value of their hand did not exceed 21.

How To Play Blackjack FAQs

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