This article focuses on how to play blackjack online. The same blackjack rules and gameplay applies for when playing at a land-based casino.
The game uses a 52-card deck, but the total number of decks used depends on the variation. The suit of the card doesn’t matter, only the numbers. Here’s what you need to remember about the numbers and their values:
The numbers 2-10 carry their face value. This means 2 equals to 2, 3 equals to 3, etc.
Face cards, which include the Jack, King and Queen, have a value of 10. The Joker is not used.
An ace card can count as 1 or 11. You decide which value you want it to have when building a hand.
You aim to beat the dealer with a better hand score without exceeding 21. The dealer or player loses immediately if their hand goes over this limit.
In a casino, blackjack is played around a semi-circle table. The table can accommodate a varying number of players, but most tables have space for seven. When you play online, usually, you play by yourself. Players take their positions on the table’s round side while the dealer stands on the opposite side.
How to Play Blackjack in 6 Steps
Now that you are familiar with the blackjack table layout and the card values in the game, it’s time to understand how the casino game plays out. We’ve split the process into six easy steps:
Each Player Buys Their Chips
When you play blackjack online, you need to deposit funds into your account, which will be used to supplement your bankroll. You then use this money to bet. At a casino, you exchange your real money for casino chips. The cashier or dealer will count out chip denominations equal to the amount you’ve given.
Place a Bet
The game officially begins when players set out their original bet. There should be a section in clear view that states what the betting limits are for the table.
The Dealer Hands Out Cards
The dealer will hand out the first set of cards in a clockwise rotation. Each player will get one card placed face-up, and the dealer will also receive one card face up.
Each player’s next set of cards will also be dealt face-up, but the dealer’s second card will be down. The second face-down card is what allows for insurance bets and other similar side bets.
Analyze Your Hand and Decide How You Want to Play
Add up your cards to see your score. If you have a total of 21 (called a natural when built with two cards), you win. The payout ratio for a natural is usually 3:2.
If both you and the dealer have blackjack, you don’t win anything, but you don’t lose your wager either.
If neither of you has blackjack, you continue to play. At this point, you have the following options:
Stand (keep your cards) and have the dealer moves onto the next player.
Hit and receive one more card at a time until you either go bust (over 21) or decide to stand with your total.
Double down and receive only one additional card. However, this requires you to double your initial wager.
Split to create two separate hands. This only works if you’ve been dealt a pair and you will need to put down a second wager. There are also special rules about splitting aces, so you will need to be mindful of this.
Surrender if you are not happy with the hand you’ve been given. You’ll be given half your initial wager back. Not all variations have this option.
The Dealer Plays Their Hand
At this stage, it’s time for the dealer to reveal their face-down card and add up their hand’s value. If the total is 17 and higher, the dealer automatically stands. If it’s 16 or lower, he will take additional cards.
The options to surrender or double down are not available to the dealer. There are also rules regarding when the dealer must hit or stand (usually, soft 17), so we suggest you read up on that before playing.
Winners Get Their Payouts
Once everyone as played their hand, winners will be revealed, and payouts will be made. You are now ready to begin another game of blackjack.
Ideally, you want to play and actually win. One way of achieving this is to use basic strategy. Basic strategy tells you the best play for every combination you may encounter in a game and the dealers face-up card mathematically.
This basic strategy comes from data recorded by a computer that has played thousands of games and has determined the best possible hand based on the ones that provided the best results most often. Have a look at the blackjack strategy chart image below to get an idea of what we are talking about.