Arnold Carignan | August 7, 2020 | Last Updated on: December 29, 2020
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games and has been played since the 17th century. Since then, nothing has changed: the goal in blackjack is to score exactly 21 points. Learn all about the rules, strategies and tips for playing in this in-depth blackjack guide.
Find out everything you need to know about blackjack in this article.
The most important facts about Blackjack
- In blackjack, the player tries to get as close as possible to 21 points without exceeding.
- The player chooses HIT, STAND, SPLIT or DOUBLE depending on his hand and the dealer’s card.
- There is practically no difference between online blackjack and blackjack in casinos or live casinos.
Play Blackjack with a Live Dealer
Be sure to check out the new Live Blackjack. In this variation, you play with other players against real dealers live. The casino atmosphere and real blackjack table take gaming to the next level – an unforgettable experience right on your TV, mobile phone or PC. More on this topic: Live Casinos
Unlike “regular” online blackjack, in live blackjack, the player is not playing against a programmed computer, but with a real person. You can follow the dealer and the cards they place on the table in a quick live stream. The player sees the table as in a real casino, and the computer in parallel calculates bets and payouts. The perfect combination of convenience and authenticity!
Advantages of Live Dealer Blackjack
- Allows players to play live blackjack in real-time from the comfort of their home.
- Players can chat with a live dealer and other players.
- Live Blackjack is a real on-screen casino game.
What to watch out for in Live Blackjack?
In principle, the same rules apply to live blackjack as to regular blackjack games at online casinos. Be sure to follow the optimal basic strategy. Pay attention to the payout conditions and the game option – then nothing can stop you!
Bet Behind feature in Live Blackjack
Players at the famous King Billy Casino can now try out the new feature. The Bet Behind feature allows players to place bets on another player’s hand while waiting for a seat at the blackjack table.
This way, gamblers can save time by making exciting bets while the game is in full swing. The display also shows information about which players are currently “hot” at the table or who is winning.
Blackjack Rules – How to Play Blackjack
Online Blackjack in Australia is one of the most popular casino games. The game and the rules of blackjack are straightforward to understand. This makes the game very simple and fair. The show effects do not hide the unpredictability and advantages of the casino. Anyone who makes the right and thoughtful decisions can consistently win at blackjack.
In our guide to blackjack, we would like to introduce you to the principles of this popular game of chance. Beginners will learn all about the rules, objectives and playing blackjack to get an overview of the basic knowledge.
The player’s goal is to score as many or exactly 21 points with his cards, but not exceeding this number. Then the hand immediately loses value to the player. Therefore, as a player, you must know exactly what you need to do in the game and what the cards in your hand mean.
How is the blackjack game going?
- The semicircular gaming table can accommodate up to 6 players. The dealer stands in the middle and shuffles the cards.
- Before the cards are dealt, the player determines his bet.
- Each player is dealt two cards face up. The dealer also receives two cards, one of which – the other – is dealt face down. There are also variants in which both dealer cards are dealt face down.
- Now the dealer, in turn, asks one player after another what move he would like to make – take another card, double or insure. We’ll come back to the possible moves later.
- After the round, the dealer counts his hand individually for each player’s hand, announces the winners and distributes the chips accordingly.
- Everyone can see the cards of other players. This is not a disadvantage, because each player plays blackjack exclusively against the dealer (“against the bank”).
The gaming table has the shape of a semicircle. It can accommodate up to 6 players. On the contrary, there is a dealer. In online casinos and land-based casinos, you have your area at the blackjack table. It records exactly where cards, bets and side bets should be placed. Also, payout percentages and rules are usually printed nearby.
- Dealer’s place – the dealer sits here opposite the players.
- Deck Shoe – usually contains 6 to 8 decks of cards and is shuffled as soon as it is played to 60-80% – indicated by the cut card.
- Table Rules – This is where table rules are specified, such as blackjack payout (3 to 2 or 6 to 5) and whether the dealer should take another card when soft 17
- Player card box – here the dealer places the players’ cards as soon as he has made his bet on the round.
- Players’ Seats – Players are seated here to take part in blackjack.
The values of the cards in Blackjack
The cost of the cards is determined as follows:
- Ace is worth 1 or 11 points (see Soft / Hard Hand below);
- Face/figure cards are worth 10 points;
- All other cards have their denominations.
Example: Jack, 2, 9 = 21 points (won); 8, 5, 9 = 22 points (loss).
Blackjack – Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split
STAND: By saying “STAND” you are declaring that you no longer want to draw cards. Thus, your hand is fixed. The players to your left still have a chance to improve their hand.
HIT: With the “Hit” announcement, you declare that you want to take another card. The dealer gives you another face-up card. If your hand remains below 21, you can draw more cards or declare “STAND”.
DOUBLE DOWN: With this move, you double your bet on one hand. Please note the following. You must say “DOUBLE” before you say “HIT”. After that, you will receive only ONE card! Cancellation of DOUBLE decision or purchase of additional cards is not permitted.
SPLIT: This move can be announced if both starting cards have the same value. SPLIT divides your hand into two hands. For the second hand, you must bet the same as for the first. Then continue to play with both hands apart from each other. You can double both hands.
SURRENDER: Some casinos offer to surrender their hand. So if you think you have little chance, you can continue playing. However, it costs you half of your stake. As a rule, it is not recommended to use this move, as the dealer can outbid himself regardless of his open card.
INSURANCE: You can insure yourself because the dealer can have blackjack if the dealer’s upcard is an ace. If you take insurance, it will be worth half your stake. If the dealer does have blackjack, you win 2: 1. You are not losing money (although you cannot beat the dealer).
If your game is up and you haven’t busted, it is the dealer’s turn. He makes his own bills. In the online casino, too, the computer evaluates the results for you. Nevertheless, it makes sense to know the individual moves.
When all players have completed their moves, it is the dealer’s turn. First, he turns over his second card, which had previously remained face down on the table. Depending on the value of the card, further moves of the dealer have already been determined:
- The dealer must take a card if his hand has 16 points or less;
- The dealer can no longer draw cards if his hand has 17 or more points;
- If the dealer has a “Soft Hand”, for example, Jack + A6 (Soft 17), it depends on the rules of the respective online casino, whether the dealer should move on and possibly get a Hard Hand, or should he be on “Soft 17”.
Blackjack Winners and Losers
- If the dealer crashes, i.e. he has more than 21 points, all the players who have not yet been eliminated win.
- If you have the same number of points as the dealer, this is called “Push”. In the event of such a tie, your stake will be refunded.
- If you have more points than the dealer, you win 1:1, for the same amount as your bet.
What is the difference between “Blackjack” and “21”?
Blackjack: natural Blackjack (an ace with a 10-point card) can only be formed at the beginning of the round with the first two cards – an automatic win with a 3:2 payout, i.e. if you place a $20 bet, you win $30 (get $50 back from the dealer).
21: In all other cases, when 21 points are formed by more than two cards or by splitting, this is a combination of “21” – the payout in case of a win is 1:1.
Hard Hand and Soft Hand
The terms “Hard Hand” and “Soft Hand” refer to the peculiarities of blackjack: an ace can be counted as one point or eleven points. It depends on what another card you are holding in your hand.
All hands that are dealt at the blackjack table can be divided into hard or soft hands. Each Hard Hand and Soft Hand has its place in the basic blackjack strategy.
What is Hard Hand in Blackjack?
At its simplest, a hard blackjack hand is any two-card sum that does not contain an ace. Here are some examples:
Q2 = Hard 12
94 = Hard 13
77 = Hard 14
87 = Hard 15
K6 = Hard 16
The Hard Hand is not flexible: the points you earn as cards determine a player. The ace looks very different.
What is the Soft Hand in Blackjack?
In blackjack, you always have a Soft Hand when you have an ace that counts as eleven (11) or one (1). These hands are considered very beneficial as you can vary the total depending on your current situation.
Soft Hand with Ace
If you have less than or equal to 21 points with an ace, the ace is worth eleven points. However, if you outbid, it only counts as one point.
- Your cards are an ace and a 5. This gives you a soft 16 (or a hard 6, but not relevant yet).
- Now take 5 more, get 21 and win.
- If you draw a 6, your total points are soft 22. In this case, however, you will not lose, since the ace now only counts as one point. The same thing happens with all other cards of value 6 or higher. Result: you have not 22 points, but only 12, since the ace counts as one point and 1 + 5 + 6 = 12. This is what makes the ace such an important and powerful card in the game.
What happens if you hit two aces in Blackjack?
On the rare occasion that you get two aces, they automatically split and count as soft 11. This is a great starting point to double up. Now that the aces are split, they can each make a soft or hard hand, depending on the course of the game.
Note: It is not allowed in blackjack to play the aces as one hand and play one ace soft and the other hard.
Blackjack Casino Advantage
What is the difference between 3:2 blackjack and 6:5 blackjack?
The difference between 3:2 blackjack and 6:5 blackjack is simple. If you have a winning blackjack hand, you get $3 for every $2 wagered, or 1.5:1. At 6:5, you get $6 for every $5 wagered, which is 1.2:1. This may seem like a small thing, but it makes a huge difference to the expected result.
Many factors determine the final expected return, but overall the casino increases its edge by about 400% when it gives you a 6:5 option. In 3:2 blackjack, the house edge when using the optimal basic strategy is in the range of ~ 0.5%. This means that for every $100 wagered, you earn on average $0.50.
In 6:5 blackjack, this advantage increases to almost 2%! This means you pay almost $2 to the cashier for every $100 wagered.
Seat selection in Blackjack
For casual players, sitting in specific areas at the blackjack table does not offer a mathematical advantage. However, for players who count cards, choosing their location can be very important to the game.
What is the best seat at the Blackjack Table?
It doesn’t statistically matter where you sit (unless you want to count cards).
The first seat on the right opposite the dealer is known as First Base. This is because he first receives cards from the dealer – they are always dealt from left to right (from the dealer’s point of view).
The third base seat is the last seat on the right or the first seat on the left. This position is sometimes called the anchor. This is the player who receives the cards last and the last to decide on his game. Many consider third base to be the best place, but it doesn’t have a mathematical edge.
This place is in the middle of the table. As the game progresses, this is not as relevant as the first or third base. However, this can ensure that other players do not sit on the left.
Betting limits refer to the minimum and maximum amounts you can bet in blackjack. Since the limits for online blackjack tables can vary widely, blackjack is available to players of all budgets.
If you’re on a tight budget, find the lowest table limits for blackjack and stick to those games. If you have a lot of money, you can take more risks and participate in higher limit games.
Pay attention to blackjack limits in betting systems!
Many gamblers like to use betting systems such as the Martingale system to keep their wins and losses in check. In the Martingale system, for example, provided that the bet is doubled until you win (and get your bets back). However, it is very easy to reach the limits of the table and risk losing all bets. You can find more about betting systems in the online casino here: Betting systems.
Old and New Side Bets in blackjack
Even though blackjack is several hundred years old, there are always new and creative side bets. But not everyone offers all kinds of side bets in blackjack. What to look for and where to play side bets, we explain here:
Blackjack 21 + 3 Side Bet
This popular side bet can be placed alongside the main bet. It combines blackjack and three-card poker, so it offers attractive odds. In a side bet 21 + 3 Blackjack, you bet that the first two cards in your hand and the dealer’s up card are one of three combinations of three cards in poker: Flush, Straight, Three of a kind, or Straight Flush. The 21 + 3 side bet is mainly offered at Evolution Gaming Live Casino.
Perfect Paris Side Bet
An additional bet on perfect pairs is based on the player drawing a pair of cards. If the two cards are a shuffled pair, a colored pair, or a perfect pair, the player wins according to the paytable. An ideal pair will be an identical pair (two queens of hearts), a colored pair will be if both cards are red or black cards of any suit (an eight of hearts and an eight of diamonds), a mixed pair is a pair that consists of a red and a black pair (3 diamonds and 3 clubs). Perfect Pairs is a very popular bet that can be found in most blackjack casinos.
Lucky Ladies Side Bet
With this Lucky Ladies side bet, players are betting that their first two cards have a total of 20 and are ideally two women. To place a Lucky Ladies bet, we must first place the main bet. The Lucky Ladies bet must be at least equal to the minimum announced on the table. The maximum winnings are 1000:1 if you are dealt two queens of hearts and the dealer has Blackjack. Lucky Ladies is a very popular bet that can be found in most blackjack casinos.
Suit Em Up Side Bet
The Suite Em Up bet is very easy to understand. In addition to the main bet, the player also places a bet on the fact that two of his cards are “suited”, that is, of the same color. The player receives two cards. The payout increases depending on the rank of the two cards. The only difference in the way you play is the number of decks used and the payout structure. The game is currently offered at Felt Gaming and RTG casinos.
Lucky Lucky Side Bet
Lucky Lucky Blackjack is a traditional blackjack game in which you can play up to five hands at the same time, but with the addition of an extra bet that can bring you a huge payout. The Lucky Lucky Side Bet is a bet on the first two cards of the hand and the dealer’s upcard, which form one of eight winning combinations and payout up to 200:1.
Buster Blackjack Side Bet
Buster Blackjack is a side bet where the player wins if the dealer loses. Odds based payouts are determined by the number of cards the dealer has lost. The greater the number of cards in the dealer’s hand, the higher the payout at the buster’s bet. Players can win both their blackjack bet and the booster bet if the dealer is out.
Optimal Blackjack Strategy
A long time ago, mathematicians, players and statisticians developed the optimal strategy for playing blackjack in casinos. This shows the player what to do when certain cards are dealt to him (and to the dealer). If you apply this optimal basic strategy, you can minimize the pot edge to 0.25%.
What the optimal blackjack strategy looks like depends on the variant of the game:
- Option 1: Dealer’s Soft 17.
- Option 2: the dealer switches to Soft 17.
What is the Optimal Blackjack Strategy?
The basic rules of an optimal blackjack strategy are simply explained and can be read in one table (depending on the variant of the game, see above):
Find out more about the optimal blackjack strategy.
Play Blackjack Online with the Right Strategy
In addition to the basic strategy, of course, as with many other casino games, there are betting systems that you can use to manage your bankroll. We ask our players to be careful: depending on the betting system and table limits, you can quickly reach your limits here.
Using the Paroli System, you can minimize your losses in blackjack while increasing your winnings. Rule of thumb: if you win, you bet more money; if you lose, you invest less money in it. This way, you will keep track of your bankroll and be able to use the good and bad phases accordingly.
The Martingale system follows a negative progression: you bet more money here if you lose your original bet. With this system, lost bets must be doubled. Martingale is known as a risky betting system and is more suitable for high rollers.
The 1-3-2-6 system is an alternative for less risky games. A series of numbers tell you how to increase or decrease your bet if you win. So, if you bet $5 in the first game and win, you bet 3 x $5 in the next, and so on. This way, players can gradually increase their winnings while maintaining their bankroll.
Express is one of the riskiest betting systems. Here you have to double your bet after each round. Here the player sets his limit for the game cycle. With this system, you have to stay very disciplined and down to earth to make up for your losses in the long run.
The Fibonacci system, named after the structure of the mathematical formula, is a sequence of bets: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. This series of numbers shows that the next number is always the sum that makes two last numbers. The system is very easy to understand. You use sequences every time you win a round. However, unlike other progressive betting systems, the player is not required to double down when winning rounds continually. However, you also need to have a successful streak – at least five wins in a row – to be able to place high bets.
Check out the Blackjack Options!
If you have a choice, always play the option in which the dealer takes Soft 17. This option has a house edge 0.2% lower than the other.
Counting cards in Blackjack
Card counting is a blackjack card game strategy in a real casino. This is how players want to determine whether the next hand will give the player or the dealer an advantage. Those who know how to count cards and thus calculate which one will be next, they can make better decisions for their own game and reduce the house edge.
There are different card counting strategies. To be able to count cards in blackjack, you do not have to be a “rain man”, as the world of cinema often demonstrates. However, you have to be skillful – because it doesn’t show up in the casino (even if it’s not illegal). The most popular strategy is Hi / Lo card counting.
Hi / Lo Strategy
With a Hi-Lo strategy, the player must keep an eye on the ratio of high and low cards in the game. High-value cards such as tens and aces not only increase the likelihood of dealing blackjack but also increase the possibility that hands will be worth at least 20 points. A deck with a lot of high cards puts the player in a very advantageous position as it increases the likelihood of the dealer losing.
Can you learn to count cards?
The short answer to this popular question is yes.
Long answer: learning to count cards in blackjack is very difficult. Besides the fact that you will have to delve deeply into the game (and all its variations), you should be able to memorize the basic strategy even before you start counting cards. This means you need to rehearse 250 moves before you can begin. Also, you must be able to calculate bulky numbers very quickly and skillfully in your head and at the same time be able to observe the game closely. In general, card counting is possible – but the average player is not very happy with the game.
Learn more about blackjack Hi-Lo Strategy and card counting here.
Blackjack tournaments have been around for several years in real casinos and online casinos. Blackjack fans admire them for a variety of reasons. Just like in poker, blackjack tournaments are big events with big prize money. Many players love the thrill, the social component and of course the hefty wins. Many players love the thrill, the social dimension and of course, the huge prizes.
Things to consider when playing in Blackjack Tournaments:
- Usually, an entry fee is required to participate in the game.
- In a tournament, players compete against each other.
- The goal of the game is to collect as many chips as possible to win a prize.
- Each tournament has its own rules.
- Sometimes you need to deviate from the classic blackjack strategy to make a profit.
Different types of Blackjack Tournaments
As we mentioned earlier, there are several different types of blackjack tournaments on the internet:
Traditional Blackjack / Shootout Tournaments
Traditional blackjack knockout tournaments are probably the most popular type of tournaments in gambling and blackjack. During these tournaments, players usually play against other players at the table. The winners at each table move forward while the others are eliminated. Some tournaments usually allow you to re-purchase and play more than once.
No Elimination Tournaments
During non-knockout tournaments, players compete with all other players to collect the most chips after a certain number of rounds. The names of the tournament participants are usually posted on a board known as the leaderboard. As a result, all players have an idea of how much money they need to move up the current rankings.
Live Blackjack Tournaments
In live blackjack tournaments for real money, each participant must purchase chips to start playing. Unlike other tournaments, these tournaments use real money chips. Therefore, assuming you decide to bet your maximum bet during a blackjack tournament, you are risking your money, not your chips.
Blackjack Sit’n ‘Go tournaments are tournaments usually held in online casinos. As a rule, they start continuously as soon as 6 players are at the table.
Freeroll Blackjack Tournaments
As a rule, participation in freeroll blackjack tournaments does not require any money. However, they still offer a prize worth playing for, even if it’s not as big as in a regular blackjack tournament. Casinos usually hold them for regular players or to attract new customers to the casino.
You can read more about blackjack tournaments here: Blackjack Tournament Strategy.
4 blackjack tips for beginners
Remember the following points from the outset:
- Give the dealer the chance to overbuy
It doesn’t just depend on your cards. Watch the dealer’s cards: if he has 4, 5, or 6, you can play more defensively. However, if you have a good soft hand, you can become more aggressive, and then you have a better chance of the dealer getting out, and you can win. Don’t miss this advantage in the game.
- Always separate aces and eights – never tens and sixes
Ace is a strong card in blackjack. Two aces are only eleven points. Always split aces. You now have two chances at 21. Two eights equal 16 points – pretty much the worst number ever -, but if you divide, you have two chances for 18 points, so two good hands. Ten is a good starting card, but two tens = 20 points, which is too good to be divided. Two 6 = 12 points, but it’s still better than two sixes.
- If you’re holding a Soft 17, you shouldn’t take more cards
The overbought risk is too hight. Even if the dealer shows a face card, 10 or ace, you better stop. Although your chances of winning are lower, if you go further, you are more likely to lose.
- Don’t take out insurance
If the dealer has an ace, you can take out blackjack insurance. If the dealer does have blackjack, your bet will be refunded. However, according to statistics, you should not use insurance.
How to play blackjack online?
At the top of this page, you will find all the details about blackjack and the online casinos that offer it.
Does free blackjack make sense?
It's best to find an online casino that offers blackjack for free. In our review, we will introduce you to some of the free blackjack casinos. Practice playing with our online blackjack trainer until you feel confident. After that, you can start making real bets at any online casino of your choice. For a full review, check out our list of the best blackjack casinos.
How many players are there at the blackjack table?
A blackjack table usually has six and sometimes seven seats. Up to seven players can play at the same time. Sometimes players can play multiple hands at the same time. Players decide who sits where.
Do the odds of winning change depending on the number of players at the table?
No. The number of players participating in the game or the number of places played has practically no effect on the chances of winning. In blackjack, you always play alone against the dealer.
What's the best blackjack strategy?
A good blackjack strategy depends on several factors, mainly the number of decks and the number of cards open to the dealer. For an optimal strategy, there are now blackjack tables that are easy to understand even for beginners. Do this, and you will be playing against the smallest possible house edge. At the top of this page are tables of the optimal strategy.
What is Burn Card?
The first card in a deck is usually used as a burning card, which means that it is not dealt, but set aside. This rule is from the past and is intended to prevent fraud. You can find all the essential terms related to blackjack in our Blackjack Glossary.
Is card counting legal, and can I take advantage of it?
Counting cards is generally not illegal in real casinos or on the Internet. It is clear, however, that casinos are not interested in having card counters playing at their tables, as such players may have advantages. However, in movies like 21, it looks more straightforward than it is: in fact, you have to be very gifted to be able to count cards effectively. There are several methods in casinos to prevent card counting, and it is common to remove players who are counting cards.
Of course, in online casinos, it is not so easy to count cards. In any case, you should print out the basic strategy and always have it on hand during the game. If you are interested in card counting in blackjack, read here.
Should I get insurance from a dealer blackjack?
Basically: no. It has long been proven mathematically that insurance against blackjack is a lousy deal in the long run. Exceptions to the rule should be made only if you are good at counting cards, and if the number of high cards remains above average in the deck.
What are the typical blackjack newbie mistakes?
The most common mistake newbies make is buying too many cards when it's best to stay still. Anyone who is still buying with 19 points has misunderstood the rules (and statistics) of blackjack.
In general, do not approach the table naively. Those who do not yet understand the basics of optimal strategy often find themselves vulnerable - for example, if you do not split two eights on a hand (SPLIT). Experienced players know that you reduce your chances of winning by up to 30%.
What is a blackjack tournament?
A blackjack tournament is a large-scale event that is usually held in a real casino or online casino between several players. As a rule, tournaments last from 2 to 3 days. Upon registration, players must pay an entry fee to participate in the contest. There are very different tournaments with different rules, payouts, game types and options.
In most cases, they are played in a winner-take-all mode, so that the winner of the tournament receives the entire prize pool. The player with the most chips wins.
Are there other blackjack tournaments?
Yes, there is. Tournaments are not held as often as regular blackjack "cash games", but they are trendy as show events and often come with massive prizes.
What types of blackjack are there?
There are several different options, including B. Spanish 21, Surrender Blackjack, Switch, and Double Exposure. We've put together the most important blackjack options for you and explained the differences.
Is my internet connection fast enough to play online blackjack?
Online blackjack does not require extreme processing power. If you're not using an old computer, your hardware shouldn't have blackjack problems. However, with live blackjack, things look different. Here the requirements are much higher, and not every device can do it. We recommend you have a fast internet connection and a modern browser for extensive live streaming.