Blackjack is the second most popular casino card game in Asia just behind baccarat while over in Europe and the USA, it is the most popular casino card game. It is also a card game that comes with deep strategy, moves you need to learn, and table etiquette if you decide to play blackjack at a land-based casino!
Here are the basics of blackjack explained in short. If this looks like a game you would like to play, then check out our blackjack strategy and variations guides!
In most blackjack games, the dealer must ‘stand’ on a hard 17 or more and ‘draw’ on 16 or less. However, some games will require the dealer to stand on ‘Any 17’ which also means if there is a soft 17 hand, the dealer cannot hit. By the way, a soft 17 hand will have an Ace in it.
Getting your Bets Down
Blackjack tables have either 1 seat for you to bet at or multiple seats. You place your bets in the rectangle box, and if you double down or split, you place the chips just outside the box. That’s said, most virtual or live dealer blackjack tables will have you simply place the double down bet in the box with your original bet.
After the First 2 cards
The idea of the game is to beat the dealer by having a higher hand, but your hand can’t go over the value of 21. Picture cards count as 10 points, while the Ace can count as 1 or 11 points. All the other cards count as their card denominations depict.
You have options to ‘double’, ‘stand’ or ‘hit’
If you hit, then you’ll be dealt a third card. However, if that card totals up to over 21 your hand will be bust regardless of what the dealer holds and you bet is take by the house.
Unless you have quite a low card count, then there is not usually much call to ‘stand’ with just 2 cards. In that case, you would ‘hit’, and then ‘stand’ if your hand starts to gain a lot of points.
Players usually double if they have a low hand. Hitting this option means your bet is doubled and you are automatically dealt an additional card. Be careful when you double because you could go bust and lose your entire bet.
There is in fact 1 more option to ‘surrender’, but you should rarely use this option if at all.
You can split depending on the rules of the table. Always make sure you check the rules of the game because some tables limit splits. The best blackjack tables allow you to split any hand, and they allow you to re-split if your new split hand’s second card is the same as the first card. Also, never split 10s!
When you play blackjack, always use basic strategy! This is very important because basic strategy tells you the optimal move you should make – I.e., according to your hand total and the dealer’s face-up card, you will hit, split, double, or stand. Basic strategy is also important when learning the basics of blackjack because it acts as an educational guide on how to act in certain situations and helps you understand which hands are tricky to play.
Blackjack and Pay-outs
If you are dealt a hand with 21, you have a natural Blackjack, and this pays at 3/2 of your bet. When both you and the dealer have Blackjack, the bet is pushed. All other wins are paid at even odds.
Some blackjack tables offer side bets. These are bets that have no influence on the outcome of the main blackjack game and is not part of basic strategy. You should always take side bets with a pinch salt. The house edge weighs heavily in favour of the house and for this reason, most serious blackjack players avoid them.
The Basics of Blackjack Summarised
As you can see, there is more to blackjack than most other casino card games. It’s slightly more complex because you choose actions and there are ways to make a decision whether to hit, stand, double, or split by using basic strategy. If you are already a keen blackjack player, then why not check out the different blackjack variations and learn some strategy here.