Blackjack is a centuries-old card game, played in almost every casino. Its popularity never waned. The object of the game is simple – you must draw a hand that is higher than the dealer’s hand, but your hand’s value must never go over 21. If you draw more than that, you lose, or “bust”.
The cards values are as follows. 2 through 10 are worth 2 through 10 points. Any face cards (jacks, queens, kings) are worth 10. An ace can either be 1 or 11. If the ace is counted as 11, then the hand that contains it called a “soft” hand. If the ace is counted as 1, then it’s a “hard” hand.
How the Blackjack game starts
After you place your bet, you are dealt two cards face up. Then the dealer gets a card face up (in some game variations, he can get two cards face up). If you are immediately dealt 21 (A-10, A-J, A-Q, A-K), it means that you have “blackjack” and you are paid 3/2 of your bet. If the dealer also gets a blackjack, it means a tie (called “push”) for both of you, and your bet is passed to the next hand..
How you play your hand in Blackjack
But let’s say you didn’t get an immediate 21. What then? In this case, you have additional options.
“Stand”: you can choose not to take more cards. You will stay with the value you were initially dealt. The play moves to the next player at the table, and eventually the dealer.
“Hit”: you can ask for another card, to improve your value and get closer to the magical 21. You can hit as much as you can, until you either choose to stand, or you go bust.
Another option is “split”. If you are dealt a pair, two same card, you can split them into two hands and double your bet. You will be playing two different hands now, standing or hitting them separately.
“Double down” – interesting options, in which you double the bet, get one card only and then automatically stand.
The dealer’s turn
The dealer, of course, plays against you. The dealer has certain moves that she or he must make. The dealer turns over the second card (as you remember, his first card was dealt face up). The total value of his cards creates the following options.
The dealer must hit if the cards equal 16 or less. The dealer must stand in case of 18 or more. A hard 17 (10-7, J-7, Q-7, K-7) also forces him to stand. If he has a soft 17 (A-6) – he must hit.
Naturally, some of these rules may vary, both in live and online casinos, so make sure you read them before you start playing Blackjack.
Insurance in Blackjack
If dealer’s first face up card is an ace, you can take “insurance”, i.e. – place another bet (half of the original one) to insure yourself against dealer’s possible blackjack. If the dealer actually make the blackjack, you get 2/1 on your insurance bet. If he doesn’t – you lose the money.
So what’s the secret to winning in Blackjack? There are no magical and guaranteed systems, but keep these useful tips in mind.
Hit or stand – know when
You need to understand what your decisions and moves must be, depending on the cards that you and the dealer have. If you receive a total of 4 to 8, you must always hit. On the other hand, if you have 12 to 16 and the dealer show a low first card, then you must stand. He has to abide to specific pre-set rules, so let him keep hitting until he goes bust. His chances of busting when the face u card is 2 to 6 are especially high.
If you have 12 to 16 and the dealer has higher cards (7 to ace), then you need to hit and get as close to 21 as possible. Naturally, the chances of you going bust are sizable, but his chances of beating you are even bigger. If you’re playing online, then prepare a chart of when you need to hit or stand and keep it next to your computer screen.
Online casinos offer great bonuses and promotions, so when you play blackjack in online casinos, you can enjoy some of the best casino bonuses today.
Avoid the insurance in certain cases
If you receive a blackjack and the dealer’s first card is an ace, don’t take insurance. Just win 3/2 and that’s it, don’t waste another bet on the possibility that the dealer has a blackjack as well.
10 or 100 means doubling down
If you are dealt 10 or 11 and the dealer shows 2 to 6, then there is a good chance for him busting while you will be still good if you are dealt one additional single card. You will invest twice of your original bet, but you will also win twice more.
Card counting is a myth
Although card counting has become a famous idea, especially after those students from MIT made a fortune with it, it’s actually a very hard thing to do. Even more so when the game has 7-8 decks, or when the decks are being shuffled from time to time. Card counting means that you are monitoring the frequencies of tens and low cards in order to change your betting as you progress. The counting is pretty useless when you’re playing online casino games, since the cards are created randomly.
The house has an edge
Compared to let’s say a roulette, the player has a bigger edge in Blackjack. But notice how many decks are being used at the table. The more decks there are, the better is the house’s edge. Casino’s edge can move from 0.17% advantage in a single deck card all the way to 0.65% in an eight decks game. Do your researches before you play, when it’s a real live casino, or an online one.
Now that you’ve gained some knowledge of this interesting game, it’s time to practice, experience different situations of the game, and when you feel you’re ready to play for real money, deposit, play smart and according to your bankroll and with knowledge and experience win the game and money.
Best of luck and see you at the tables.