Getting Started with Blackjack
The classic game of Blackjack is a firm favourite with seasoned gamblers everywhere thanks to the excitement on offer and the test of skill and nerve it presents. Easy to learn yet hard to master Blackjack is where the serious gamblers make (and sometimes loose) their fortunes.
Thanks to the internet and the amazing range of casinos available playing Blackjack online is easier than ever. Not only do players today have a great range of online blackjack games available but a massive range of live Blackjack tables are also just a few clicks away!
This guide aims to help new players learn the basics and get started with blackjack online. Remember it takes years to truly master Blackjack so once you do get going for real take it easy with your stakes until you get a feel for the game!
Online Blackjack is usually played with 6 – 8 decks of cards with each card having a value of 1 – 11 like so:
- Aces are worth 11 or 1
- Picture cards are worth 10
- All other cards are worth their face value
The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over and outscore the dealer, when this happens you will be paid winnings at even money.
If you go over 21 then you are said to have bust and will be out of the game, likewise if the dealer busts then all players left in the game (who haven’t bust themselves) will win regardless of their score.
How a Game Works
Each game will have 1 – 7 players plus the dealer and bets must be placed before the game commences.
When the game starts each player plus the dealer will be dealt 2 cards, the dealer’s first card will be dealt face down and the second face up allowing everyone a hint as to their hands strength. If the dealer’s face card is an ace insurance will be offered to the players.
Once everyone involved in the game has two cards the action begins with the player to the dealers left acting first. A player has several options come their turn, some dependent on their cards and / or the casino rules:
- Hit: The player is dealt another card.
- Stand: The player receives no new cards.
- Split: If a player has a pair they may optionally split them, this doubles their stake and creates two new, independent hands.
- Double: The player may double their stake and receive exactly one additional card (where permitted).
- Insurance: This is a side bet whereby if the dealer has blackjack you will be paid out at 2/1
- Surrender: Some casinos allow players to surrender their hand and receive 50% of their stake back.
Players can stand or hit on any number however, the dealer must draw to at least 17 and at which point must stand on 17 or higher.
If you are lucky enough to have been dealt blackjack you will be paid straight away at odds of 3/2
If you have beaten the dealer you will be paid at even money, however if you have scored over 21 or less than the dealer you will lose. Scoring the same as the dealer is called a push and will result in you receiving your stake money back.
If you have been dealt a pair of cards you will be given the opportunity to (optionally) split the cards. If you accept then this will double your bet and in effect create two new separate hands to play.
You may also double you bet on most hands although some casinos only allow this on hands valued between 9 – 11. If you do decide to double you will receive one more card only after which you must stand (assuming you haven’t bust).
Popular Side Bets
Most tables offer side bets which can be a fun way to hit it big with payouts of up to 100/1 whilst playing your regular Blackjack hand:
If you bet on perfect pairs you will be paid as a winner if you are dealt a pair whilst playing your regular blackjack hand, the payout will vary depending upon the pair itself with a perfect pair (same suit) been worth the most:
- Perfect Pair pays 30/1
- Same colour pair pays 10/1
- Mixed colour pair pays 5/1
21 + 3:
Another popular side bet is the 21+3 bet whereby the player’s cards plus the dealer’s face card form a mini poker hand and will pay out accordingly, for example having 3x kings is three of a kind. The payouts are as below:
- Suited 3 of a kind: 100/1
- Straight flush: 40/1
- Three of a kind: 30/1
- Straight: 10/1
- Flush: 5/1