How to play Blackjack
Blackjack or 21s as some will call it is commonly described as the simplest game to play and is a very popular game in casinos. It’s clear to see why though… the game is easy to pick up, easy rules and is quite good fun to play.
In terms of playing with your money there aren’t many bets that can be played so games are usually quick to play through. Your competition is the dealer in Blackjack all other players on your table are also playing to beat the dealer.
The game is played with a standard deck of cards often multiple decks are played at once. The game is played on a specially designed table, the dealer at one side with spaces for players on the other side, usually 5 or 6 players at a time will be involved, these spaces are the betting spots. These spots are all playable during the game meaning one player can play one, two, three up to six hands a game, as long as the spots are available.
Players who have a spot/spots chosen for the round must first place their stake in the spots before the hands are drawn. The dealer will then draw 2 cards for each spot both cards facing up. The dealer will also draw 2 cards, one will remain face down.
The play will then go around the table clockwise – players make their decision on the move, there are a number of options here which we’ll go through with you later. The aim is to get the value of your cards to 21 whilst keeping the value of your cards above the dealers. If you successful do this you’ll win the hand. If you draw over the value of 21 you will go “bust” and lose your stake. If you stick on a value lower than the dealer’s value you will also lose your stake.
The dealer will reveal his second card after all players have decided to stick. If the dealer is below the value of 17 (usually) then they must continue to draw a card until this value is reached or they go “bust”.
What value do the cards in the deck have?
- An ace is often an important card In the deck. It has multiple values of either 1 or 11.
- Picture cards Jack, Queen and Kings are all valued as 10.
- All other cards are valued at what is one the card 2-10.
Once the dealer reaches 17 or goes bust they cannot make another action meaning all bets are settled, to win the bet the player must:
- Have a higher valued hand than the dealer and not gone bust. The player will win their stake and equal winnings back, so 2/1 Odds.
- A player wins an amount equal to their stake if they avoid going bust and the dealer does go bust.
- If the player draws a blackjack (any card valued 10 and an ace) then the player is paid out 3/2.
- Players that go bust will lose their stake regardless of the dealer’s hand
- If the players value of their hand is lower than the dealers after sticking, then a player will lose their stake
- The stake is returned should the value of the players hand be the same as the dealers
- Should both player and dealer draw blackjack then the stake is returned
All bets are settled at the end of the round ready for a new round to start.
Blackjack step by step
Starting the round
At the start of the round players playing in available betting spots must place their stake before the round starts to be dealt cards. You’ll need to follow the minimum and maximum stakes that are allowed at that table.
The players who have staked will be dealt to cards to each spot, both these cards will be face up. The dealer will also draw two cards however one of the cards will remain face down.
The players will now add up their cards, remember that an ace is either 1 or 11.
Hit or Stand?
You’ve been dealt your hand, now becomes your time to act. The most common two options here are to hit or stand. They are very simple to understand, if you stand you are deciding you are happy with the current value of your hand and you don’t want to receive any more cards.
Deciding to hit means you’ll receive another card. You can keep hitting and receiving cards to try reach the value of 21, however if you hit too many times and go bust you’ll lose your stake. Most variations of online blackjack with see you have other options available too.
Splitting can be done when you are dealt two cards of the same value, the option allows you to split the cards into two separate hands, you will however need to stake your initial stake again to do this. The cards will then form two new hands which can be played like normal. Each of these hands will have it’s own stake so you don’t have to win both hands to win the bet.
In some situations, you will be able to double your stake once your initial two cards have been dealt. The exact rules of the blackjack variant you are playing will determine when you can double. Some will allow you to double on any two cards some will mean that your cards value will have to be lower than 11 to be able to double.
Doubling means you are dealt an extra card for the cost of another stake. The stake will be the same as your initial stake. However, the player must stick after the new card is drawn regardless of the value. The reason this bet can be appealing is because if you have drawn an 11, then due to the amount of 10 valued cards (around 30% chance) in the decks you have a good chance of drawing 21.
Also depending on what the dealer’s card is that is showing especially if it is a 6 or 5 then the dealer is likely to go bust when trying to draw to 17.
After all the players have made their moves it will eventually come around to the dealers turn. Their options are actually very limited, they can’t split or double. They can only hit, even with hitting they can only hit until the value is 17. Once this value is reached or surpassed they must stand/ be bust. If the dealer goes bust, then all players win the round.
Think you’re ready to play black jack?
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