Online Blackjack Guide – Rules And Odds

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How To play Blackjack

In this guide, we’ll share with you everything you need to know in order to play a decent game of blackjack, from payouts to card values and much more.

Being a good blackjack player isn’t just about luck – it requires a decent strategy, good ability to calculate all the possible outcomes, and choosing the right move that statistically gives you the greatest expected return.

Apply your mind carefully, and you’ll have a better chance of beating the dealer and end up with a larger amount than you had at the beginning.

Blackjack rules

Blackjack is a game which played against the casino itself (‘the house’), the purpose of the game is quite simple:

Finish with cards whose total value will be as close as possible to 21, but do not exceed this number (for example 22).

Once you have completed the round with total value closer to 21 than the dealer – you win.

Another way to win is if a player gets the exact total sum of 21, it called “blackjack”, and that means the round is over and you win immediately.

ways of getting blackjack

If, however, your total card’s value goes over 21, your hand considered to have ‘busted’ immediately, and you will lose the bet right away no matter what came out of the dealer’s hand.

Another way to lose your bet is simply if the dealer gets a closer hand to 21 than you, then you lose.

Card values

In blackjack, the values of cards are going like that:

Cards 2-10 are simply retaining their face value, for example, a three is worth three points, a seven worth seven points and so it goes on.

Kings, Queens and Jacks (also known as ‘face cards’) are worth 10 points each.

Ace is unique because it can be worth a one or an 11, depends on the player’s choice. For example, Ace and a three can be a four or a 14 whichever is better for the hand.

An important fact to note: in blackjack (unlike in poker for example), the colour or shape on the card does not symbolize anything, so, for example, a red heart king is equal to a black spade king.

Blackjack card values

So, now that you know the rules of blackjack, and the values of its cards, let’s talk about the game itself and how it played:

How blackjack is dealt

The round starts when the dealer is dealing two cards, both for the player and for the dealer himself. The player and the dealer get two cards, but the difference between the two is – the dealer only shows one card while the other card is kept face down.

When the dealers have done dealing the cards, the player always goes first, which means they should make a decision either to take more cards (which called as ‘hit’) or to stay with the current value (which called as ‘stand’).

This two options (hit or stand) are the basic options the players must make, although there are a few other decisions they can make (like splitting or doubling down), we will get to that later in this guide, so stay tuned.

Hit means that the player requests another card from the dealer – if the third card gives the player a total of more than 21, the player ‘bust’ immediately, which means he lost his round.

For instance; a player who’s got 15 points in total (K+5 for example) and hit for another card, but the third card comes out 9, will out of the round (as he got a total of 24.

If the third card comes out as a lower number, the player may continue hitting until he’s satisfied with his hand.

Hit means that the player requests another card from the dealer – if the third card gives the player a total of more than 21, the player ‘bust’ immediately, which means he lost his round.

For instance; a player who’s got 15 points in total (K+5 for example) and hit for another card, but the third card comes out 9, will out of the round (as he got a total of 24.

If the third card comes out as a lower number, the player may continue hitting until he’s satisfied with his hand.

blackjack hit

Stand means that the player is basically satisfied with his current hand, convinced that taking more cards will be more of a risk than a potential reward. Therefore, he will not ask for another card and will finish the round standing.

For example, if a player’s hand come out as a King+10 (which has a total value of 20), will be better for him to stand, because except Ace, any other card that comes out, will cause him to lose.

So now that you understand the two basic decisions that players can make in the game of blackjack, let’s talk about other options, that you, as a player, can make.

blackjack stand

Double down: doubling down is allowed after you’ve received the two cards by the dealer. The double down is only allowed when you have first two cards add up less than 11. You, as a player, will be allowed to place an additional bet equal to the original wager.

Once you receive one more card from the dealer, you’ll have to stand, without the option to make any other decision.

For example, a player got 6+5, and he doubled down – no matter which card will come out next, the player will automatically stand after the third card has dealt.

blackjack Double Down

Split: if a player got his first two cards with the same value (for example two fours or two sevens), split means that the player is asking to split them into two separate playing hands.

A split hand becomes two separate bets, and the dealer will hit the player with another card on each of the splits.

In order to split, the player should add the same amount of his initial bet next to his original bet, with a signal for the dealer with his hand (splitting his fingers pointing on the two separated bets.

blackjack split

*It is important to remember that when playing blackjack online, hand movements are not relevant as you are playing through the computer. When playing online, all you have to do is to click on the next decision to select your next move.

Let’s discuss a few different cases where a player may or may not want to split his pairs:

Pair of Aces: When splitting pair of aces, the player will get one card only (that’s a house rule), and then will automatically stand.

Pair of fours: fours considered as a better hand to play as an eight, without splitting them into two hands, although, if the player does split them, he will still be able to hit another card after receiving the second card to his split hands.

Pair of eights: a player should always split eights, as two eights equal to 16, which means its quite a low number, although it still has the potential of getting another card and get busted (any card over 5, will cause the player to lose his bet).

Pair of Jacks, Kings or Queens: as you already know – pairs of faces sums up to 20, which means that’s a 1 point below perfect blackjack. Therefore, a player should never split those.

The reason being is that for a player, to win the bet, he would have to get another couple of tens (which is unlikely to happen).

In other words – most of the time, a player will win his bet with a pair of faces, so any other decision he will make will simply decrease his chances of winning.

Pair of fives: in this case, some players will want to do a split while most players will prefer to play it as one hand of 10. The reason players prefer to keep a pair of fives as one hand of a ten is that the odds of winning a bet when playing with a ten are much higher.

Other decisions a player can make

Surrender: This option offered when the dealer’s up-card is either a ten or an Ace value (e.g. 10, J, Q, K or Ace).

A player who has surrendered forfeits half his bet to the house. The round ends, and a new round can commence.

When are players considering surrendering? Let’s take a look at this example:

After you got the first two cards, and their amount will be medium-high (which means it’s too high to take another card since you can get over 21, but your amount is still pretty far from 21), and the dealer will have one of the ten or an Ace value cards, you should consider surrendering.

In most cases, when having a total card’s value of 15 or 16, without a ten, you should think of surrendering.

Insurance: when the dealer has an Ace as up-card, the player can take insurance against the chance that the dealer has a blackjack (also called a natural or a snapper).

Insurance is generally limited to half of the original bet and pays out at 2:1.

Push:  the push occurs when both the dealer and the player cam out with the same total (for example a player has Q+9 and the dealer have 10+9).

When push or tie happens, nobody wins, which means the bet stays on the table, and a new round will start.

Blackjack payouts

Blackjack payouts are quite simple:

Once a player beat the dealer (player must have a higher combination than the dealer has), and it’s not a blackjack, he will receive a 1:1 payout, which means a player will get the same amount he placed as a bet.

For instance: a player beats the dealer with J and a 10.

Once a player hit a “blackjack”, he will receive a 3:2 payout, or in other words, on a £10 bet, he will win another £15.

For example, a player beats the dealer with a 10-value card + an Ace.

Online casinos can also offer various side bets such as perfect pairs and the like, depending on where you play, the payouts for these bets will be displayed on the table or will appear under the T&C’s of the game.

A few common blackjack outcomes:

Blackjack win higher cards
blackjack dealer bust
blackjack
blackjack dealer wins higher hand
Blackjack bust
blackjack push
blackjack Surrender

Contributors

Tal Cohen
Tal Cohen

Tal has worked in the online gambling industry for over 4 years. Along with his passion for gambling, Tal has also gained considerable experience in analysing and reviewing many casino sites.

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