How To Play Blackjack
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games you can play, whether online or at a live venue.
Each game is quick, the winnings on offer are lucrative - especially when side bets are involved - and the house edge is reasonable.
So if you are looking to pick up a game of blackjack, but don't know the basics yet, you've come to the right place.
Read on to find out how to play blackjack, and what to look out for when you start hitting the online casinos.
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Finding a Blackjack Game
There are many different varieties of blackjack, although they all whittle down to a comparable form of the game. The game itself stays the same, but some of the rules are often tweaked or changed entirely in order to create a new blackjack experience. If you come across a new type of blackjack that you haven't played before, be sure to read up on the rules before you jump into a game.
Some blackjack games offer side bets while others don't, and a number of casinos have the dealer stand on soft 17, whereas Las Vegas is notorious for enforcing the hit on soft 17 rule. It all depends on where and what you are playing.
Once you have found the ideal blackjack game, you need to understand how to play. An average game of blackjack at an online casino will look similar to that which is pictured below:
Unless you are playing in a multiplayer room, a game of online blackjack is always a one-on-one contest with the casino dealer. It is your job to beat the dealer with a higher ranked hand at the end of the round (that does not exceed 21) in order to earn a payout. As an aside: depending on where you choose play, a few online casinos will pay out a player on a draw, although most will deem the bet a push. In some cases, usually in games with a lower house edge or lucrative side bets, the dealer wins when a draw occurs.
The first thing you will need to do when playing blackjack is to make a bet. Wagers can start from as little as $1 or less, and run into the thousands. Once you have decided upon your bet, click the deal button to start playing. The dealer will immediately deal two cards to you and himself, with only one of his cards facing up. The player always plays out his or her hand before the dealer, so your next step is to decide what to do with your cards.
If you have been dealt blackjack (Ace and 10-value card), the dealer will reveal his cards and payouts will be rewarded - blackjack pays out 3 to 2. In all other cases you will be faced with the immediate decision to hit, stand or double. Hitting will add an extra card to your hand, standing will end your turn, and doubling will double your initial wager and allow only one more card to be dealt on your hand. If you have received a pair, you may be given the option to split. After your turn is complete, the dealer will turn over his facedown card and proceed to play out his hand. Depending on who gets the closest to 21 without going over, you will either receive a payout, push, or lose your wager.
There are many different ways to apply strategy in blackjack, with everything from strategy cards to card counting having been employed at some point. While card counting has been rendered impossible at online casinos, blackjack fans can still study basic strategy cards in order to not just have a better grasp of the game, but also to have a better chance at winning when playing at online casinos.
For more information on blackjack strategy, see our Blackjack Strategy page.