Sometimes we read those ‘how to play blackjack’ articles or other blackjack guides outlining the basic blackjack rules as simply: get as close to 21 as possible. This could not be more wrong. The objective when you play blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand by either having a total number of points that exceeds the dealer’s hand or by not going over 21 when the dealer does so, also known as ‘bust’. You may argue that these are quite similar to the regular blackjack play’s guides but knowing these tiny differences can change a great deal on how to play blackjack efficiently. Let’s get started with a few bits you need to know before hitting the tables, for example, the hard and soft hands. This can be a bit confusing, especially when playing live and trying to figure out if you won or lost but we will break this down in this blackjack guide for you.
Blackjack Hitting and Standing Rules
This is the main action one can take during a blackjack hand at any online or land-based casino. This move means you want the dealer to give another card to your hand in an attempt to increase your total points. In real life casino games, you can indicate to the dealer that you want another card by making a beckoning motion with your finger or by simply tapping the table with your finger. The dealer will then proceed and lay another card on the table – you can hit as much as you wish and feel comfortable until you bust or win, essentially. On the other hand, if you choose to stand, it means you are satisfied with the total points of your blackjack hand and want to wait for the round to unfold before making another decision.
Blackjack Rules: Double Down and Surrender Rules
You might have suspected that doubling down simply means doubling your initial bet and in return, you receive one extra card. Some blackjack tables only allow you to double down after you have received your first two cards and right before drawing another one – this can be done anytime; however, it is not the optimal way to play as it can deplete your bank faster if you enter on an ‘unlucky streak’. The surrender option is currently not available at LV BET blackjack tables. However, it consists of forfeiting your hand immediately with an automatic loss of half the original bet. There are basically two options for surrendering, one is the late surrender and the early surrender. The late is when you are only allowed to do it after the dealer has checked his/her hand for blackjack and the early surrender allows the player to do it before the round starts, giving a slight advantage over the late surrender. When you choose to surrender your cards, the dealer will remove your cards from the table and half of your bet is handed back to you; you can place another bet again only in the next round.
Insurance in Blackjack and Even Money Strategy
These are more like a safeguard blackjack strategy for those moments when you are not so sure about winning with your current blackjack hand or when you feel that the dealer got luckier than you. When the dealer’s card is an ace, he/she will ask all players if they want to make the insurance wager, which is another side bet in which players are betting that the dealer’s hid card will be a ten-value card. Players can make an insurance bet with less than or equal to half of the initial bet. You will win an insurance bet if the dealer has a ten-value card facing down. On the other hand, at some online blackjack tables, when you have a blackjack hand and the dealer has an ace facing up, you might be asked to go for ‘even money’ (not available at LV BET at the moment), which essentially means that a dealer will give you a 1 to 1 payoff on your bet before he/she checks their hand for a potential blackjack. The insurance bet and the even-money yield the same result in terms of payoffs.
Soft and Hard Hands
A blackjack hard hand is any hand that can be dealt to you that either does not contain an ace or if it does, counts the ace as 1. For example, 10-7 is a hard 17; 5-A-10-3 is a hard 19. Any hand that contains an ace that is counted as 11 is known as a soft hand. For example, A-6 is a soft 17; A-2-5 is a soft 18, and 3-2-A-3 is a soft 19. When you receive your first two cards and one of them is an ace, you can count this ace as 11 – when you are dealt a soft hand and draw more cards your hand will inevitably be converted to a hard hand. For the purposes of this blackjack guide, let’s suppose you are dealt a 6-A which is a soft 17, and you draw another card, which in this case is a 6. Now what you have is a hard 13 – note that you can never bust when you have a soft hand. The reason you really need to know the difference between a hard and soft hand in blackjack is because the playing strategy is usually quite different, even though the total of the hand can be the same. For example, a 10-7 (hard 17) is played differently than an A-6 (soft 17).
How the Dealer Plays a Blackjack Hand?
My fellow friend, you have many options when playing at any blackjack table but unlike you, the dealer cannot do much, apart from running the table and cracking a joke here and there. Most casino rules in place specify that a dealer must draw another card if their blackjack hand total is
16 or less and if it is 17 up to 21, they have to stand – in other casinos, however, the dealer has to stand on a soft 17 or even hit at times, thus making the gameplay a little more challenging. At LV BET you can easily view the rules in place at any blackjack table so you can plan ahead before laying some chips. These are the most basic rules and knowing them might help you enjoy the time at the tables, this will also allow you to establish your limits and adjust a blackjack basic strategy that makes you feel comfortable with.
Blackjack Card Values
To really know how to play blackjack, you also need to understand the blackjack card game rules– this is quite simple as you will see.
According to the standard rules of blackjack, all cards count their face value in blackjack. Picture cards count as
10 ( Jack, Queen and King) and the ace can be counted as 1 or 11. The card suits ( clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds) have no meaning in terms of blackjack card values. The total of any hand is obviously the sum of the card values in one’s hand. A blackjack hand containing a 4-6-8 totals 18, while another hand containing a Q-6 would total 16. To better understand the role of the ace in a blackjack hand there is a simple tip to do so. Always count the ace as 11, unless by doing so would make your hand exceed 21, in this case, the ace acquires the value of 1. This is important to know because it can help you avoid ‘busting’ your hand at the table, which happens when the total sum of your cards or the dealer’s cards exceed 21 in total.
Rules of Blackjack at the Table
When you join any blackjack tables at LV BET, you will almost instantly notice that a blackjack game is played usually with no more than
8 standard 52-card decks and 7 players in a kind of semi-circular table with the players sitting beside each other and the dealer in front. The blackjack dealer will then proceed and greet you upon your arrival, you will be prompted to place a bet in the form of casino chips, ranging from €1 up to €500 and in some VIP blackjack tables this can even go higher. After the allotted betting time has expired, the dealer will deal one card face up to each player, then a second card facing up but the dealer’s second card faces down. If your initial two cards total 21, congratulations you have got a blackjack hand.
Blackjack Guide for Side Bets
Most of the Blackjack tables available at LV BET include in its mechanics a couple of optional side bets, you know, to spice things up. These side bets are
Perfect Pairs and 21+3; these can be placed in combination with your main blackjack bet and it means you have the chance to win on any of your side bets despite the results of the main bet. The Perfect Pairs, as the name already suggests, is a bet where you have the chance to win if your first two cards are a pair – for example, two Kings, two aces or any other pair. It is important to notice that there are small differences in payouts depending on the type of pair; Perfect Pair of same suits, a coloured pair, or a mixed pair.
The other side bet available during your blackjack hands is the 21+3, which gives you the chance to win if your first two cards plus the dealer’s up card comprise one of the special winning combinations (quite similar to poker) and as you can imagine, they have different payouts as well. They are Suited Trips, which is an identical triplet as in 3 Queens of Hearts for example; the Straight Flush, which is a numerical sequence in the same suit, for example a 10, Jack and Queen of Diamonds; the Three of a Kind, which can have different suits but same value (any three unmatching kings for example); Straight, which has numerical sequence but different suits, for example a 2 of Spades plus a 3 of Clubs and a 4 of Hearts; then finally the Flush, which is basically non-sequential cards in the same suit, for example a 2, 5 and 10 of Clubs.
The Hot 3 side bet allows you to bet on a combination of three cards, comprising your two first cards and the open card on the dealer’s hand. There is the Total 19, Total 20, Total 21 (suited and unsuited) and the 7-7-7. The totals are what they suggest, a combination of cards with the abovementioned totals and the 7-7-7 is basically 3 cards with a 7, no matter the suits. Some online blackjack tables also allow you to bet behind, which allows you to place a bet on another player’s hand and if they win you get the same payout as for an ordinary bet. This bet can be placed when a player joins a table with no free seats. The last of the side bets available for players is the Bust It – which allows you to bet that the dealer’s hand will exceed 21 in total, with combinations ranging from busting with 3 up to 8 cards or more.