As a casino must-have, blackjack is among the most popular casino games one can find worldwide; from iconic Las Vegas venues to upstart joints in Laos, players simply love the game’s accessibility.
Don’t underestimate the game, though. While not as convoluted as poker, there are tactics involved in a game of blackjack that any player will find necessary for refining their skills.
That being said, don’t fret! Once you’re familiar with the ingredients making up a blackjack game, you’ll be a seasoned pro in no time. Take a look at our simplified LV BET guide on blackjack basics to put your best hand forward!
GUIDE ON PLAYING BLACKJACK GAMES
Playing blackjack is much easier when you know what’s going on! First, you must get acquainted with the building blocks; only with a foundational knowledge of the core aspects of the game will a blackjack strategy make sense.
We’ve broken down the most salient ones below, starting with the bedrock of every game of blackjack – card values!
BLACKJACK CARD VALUES
The first step in learning how to play blackjack is to know the basic blackjack card game rules, and you’ll come to see, this is relatively straightforward.
According to the standard rules of blackjack, all cards in blackjack count their face value. Picture cards count as 10 (jack, queen and king), and the ace can be counted as one or 11. The card suits (clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds) have no meaning regarding blackjack card values.
The total of any hand is naturally the sum of the card values in one’s hand — a blackjack hand containing a four-six-eight totals 18, while another hand holding a Q-six would total 16. To better understand the role of the ace in a blackjack hand, follow this elementary tip: Always count the ace as 11 unless doing so would make your hand exceed 21, in which case, the ace will acquire the value of one.
The flexibility of an ace is crucial in avoiding ‘busting’ your hand at the table, which is when the total sum of a hand exceeds 21.
THE BASIC BLACKJACK RULES FOR BEGINNERS
HIT AND STAND
These are the primary actions one can take during a blackjack game at any online or land-based casino.
Hitting means the dealer will draw cards to your hand to increase your total points. The dealer deals a single card per hit. In most casino games, you can indicate to the dealer that you want another card by beckoning or tapping the table with your finger. The dealer will then proceed to lay another card on the table, and you can continue to hit until you bust or win.
On the other hand, if you choose to stand, you are satisfied with the total sum of your blackjack hand and will wait for the round to unfold before making another decision. In some cases, you might automatically stand the hand dealt to you if it is a soft hand (more on that below).
HOW TO SPLIT, DOUBLE DOWN AND SURRENDER
Blackjack also features three more moves, varying availability to players depending on table rules (such as minimum and maximum bet) and house rules. A basic strategy will follow accordingly.
This move can be applied every time you have two similar cards, like a pair of fives or aces. When you split, you are required to place another bet equal to your original wager because now, you will be playing two separate hands in one round.
Most casinos will allow only one card to be drawn for each ace you might have. For example, if you were dealt a pair of sevens and opted to split it, you would have two separate hands with a count of seven in each hand. Starting with your right hand, you must play out one of the split hands to completion before playing the other.
Despite the inclusion of a second wager, splitting does not fall under the category of side bets; however, Perfect Pairs is an example of a side bet that involves splitting your cards (but don’t worry about that just yet).
As you might have suspected, doubling down 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’.
This move may minimise a losing prospect by ‘surrendering‘ to the dealer: you forfeit your hand and immediately lose the equivalent of half the original bet you placed.
There are two options for surrendering: late surrender and early surrender. Late surrender is when you are only allowed to forfeit after the dealer has checked their hand for blackjack. Early surrender allows you to forfeit before a round starts, giving a slight advantage over a late surrender.
When you choose to surrender your cards, the dealer will remove your cards from the table, and one-half of your starting bet will be handed back to you. You can only place another bet again in the next round.
Since most of these options favour the player, most casinos preserve the house edge with house rules tailored to keep the game fair. Moreover, not all casinos have the same rules that apply in every game, so be wary of rule variations.
INSURANCE IN BLACKJACK
When the dealer’s card is an ace, they may ask all players if they want to make an insurance wager: a side bet in which players bet the dealer’s hole card will be a 10-value card. Players can make the second bet with a wager equal to half the initial bet. Players win an insurance bet if the dealer has a 10-value card facing down.
On the other hand, when the dealer’s hand has an ace facing up, and you have a blackjack hand, you might be asked to go for ‘even money‘. Essentially, a dealer pays 1:1 on your bet before they check their hand for a potential blackjack. The insurance bet and the even-money yield the same result in terms of payoffs.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOFT AND HARD HANDS
The role of the ace is not as simple as merely keeping your hand from a bust; it is the foundation of 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 one. For example, 10-seven is a hard 17; five-A-10-three is a hard 19.
Any hand with an ace counted as 11 is known as a soft hand. For example, A-six is a soft 17, A-two-five is a soft 18, and three-two-A-three is a soft 19.
When you receive your first two cards, and one is an ace, you can count this ace as 11 – but your soft hand will inevitably be converted to a hard hand if you draw more cards.
For this blackjack guide, let’s suppose you are dealt a six-A, a soft 17, and you draw another card, which is a six. Now what you have is a hard 13 – note that you can never bust when you have a soft hand.
You need to know the difference between a hard and soft hand in blackjack because the playing strategy is usually quite different, even though the total of the hand can be the same. For example, a 10-seven (hard 17) is played differently than an A-six (soft 17).
HOW DOES THE DEALER PLAY A BLACKJACK HAND?
You may 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 specify that a dealer must draw another card if their blackjack hand total is 16 or less. 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 of any blackjack table and plan ahead before laying some chips. These are the basic rules, and knowing them is critical at the tables.
There is no way to guarantee that you will always find the correct play, beat the dealer and win money. Nonetheless, basic knowledge prevents avoidable losses, minimises bankroll damage and, in some cases, lowers the house edge too. This, in turn, will make it easier for you to establish your limits and tweak a basic strategy.
RULES OF BLACKJACK AT THE TABLE
When joining any blackjack tables, you will almost instantly notice that a blackjack game is usually played with no more than eight standard 52-card decks (for multi-deck games), with seven seated players on a semi-circular table beside each other (the betting circle) and the dealer at the front. This may apply to online games of blackjack as well, albeit virtually.
The blackjack dealer will then proceed to 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 (in some VIP Blackjack tables, the maximum bet can go even higher). After the allotted betting time has expired, the dealer hands one card facing up to the players’ respective betting positions, followed by a second card facing up. The dealer’s second card faces down, however.
If your initial two cards total 21, congratulations – you’ve got a blackjack hand!
AMERICAN VS EUROPEAN STYLE OF CARD DEALING
The major difference between American and European blackjack variants is how the dealer’s hand is dealt. The American way is for the dealer to receive two cards, the first facing up. If the upcard is an ace, the dealer gets to peek at their downcard – and if their downcard is 10 or equal value, the dealer has a blackjack, and every player loses.
In European blackjack games, the dealer receives their upcard but doesn’t look at their face-down card, nor is it revealed before every player’s hand has been played. This version may also permit players to split pairs or double down on starting hands.
GLOSSARY OF BLACKJACK MOVES
Here’s a glossary of all the moves in the blackjack game universe:
- Hit – the player draws one additional card.
- Stand – the player leaves the hand unchanged.
- Split – the player separates a pair of same-value cards into two hands.
- Double Down – the player doubles the initial wager in exchange for another card.
- Early Surrender – the player loses half the initial wager when forfeiting a hand BEFORE the dealer checks their hand for blackjack.
- Late Surrender – the player loses half the initial wager when forfeiting a hand AFTER the dealer checks their hand for blackjack.
HOW DOES BLACKJACK PAYOUT WORK?
A winning hand pays out its original wager at 1:1. If that hand totals 21, the payout is at 3:2. Blackjack side bets, such as insurance bets, add a little more complexity.
If an insurance bet is placed, and the dealer has a blackjack, the player’s hand loses, but the side bet pays out at 2:1.
If both the player and the dealer have unbusted hands of equal value, the player’s bet is returned to them, known as a push.
LEARN BASIC STRATEGY AND WIN AT LV BET
Basic strategy is the starting point for every player who wants to boost their chances and potentially beat blackjack. It is a simple set of guidelines dictating the best tactics for any given hand. For example, many players use basic strategy charts to ensure they take the best approach in various scenarios.
This guide explores the fundamental concepts at the heart of blackjack, but there’s more to it yet. To make your blackjack journey smoother, you can find a great series of comprehensive blackjack guides at LV BET detailing the ins and outs of blackjack! Taking a further in-depth look at all the features within this article, there’s no card left unturned with LV BET – and that’s not to mention our robust selection of blackjack games for you to apply all the tips and tricks you’ve learned!
TIPS FOR BLACKJACK RULES
Hopefully, the general outline of playing blackjack should be clearer after reading this piece. Here are a few extra tips to remember the next time you want to hit the tables of one of the most popular casino card games out there!
Look for a game of blackjack with the best odds for you
Scout around for tables with the best odds for the player to minimise risks to your bankroll. Blackjack games with 3:2 or 2:1 payouts are safer bets than even money tables. The number of decks used is also pertinent: a single-deck game, or a double-deck at most, is your best bet. In addition, games where the dealer stands on soft 17 (an ace and a six) may potentially mean better chances for you.
Avoid taking insurance
A side bet paying out 2:1 against the dealer, taking insurance is a risky endeavour that most strategists recommend against. It’s good to be aware of it, and it could make sense under the right conditions – but those conditions are pretty rare for beginners, so it’s best to stay away from this one.
Look at strategy charts
Strategy charts are not just for beginners. Players of all skill levels will find them helpful; even better, you can carry one around in the casino! Don’t feel pressured to learn a chart; memorising every chart for every single game of blackjack is impractical. However, if using one at a land-based casino, be discreet and don’t place it on the table, as this is not acceptable in most casinos.
Double down and split
Go for tables which permit these two moves. In a game of chance such as blackjack, nothing is guaranteed. Nonetheless, you can maximise your potential when having these two tools in your arsenal. Like all other moves, they require a strategy to be used effectively, lest they backfire big time, but their inherent advantages are clear – hence why most casinos have house rules established to restrict them!
Manage your bankroll
If there’s one thing to take away from this piece, it is this. There is a lot of fun to be had with blackjack games, but only if you take the necessary steps to protect yourself from its pitfalls. Set a betting limit, do your research and keep your cool to prevent burning through your bankroll in just a few rounds.
✅ Can I play blackjack at LV BET casino?
Yes, you can! Browse through our collection of online blackjack games to find the one that suits your taste best. From First Person Blackjack – where players face a computerised algorithm as their dealer – to VIP Blackjack with its vast betting limits and live dealer, there’s a game of blackjack for every player out there!
✅ How to play blackjack at home?
- Find at least one deck of cards and something to bet with in place of casino chips.
- Decide who will deal the game. This could be the host or another party.
- Take turns for each player to deal, in clockwise order, over an agreed timeframe.
- When using a single deck, it is best to re-shuffle the cards after every hand.
✅ Blackjack dead hand – what is it?
A dead hand is when all players at the table bust before the dealer’s hand is played. The dealer reveals their hole card, sweeps up the rest and puts them all in the discard tray. As the dealer has already beaten the players, there is no point in playing their hand!
✅ How to avoid the classic mistakes of playing online blackjack?
As one of the most popular casino games online, blackjack may come with unique issues independent of brick-and-mortar blackjack. Anything from a fragile internet connection to misclicks can significantly impact gameplay. Many software providers put protections into their games, such as prompts when betting, to minimise these problems. For best results, we recommend keeping these protections on.
✅ When is the original bet returned in blackjack?
If the dealer shows an ace, and you have been dealt a blackjack, you can make a particular type of insurance wager known as even money. Irrespective of whether the dealer’s hand has blackjack, the payout will be 1:1. The hand plays out as normal if you opt not to take even money. While this sounds appealing, even money is a losing prospect long-term.