Learning how to play blackjack can seem like a daunting task — especially when you’re at a table with other experienced players. That’s why we’re here with a complete guide on how to play this low-house-edge classic. Learning how to play blackjack and how to win blackjack online is perhaps the best strategy, as in most cases, you won’t have the pressures that come with a land-based casino, such as time limits and others at the table around you.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about blackjack in our complete guide.
How Do You Play Blackjack? Simple Step-By-Step Guide
The first step to learning how to play blackjack is understanding the basic goal and rules of the game. First, the goal is simple — get your hand closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, without going over. How you do that is by utilizing five different potential moves:
- Hit: Get dealt another card.
- Stay: Lock your hand at its current value.
- Double Down: Double your bet mid-game in exchange for one additional card.
- Split (only available if you have two matching cards in your hand): Split your current hand into two separate hands to be played concurrently.
- Surrender (not always available): Fold your hand before the round is over in exchange for half of your stake back.
These are the only options you’ll have in a core blackjack game. Of course, there may be side bets offered in special variations of blackjack, but we’ll go into detail about that later. By using these options at the right time, you can cut the house edge in some blackjack games down to a measly 0.5%.
Now, learning how to win blackjack is a whole different ballgame once you fully understand the rules. Blackjack, unlike many other casino games, is a game that employs a lot of strategy. We’ll go more into detail about that below, but for now let’s continue exploring the basic rules and information.
Blackjack Card Values
Blackjack card values are as follows:
- Number cards are face value.
- Face cards count as 10.
- Aces count as 1 or 11.
- Suits do not matter.
As mentioned earlier, learning how to play blackjack is all about understanding the rules. Now, your job is to put the two together. With the card values in mind, utilize your moves to create the hand with the best possible chance of beating the dealer’s hand. The base game really is as simple as that. Further rules, and knowing what to do when gets a little bit more complicated.
Before we move on, let’s illustrate some examples below to make this section more clear:
- If you have a 9 and a Queen, this hand adds up to 19. Remember, face cards count as 10.
- If you have a 9 and a 6, this hand adds up to 15. Number cards are self-explanatory.
- Aces are where it gets a bit more complicated. Basically, if the Ace counting as 11 doesn’t put your hand over 21, then it counts as 11. If 11 would put your hand over 21, the Ace counts as 1. Your hand is known as a “soft hand” when it’s not possible to bust, and a “hard” hand when it is possible to bust. So, say you have an Ace and a 6, you’ve got a “soft 17”. Now, say you hit your soft 17 and draw a 7. That Ace becomes 1 as it would put your hand over 21 if it remained as 11, and you now have a “hard 14”.
How Blackjack Cards Are Dealt
Understanding how blackjack cards are dealt can be helpful in learning how to win blackjack, as there is some strategy involved based on the dealing order. In typical blackjack, the dealer begins by giving one card face up to each player in a clockwise direction, followed by a face down card for themselves. Then, a second clockwise round of face up cards to each player, followed by the dealer’s up card.
There are some variations to be mentioned here as well, such as Face Up 21 (also known as Double Exposure Blackjack). In this variation, the dealer’s hand is also dealt face up, which gives players more insight into making their decisions. In speed blackjack, whoever is fastest gets the next hit card, regardless of order at the table.
So, as you can see, there are differences in the way blackjack cards are dealt that should be kept in mind. That being said, in many cases online you’ll be playing solo. For the most part, unless you’re playing a multi-hand blackjack or live dealer blackjack, this dealing pattern doesn’t matter as much online as it does at land-based casinos.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
Learning how to play blackjack means learning blackjack basic strategy, and there’s no way around it. Blackjack itself is one of the most strategy-laden games available in the casino, and understanding that strategy is absolutely key to those looking for how to win blackjack. Thankfully, the strategy is almost as simple as the gameplay itself.
Try Playing Blackjack for Free
Play free blackjack online below to practice the fundamentals of the game. When it comes to how to play blackjack, this is the best way to get a handle on it:
How To Play Blackjack Side Bets
Blackjack side bets do exist in some variations, but if you’re looking for how to win blackjack you should stray away from them in most cases. Side bets often greatly increase the house edge. On the other hand, they can also greatly increase your chance of big wins if you’re willing to take on the extra risk. If you’re looking to play a blackjack variation with side bets, you can find games with them in the actual title in most cases. For example, “21+3 Progressive Blackjack” features the 21+3 side bet, and “Blackjack Poker and Pairs” features the Perfect Pairs side bet. Below, we’ll discuss those and some of the other most common blackjack side bets and what they offer.
21+3 is a side bet that combines your two initial cards, plus the dealer’s up card. If they come together to create a three card poker hand, ranging from a Flush (5 to 1 payout) to a suited three of a kind (100 to 1 payout).
This blackjack side bet pays out if your two cards are a pair. The payout depends on whether they’re two different colors (5 to 1), same color but not the same suit (10 to 1), or same numbers in the same suit (30 to 1).
Other Side Bets
There are various other less popular side bets available on some blackjack variations that we’d be remiss not to include. These include lucky ladies (pays out if player’s cards add up to 20), super sevens (pays if one or more sevens are dealt to the player), and royal match (5 to 2 for any suited player’s cards and 25 to 1 for suited king and queen).
How To Play Blackjack Online
Your State Has No Legal Real-Money Casinos: But you can play blackjack for cash prizes at the social and sweepstakes casinos below. Players can play blackjack using Sweep Coins, which can be redeemed for cash prizes and more:
Be sure to read all terms and conditions, and please practice responsible gaming.
How To Play Blackjack In-Person
If you’d like to play blackjack in person, you should look for local casinos in your area. Keep in mind, however, that some casinos only offer slots, so you should always check before making the trip. Once you’re there, all you’ve got to do is find a blackjack table with rules you like and a comfortable minimum bet, take a seat, and get dealt in.
The next best option for those looking for an in-person blackjack experience is live dealer blackjack, available at most real money online casinos. Live dealer blackjack gives you the feeling of playing at a land-based casino by live-streaming a real dealer and table directly to you. This brings us neatly into our next section — how to play blackjack at home.
How To Play Blackjack at Home
Playing blackjack at home has many benefits. Lower minimum bets, more variations and versions of blackjack itself, more player-friendly rulesets, and no pressure of having others at the table with you. If you’d like to play online, you should read our section above on “How to Play Blackjack Online”, where we’ve listed the best social and real money casinos to get you started. Once you’ve registered (and hopefully claimed one of our exclusive casino bonus codes), you can simply choose a blackjack game that suits you and get to playing. While you’ll most likely have the option to play single deck blackjack variations, if you want to simulate the casino version you should hop into a game that utilizes multiple decks. That being said, single deck blackjack often features better odds, depending on the other rules in play.
FAQ About Playing Blackjack
BetMGM Casino. Aside from offering a generous bonus code for new players in SPINSBONUS, they also feature a wide selection of blackjack games and great promotions to pair with them.
Aria Resort & Casino. This is often rated the best place in Las Vegas to play blackjack due to their player-friendly odds.
Yes. Casinos have the discretion of banning you from their private property for any reason. This may include if they suspect you of cheating or implementing strategies that give you an unfair advantage. However, if you’re playing regular basic strategy blackjack, you won’t get banned.
No. As with all casino games, the house still has an edge, and winning is never guaranteed. While you may go on a winning streak, there will never be a possibility of winning at blackjack every single time.
1 or 11. An ace is 11, unless that 11 puts your hand over 21, in which case it becomes a 1.
10. All face cards in blackjack have a value of 10. For example, a king and a 3 would create a hand value of 13.