Blackjack, also known as Twenty-One, is one of the most popular casino games with simple rules and thrilling gameplay. It allows players to take advantage of reasonable playing strategies to improve their chances of winning. Its appeal lies in the fact that players do not rely entirely on luck for a chance to beat the dealer. Instead, an adept player with perfect calculation and card counting will have high odds of winning in many cases.   

Even so, Blackjack is still perfectly suitable for amateur players. The reason is that even if you are not a skilled player, the rules of Blackjack are simple enough for you to understand quickly, and your chances of winning are still as high as those of the dealer. So, today's article will give you the most overview of how a game of Blackjack works so that you can familiarize yourself with this fascinating game and start enjoying its fun. 

The Objective of Blackjack

How to play blackjack

The goal of all online casino games, including Blackjack, is to beat the dealer. You will do that if, in the game, one of the following three situations occurs: 

  • You draw a hand value that is higher than the dealer's hand value when the round ends.
  • The dealer draws a hand value that goes over 21.
  • You draw a hand value of 21 on your first two cards when the dealer does not.

So, in which case will you lose to the dealer?

  • Your hand value exceeds 21.
  • The dealer's hand has a greater value than yours when the round ends.

There is an important note that all new players need to know, that your only opponent in a game of Blackjack is the dealer. Therefore, do not pay much attention to your opponents' hands because they do not affect the outcome of the game. 

How Do You Find a Hand's Total Value?

Blackjack uses a standard 52-card deck, and this game only considers the value of the cards rather than their suits. The value of the players' hands is calculated by adding up the values ​​of all the cards they have. The value of the cards is calculated as follows:

  • Cards from 2 to 10 are counted according to their face value.
  • Picture cards (J, Q, K) count as 10.
  • Aces can be counted as 1 or 11, depending on which value gives your hand the highest total score.

How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is a well-known and easy game to play, which is why it has many variations. However, within the scope of the article, we will only talk about the most popular variant that is played at land-based casinos today. Instead of a deck of cards, the dealer will shuffle between six and eight different decks and put them in the "shoe." Then, the dealer will take turns and draw cards for the players. The process by which a standard game of Blackjack takes place is described as follows:

Players buy chips

Before you can participate in any Blackjack table at a land-based casino, you need to own the chips. This can be done simply by giving your cash to the casino staff and exchanging it for several chips corresponding to the amount you have spent. However, this is not necessary if you play at online casinos. Because all the chips at online casinos are virtual coin denominations. 

Players Bet

At your Blackjack table, you will bet the appropriate amount on the square on the felt pad in your area before the dealer distributes the cards. The game's betting range will depend on the casino you're visiting and the regulatory environment where the casino is located. Usually, the minimum bet limit in Blackjack games at US casinos is $5 per hand.

Dealer Deals Player Cards

After you've completed your bet, the dealer will do their job and distribute the cards to the players clockwise. Each player and dealer will each receive the first card, face up. The dealer will then proceed to deal a second wave to everyone on the table. However, the player's second card is face-up, and the dealer's second card is face-down.

Thus, the first stage of preparation has been completed. Now it's time to find out what options you can make in your Blackjack game to get closer to winning. Let the game begin!  

What are Blackjack Playing Options

At this stage, the player decides how to play their hand. Your first task will be to calculate the value of the hand you own. The result of the calculation will fall somewhere between 4 and 21. If you have two cards with a total of 21 then congratulations, you have a Blackjack! Owning Blackjack, joined by an Ace and a ten-value card, will get you an instant win without playing the whole round, as long as the dealer doesn't have Blackjack. In case the dealer also has Blackjack, 'the push' will happen and you will be refunded your original bet. 

If the above does not happen, you will continue your hand and take action when it is your turn. The actions you can take with your hand include:

Stand - If you are satisfied with the total of your first two cards and are confident they are enough to beat the dealer, you can Stand, which means don't take any additional action, and the dealer moves to the next player.

Hit - If your hand's total value is low and it's unlikely to beat the dealer, you can ask for more cards to improve your hand. The dealer will then deal more cards to the players, one by one, until they "go bust" (their total hand value exceeds 21) or they choose to Stand.

Double Down - If you have your hand's total approved, which means over 17, but you still want to take an extra card so your hand is closest to 21, you can choose the Double option. Down. This option allows you to get an extra card, but you have to trade for that by doubling your bet. 

In fact, many online casinos will help you do this with less risk, and that is, you can "double for less." That saves you from placing a bet equal to your original bet. However, if you are not a professional Blackjack player with top-hand calculation skills, you should not do a Double Down as there is a high chance that you may be "busted" with the additional card you have received.

Split - If you are dealt a pair (2 cards of equal value), you have the option of Split, which means splitting your two cards to form two new hands. This also applies to picture cards, since they are all worth 10 points. For example, if you get a King and a Jack, you can split them into two different hands to increase your chances of winning. 

Surrender - If you are not satisfied with your initial cards and see the possibility of you being "busted" by continuing the Hit action, you can discard your hand with the Surrender action and get half back your initial bet amount. 

What are Blackjack Outcomes

After you've done all the actions to help you improve your hand's value and you Stand until the Blackjack game is over, there are only three possible scenarios for your hand. 

You Stand as soon as your first two cards are received - Your decision proves that you have a strong enough hand, and any additional cards could cause your total to exceed 21. 
You've made a hand - You take more than two cards and get a total of 21 or less. You are confident with your hand and decide to Stand to wait for the dealer to take their actions.
Your hand is invalid or you withdraw - You decide to Hit recklessly and your total exceeds 21, or, you choose Surrender. The first case is where you lose your entire stake, while your decision to surrender gets you half of your bet back. So think carefully when you decide to Hit.

Note: The dealer's advantage in the game of Blackjack is demonstrated when they can take your entire stake when you go bankrupt, even if they go bankrupt too. The reason is that you are the first to go "busted", and the dealer only really gets into the game once you stand or you go bankrupt. So you are forced to act first and stay alert in your decisions. 

As mentioned, if all players are on Stand or bankrupt, the dealer will now begin to influence the game by revealing their face-down card. If the dealer has a score of 17 or more, they are forced to Stand without taking any more cards. If the dealer has 16 or less, they will automatically take more cards in front of all the players until the dealer's total is valid, i.e., 17 to 21. Unlike As a player, the dealer cannot perform actions such as Double Down, Split, or Surrender. After the dealer completes their actions, the game will end, and the players will take turns comparing their hands with the dealer's to see if they won the game. If you have a higher hand than the dealer, you win the game. Everything is as simple as that. 

The only exception where the dealer can take additional cards when they already have a valid hand is when they have 17 points made up of an ace and a six. It is called "soft 17" as the dealer can treat this combination as 7 points, while the Ace can count as 1 point. If that happens, the dealer can take more cards and change the game with the base 7 points they have.

Conclusion  

This article has compiled all the basic information about how a game of Blackjack is played for those who want to learn about it. We hope that you will find it useful and that it will bring you one step closer to conquering this fascinating subject. 

Published: 27 April 2022 03:26