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How to Play Blackjack and Win

how to play online blackjackBlackjack is one of the most popular casino games because it provides players with a good chance to win when an effective strategy is used. So, tons of people are looking to learn how to play blackjack to win some big cash prizes.

Luckily, blackjack is a fairly easy game to learn how to play and features a strategy that needs you to play by numbers. If you are interested in learning, we recommend you keep reading. Below we go through all you need to know about playing blackjack so that you can get started!

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Blackjack Rules

Before we get started, we want to mention the basic blackjack rules you need to know to play most variations:

  • The aim of the game is to beat the dealer. Many beginners think that the aim is to reach a hand score of 21. However, it is important to note that you can beat the dealer with a hand score of lower than 21.
  • Each card has a value. All numbered cards keep their face value, and all picture cards are worth ten. An ace is worth either 1 or 10, depending on the hand it is played in.
  • You automatically lose the game if your hand score exceeds 21 or if the dealer has a hand score greater than 21.
  • Depending on the value of your hand, you can ask for more cards. We suggest you learn basic strategy to know which hands to “hit” and which to “stay.”
  • Card counting is legal, but casinos don’t like it. If you are caught card counting in a land-based casino, they could ask you to leave and ban you from the venue. (Card counting is impossible in online blackjack games.)

How to Play Blackjack – Step-By-Step

Here is how you can play online blackjack step-by-step:

  1. Each game starts with a bet. Betting limits are indicated on the table. Generally, when you play online, you cannot bet more than $100 on a hand.
  2. Once all bets have been confirmed, you get your cards. Each player (including the dealer) gets one card face-up. Players will then get a second card face-up while the dealer will get a second card face-down.
  3. Now it’s time to analyse your hand and decide how you would like to proceed. The following options will become available to you:
    1. Hit – ask for another card
    2. Stand – stick with the cards you were already dealt.
    3. Split – if you are dealt a double (for example, two 5s), you can split the cards into two hands and bet on both.
    4. Surrender – if you are not happy with your hand, you can give up and get half your bet back. This option is not available in all blackjack variations.
  4. After you have decided what you will do with your hand, and if you are still in the game, the dealer will play their hand. This includes viewing the dealer’s second card and seeing each be revealed.
  5. Depending on the results of the game, you will be paid out or lose your bet.
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List of Blackjack Side Bets

Blackjack has a long list of side bets. Some of them can seem very confusing. So, below we try to explain how some of these bets work in the simplest way possible:

  • Insurance – a bet that allows you to cover your losses should the dealer show an Ace face-up.
  • Perfect Pairs – this is a bet on getting two cards of the same value, colour, suit, or even two identical cards.
  • 21 + 3 – this is a bet on your two cards and the dealer’s face-up card to make a certain combination. Possible combinations include a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, straight flush, and a suited triple.
  • Royal Match – a bet on your cards to be the same suit or a suited king and queen.
  • Super Sevens – this bet pays out if a seven appears in your hand of cards. For each seven you bet on to appear, the amount you win increases.
  • Lucky Ladies – the bet pays out if your cards add up to 20. Two queens of hearts pay 1000 if the dealer has blackjack!

Popular Blackjack Variations

Here is a list of the most popular blackjack variations played in both online and land-based casinos:

Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City Blackjack is one of the most popular variations of the game at US and Australian casinos. The major rule of this variation is that the dealer needs to draw on totals of 16 or less. So, they need to stand on 17. In addition, a natural pays 3:2, and a standard win pays 1:1. Insurance pays 2:1.

Overall, Atlantic City Blackjack is one of the most favourable blackjack variations out there. We suggest you give it a shot the next time you play at a casino.

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Double Exposure Blackjack

Double Exposure Blackjack is a version of the game where all cards are dealt face-up. This gives you greater insight into the hand you’re playing against. However, the advantage means that wins pay out less. You can expect to earn even money on a Natural and less on a standard win.

Some of the differences you should take note of in this game include:

  • Natural blackjack pays 1:1.
  • Dealer hits on soft 17.
  • You can only double on hand totals of 9, 10, and 11.

European Blackjack

While European Blackjack is an extremely popular variant, we recommend giving it a skip if an American Blackjack variation is available. Unfortunately, it has a higher house edge than other variations. (The rule is European for roulette and American for blackjack.)

Some of the differences you should highlight in this game include:

  • The game is usually played with two decks
  • Tied blackjack with the dealer results in a push.
  • Dealer does not check for blackjack.
  • You are not allowed to resplit after a split.

Pontoon

Also known as Spanish 21 at some casinos. In this variation, both of the dealer’s cards are dealt face down. This makes it harder to determine what you are playing against. You are quite literally going in blind!

The variation makes up for this lack of information by providing larger payouts. For example, a natural blackjack pays out 2:1.

Here are some other rules you need to know about this variation:

  • A natural is called a Pontoon.
  • Dealer hits on soft 17
  • Pontoon pays 2:1
  • Five-card trick pays 2:1

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a popular variant of the game where the player has to play two hands. You must place two equal stakes at the start of a round. You are then dealt cards in the normal way and are allowed to switch cards between hands. The result is a bigger opportunity to win.

There are two big rule differences you need to note in this variation:

  • Natural blackjack hands pay out 1:1.
  • The dealer busts with a hand score greater than 22.
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Blackjack Tips and Tricks

Here are some blackjack tips and tricks we suggest you keep in mind if you have just started playing the game:

Master Basic Strategy

Far too many people do not know important basic strategy! If you are unaware, basic strategy is the optimal way to play blackjack. The strategy was crafted by a computer that went through thousands of simulations and calculated the moves most likely to lead to victory.

Essentially, basic strategy tells you how to respond to each hand. So, it takes a lot of the thinking out of the game and allows you to maximise your odds of winning. You aren’t guaranteed to win every hand, but if you combine basic with card counting, you give yourself the best chance of walking out of a game with a profit.

Always Split Your Aces and 8s

Whenever you get two cards of the same value in hand, you get the opportunity to split the hand. While there are some hands you should absolutely never split (any hand worth more than 17 points), there are some hands you should always split. Aces and eights are the two most popular hands to split.

The reason you should split a pair of aces is that you give yourself a chance to get two natural blackjacks. As for double 8s, 16 is the worst hand in the game. The score is too low to carry you to victory but too high for a safe hit. So, if you split, you give yourself a chance to get two better hands.

Double Down When You Can

Double down on your bets on the hands that basic strategy suggests you should. Doubling down allows you to double your bet in exchange for a single card. Usually, the best time to double down is holding a 9, 10, or 11.

While you shouldn’t be reckless with your bankroll, doubling down can certainly increase your winnings if you do it strategically.

Know When to End Your Game Session

Playing blackjack can be fun and all, but it is important to know when to end your game session. If you keep on seeing big losses throughout the game, it may be time to call it a day. This is especially true if you are considering increasing your bet to make up for previous losses.

It is important to remember that while gambling can be fun, you are risking very real money when you play online. So, do not play with money you cannot afford to lose.

Check out our other blackjack guides:

How to Play Blackjack Online – FAQs