Blackjack Rules for Beginners
The central premise of blackjack is simple. Get 21 or closer to 21 than the dealer without exceeding it. But there’s more to it.
Today, online blackjack games are played with six to eight decks of cards, each carrying 52 cards (jokers are removed).
Every player gets two cards facing up at the beginning of the round, and the dealer gets one card facing up and one facing down (also known as a hole card).
2 – 10 count as face value, Aces count for 1 or 11, and face cards count for 10. The total of your cards should be 21, or closer to 21 than the dealer. Getting a card total over 21 (busting) automatically disqualifies you from that round, and you lose your bet.
Getting blackjack is the best hand, consisting of an Ace and any 10-value card. Players who get this combination from the start form a natural and automatically get paid. The actions required during each round include:
- Hit – requesting another card from the dealer; can perform this until you get 21 or go bust.
- Stand – indicating that you are happy with your current card set; you can only perform this action once in each round.
The dealer will follow the same process as the players after every player’s hand has been decided; standing, getting 21 or going bust.
Busted players must wait for the next round to become part of the action since they have already lost their bet. Anyone with a natural gets paid instantly, while players with the same hand as the dealer don’t win or lose anything (called a push).
Blackjack rules in practice
Let’s look at three different scenarios of video blackjack, i.e., you against a bot dealer. When playing on a live dealer or real blackjack table, further actions are required due to the participation of other players. Thus, these are the most basic scenarios, although the same rules apply indifferently.
- You bet a $5 chip on the table.
- The dealer hands you two cards; A and 10. You automatically win, and the round ends.
- Your balance turns from $10 to $15.
- You bet a $10 chip on the table.
- The dealer hands you two cards; 8 and 3.
- He continues to deal with one face-up card (9) and a hidden card.
- You call for another card, and you get a 4. Your total is now 15.
- You call another card, and you get a 3. Your total is now 18, and you decide to stand.
- The dealer uncovers their hidden card, and it is a 4. Their total is 13, and they hit.
- Their next card is a 7, and the total is 20.
- 20 vs. 18, the dealer wins, and you lose your $10.
- You bet a $5 chip for the round.
- The dealer hands you an 8 and an Ace. The total can be either 9 or 19.
- The dealer continues to hand a 10 and a hidden card for themselves.
- You stand, and the dealer uncovers a 5.
- They hit another card, and it is a 6, bringing them to a 21 total.
- You lose your $5 chip, and the next round begins.
Remember that the overall gameplay, bets, and winning scenarios can differ across blackjack variations. It is essential to learn the blackjack rules for each specific game unless you stick with American Blackjack, the standard form of the game.
Other Blackjack Actions
The hit and stand are the basic rules you will perform when playing blackjack. However, there are several more actions, although some depend on the variant you play.
The double-down move is simple. When you feel confident that your hand will be a winner, usually applying when you get a total of 10 or 11 from the initial deal, you can perform it. Then, your bet is doubled, and you will only get dealt a single card.
Since your wager will be doubled, double down shouldn’t be employed lightly. It is important to take into account the dealer’s face-up card, too, and not just your hand. It is a smart move when the dealer’s card is anything below 7 and your total 9 or over.
When your initial cards are of the same value, i.e., 2×10, 2xAces, etc., you can double your bet and play two hands simultaneously. Each will have one of the two original cards, and you can play them separately.
The golden rule is that you split Aces and 8’s in blackjack. That’s because the total of your split cards should not be higher than 16 as they stand, which would make them a good hand to stand without additional moves.
As the above two moves, insurance costs to use. It is available only when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace as a side bet. When using this, you are betting that the dealer will get blackjack; if it happens, you won’t lose your original stake.
This advanced blackjack action requires a solid understanding of the game since you must be highly certain that the dealer will likely get a 10. That’s because you can only use it before the dealer turns the hole card.
Actions at Brick-And-Mortar Blackjack Tables
Most blackjack hands are played online today, and the above rules for blackjack should be enough to get you in the game. Your quick and calculating thinking can then turn you from a beginner to a pro. Nonetheless, if you are planning to visit an online casino to play blackjack, there are additional blackjack rules to know. These are more of blackjack card rules and etiquette, essential if you don’t want to get banned from the casino.
- Use signals instead of talking to the dealer during the play; i.e., hitting the table instead of verbally asking for another card.
- Do not use the money during the game or bet using cash; exchange these for chips in-between rounds by leaving cash on the table.
- Do not directly interact with the cards; unless the gameplay explicitly involves this.
- Do not move or touch the chips; you can freely bet or touch the chips you own, but not the ones you wagered for that round.
- Do not be afraid to ask; everyone was once a blackjack beginner, so don’t hesitate to ask questions to the dealer. However, avoid interacting with other players during the play.
- Stay in control of your objects and actions; stay sober when on the blackjack table and keep items and drinks outside the table.
Rules of Blackjack FAQs
What are the basic rules of blackjack?
The dealer hands out two cards to all players and to themselves, with the one remaining hidden until all players have performed their actions. Players must reach a total of 21 or closer to it than the dealer to win. That’s without going over it. Hitting means asking for another card and standing that you are happy to play against the dealer’s cards with your current total. Insurance, splitting, and doubling down are other actions you can perform during each round.
Is blackjack and 21 the same game?
Yes, blackjack is the same card game as 21. The name is derived from the game’s main premise – players must get 21 to win automatically. On a more holistic explanation, the game’s goal is to get 21 or a better hand from the dealer. Getting a total of over 21 automatically disqualifies you. Some players refer to 21 or blackjack as Black Jack.
How much is an Ace in blackjack?
The Ace counts as a 1 or 11 in blackjack. For example, if you have an Ace and a 10, it will automatically count as 21 (blackjack). When getting an Ace and a 7, it is up to you if you count it as an 8 or 18; with the latter, you could stand and wait for the dealer to play their hand, or you could draw more cards when counting it as an 8.
What does K mean in blackjack?
All face cards, including K, count as 10 in blackjack. Since the goal is to get to 21 or closer to it than the dealer, a K is considered a great starting point. You automatically win the round if the dealer hands out an Ace and a K.
When should you hit in blackjack?
Players have complete freedom in their blackjack actions, unlike the dealers who are required to stand on 17. However, drawing on hands totaling 12 – 16 is considered a general blackjack rule. Still, this often depends on the dealer’s face-up card and other players’ actions.