Blackjack Rules – Master the Popular Card Game!
Blackjack rules are straightforward, but offer a lot of room for strategy. This makes it one of the most exciting games you can find in a casino.
Although simple, blackjack includes many elements. Moreover, the specific rules and elements of the game will vary based on the blackjack variation you’re playing. It’s important to know all of these before playing.
Beginners’ Guide to Blackjack Rules
The basic rules of blackjack are very simple. The main goal is to get a better hand than the dealer, without going over 21. To achieve this, you have a variety of betting actions you can choose from.
In addition to these basic rules, the specific gameplay can differ based on the version you’re playing. Because of this, we recommend reading all of the specific rules of the blackjack variation you want to play.
The original blackjack version uses a classic deck of 52 cards. However, the most popular version of blackjack at casinos uses six decks. Eight-deck blackjack is also popular. Old-school single-deck blackjack is difficult to find in many casinos nowadays.
When you play blackjack with standard rules, you’re playing the version called American Blackjack.
How to Win at Blackjack
To win consistently in blackjack, you need to have a solid grasp of all of the fundamentals. Besides knowing the basic gameplay rules, it’s also recommended to have a blackjack strategy.
If you’re a beginner, you can use a blackjack rules chart. This chart can also include optimal strategies for each situation. Additionally, you should set a blackjack betting bankroll.
Card Values in Blackjack
Blackjack card values are very simple and easy to remember. All cards from 2 to 10 are worth their face value. All face cards are worth ten points. The Ace can be worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on your hand.
With this in mind, it’s also important to differentiate a hard hand from a soft hand. A blackjack soft hand is one that includes an Ace. As the Ace can be counted both as 1 and 11, you have more freedom when deciding your moves. On the other hand, a hard hand is one that doesn’t include an Ace, or when the Ace has the value of 1.
For example, if you have an Ace and an 8, This is either a hard 9 or a soft 19. Hard when the Ace has a value of 1, and soft when it has a value of 11.
Basic Blackjack Rules
Every game that uses standard blackjack casino rules plays the same. In order to play at the table, you need to get chips. You can get blackjack chips directly at the table while playing at a land-based casino. Once you exchange your money for chips, you can start playing. When playing at a blackjack online casino, you won’t have to bother with any of that, as your bets are simply taken from your account balance.
To play you need a spot at the table. Both at land-based casinos and online, there are typically seven seats. If the table is full, you can’t play and you’ll have to wait for one of the other players to give up their seat. At online casinos, you can simply just click on another table that has free seats.
At the start of every round, you place your bet in the betting circle (or square) on the table. It has to be within the table’s wagering limits. Once you and all of the other players at the table have placed bets, the dealer will deal the cards. This is done from the dealer’s left, moving clockwise around the table.
Every player will receive two face-up cards. The dealer will also get two cards. However, one of their cards will be face down, and this card is called the dealer’s ‘hole’ card. After this, the active part of the round begins. The dealer will start with the player on their left and continue until all of the players have played their hands.
You can play every hand in five different ways. The options you have are to hit, stand, split, double down, or surrender. (More details about this will be provided further down on this page.) Once everyone has played their hand, it’s time for the dealer to play.
The dealer will either bust or make a hand. What this means is that they will either pass 21, and thus lose, or end up with a hand that’s valued between 16 or 17 (depending on the house rules) and 21. If the latter happens, all that’s left is to determine who has the higher hand. Should the dealer wins, you lose your bet. If you win, you get paid. If there’s a push (tie), you get your bet back. The dealer sweeps the cards, and a new round starts.
⭐ Blackjack Rules at Land-Based Casinos
At land-based casinos, the blackjack table can accommodate up to seven players. The rules of blackjack remain the same, no matter if the table is fully occupied or if there’s only one player.
The limits can vary between casinos. Typically, an average blackjack table will have typically a minimum bet requirement of $10 per bet. On the other hand, high roller tables typically have a $100 minimum limit. That said, this can go anywhere up to $1,000 or more.
When playing blackjack in a land-based casino, it’s also useful to know the hand gestures and proper etiquette. Basic hand signals for hitting, standing, splitting, and doubling down will make you feel like a pro and make the game more immersive. In terms of etiquette, know how to stack your chips and what the tip norms are, and respect other players.
⭐ Online Blackjack Rules
The basic blackjack betting rules in online games don’t differ in any way from the ones in land-based casinos. That said, the minimum bet limits will generally be lower than in brick-and-mortar casinos. There will also be multiple different tables to choose from, all with different betting limits. At the best live casinos, you’ll find hundreds of different blackjack tables to choose from.
You can communicate with the dealer and other players through the chat tab. Another aspect that makes live casino blackjack more similar to the real thing is that the dealer controls the pace. Still, the live casino blackjack rules remain the same as those mentioned above.
Online you can also play RNG blackjack, which is when you play alone on a machine. This type of blackjack is like playing a slot machine game. The cards are not physical cards but are rendered digitally with the help of a random number generator. When playing this type of online blackjack, you can decide the pace of the game yourself, since you’re playing alone without a dealer.
Players Blackjack Bets
When playing blackjack, you’ll have a set of betting options you can choose from. Here are all the decisions you can make in blackjack:
The main move in the game and the one that requires the most strategizing. When you hit in blackjack, you get another card. You can hit as many times as you want in blackjack. However, it’s crucial to know when to stop with this move and avoid going over 21.
A split is allowed when your two cards are of the same value. For example, if you get two number-seven cards, you can split your hand. When you do so, you can play your two hands independently from each other. You also must place an additional bet matching your original wagers.
⭐ Double Down
Doubling down is a risky move with a potentially rewarding payout. To double down, you must double your wager in the middle of the hand. Blackjack double down rules state you will receive just one additional card. No matter what your hand value is after you get this one extra card, the game round is over for you, and you can’t make any additional choices.
The surrender move isn’t as well-known as other blackjack betting options. When you choose to surrender, you give up your hand before you have made any additional moves. So this has to be done as the first thing after you’ve gotten your two cards. In return, you will get half of your original bet back. Surrendering can be a good way to cut your losses when the odds aren’t in your favor, like when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace.
Insurance is effectively a side bet that’s available when the dealer is showing an Ace. Usually, you place half of your original bet as insurance. If the dealer’s hole card is worth ten points and they have blackjack, you get paid 2:1. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, you lose the insurance bet. Most blackjack players consider insurance a bad bet.
Besides hitting, the stand action is the most regular move you’ll make. In simple words, standing in blackjack is ending the game round with the hand you have. When you stand, you remain on your current total and won’t receive any additional cards. The dealer will then play his or her hand, and a winner is determined.
How Dealers Play Their Blackjack Hand
Unlike the players, the dealers have to play each hand according to precise casino rules. There are a few common blackjack dealer rules that you will find in all casinos. Namely, blackjack dealers have specific pointers on when they should stand and when to hit. Other options, like surrender, splitting, and so on are not available to dealers.
The general rule is that the dealer must hit if their total is 16 or lower. This means that the dealer stands on 17. However, and this differs from game to game, and casino to casino, some rules require the dealer to hit on a soft 17. If this is the case the dealer will have to draw a new card if their total of 17 includes an Avc worth 11.
It’s also worth noting that the dealer always plays his or her hand the last. Only after all players around the table have played their hands will the dealer start their hand. The first step is to turn over the hole card, to reveal the dealer’s starting hand.
Odds of Winning In Blackjack
The winning odds in blackjack are around 42%. The odds of the dealer winning are just over 49%. The remaining 8.5% or slightly under is reserved for a tie. These are the standard odds for an average blackjack player. They can greatly fluctuate based on the specific rules, your skills, and the variant you are playing.
In fact, if you play perfect blackjack you’ll find versions where the house edge is as low as 0.5%. This makes blackjack the table game with the best chances of winning. Comparatively, if you play roulette at an online casino the house edge will be 5.26% (American Roulette), 2,70% (European Roulette, or 1.35% (French Roulette).
House Edge in Blackjack
Like any other casino game, blackjack comes with a house edge. But, as this game includes both luck and skill, the house edge can vary. Typically, the house edge in blackjack is around 2% for most blackjack players.
If you play the game optimally, you can bring the house edge to as little as 0.5%. You can do so by using a blackjack chart. Even the typical 1.5% to 2% house edge is very good. It’s much lower than what you can get in most other casino games.
Additionally, keep in mind that the house edge can vary between blackjack variations and even specific bets. For example, the house edge for the perfect pairs side bet can easily go up into the double digits
Side Bets in Blackjack
Side bets are additional bets you can make in blackjack. Blackjack side bet rules don’t affect the result of your regular bet. Unlike the main gameplay, blackjack side bets only rely on luck. You’re just guessing the cards and can’t use any strategy to improve your odds, as there’s no skill involved.
Side bets come with some distinct pros and cons. Many side bets offer high payouts. For instance, you can win up to 5000:1 on a Super Sevens bet. However, the main disadvantage of side bets is that they raise the house edge. In other words, side bets also make it easy to lose a lot of money fast.
The three main types of side bets are insurance, Perfect Pairs, and 21+3. In some casinos, you can also find additional types of side bets. These include Super Sevens, Lucky Ladies, Over/Under 13, and Royal Match.
Blackjack Game Rule Variations
As one of the most popular casino games, blackjack comes in many different variations. Here are some of the most popular blackjack variations in online and land-based casinos:
⭐ Rules for European Blackjack
European Blackjack shares many of the basic rules with standard blackjack. In fact, this variation is considered modern blackjack’s predecessor. That said, there are a few notable differences between this game and standard American Blackjack. In European Blackjack, the dealer can’t check their cards for blackjack if their first card is an Ace or a ten-point card.
Moreover, the dealer only gets one card during the initial deal, which is placed face up. They get the second card only after the players have played their hands. Additionally, players can’t re-split in this variation. However, they can double down on split cards.
⭐ Rules for Pontoon Blackjack
Pontoon Blackjack is similar to European Blackjack in that the dealer doesn’t take the second hole card before all the players have played their hand. Additionally, the dealer’s cards are face down. This makes Pontoon simpler than most other blackjack variations. You don’t have to account for the dealer’s hand when making your decisions.
A blackjack hand is called Pontoon and pays 2 to 1. If you have a two-card 21 value after you split, it still counts as Pontoon. You can also get a 2 to 1 payout if you make a five-card hand that doesn’t bust. The dealer wins all tie/push outcomes.
⭐ Rules for Double Exposure Blackjack
In Double Exposure Blackjack, both of the dealer’s cards are shown to all players from the get-go. This makes Double Exposure Blackjack arguably the simplest variation on our list. You always know what the dealer has and when you need to request an additional card.
Among other fundamental Double Exposure Blackjack rules, it’s useful to know that the payout is always even money. Additionally, the dealer wins on a push. The only exception is the natural blackjack. Lastly, you can only split one time.
⭐ Rules for Lightning Blackjack
Lightning Blackjack is an increasingly popular blackjack variation made by the renowned provider Evolution. The main aspect in which this game differs from standard blackjack is the presence of RNG.
According to Lightning Blackjack rules, players are guaranteed a randomly generated multiplier between 2x and 25x their winning result if they have the multiplier card. The game uses eight decks of cards, and a blackjack hand pays 3 to 2. The dealer must always stand on a soft 17.
⭐ Rules of Single-Deck Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack uses all of the standard blackjack rules. The most significant feature of this game is that the game only uses one deck of cards. Because of this, single-deck blackjack is the best variation in terms of the house edge.
Strategy-wise, single-deck blackjack plays like any other classic blackjack game. That said, card-counting is significantly easier in this variation than in multi-deck blackjack games. For this reason, single-deck blackjack games have been mostly phased out from land-based casinos. However, there are multiple versions at the best online casinos, both as live games and RNG blackjack games.
⭐ Rules of Blackjack Switch
Many Blackjack Switch rules are based on standard blackjack rules, with a few unique differences. For starters, players must place two bets to play their hand. Another unusual rule is that players can take the second card from one hand and switch it with the other.
Blackjack pays even money. That said, if you switch your card to create an Ace and ten-point hand, this isn’t paid as blackjack. It only counts as 21. What’s more, the dealer’s hand only busts if it’s 23 or higher. If a dealer has 22, they push against any total of 21 or less.