Let’s start by explaining why we wrote this ultimate guide to blackjack. There are lots of blackjack strategy guides out there that claim to be the “best”.
Well, we have read almost all of them and disagree: Most of these blackjack casino guides are filled with false information.
Moreover, the majority of these “Blackjack handbook” guides assumes that you already play blackjack on a professional level – the number of high-quality blackjack basic guides are very few.
We wrote this blackjack beginners guide because we believe that everybody should play this card game like a professional player, and learn how to do it without spending years.
A guide to playing blackjack should contain information for both beginners and veterans, and must be useful at all levels.
This is our goal in this blackjack guide (also available at online blackjack – Canada sites): We will explain the game on a basic level but also give you professional tips that will help you to get better odds.
Once you finish reading this blackjack handbook, you will learn everything you need to know about this legendary card game.
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The Advantages Of Blackjack Over Other Card Games
Blackjack has many advantages over other card games, such as:
- It is very easy to learn. Unlike poker, blackjack online games have quite simple rules and you can learn blackjack guidelines in 10 minutes. (Mastering the game, of course, takes some time.)
- It has good payouts. The 3:2 payout of blackjack is quite high: You won’t be a millionaire but still, make good money. There are professional gamblers out there who make a living like that.
- It is the only casino game with a theoretical 100% payback ratio. With optimal gameplay, the RTP rate of blackjack is 100%. Theoretically, you can win every blackjack game you play.
- It allows you to increase your odds with optimal gameplay. By using the correct strategies and getting the right blackjack help, you can actually increase your winning chances.
Online, Live, And Casino Blackjack: A Comparison
Blackjack can be played as an online game, a live casino game, and a brick-and-mortar casino game. Now, the blackjack basic strategy table and blackjack rules chart do not differ between these versions.
You will still be playing the same game, no matter where you play it. But all of these have some advantages and disadvantages:
- Brick-and-mortar blackjack requires travel and additional expenses. You can’t play those games for free too – in order to make practice, you still need to spend money.
- Online blackjack games can be played via all devices with an active internet connection. You can play them anywhere and anytime you want. You won’t be playing against a real person but you can play for free, if you want: Online blackjack games do not require making a deposit, and can be played free of charge as long as you want. They are the best option for making practice.
- Live casino blackjack offers the best of both worlds: They are still an online game, so they can be played anywhere and anytime, and you will be playing against a real dealer. Demo gameplay, however, is not permitted.
Overall, the online version is the best blackjack game both for making practice and winning money. After getting enough experience, you can also try your chance at live blackjack games (here’s our “Types of casino games” list)
Remember that our blackjack book chart can be used for all of these versions, so the choice is up to you.
Basic Blackjack Rules: How To Play Blackjack For Dummies
Rules of blackjack are not complex, as we mentioned above, and we will keep them simple in this blackjack a how-to guide.
Here is everything you need to know:
- All cards in the deck have a point value. Picture cards are worth 10 points. Aces are either 1 or 11. And all other cards are worth their face values.
- Your goal is to reach 21 points in total, or a total higher than the dealer.
- You get two cards with the initial dealing. You can ask for one more card if you want, this is called “hitting”. You can get as many cards as you want, as long as you do not surpass 21 points. If you do, this is called a “bust” and you lose the game.
- If you do not want another card, you simply say (or click) “stand”.
- There are two more betting options: “Surrender” allows you to forfeit the game and get half of your initial wager back. This option can be used if you think that the dealer has a better hand than you. “Insurance” option is an additional bet; in case the dealer has a natural 21. In this case, you get double of your insurance bet amount. But if you lose you won’t get back the money paid for the insurance. Even money blackjack on the other hand is not an actual bet, it’s an “offer” which you can take or not.
- It is also possible to split your hand if you get two pairs with the initial dealing. In this case, you can create two independent hands and play them at the same time. Or, you can double the amount of your initial bet, if you are confident of your hand.
- When does the dealer stop hitting in blackjack? The answer to this question is related to another rule in blackjack. Depending on the variant, the dealer may be forced to stand when he reaches 17 points but he could also hit on a soft 17 which would increase the house edge slightly (you can also check our soft 14 blackjack guide).
And that’s actually it: While there are some bonus betting options in some blackjack variants, these are the most important rules you need to know. They are really easy, right? If you get 21 points, the payout will be 3:2. All other winning hands pay 1:1.
Guide To Blackjack Odds
Like all other card games, blackjack has winning odds too. And knowing these odds can help you which move will be better to make. Moreover, blackjack odds are not complex like poker.
They are pretty straight figures that give you a clear idea of the probability of winning or losing a hand. Here is the blackjack odds card that shows you these values – you can use this data also as a blackjack hit or stand table.
PROBABILITY OF BUSTING IF YOU ASK FOR ONE MORE CARD
PROBABILITY OF DEALER BUSTING IF HE TAKES ONE MORE CARD
These odds can also be used as a blackjack strategy betting guide, as they give you an idea of which move will be the best one.
Basic Blackjack Strategy Charts
Let’s continue with the blackjack guide card topic. A blackjack reference card will be the most useful tool for beginners, especially if you are not sure which move will be the best.
Using a 21 basic strategy chart is like learning how to play blackjack by the book: All of the best moves according to point totals are already listed, and all you need to do is following the chart.
This, of course, is a good thing but you should use blackjack charts carefully: While they are showing you the best possible moves, they are not “personalized” tables.
This means after a while, you should aim to create your own blackjack hit stand chart according to the game you are playing. We will be sharing more than one basic strategy chart below, divided into soft vs hard blackjack hands totals, so use them without forgetting this fact.
Blackjack Chart 8-Deck (dealer stands on soft 17)
PLAYER HARD TOTAL
BLACKJACK GUIDE TABLE FOR BEST POSSIBLE MOVE
We explain more about soft hands in blackjack in our “What does soft mean in blackjack?” article, but the table below is a good start on learning how to play soft hands.
PLAYER SOFT TOTAL
BLACKJACK GUIDE TABLE FOR BEST POSSIBLE MOVE
6 Deck Blackjack Strategy (dealer hits on soft 17)
PLAYER HARD TOTAL
BLACKJACK GUIDE TABLE FOR BEST POSSIBLE MOVE
PLAYER SOFT TOTAL
BLACKJACK GUIDE TABLE FOR BEST POSSIBLE MOVE
The blackjack strategy 6 deck if the dealer stands at soft 17 is the same as the eight-deck blackjack spreadsheet. In fact, the blackjack strategy table of all decks between 4 and 8 are the same as above, based on if the dealer stands on soft 17 or not.
Strategies For Playing Blackjack: Which One Is Best?
There are a lot of blackjack strategies, each one claiming to be the best advanced blackjack strategy.
We will list and shortly explain some of the most popular blackjack systems below, but note that we suggest using a blackjack hand guide (like the ones we listed above) instead of using a general blackjack strategy.
This is because a blackjack handbook will suggest the best moves according to a certain situation, while strategies are overall general goals which may work or not. We will talk about this more below, but first, let’s see some of the blackjack basic strategy guides:
- Blackjack Surrender Strategy: This one is actually a blackjack technique that is based on using the surrender option wisely. As you know, surrendering gives half of your initial wager back, if you believe your hand is weaker than the dealer’s. This tactic requires the dealer’s card to be a 10 or A. Basically, if the up card of the dealer is one of these, he has a better chance of reaching 21 points in total. If this is the case, you can surrender and save half of your bet.
- Doubling Down On Hard 11: This blackjack table strategy has only one rule: Double the initial bet if you have a 10 or 11. As can be seen in the guide to blackjack chart above, this is the suggested move for these totals for a simple reason: You will most likely reach a total higher than the dealer, so it is a good idea to increase the initial bet. Doubling down is the opposite of surrender strategy – this time, it is you who has the better cards.
- Pair Splitting Strategy: Another simple blackjack guide asks you to split your hand if you have a pair of 8s or two Aces in blackjack. Mathematically, this gives you a slight advantage over the dealer. Likewise, there are pairs that should never be split: If you have a pair of 5s or 10s, do not split them no matter what.
- Insurance Strategy: Overall, we don’t think that the insurance bet is one of the blackjack best practices. The probability of an insurance bet is very low and its house edge is quite high, so it does not have a place in a blackjack betting guide. We are listing this one only because it exists in a couple of blackjack guides. Basically, after placing 10 EUR, you are placing another 5 EUR to ensure it (15 EUR in total), and the best possible thing that can happen is getting 10 EUR back if you really lose, because insurance pays 2:1. So, even if you “win” an insurance bet, you are still out of 5 EUR. In the long run, this does not give you an advantage at all.
So, which one is the best blackjack strategy table guide? First of all, none of these tell you when to hit blackjack, they are just general suggestions on what to with your cards.
Double Down Blackjack is the perfect strategy because it always gives you an edge over the dealer: Use it always. Surrender strategy can be useful if you point total is less than the dealer.
And Pair Splitting strategy also gives you an advantage, but it requires expertise: Playing two hands at the same time is not that easy for beginners. You can even play four hands and sometimes even more. Have a look at our “how many times can you split in blackjack” article to learn more.
And you should never use Insurance Strategy because it does not give you an advantage at all. In fact, it causes you to lose money in the long run.
Black Jack Guide For Myths And Truths
Understanding blackjack also requires knowing what are the truths and “myths” of this game. There are lots of false information in many of the blackjack game guides out there, and even some of the blackjack strategy guide charts are not accurate.
To help and offer you a really useful guide to blackjack, we have listed some of these myths below. Take a look: You will be surprised to see that some of the facts below are not “facts” at all.
- After losing five hands in a row, your chance of winning is increased. This false information is more common than you think. Some of the “when to hit in blackjack” guides out there suggest that you can safely hit as many times as you want after losing a couple of consecutive hands because your odds are increased now. After all, you will sooner or later, right? Actually, wrong. When it comes to odds, it does not matter how many times you lose or win. At each round, your winning odds are “reset”, for the lack of a better word, and they do not increase or decrease. Thinking otherwise is just a gambler’s fallacy, which means believing in something without a basis.
- You must reach 21 points. Sure, your ultimate goal is to reach 21 points. This is the “winning total” of the game, as we also stated many times in this blackjack guide. Thing is, this is not the only total that can win the game. As long as you have a total higher than the dealer, you will still win even if you don’t have 21. Do not focus on reaching this total – focus on beating the dealer, or you can try to match the dealer. Most of the blackjack guide books out there simplify the goal of this game like this and this is not healthy: If you focus only on reaching 21, you may miss many opportunities that will allow you to win the game.
- The hole card is almost always a 10. This myth seems to have a basis: There are many cards in a deck that counts as 10 points, and therefore, the possibility of the dealer having a 10 is increased. While seems legit at first glance, this one is also a gambler’s fallacy. The math is simple: There are 52 cards in a deck and 16 of those cards can be worth 10 points. This means the possibility of dealer having a 10 is 32%. The possibility of the dealer not having a 10 is 68%. Which odds seem to be the best? We saw some blackjack books that “create” a strategy based on this belief, which is pretty much useless. Never assume that the dealer has almost always a 10.
- Card counting is illegal. No, it is not. In fact, it is perfectly legal and an important method to understand blackjack when to hit. You can safely count cards and the casino cannot do a thing about it.
You need to be “Rain Man” to count cards. If you are aiming to count all cards in eight decks, sure, you really need to be Rain Man to do that. However, the best blackjack strategy is not counting all the cards, it is counting the “picture cards”.
Just count the picture cards and delete them mentally from the deck after they are revealed. There are 12 picture cards in a deck, and it is fairly easy to count all of them. Knowing how many picture cards are left in the deck still gives you an advantage. You may also wonder why is counting cards cheating in Blackjack – find out here.
Casino Blackjack Tips: How To Play Casino Blackjack
The guide to blackjack casino is no different than the other explanations we made in this blackjack guide: The explanations, odds, tactics, and winning chances are the same. However, due to being played on a “physical” table, we can make some additional explanations about the topic, and give some specific tips:
- Blackjack has lots of variants, and it is possible to play these variants at brick-and-mortar casinos too. As a general rule, the “basic” version of blackjack offers the best odds and the lowest house edge. So try to play the “classic” version, instead of shiny-looking variants such as Super Fun 21 or Multi-Hand Blackjack.
- The blackjack table is open to all players. While you are playing, another play can sit on it and join the game. This does not affect your winning chances and there is no need to switch tactics. Every player plays its own game.
- To place a bet, put your chips on the designated spot on the table. The game continues as long as you have chips on the table.
- You can leave anytime – but if your chips are still on the table, you will be forfeiting them.
- Despite the general belief, there are no “hot” or “cold” tables. Pick any table you like.
- If you experience a problem, you can directly apply to the “pitboss”. These are the managers of game tables and usually stand right next to the dealer.
- If the game allows and you are planning to do it, state your bonus bet clearly to the dealer and let him know.
FAQ: A Quick Guide to Blackjack
This Is The Best Blackjack Guide You'll Ever Find: Start Playing Like A Pro Today!
We believe that after reading this blackjack guide, you have a pretty good idea of how to play this game wisely. You know the rules, you have the charts, and you are informed about the best blackjack strategies.
The only thing left is finding an online casino to play blackjack. We can help you in this regard too, we have dozens of hand-picked casino sites that offer you the best blackjack online games. You may also find helpful our dedicated guide on how much can you cash out at a casino without taxes.
Pick one, create an account, grab the best online casino bonus offers and start playing today: It is really that easy. We wish you good luck at blackjack tables, and may your first two cards always be 21. Also, make sure you read our Spanish 21 match the dealer guide to boost your odds of winning. See you at the tables!