By picking the correct blackjack guide, you can really learn how to play blackjack in 30 minutes.
This is actually a simple game and its rules are not complex: That’s why it is one of the most popular card games around.
Blackjack is an “easy to learn, hard to master” card game and we can take care of the “easy to learn” part for you.
Below, you will find everything you need to know about blackjack; including rules, card values, basic strategies, and beginner tips.
We will also show you how to play casino blackjack too. This is the ultimate beginner guide to blackjack and all you need is 30 minutes to start playing like an expert.
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Learn How To Play Blackjack Like A Pro: The Basic Rules
Ok, let’s start talking about how to play blackjack for beginners. The first thing you need to learn is the blackjack card values. Let’s list them quickly and explain your goal in this game.
- Blackjack is played with at least a single deck, that contains 52 cards.
- Aces are either 1 or 11 points.
- Picture cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10 points.
- All other cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) are worth their face values.
- There is no Joker card.
Now, the blackjack card rules do not contain a hierarchy. In other words, unlike poker, none of these cards are superior to another. Instead, you have a simple goal: Reaching 21 points in total. Or, a point total higher than the dealer. Blackjack is like a “match” between you and the dealer: The first one that scores a higher point wins. And anyone surpasses 21 points loses.
For example, if you get an 8 and a 7 during the initial dealing, you have 15 points in total. Now, you can increase this total by asking for another card. If it is 6, for example, you will have 21 points in total and win the game. But if it is another 7, you will surpass 21 points and “bust”. Same goes for the dealer. Each side gets two cards at the beginning and then… Well, let’s take a look at what happens next by using a sample game.
How To Play Blackjack Simple Instructions: A Sample Game
And this is the how to play blackjack step by step section. Instead of explaining the blackjack rules with long and boring sentences, let’s use a sample game and find out how this game is played.
- The dealer gets two cards for himself. He opens one, keeps the other one closed. You will be able to see the revealed card of the dealer all the time.
- The dealer gives two cards to you. This is the end of the initial dealing.
- If the player or the dealer gets 21 points with the first two cards, the game ends.
- If not, the player gets to pick from a list of options. These are:
- Hit: Basically, the player says give me one more card. The player can hit as much as he wants, but if he surpasses 21 points, he will lose.
- Stand: The player does not want another card. You can stand right after the initial dealing or hitting one or two times. In any case, once you say this, you won’t be getting any more cards until the end of the round.
- Insurance: The player thinks that the dealer is able to reach 21 points with his first two cards and takes an insurance bet for this possibility. Insurance bets pay 2:1 – in other words, the player is betting against himself.
- Surrender: The player thinks that the hand of the dealer is better than his, forfeits the game, takes half of his initial wager back.
- Split: If the first two cards of the dealer are a pair, it is possible to split them and create two independent hands.
- Double: The player is confident with his hand and doubles the initial wager amount.
Now, even after saying “stand”, the dealer will continue to play for himself. He also has these options, so if you stand with 20 points, for example, the dealer can choose to “hit” and reach 21 points. In this case, you will lose the game. Or, the dealer continues and busts – you will be the winner. In some blackjack games, the dealer is forced to “stand” when he reaches 17 points in total (soft 17).
However, this is not a mandatory rule and some blackjack games allow the dealer to continue as long as he wants. Check the paytable or read the rules on the blackjack table before starting to play to see what are the dealing rules that bind the dealer. And that’s it: After reading this list, you learned how to play blackjack. It was even less than 30 minutes, right?
How To Play Blackjack Correctly: Basic Strategies
In order to learn how to play blackjack smart, you should be aware of some basic strategies. This is a game that has “calculable” probabilities, and knowing these will always give you an advantage. Here are the best strategies for beginners, which can be used easily and on all blackjack games you play:
- If you get a 10 or 11 with the initial dealing, always double your wager. These totals increase your chance to score 21 points – by getting an Ace or another card that is worth 10 points, you can easily win the game. So if you are wondering which point total is the best for doubling down, it is either 10 or 11. If you have one of these, always double your bet.
- Surrender only if the dealer has a 10 or Ace. Unfortunately, the same principle applies to the dealer too: If his open card is either an Ace or a 10, you should surrender. In fact, this is the only scenario where using the Surrender option is a wise decision. The reason is pretty simple: This time, the dealer has a high chance to score 21 points. You will mostly lose the round, so it will be best to surrender early.
- Know when to split. Splitting is an advanced decision and it should not be used by beginners, at least in the beginning. This is because once you split your hand, you will be playing with two independent card sets, and you should really know what you are doing to handle these sets correctly. However, this rule has an exception: If you get a pair of Aces or 8s in the beginning, you should always split them, no matter what your experience level is. This is because these cards give you lots of opportunities to score a point total higher than the dealer, but they are pretty much useless when used in a single hand. Two 8s make 16 points and two Aces make 2 points. Instead of wasting such a setup, you should create two separate hands with these pairs.
- Learn how to count cards. This is the only “guaranteed” winning system in blackjack. If you ask how do you play blackjack to a professional gambler, he will always answer “by card counting”. Knowing which cards are left in the deck gives you a great advantage, because you can decide whether to hit or stand correctly with this information. You can also guess which cards the dealer will get. Casinos use eight decks to prevent card counting, but there is still a trick for that: Count only the picture cards. Yes, it won’t be as effective as counting the whole deck, but at least you will be aware of how many cards that are worth 10 points remain in the deck. You should learn how to count cards, at least at a basic level. This is the most important advice we can give you.
How To Play Blackjack Tips
While the rules of blackjack are easy, you still need time to master the game. In order to help you and shorten this period, we have prepared a couple of blackjack tips for beginners, which you can see below.
- Do not take the insurance bet. Taking this bet is always bad for you – never consider it as an option. This is how insurance bet in blackjack works: You make a 100 EUR bet. Place another 50 EUR bet just to ensure it. So, in total, you are out of 150 EUR. And if you “win” this bet, you only get 100 EUR back. You are still out of 50 EUR even if you win: You are actually losing money in the long run. Insurance bets are almost never useful and you should avoid them.
- Standing on soft 17 is not a “set-in-stone” rule. In general, yes, you should stand at soft 17. Dealers also stand at this point total and there is a reason for that: Your chances of busting are quite high at this point (69%, to be exact). However, you have an advantage over the dealer: You can see one of the cards he has. And you should decide whether to stand at soft 17 or not according to this card. If he has a 3, 4, 5 or 6, you should double the initial wager and hit, for example. The decision of when to hit and when to stand should always be made according to the card of the dealer.
- Prefer games with fewer decks. Blackjack is usually played with eight decks. However, there are also other games that are played with 4 or fewer decks. In fact, it is even possible to find blackjack games that are played with a single deck. Fewer decks mean that you have a better chance of counting the cards. And this means you will be able to make more accurate betting decisions. Blackjack games that are played with 1 – 4 decks are the best, prefer to play them as much as possible.
- Surrendering is useful, but… The option to surrender can save you from a tough spot, that’s for sure. However, beginners use this option more than necessary. Surrender should not be used constantly and as a default strategy – you should be able to take risks too. If you surrender every hand just because you are afraid that the dealer has better cards, you won’t be winning anything. Use surrender only when you are sure that you have the “worse” cards. And understanding that will require expertise, so as a general rule, do not overuse surrender until you fully learn how to play blackjack like an expert.
- Win/loss ratios are not important in blackjack. Most players think that just because they lost 10 rounds in a row, their winning chances will be increased in the 11th After all, nobody can lose forever, right? Well, the thing is, your past win/loss ratios are not important in blackjack. The possibility of winning does not increase (or decrease) with every game, it is always the same. By counting the cards, and know which ones are left in the deck, you can increase your odds, but that’s it: Just because you lost 5 rounds consecutively does not mean you will win the 6th round.
How To Play Blackjack 21 And Other Variants
If you want to learn how to play blackjack for a living, you should know about its variants first. This is because blackjack has lots of variants, and some are better than others in terms of the player’s advantage, due to the additional bonus betting options they have. Let’s see a couple of blackjack variants first, explain them shortly, and find out which one is better to play.
How to Play 21 Blackjack?
How do you play blackjack 21 is quite a common question, because this variant, also known as Spanish 21 or Pontoon, is very popular. It can be found at land-based and online casinos, also as a live dealer game. The rules of Spanish 21 are the same, but it includes two additional bets. The first one of these simply asks you to match the hand of the dealer, known as “match the dealer” bet.
It has very big payouts but unfortunately, low winning chances. The second one is an “always-on” betting system that awards you if you manage to reach 21 points with specific card sets. For example, if you get 21 with three 7s, you will win a bigger prize than 3:2, the default payout value of classic blackjack.
Spanish 21 offers slightly high house edge rates than a classic blackjack, but its rules favor the player: Your blackjack, for example, always beats the dealer’s blackjack. Or, you can surrender anytime during the game.
These advantages can be quite useful for beginners, especially the rule that allows late surrendering. Spanish 21 should be preferred by beginners until they get a hold of the original game. Other than the bonus bets explained above, this variant is exactly the same as classic blackjack, so it will be fairly easy to switch to it.
How to Play Casino Blackjack?
How to play blackjack casino rules are determined by the variant you are playing. Brick-and-mortar casinos offer the same blackjack games that can be found at online casinos, so they are not different at all. If you play classic blackjack, the explanations in this guide will still apply.
If you play another variant, keep reading this section because you will be playing either Spanish 21 or free bet blackjack. In any case, casino blackjack how to play rules are no different than the online games. There are only a couple of etiquettes you need to be aware of, and we will be explaining them below, in the FAQ section.
How to Play Free Bet Blackjack?
If you want to learn blackjack, you can safely start with the “free bet” version of this game. There is a very simple reason for this: In this variant, invented by Geoff Hall, you don’t use your own money while splitting or doubling. In other words, you won’t be taking any financial risks if you prefer these betting options, even if you lose. And if you win, you are still paid accordingly. In addition, free bet blackjack is based on the Push 22 rule, which means if the dealer busts with a 22, all player non-blackjack hands will push.
This variant is actually very fun and rewarding, but the problem is, it forces you to double or split nearly every hand, due to not taking any financial risks. If you get used to this playstyle, it would be hard to understand when to split or double in classic blackjack. In other words, you will be getting some “bad habits”. Try this variant but know that while using the same rules, free bet blackjack and classic blackjack have completely different play styles.
How to Play Single Deck Blackjack?
Single deck blackjack is played exactly like the classic version of this game, which is explained in this guide. Moreover, you have an enormous advantage: Due to only one deck being used, counting the cards will be very easy. You can even count the entire deck – you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to do that.
As explained above, counting cards is one of the best strategies you can use to increase your winning chances. And since only one deck is used instead of the usual eight, doing this will not be that hard. Unfortunately, for the same reason, the payouts of this variant are less than others.
How to Play Blackjack Switch?
Blackjack switch is another “invented in the USA” variant of this game. As the name implies, the players get the chance to switch their cards after the initial dealing. The dealer opens two more cards on the table, and you can use them to form a better hand before saying “hit” or “stand”.
Simply put, you can switch your cards with the ones on the table, before making a betting decision. In terms of the house edge, blackjack switch is not better than Spanish 21 or any other variant – getting 4 cards instead of 2 during the initial dealing also d o not increase your winning chances. However, it makes the gameplay more dynamic.
Among all these variants, single deck blackjack should be your default choice to make money. Due to its low payouts, you won’t be a millionaire, but you will definitely learn how to play blackjack to win and find out why card counting is so important. Theoretically, you can win 100% of all single deck blackjack games you play by making optimal decisions. Your second choice should be Spanish 21.
It has the lowest house edge among other variants, and the “always-on” bonus bet is a nice thing to have. However, do not bet on the “match the dealer” option, as it is nearly impossible to win that bet. Free bet blackjack should be played as a game not related to classic blackjack at all. In other words, the tactics and strategies for free bet blackjack will not work in the classic version and vice versa. Same can be said for blackjack switch: It is fun but still a completely different game.
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Learn How To Play Blackjack And Win – It Is Easier Than You Think
Learning how to play blackjack is an adventure: You can learn the rules in less than 30 minutes but mastering the game will require dedication. In any case, even with simple and basic strategies, you can increase your winning odds and start making some profit today!
To do so, pick one of our recommended online casinos and create an account. And when you need more advice, visit us again: We have lots of other blackjack guides where we share the secrets of this game. Good luck and see you at the tables!