How to Play Blackjack

Basics

This article focuses on teaching the complete beginner how to play blackjack and also some tips and tricks while you’re at the table.  Have fun and Good Luck!

The object of blackjack is to finish the hand closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. Each card is worth the number on it with the face cards having a value of 10 and the Ace a value of 1 or 11. If you have an ace and a 5 you have what’s called a soft 16. Your hand is considered soft any time you have an ace that is a value of 11.

Gameplay

To start, you’ll place a bet on the table.  The dealer will deal two cards face up to you and two cards to themselves with only one face up. When it’s your turn to play, you’ll decide to hit(take another card, adding to your total) or stay(stick with your total). You may hit as many times as you like but beware of going over. The dealer will reveal their down card and hit until they have a 17 or higher.

If your first two cards equal 21, you have a blackjack and will automatically win 1 1/2 times, or 3 to 2 on your bet. The exception is when the dealer also has a blackjack.  If the dealer is showing an ace when you have a blackjack, you’ll be offered a choice of even money, or a 1 to 1 payout or letting it ride to see of the dealer has a blackjack.  If not, you win 3:2 on your bet. If so, it’s a push and you don’t win or lose.

There are a couple of special situations you may encounter while playing.

Double Down

You have the option of doubling your bet and taking one more card.

Insurance

If the dealer is showing an ace, they will offer insurance. That's a wager of half your original bet. If the dealer has a blackjack(two cards totaling 21) you keep your bets. If the dealers hand isn't a blackjack, the house wins the insurance bet..

Splitting

When you have two cards of the same value, you can put out an additional bet and play each card as a separate hand.

Table Etiquette

When you’re learning how to play blackjack it can be intimidating to approach a table.

Strategy

The decisions you make should be made based on the value of your cards against the value of the dealers card. Below is a chart known as “Perfect Strategy” that accounts for the probability of each situation as the most mathematically advantageous move for each. 

How to read the strategy charts

These charts may look intimidating but they’re easy to read once you understand them. 

To start you will look at the column on the left of the chart titled ‘Player’s Hand’.  If you have a queen and a four, look for a players hand matching a ‘hard’ 14.  Let’s assume the dealer is showing a ‘9’.  draw a line across from hard 14 until you get to the dealer’s upcard of a 9.  ‘H’ means hit so you should ask the dealer for another card. 

Repeat until you either stand or bust.  The more you use the chart the more you will become familiar with it.

Blackjack How to Play
Simple blackjack strategy

Like any skill, practice is needed for peak proficiency, buy that isn’t at all required to have a great time! 

Your dealer has experience teaching absolute beginners the basics and strategy of the game to help even the odds.

If you want an edge on the competition at your event, we recommend trying an app or a quick google search to find a simulator and practice playing blackjack.

A great online resource for indepth strategy and the maths behind it, see WizardofOdds.com

 

Conclusion

Blackjack is a great game and learning how to play blackjack can be fun for the whole crowd with one of our blackjack tables.  Get a quote and invite your friends over before that next trip to the casino!

If you enjoyed this article, see our other How-To’s.  Roulette.

Remember, this information is for entertainment and educational purposes and is not a guarantee of any sort of gains or losses from gambling.  If you have a problem gambling, please seek help or call 1-800-gambler