Playing BlackJack, either at online casinos or land based ones, is rather simple. The game is basically a competition between dealer and player or several ones. Main goal in the game is to get as close to a point score of ”21” as possible, but without exceeding it. If either of the parties involved exceed it, they lose – simple as that.
This article will be more tailored to online play, so if you’re looking to play at an online gambling environment, it will be a perfect match. However, it will also touch all the basic things that are common at land based casinos. You will have enough knowledge to perform and play BlackJack regardless of the location.
Cards are valued as per their poker value, with an exception to aces that can be high or low, depending on whichever suits you better. Here’s a handy overview of card values in BlackJack.
Aces – 1 or 11
All Face Cards – 10 points
Deuces to Tens – their numbered face value.
So you have just sat down at a table and want to play. Depending on what game type you play, table layout might slightly differ. However, overall it will look something like the one below – this particular one is a layout of Single Deck BlackJack found at NetEnt powered casinos, just like Mr Green.
Once you’ve sat down at a table and have some chips with you, getting in play is quite simple. Pick a chip denomination from the ones offered and place them on a betting box. Click on the ”deal” button afterwards.
Now you’ll have two cards dealts with the same being true for the dealer. While your cards will be face up, only one of the dealers cards will be shown. Unless you have been dealt a natural hand of BlackJack, a couple of options will be presented:
Hit – take another card.
Stand – do not take more cards and allow dealer to draw cards to his hand.
Split – if two initially dealt cards are of the same value, you can split them and play each as a separate hand.
Double – double your initial wager and take one more card. (Only a single card can be taken)
Surrender – if you’re playing a BlackJack Game type that allows surrendering, you’ll also be offered a chance to do this. If you surrender, you give up half of your initial bet, but recoup the other half.
After you are done with drawing any cards to your own hand, dealer follows up to drawing his own hand. He does so until he holds a qualifying hand or goes over 21 – busts. Once dealer is done drawing any cards to his own hand, results and thus also winners are determined.
Determining winners is quite simple – whoever holds a higher hand score, wins. If both sides have equal hands, it’s considered as a push and you neither lose or win anything.
Payouts in BlackJack are almost always 1 to 1 – even money for winning hands. However, there’s an exception to this rule, when a natural hand is dealt with two initial cards.
Getting a Natural Hand Dealt
A natural hand ”BlackJack” is one that consists of an ace and any face card, including tens. So to form it you’ll need an ace and either a king, queen, jack or a ten. If this hand is dealt to you using two initial cards, you are awarded a payout at increased odds. While the odds range depending on what game type you are playing, generally they’ll be 3 to 2.
If you get two aces dealt, the obvious thing to do is split them – as they can make high point combinations easily. However, be vary of this as some game types will only allow to hit one card, when aces are split.
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When dealer gets an ace dealt, all players are offered to insure their hand versus dealer having a BlackJack. You can insure your holdings regardless of the point score and can put up to 1/2 of the wager you’ve made.
If dealer really hits a natural hand, you are paid at 3 to 2 odds on your insurance bet. It does not matter whether you have gone bust in that particular hand, so insurance is a way to risk it.
You can also insure a point score of 20, which is a quite smart thing to do, as you’ll win or at least push if dealer does not hit a BlackJack, while win on your insurance bet if he does.
If you have managed to hit a natural hand and dealer has dealt himself an ace, you’ll be offered to take even money. This means an even money payout for your hand right away, without checking whether the dealer will have one for himself.
Choosing against this option and dealer actually making his hand will result in a push – you neither win or lose. You can only think, why in the world didn’t you take even money!
BlackJack for the Dealer
If dealer hits a natural hand of BlackJack, all players lose. The only exception to this rule is the previous one – when you also hold a natural hand, but decided not to take ”even money” payout, in which case the hand is considered as a push.
This also applies if you have ”21” from more than two cards, as natural hand always beats anything other than itself.