Do you want to learn the basic rules of Blackjack? Well, we all do! Keep reading this article to prepare yourself for the next game in your casino of choice.
The Essential Blackjack Rules
If we were to put aside Poker, then we would conclude that there’s another popular card game — we’re referring to Blackjack. It also goes by the name of Twenty-One. Once we reach the end of this article, you’re going to see that this name suits it to a tee. And a good part of its popularity can be ascribed to the blackjack game rules which some find simple and pretty straightforward. Also, some believe that the objective they need to accomplish is thrilling. So what does everyone strive to do in this game? Certain novice players might tell you that your aim is to have cards whose value is as close to 21 as possible. However, they would be wrong.
Yes, the gist of the game is to reach the above number. But simultaneously, you should be concerned with one more thing — the dealer. Namely, your ultimate goal is to beat them at the table by either getting the Blackjack hand or outscoring them. And we’ll delve deeper into the rules. Apart from this, we’ll go over some betting strategies. Who knows, maybe you decide to employ them during your game. All in all, if the description “regular casino goer” suits you, then mastering this game is a requirement. The reason being that is the fact that it’s quite prominent across casinos, and we’re sure you’d want to see what all the fuss is about.
Let’s see what you need to know about this casino game in which a player goes toe-to-toe with the house.
Most gambling venues resort to using a standard deck of cards, but some of them decide to incorporate more of them. As you might see, a number of land-based casinos opt for six decks, which means that 312 cards are at anyone’s disposal. The dealer places one plastic card in a shoe which would prompt them to reshuffle the deck. Namely, its purpose is to indicate that they’ve reached the end of the deck. And in order to ensure that the activity isn’t too time-consuming, most tables have a shoe that holds everything and allows for faster dealing.
Before we explain the rules in more depth, it’s crucial that we reflect on the cards themselves. After all, if a player wants to prevail and beat the dealer, it’s paramount that they’re aware of how to count what they see in front of them. Firstly, numbered cards (ranging from 2 to 10), naturally, should be counted as per their face value (e.g., 3 is always worth 3). As for an Ace, players can perceive it as 1, if that suits them best, or 11. Its actual value depends heavily on other cards. For instance, sometimes, the players choose to value it as 1. The main reason being the fact that they don’t want to bust.
Furthermore, the Ace is also important in that it can create a soft hand. You would use this term in order to indicate that a hand has an Ace that you’d count as 11. People refer to the other hands as hard. Moving on to the face cards, which, along with the Ace, might help you get the winning Blackjack combination. So a player can count certain cards as 10. The following three cards fall in this category: a Jack, then a King, and finally, a Queen. For instance, let’s say that someone is lucky enough to have the Ace and the King placed in front of them. If this happens, then the value of their hand would be 21, which, in turn, always beats the dealer. Of course, provided that they too have the identical hand.
How to Play Blackjack
In order to kick-start the game, those at the table have to make a bet. The actual wager is based on the minimum and the maximum amount that a particular table allows. Frequently, the least a participant needs to wager is $5. And only when the chips are placed can the game begin. When it does, everyone will get two cards — they’re always revealed, so players know how close each of them is to 21. As they’re going against the dealer, they too get two cards. But in their case, one is visible to the participants, whereas the other is put face down (also known as the hole card).
Now that they have their cards, participants should conclude what their values are. This is important, as the next step would be to decide how to play their hands. The first to have the honor of making their intentions clear is the person sitting to the dealer’s left. They can choose from a number of choices. Let’s examine all of them below.
In the blackjack parlance, if you hear this term, then it would indicate that someone wants to get another card. This isn’t strange, as they want to achieve the objective. However, we should stress that, if the value of the cards goes well over 21, then they’d bust, and the dealer would take their bet. If you want to hit, then you should tap the area behind your cards.
In case a player feels pretty confident about their hand, they can stand pat. This means that they’ve decided not to take any new cards. You can signal your intention by waving your hand.
There’s an option of doubling the wager which comes with its own rules. Namely, if you do decide to increase your bet, then you’ll be eligible only for one more card. So always be conscious of the fact that you can’t choose to hit during a double down. You only get that one card. Also, the dealer will realize that you want to double down if you put a new stack next to the old one.
As multiple decks are used, sometimes, a player receives two cards that have the same value. And in blackjack, they can split those identical cards. So first, they would need to place new chips (their amount equals to the one already on the table) outside the betting box. Understanding your plan, the dealer will be the one who will separate the two cards. After this, they will put a new one on each of them. Then, the participant needs to play out both hands.
What’s more, keep in mind that some casinos won’t permit you to double down at this point. Also, you might come across those tables where you won’t be able to split the cards further. Additionally, if you reach your goal after splitting, this is called a non-blackjack 21. Lastly, some players always hope that they’ll get two Aces and increase their odds. However, even though splitting Aces sound like the best possible thing, there are gambling venues that forbid the players from hitting them.
There are those who decide that it would be best to surrender after receiving their two cards. If they do, then the house will return half of their bet back. When you come to think of it, this doesn’t sound too bad! Signal your decision by drawing a straight line right behind the chips.
It’s the Dealer’s Turn
The dealer gets to act only after every player makes their move. In case no one has the blackjack hand, then the moment they’ve all been waiting for occurs. That’s right — the hidden card is finally revealed, either to the delight or the displeasure of the players. This is when the dealer hopes that their cards have a value of either 17 or more (provided that they didn’t exceed 21). In case that their total is lower, then they need to draw more cards.
Although, bear in mind that the dealer can get a soft 17. This means that their hand is comprised of an Ace and a 6. A player can win if they don’t bust and have cards which exceed the dealer’s total. Of course, at times, both of them happen to have the same score. This is referred to as a “push.” In this case, a player will get all of their chips back. Under any other circumstances, the house prevails.
The Insurance Bet
The insurance bet is something that appeals more to novice players. The experienced ones see its bad side and are prone to avoiding it altogether. Basically, you’ll get a chance to place it if the dealer’s revealed card is an Ace. Then, you can take insurance, which means that you’re hoping that the concealed card is a 10-value card. So you’ll add half of your original bet to the table. And if the house wins that round, then your payout will be 2 to 1. Of course, you’ll lose the chips if the house doesn’t get the natural (another name for the Blackjack hand).
Why Players Avoid It
Let’s say that a few rounds pass and you keep losing your money. At the same time, you begin to think that there’s no hope that you’ll regain some of the lost chips. And then, the opportunity knocks — the dealer gets an Ace. This is when they’ll try to lure you into agreeing on the insurance bet.
They might sugar-coat things and prompt you to believe that it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t avoid. Well, you should. The positive sides are only an illusion because the house is the one that’ll earn money in the long run.
One more thing works in favor of the casino. Namely, once you place a bet, there’s no going back. You’re the one who makes the first move, whereas the dealer proceeds after everyone else. For instance, say that you bust, you’ll immediately lose your wager. No one takes into account the fact that the dealer might bust as well.
Additionally, if you decide to stand and the dealer busts, then you’ll win your wager. Conversely, there’s always a chance that the dealer will decide to stand. In this case, those with a lower total lose their bet, and those with a better hand than the dealer’s will receive their bets.
The Famous Betting Strategies
Even while playing Blackjack, some players decide to employ certain strategies. If you were to believe their proponents, then you’d be convinced that they can increase your odds of winning. Although this sounds appealing, it isn’t exactly true. Yes, you can use them, but don’t expect that they’ll help you prevail. We’ll list some of them, but we encourage you to perceive them as nothing more than betting tips. In other words, no strategy can assist you in predicting the outcome.
Let’s examine the strategies that are the most widespread in the gambling community.
The Martingale System
Whenever you’re unsure which betting system you can follow, just remember Martingale. This is one of the most versatile strategies out there — it can easily be applied to many casino games. Even Blackjack hasn’t been able to resist it! If you use it, then you’ll agree with its notion: all losing streaks have to eventually be broken by at least one win. Therefore, it’s only natural that you’ll double your bet after each loss. This way, you might recover all of your lost money as soon as you win.
So once you set your initial wager, you just need to double it if you don’t win. Once you do emerge as a winner, you just need to return to your beginning bet if you want to keep playing. And it’s not that difficult to see why this system is risky. A player can go through their entire bankroll in a matter of a few rounds, especially if they sit at a $5 table.
The Manhattan System (2-1-2)
This one differs from the abovementioned strategy. Here, you start the round by betting two units. Let’s say that you decide to wager $2. If you win, you don’t need to double your wager. Instead, the amount of the second bet goes down by one unit. If by any chance you win in the third round, then this system teaches you to place $3. Of course, once a player loses, they return to the initial wager (e.g., $2). The goal of this strategy is to make use of your winning streaks as much as possible.
The 1-2-3-5 Strategy
This is one of the famous progressive betting systems. Here, the size of the wager varies and changes with each round. Basically, if you find it appealing, then you should just adhere to the pattern of 1-2-3-5 and apply it to your bets. Although, once a losing round happens, then you should go back to the first unit in the pattern. The proponents of this system will tell you that you’ll end up getting more money during the course of your five winning rounds. But who can tell you when those consecutive wins will occur?
The 1-3-2-6 System
Moving on to another progressive betting system — 1-3-2-6. Similarly to the above one, it’s straightforward and not difficult to learn. It’s applicable in many casino games, but it would seem that blackjack players are most keen on using it.
To start with, a player has to determine what their initial bet will be. Many would say that it would be wise to select the lowest possible amount. In other words, they don’t want you to lose a substantial amount of money. So once you do opt for the sum, you can start playing. During each winning round, the bet size will increase as determined by the pattern. And if a player loses, then they’ll just start from scratch — that is, from the beginning wager.
It would be remiss of us not to mention that these “strategies” have certain risks. For starters, they might result in you losing a lot of money. Also, they are not strategies, per se — they’re only patterns that you can apply while betting. So don’t assume that they’ll lead you to victory — you need Lady Luck to be on your side for that.
You’re Good to Go!
Now that you’re familiar with the basic rules of blackjack, you can start playing the game! Maybe it would be wiser to begin competing against your friends first, and then, gradually move on to the casinos. Who knows, perhaps you’ll master the game, and with a little bit of luck, even beat the house!