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How to Play Blackjack Guide


Blackjack in 2020 is a highly popular version of one of the United States’ favorite card games. Blackjack, also known as 21/twenty-one, is a casino card game that is loved and played by many around the world.

The aim of blackjack is for a player to reach the number 21, or as close as they possibly can, through the value of the cards they are dealt and have in-hand and beat the dealer. Anything more than 21 is called a bust, and the player loses. Less than 21, and the player loses if the house has a higher hand.

Counting cards, though not illegal, is a highly discouraged practice used in Blackjack. More on this later. Find a full list of safe USA online casinos below where you can enjoy blackjack online.

Image of Blackjack table casino game

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How to Play Blackjack

Learning how to play blackjack online is easy. Below is our step by step guide for playing 21 at a gambling site.

  • Step 1 – Sign up at one of our recommended Blackjack Casinos
  • Step 2 – Deposit funds into your account and choose which Blackjack game you want to play
  • Step 3 – Decide on how much you want to bet by clicking on the respective casino chips
  • Step 4 – Click Deal
  • Step 5 – You and the dealer will be dealt 2 cards. Look at the total of your hand and the face-up dealer card ou can see.
  • Step 6 – Decide if you want to hit and receive additional cards, stand, split, or double. Once you’re finished playing your hand, the dealer’s hand will be revealed.
  • Step 7 – The game will determine who wins and pay out winnings
  • Step 8 – Play your next hand

Play 21 Online

Blackjack online is the same as live Blackjack in nearly every aspect, only is it played via the internet and not in person. Any player who is adept at live Blackjack can easily start a game of online Blackjack and pick up the rules and flow of the game within minutes.

Blackjack House Edge

The house edge in a typical game of Blackjack varies depending on many factors, including how many decks of cards are being used, whether the dealer stands on a soft 17, and many, many other factors. Typically, the house edge in a game of Blackjack is between 0.43% and 2.00%, making it one of the games with the lowest house edge.

Blackjack Online

Blackjack online is played in two different forms: online Blackjack and live dealer Blackjack. Online Blackjack is the most popular and widely played and is the standard version of online Blackjack played across the world. Here, the player plays alone against a simulated dealer, and cards are determined at random using a Random Number Generator (RNG). Online Blackjack has the same odds as live Blackjack.

Live Dealer Blackjack

Live dealer Blackjack offers players the best of both worlds. They get the thrills and chills of a live game of Blackjack while still having the convenience of playing wherever, and whenever. Live dealer Blackjack is usually only played between the player and the dealer. To make it easier for the player to see on a small screen, the dealer will use oversized playing cards.

Live dealer Blackjack has the same odds as live and online Blackjack.

How to Start Playing Blackjack

Most of the casinos featured on Casino US offer Blackjack in one way or another, mostly either as traditional online Blackjack or live dealer Blackjack.

The Object of Blackjack

The object of Blackjack is simple – Get as close to 21 as possible, without exceeding 21, based on the value of the cards you are dealt and have in-hand.

Blackjack Card Values

Image of Online Blackjack

Each card in a deck used for a game of Blackjack is assigned a value. Jokers aren’t used in a Blackjack game and are discarded. All cards of the same type, no matter what the suit, have the same value.

Ace: An Ace has a varying worth depending on what the player needs most. An Ace can have a value of either 1 or 11 and a hand with an Ace is known as a soft hand.

2-10: Cards 2-10 are face value, meaning 2=2, 5=5, etc.

J, Q, K: The Jack, Queen, and King (face cards) are all valued at 10, regardless of their suit.

Joker: A Joker has no value and both Jokers are removed from the deck for a Blackjack game.

How to Bet in Blackjack

Before the cards are dealt, the player(s) will place their bet on the Blackjack table. Each casino will set its own minimum wagering amount, though most allow players to wager as much as they wish, or select from pre-set amounts.

Blackjack Shuffling and Cutting – No More Counting Cards

The six-deck game of Blackjack is the most popular with players and casinos. All 312 cards are shuffled and a plastic card is inserted between the bottom 60-75 and the rest of the deck. Those bottom cards then can’t be used, making it nearly impossible for a player to count cards.

The Play

Blackjack can be played with only the player and the dealer or in groups of up to seven players and a dealer. Live Blackjack is usually played in groups, and online Blackjack is usually only played between the player and the dealer.

If in a group, the player to the far left is the first to go, if played alone, the first card is dealt directly to the player.

After the first two cards, the player can choose to take a ‘Hit’ (and draw cards) or ‘Stand’ (leave the hand as is). The dealer’s cards are dealt as one up and one down, meaning the player cannot see the dealer’s full hand.

If, during the first two cards, the player is dealt an Ace (which will be counted as 11), and a card with a face value of 10, it is called a soft Blackjack, and a player does not need to take another card.

Players can continually take hits, as it is possible to take up to 21 cards to reach 21, though the odds of that happening are astronomical.

If a player is dealt two cards of the same value, eg. Two 8s or two Aces, they will have the option to split the cards into two different hands. More on this in the ‘Basic Blackjack Strategy’ section.

Payers can walk away from a game of Blackjack at any time they wish, they are not bound to the table or forced to make a wager at any time.

A Basic Blackjack Strategy

Splitting a Hand

Image of Online Blackjack

When a player gets two cards of the same value, they will have the option to split their cards, effectively doubling their chances of winning by creating two different hands. This can, however, go both ways, as both hands can win, but both can also lose.

Knowing when to split and when to leave is key. For example, if a player has a hand of 20, consisting of two 10s, they will be given the chance to split. This is not advised because a 20 is a near-guaranteed win unless the dealer gets a really lucky hand.

A near-guaranteed win is always better than taking a chance on two possibly low hands. But, if a player has 16, based on two eights, it is advised that they split, as 16 is a number that is easily beaten.

A good rule of thumb is to split, if possible, on any hand lower than 17, and to stay on any hand between 17, and of course, 21.

There are some exceptions, however. When given the chance to split on two fives, rather take another hit. The max a player could get when taking a hit on 10 is 11, which would result in Blackjack. Anything less is still not a bust, which keeps the player in the game.

Know What Your Limits Are

Time and time again players fall into the same traps. Either spending money they don’t have or playing for so long that they lose their money anyway. Two important things players should know: How much money they have; how long they have to play.

Effectively planning a bankroll is key to a winning strategy. Players should always know exactly how much money they have to spend in a month, and then split this figure into amounts they can wager per week and per day. Remember, Blackjack, like any other casino game, should be treated as a hobby, a fun pastime, and not as a primary source of income. Players should only wager what they can afford to lose.

Also, another trap some players tend to fall into is exhaustion. They end up playing for so long, or when they are so tired, that they make wagers that cannot win, simply because they are too tired to think properly or just want to finish the game. Walk away when tired.

Online Blackjack Fairness

Random Number Generator in Online Blackjack

All reputable casinos use an RNG to determine the outcome of a game of Blackjack. Cards are dealt at random using the RNG, ensuring that neither the player nor the casino has an unfair advantage.

Counting Cards

Counting cards is highly discouraged, though not illegal, practice some players employ as a strategy to win in a game of Blackjack.

Casinos that have reason to suspect that a player is counting cards have the right to remove the card counters from the table and ban them from playing again. While card counting, especially when there are lots of cards left in a deck, gives players an advantage over the house, it is not a fool-proof method of winning.

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