Blackjack is the most popular table game in the casinos around the world. There is not one casino that would not offer blackjack to its players. Similarly, blackjack is also a very popular online, though no where near as many players at the land based casinos.
The attraction of playing blackjack at casinos is due to its low casino house edge. You need not be an expert card counter to play a good game. In fact, if you are able to understand a simple grid that shows the player action to take, you can play as well as any regular player.
Of course, blackjack is also a fun game to play at home. All you need is a deck of cards.
Given blackjack’s popularity, it’s one of the best casino games to learn.
Deck of Cards
A game of blackjack requires at least one deck of cards. The deck of cards is a normal pack, with all cards being used except for the Jokers. Playing at home typically uses one deck only (unless you have several), whilst at casinos normally six decks or more are used together.
Casinos use more than one deck to remove the advantage of blackjack card counters and to keep the game, a real game of chance rather than one of skill.
The cards are shuffled thoroughly. Nowadays cards are shuffled by a machine. Once shuffled the cards are placed in a shoe box with the Dealer inserting a plastic card randomly towards the end to indicate when a re-shuffle is needed.
The blackjack table is laid out in a semi circle. Players sit at the curved edge of the semi circle, while the Dealer stands at the opposite flat edge of the semi circle.
On the semi circle that a designated boxes for the bets to be placed.
How to Win
The objective of each player is to obtain a higher value hand than the dealer without exceeding 21.
- An ace can be considered as a value of 1 or 11.
- Picture cards are 10, with all other cards their number value.
We have listed 6 Easy Steps that explain How-To-Play Blackjack.
1. Players place their bets
Dealer will declare: “Place your bets”
To begin a round of blackjack each player must place a bet in chips on the table in front of them. Casinos will advise the table limits of each table with a minimum and maximum bet.
2. Dealer deals the cards
Dealer will declare: “No more bets”
After the Players have placed their bets, the Dealer distributes one face up card to each Player and to the Dealer himself.
A second card is then dealt, again face up to all Players, BUT the Dealers second card is dealt face down.
Therefore everyone can see the total value of two cards for every Player, but can only see one card for the Dealer (the other remains face down).
Dealer declares: “Blackjack” for those Players who have 21!
Once the cards have been dealt, the Dealer assesses each Player’s initial hand for “Blackjack”. Blackjack is a hand that holds an ace and a picture card or 10 (i.e. a total of 21).
A blackjack hand is an automatic win to the Player, so the Dealer immediately distributes winnings at 1.5 to 1.
The Players with a blackjack hand have won, and now must wait till the next round.
4. Player’s Turn
The remaining Players who do not have blackjack must now decide on whether to “Hit” or “Stand” (a.k.a. “Sit”).
- Hit = asking the Dealer for another card.
- Stand = asking the Dealer to not deal another card and to move on to the next Player.
Thus beginning with the first Player to the Dealer’s left and moving clockwise, each Player has a turn of playing their hand.
Their goal is to beat the value of the Dealer’s hand. (Remember at this point in time, the Dealer has only one card face up, so a Player must take this into consideration).
A Player may Hit as many as they wish. However if the total value of the cards exceeds 21, then they “bust” and automatically lose.
Once a Player chooses to Stand, their turn has ended and the Dealer proceeds to the next Player. There is no opportunity to hit again. Once a stand has been declared by a Player, the decision to move to the next Player is final.
A casino tables, often you will see Players tapping their fingers on the table to signify a Hit. Whilst a wave of the hand means to Stand. In addition the Dealer will declare the total value of the cards for you.
If you bust he will declare: “Too many”.
What makes blackjack quite exciting is the soft hand. When counting the value of a hand an ace card and a card not valued 10 is referred to as a “soft hand”. It’s a term used to signify that the ace can be considered as an 11, but could revert to a value of 1 if the Player/Dealer hits.
You will often hear the term a “soft 17” to mean an ace and a 6. A soft 17 is one of the hardest decisions to make as a Player. Hitting on a soft 17 could lead to a small value card being distributed moving the total value closer to 21, or it could top the value to cause the ace to be valued as 1. There is nothing wrong with this occurring however it could lead the Player ending up with a total value under 17 (i.e. worse than the original soft 17).
5. Dealer’s Turn
After all Players have ha their turn, those remaining are ones who have not achieved blackjack nor bust.
The Dealer begins by turning his card that was face down to up, so that all can now see the Dealer’s hand.
The Dealer must now follow a set of rules, which are as follows:
- Stand if the value of the card is 17 or more;
- Hit if the value of the cards is 16 or less.
A soft 17 to 20 are a stand.
The Dealer does not have the freedom to choose to hit or stand. They must follow the set of rules.
Of course, the Dealer could also bust after dealing a card to himself.
6. Dealer pays Winnings
At the conclusion of the Dealer finalizing his hand, the Dealer assesses each Players hand against his, and pays out 1 to 1 to Players who have won.
Blackjack is a wildly popular game. With 6 easy steps you will be able to play blackjack as well as any regular Player.
We hope you have enjoyed our How-To-Guide for Blackjack!