Despite being one of the most popular games you can play at a casino, blackjack rules can seem to be completely incomprehensible from the outside, at least if you’re not familiar with splits, busts, pushes or hits. Nevertheless, the concept behind the rules of blackjack is remarkably simple – you try and reach 21 without going over, or at least you try and beat the dealer. Interestingly enough, Blackjack is perhaps the one game where you as the player can actually gain an edge over the house, but only if you play your cards right and do your homework beforehand.
So if you’re interested in finding out how to play this classic card game, and what to do to maximize your winning potential, then read on for the rules of blackjack, both in the casino and on the internet.
Basic blackjack rules
The basics of blackjack, whether you’re playing on- or offline, are more or less the same. If you’re looking for an explanation of simple blackjack rules, the absolute bare bones of the game, so to speak, it’s quite simple. The point of the game is to get a total of 21 points without going over that total (or “busting”), or, alternatively, getting a higher score than the dealer, again without busting.
You earn points by being dealt cards by the dealer. You’re given 2 cards initially, and then, depending on the score, you can either take a hit – ask for another card – or stand – end your turn. You can also choose to double your initial bet, at which point you get one more card, or you can split your hand if you get 2 cards of the same value. So far, so simple. As you can see, the rules of blackjack aren’t that complicated.
Speaking of values, the points are also relatively straightforward in the blackjack casino rules. Number cards are worth their face value, meaning that a 2 is worth 2 points, a 5 is worth 5 and so on. Face cards (jacks, queens, and kings) are worth 10 points each. An ace is worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on the total of the other cards in your hand. If it’s worth 11, you’ve got a soft hand; if it’s worth 1, it’s a hard hand. Easy? The basic blackjack rules are pretty straightforward. So let’s take it up a notch, shall we?
Blackjack dealer rules
The dealer has to follow his own set of blackjack casino rules. Because of the fact that you’re effectively playing against the dealer, and not against other players, there’s a particular way in which the dealer is expected to play. There are very specific blackjack rules that determine exactly when a dealer must hit or stand. Although the specifics can change from casino to casino, the basic blackjack rules are more or less the same.
When the dealer deals a hand, he starts from his far left to his far right. Each player gets two cards initially. For the dealer’s own hand, he places one card face up, and one face down. Under these casino blackjack rules, you’ll be able to see half the hand, in other words. The general rule is that the dealer stands on 17, but often, he must hit on a soft 17 (that is if one of his cards is an ace worth 11). Whatever the specific casino blackjack basics, the dealer has to stick to very strict rules, so there’s a chance that you can turn the situation to your advantage. Of course, this means that you have to play with your head, not your heart, so again, do your homework before you start betting.
If you want to limit your losses because it looks like the dealer will hit blackjack because he has an ace, you can take out insurance, which pays out 2:1 if the dealer hits blackjack. This is where keeping an eye on which cards have been in play comes in handy, as, although there’s usually less than a 1-in-3 chance of the dealer getting blackjack, this changes depending on which cards have been played, and depending on the rules the casino uses, regardless of whether it’s on- or offline.
Although there are a variety of blackjack dealer rules, and, by some accounts, over 100 different variations on the theme of blackjack, there are some benefits to playing in real life as opposed to playing on the internet. For example, if you’re playing at a brick-and-mortar casino, even if you’re playing with an 8-deck pack, you can still “count” the cards, which, although technically not illegal, is definitely looked down upon. This can give you an edge while playing at a land-based casino, but this same edge is somewhat done away with when playing at an online casino. There are, however, still some ways to win, so even if you’re following blackjack betting rules for online casinos, you can still walk away a winner. But before we deal with that, there’s one more rule that needs to be discussed.
Casino blackjack split rules
One of the more confusing rules of blackjack is that surrounding the question of splits. In this instance, it’s not something that Jean-Claude van Damme does very well, but rather a way of playing 2 bets at once. You can do this in both the live and online versions of the game, and the rules, while seemingly confusing at first, are also relatively straightforward and easy to understand.
If you are dealt 2 cards of the same value at first, you have the option to split them, thus creating 2 hands, each with a separate bet. This can sometimes be repeated, but this depends on the specific blackjack split rules in play. Remember to check before you start playing, and to make sure of any other rules that affect your gaming experience (and your bank balance).
Online blackjack betting rules
As we previously said, there’s not a huge amount of difference between the rules of land-based blackjack and the rules for playing online blackjack. The only major difference, in fact, is the shuffling, and who you end up playing with or against.
In most online versions, the cards (of up to 6 decks in some games) are shuffled after every single hand, rather than once the pack is finished. This means that it’s more difficult to track the cards, but if you understand online blackjack basics, this won’t present a very large problem. It’s a matter of reading up and making sure you understand what’s going on when you’re sitting at the virtual blackjack table.
If you think that you’re up to speed on how blackjack works, you don’t need to find out more about the basics of this fun game, and if you’re comfortable with the rules for blackjack online, just have a look at our list of casinos, find the one that’s right for you, and try out this fun, exciting game!