Let’s Play Blackjack!
Who hasn’t heard of blackjack at least once? It’s one of the most popular games of chance in the entire world. It’s a game that can be found in both traditional land-based casinos and online casinos. But what exactly is blackjack? How do you play it? What strategies give you bigger chances of winning? Here you will find the answers to these blackjack questions.
What Is Blackjack?
Blackjack is one of the oldest and most legendary card games ever played in casinos. It’s a game where both chance and the player’s skillset play important roles. Blackjack’s popularity has grown even further with the advent of online casinos, as it allows people to play from anywhere and at any time. Many online casinos also have mobile versions available through apps. Lately, many different online services, such as web shops or banks, are striving to improve the interface of their web pages for mobile phone users, which automatically makes them look much better regardless of the device the user chooses. And it’s not only web shops or banks who focus on improving their interfaces. The same goes for online casinos and their games. Therefore, gaming today is even more accessible than it used to be. It has also become a much more comfortable experience.
The History of Blackjack
Blackjack (also known as “21”) is a game with a very rich history. It dates back to the 18th century when the betting and reward systems were different from the Blablackjack kjack that we know today.
Upon its arrival in the United States, blackjack was not a popular game. Therefore, casinos had to offer various bonuses and attractive payouts in order to attract players. For example, one of these bonuses consisted of a 10:1 payout if the player’s first two cards were an Ace (A) of Spades and a Valet (J) of Spades or Clubs. This combination was called blackjack because in English, the Valet (J) is called “Jack” and the symbols were black (spade and club).
Although this particular bonus was cancelled after some time, the name “Blackjack” still remained, and today it’s given to the combination of ace (A) and ten (10) regardless of the colour of the cards.
Why Is Blackjack Such a Common Game?
You might have been wondering why you often hear the name blackjack when people are discussing casino games. Why is it such a popular and common game? The answer is... The rules are simple! In addition, the opportunity to use easy tricks and strategies is also a great reason why blackjack is such a common casino game! It’s a game filled with intensity and THRILL! Because, to a certain extent, the result will always be in the hands of chance. The advantage that the opponent (in this case, the dealer) may have, is much smaller than in many other games of chance.
Blackjack is also a very fast-paced game since a round can last as little as a few seconds. You have the opportunity to bet whatever amount you want. There are casinos where the high-stakes games are played at VIP tables separate from other tables, but blackjack can usually be played at whatever stakes the player chooses at traditional tables. Blackjack is played with regular cards, better known as an English deck, with four or eight decks of 52 standard cards. In blackjack, the game is always played against the dealer, who is the person in charge of dealing the cards. Due to the large number of players that this game allows, there are several blackjack tables in casinos. However, if you want to practice your blackjack skills from home and not at a physical casino, there are many different online casinos where you can try your luck. Here at Casino Cupid, you'll find an overview of the best online casinos available, where you can play blackjack online or try your luck at any other game of your choice.
Let’s Talk About Blackjack Rules...
As for the rules, there’s nothing that’s really complicated when it comes to blackjack. On the contrary, the rules are simple and anyone can easily learn them. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by getting as close to the number 21 as possible with the value cards without exceeding that value!
How Do You Win at Blackjack?
It’s actually not that difficult to win at blackjack. Below, I have listed the most basic things that you need to achieve if you wish to win:
- Get a score of 21 (or get as close as possible)
- Beat the dealer’s hand
- Wait for the value of the dealer’s cards to exceed 21
- Don’t let the value of your own cards exceed 21
These four bullet points describe the aim of the game. Easy... Right? Now, before learning how to play the game, it’s important that you’re aware of the value of the cards. So, follow along as we walk through it together!
How Do You Get Points in Blackjack? Or Rather... What Are the Values of the Cards?
As mentioned previously, blackjack is played with standard 52-card decks. There can be up to eight decks in the game, but the number of decks involved varies from casino to casino. The value of the player’s and dealer’s hand is calculated according to the rules listed below:
- An ace (A) can be worth either 1 or 11 points (whatever number is most convenient for the player in the given situation)
- Cards with a face (J, Q, K) are worth 10 points
- The remaining cards (from 2 to 10) have their own numerical value (2 is worth 2, 3 is worth 3, and so on...)
The game has no wild cards, and you can only win by beating the dealer’s hand. This is done by adding more points than the dealer without going over the 21-limit!
Now that you know what each card is worth, you’re ready to learn how to play blackjack! Below, we have created a short description of how blackjack works. This description also highlights some additional rules, as well as different game dynamics:
- The game begins with the players making the bets they wish to make. Then, the dealer says a phrase such as – “no more” – in order to close the betting round. Then, he/she starts dealing cards from left to right. Each player is dealt two cards. These two cards will be openly dealt (lie face up) while the dealer will take only one card, also lying face up. The dealer will lay out his/her second card once all players at the table have finished their turn. You can also choose to play with a different game dynamic where the dealer deals both his/her cards from the beginning and one of them will be covered (face down). This card will be turned face up once all players have finished their turn.
- The player furthest to the left of the dealer must start the game by playing their hand. Based on the dealer’s card and the player’s own cards, the player must assess whether to continue in the game by adding more cards (hit) or keep what they have (stand). Each player has a single turn in which they can do the following:
- Ask for more cards in order to try to reach the value of 21 points, without exceeding it. The player can request as many cards as he/she wishes, without exceeding 21 points. In case the player goes over overboard, the dealer removes the cards and the player’s bet.
- Stand or decide to keep the hand you initially had without adding more cards.
- Double the bet that was made at the beginning. This is only possible if you’ve received the two initial cards. After having doubled the bet, the player can only ask for one more card. You can find casinos where doubling down is only allowed when the player’s starting hand totals 9, 10 or 11. However, this varies from casino to casino. It’s important to know that the bet can be doubled down “in exchange” for an additional card so that you can get a blackjack from the start. Some games also don’t allow doubling down if an “insurance bet” has been made or if a card has already been drawn. So, you must make sure that you’re aware of the options you have when it comes to doubling down before the game starts.
- Split hand. This can be done when the player’s starting cards are all of the same value or pairs. Example: a pair of aces (A-A) or a K and a 10. When the hand is split, each card is played as if they were separate hands. Therefore, the initial bet for each card must be matched. When the hand has been split and the bet has been called, the player can continue to draw cards for one hand and then the other, until they decide to end the turn for each of the hands.
- When a hand with a pair of aces (A-A) is split, the player can only ask for one card for each of his/her hands – and not as many as he/she wants. (This rule may also vary depending on the casino).
- If you get a blackjack after your hand has been split, it’s not considered a blackjack. Instead, it’s considered a “21-point hand”.
- Once all the players at the table have finished their turn, the dealer must play their remaining card and then make the decision to either keep the cards they have or ask for more. The dealer’s cards must not exceed 16 points in order for the dealer to be able to ask for more cards. If the dealer’s cards are worth 17 points or more, they can’t ask for any more cards.
- When the dealer ends his/her turn, the winners have to be decided. Each player must compare his/her hand with the dealer’s and whoever has 21 or is the closest to this value wins. The dealer must pay back the bets to the players who have won and collect the bets from the losers – from right to left.
- If you get a blackjack, the payout is 3:2. This means that you as a player would receive one and a half times (1.5) the amount that you had wagered on the game. Example: If you win against the dealer with a King (K) and an ace (A), also known as blackjack, and bet NZ$10, the dealer must pay you NZ$15. You will end up receiving the initial bet that you made, as well as half of the amount of the initial bet.
- If a winning hand consists of two or more cards and is anything other than a blackjack, the bet is paid 1:1. This means that you will receive the same amount of money that you had initially bet. Example: If you beat the dealer’s hand with K + Q = 20 points and have bet NZ$10, the dealer must pay you NZ$10.
- If your hand and the dealer’s hand are the same, you will get the bet back. This means that you don’t win or lose anything.
- If the dealer’s hand exceeds 21 points, the bet is paid 1:1. This means that you recover your bet. This means that you will receive the same value as what you had wagered.
- If the dealer’s starting card is an ace (A), the dealer must make an offer for you to bet “insurance”. This means that you are being offered whether you want to bet on the dealer’s next card being able to complete the blackjack. This bet isn’t mandatory. You can decide whether you want to take part in an insurance bet or not. To bet “insurance”, you must make a side bet that is at least half the amount of your initial bet. If you win on your insurance bet, the payout is 2:1. Which means that you receive double the amount that you had wagered. Example: If your initial bet is NZ$10, the insurance bet must be on at least NZ$5. If the insurance bet is won, the dealer must pay you NZ$10. This is only for the insurance bet. The initial bet (the game bet) must be paid additionally in case you win the game. The game will continue its regular course after all players have placed their insurance bets and received their money if they won.
In the event that the dealer doesn’t get a blackjack, the players who participated in the insurance bet will lose.
Like most games, blackjack has its own terms. It’s essential to know these terms if you want to both play and sound like a pro.
- You have a “Blackjack” or a “natural” if you have an ace (A) and a ten (10) or an ace (A) and a card worth ten points (J, Q, K). A hand that totals 21 (with more than two cards or with a split hand) is not called blackjack but is instead considered a “21-point hand”.
- You have a “soft hand” if one of the two cards that you receive is an ace (A). The ace (A) allows you to conveniently change its value (11 or 1). This flexibility is the reason for the name “soft hand”. This flexibility also means that by asking for more cards, there is less chance of exceeding 21 points – which is exactly what we want. A soft hand can become a hard hand when the value of the ace (A) can only be used as a 1 in order for you to not exceed 21 points.
- You have a “hard hand” if the value of your cards can’t be “modified” at your convenience (the value of A can’t be changed from 1 to 11). A hand is hard when it always has the possibility of exceeding 21 points by requesting another card. However, a hand of 3 and 4 is a hard hand, which in turn, has little chance of going over 21 points when drawing additional cards.
- It’s said that the hand is “pushed” when your hand is tied with the dealer. that is, you and the dealer have the same value on your hands.
- It’s called “hit” if you want more cards. People often use the phrase “hit me” when asking for more cards.
- It’s called “standing” if you don’t want more cards, but want to stay in the game.
- It’s called a “split” if you wish to split your hand and separate your two cards. “Split” can be done if you have a pair or two cards of the same value (a pair of two aces (A-A) or a King and a ten (K-10).
- It’s called “doubling down” if you want to double the bet that you initially made.
- It’s called “insurance betting” if you want to bet half the amount of your initial bet. As explained above, this bet aims to get back double the amount that was wagered if the dealer gets a blackjack hand. However, insurance betting is only a possibility if the dealer’s first open-faced card (face up) is an ace (A).
Interesting Strategies to Get Blackjack... And Improve Your Game!
Although blackjack is quite simple when it comes to its rules, it’s also possible to use different strategies depending on the hand that is being played. This can of course make the game seem a little more complicated. But fear not, Casino Cupid is here to help you! I will now present you with an overview of some strategies that you can implement in order to learn the game a little faster.
- Split your cards if you have a pair of eights (8) or a pair of aces (A).
- Don’t split your cards if you have a pair of fives (5) or tens (10).
- You can double down if your hand is ten (10) in total and the dealer has nine (9) or less.
How Many More Cards Do You Take?
Since the aim of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible (without going over), it’s very important to know when to take more cards and when to keep your hand, or “stand”, since the course of the game depends on it. Of course, it’s impossible to predict which card will come next in the dealer’s deck. Therefore, we have gathered a list of suggested guidelines/tips:
- If your hand is eleven (11) or less, you can ask for more cards
- If your hand is seventeen (17) or more, it isn’t recommended that you ask for more cards
- If your hand is a “soft” eighteen (18) and the dealer has less than six (6), you could ask for the dealer to “hit” you with another.
- If your hand is between twelve (12) and seven (7) or more, you can say “hit me”.
How to Play (Live) Blackjack Online
Playing blackjack online is just as easy as playing offline and there are no differences in the rules. It's common that you can choose to activate the video on the device from which you are playing, and there’s also a live chat that you can use. These options have been created so that you get the most realistic experience possible, even though you are playing online. So, if you like the games but don’t have the time to go to a physical casino, this could be a smart way to enjoy a realistic game of blackjack without having to go to a casino. Today, there is a huge amount of focus on the design of casino websites so that you are able to play comfortably on your mobile phone. Therefore, you don’t even need to use a computer or laptop to play blackjack online. At Casino Cupid, you will be presented with an overview of multiple different casinos, so that you can find the best online casino for you. Find the one that best fits your personal preferences!
The Best Online Casinos to Play Blackjack at... Are They Safe?
You may be asking yourself: “Is it really safe for me to play blackjack at an online casino?”. It’s actually a very common question that many people are wondering about. The answer is... YES, it’s completely safe to play at one of the online casinos that have been listed on the Casino Cupid page!
Casino Cupid only works with casinos that are known, trustworthy, user-friendly and safe to play at. Therefore, here at Casino Cupid, you can find the perfect online casino for you to start developing your skills and abilities – both in blackjack and any other game that you may find interesting!
Are There Any Bonuses in Blackjack?
When you first start playing blackjack, it’s a good idea to choose a casino that offers the possibility to play in a demo version. Then, when you feel a bit more comfortable with the game and its rules, you can use our comparison filters to find the casino that offers you the best opportunities. In some casinos, there is the possibility of earning bonuses in the future. It’s quite common for members of loyalty clubs to be able to use various bonuses and rewards. It’s definitely worth researching what loyalty subscriptions your selected casino has, as well as what you need to do in order to become a member.
Blackjack: An Honest Game
Blackjack is a game that’s very easy to play and the game has earned huge popularity. Therefore, it’s quite common that people to consider learning how to count cards, in order to ensure that they ALWAYS win. Although it may seem complex to count cards, there are people who have mastered it. However, it isn’t accepted at any type of casino. Whether it be online or land-based casinos. In online casinos, the card dealing software is programmed to always be random, which makes it impossible to count cards. In physical casinos, there are various methods and personnel in effect in order to detect when a person is counting cards. Although counting cards isn’t considered a crime, the casino has the right to remove players from the establishment if they are caught cheating. Furthermore, the casino can permanently veto their access and notify other casinos so that they can also prohibit access. Counting cards is considered a serious offence to the policy of the establishment and the rules of the game.
While blackjack variations are generally the same across casinos, there are different styles. When you play at a casino, it’s a good idea to be vigilant when it comes to adjusting your strategies. You should make sure that your strategy fits the style that you are playing.
Pontoon: It’s also known as a British version of blackjack. The interesting thing about Pontoon is that players place their bets after seeing one of their cards. This provides a bigger advantage compared to the regular type of Blackjack.
Spanish 21: It’s similar to blackjack but its rules are more flexible and it’s played with cards from the Spanish deck. Hence the name. One of the differences between Spanish 21 and blackjack (apart from the type of cards that is used) is the opportunity for players to split the cards more than once. Furthermore, Spanish 21 has a different betting system. In this particular variation of blackjack, there are additional options like “double down bailout” where the player can surrender after doubling the bet. In this case, the part that was doubled is recovered and the original bet is lost.
Chinese Blackjack: It’s also very similar to blackjack but you don’t have the option of splitting your cards. In addition, new rules have been added. An example of a new rule is that a pair of aces (A) automatically wins. Furthermore, the ace (A) is counted in different ways depending on the other cards that it’s accompanied by.
Blackjack Switch: It has the same rules as blackjack, but in this game, each player has two hands and has the choice of combining them in order to obtain the most convenient combination which is close to 21.
Elimination Blackjack: This is a poker-inspired blackjack tournament format. In this variation of the game, the player can be eliminated if he/she loses everything he/she had, if he/she has no more money to bet, or if he/she is the person with the least amount of chips left after several rounds have been played. The player who manages to eliminate all the others is the winner.
Royal Match: This is played the same way as regular blackjack but there is an opportunity to make an additional bet for certain combinations. An example could be if you end up with two cards of the same suit or a King (K) and a Queen (Q) of the same suit when the first two cards have been dealt.
In short, there are many different ways to play blackjack! Would you like to play but are unsure of where to start? Well... Look no further! Casino Cupid can help you find the best online casino that best fits your taste. That way, your experience will be second to none.