Apart from Chess, Blackjack is another popular strategic game. The main objective of the Blackjack game is to beat the dealer, contrary to several misconceptions about this card game. Blackjack is a simple casino game that requires a bit of luck and chance, and it accommodates more players than craps, roulette, and baccarat.
Do you want to combine your luck with strategy and become a pro in the Blackjack game? Keep reading;
How To Play Blackjack game – For Beginners
If it’s your first time playing the Blackjack game, here is a simple step that will make you a pro within a short period;
Study The Value Of The Cards.
If you are a beginner in Blackjack games, the first thing to do is learn the value of all the cards. Each card has the same value throughout a game season, meaning the value remains constant throughout the game. Your primary objective is to defeat the dealer and avoid busting with a 22 or more. Below are the values of the cards;
- Number cards: The number on the card signifies its value
- Face Cards: The value of this card is 10
- Ace: This card can be 1 or 11. The value of this card is generally 11, but if it puts you over 21, it will be counted as 1.
- For more clarity, the combination of an Ace and a ten card will be 21 in two cards which is standard in a blackjack game.
- The hand holding an Ace is called the soft hand.
Study Your Choices And The Next Move.
While playing the Blackjack game, you have two options when it’s your turn. You can decide to;
- Hit: This involves getting another card; you have the option to hit until you exceed 21.
- Stand: This involves keeping the cards you currently have without collecting more.
There are other moves you can make, they include;
You can only use this option when the dealer has an ace. If the dealer is truly holding an Ace, place a new bet that will pay at 2-1; using this option means you will lose your other bet that pays at 1-1, but you will the insurance leading to breaking even.
This involves doubling your bet and receiving one extra card. You can only make this move when your current two cards equal 8-11 or soft 12 to soft 19.
If you are dealt two cards each having the same value, you have the liberty to put out a second wager in your attempt to force the dealer to split the cards. This will make each card to become the first on two new hands. Typically, you will count Kings, Queens, Jacks, and Tens as 10. Your money doubles if your two hands win, you break even if only one hand wins, and you forfeit double your money if both hands lose.
Ensure you split the two hands by separating the cards and placing an extra bet. You can also make this move using face cards, and you can as well split a hand holding a king and a Jack. This is because they both have the same value. However, this doesn’t mean they are a pair, they aren’t. Now use a hand signal by putting up the same wager as your first, and show a “peace sign” to notify you want to split instead of double down.
The dealer will then create two hands from your first hand and give you a second card on each hand.
In most Casinos, you can decide to forfeit half the bet you made without playing. You can decide before playing or after knowing the dealer has a blackjack. Surrender also means you can forfeit your initial hand for half of your original bet if you are not satisfied with the initial hand.
[Hand signal: draw a line close to the felt at the back of your bet to make it look like you are dividing a slit with a knife. Most dealers confuse this as the “hit” signal, and to avoid this, say the word “surrender” very loud and signal it to the camera too.
While playing blackjack, you can only opt to surrender when the dealer has a 9-A, and the player owns 5-7 or 12-16. In addition, there is:
Early surrender involves giving up half of your bet before the dealer helps you check for blackjack.
To play blackjack and win, you need to be closer to 21 than the dealer while you avoid going over. Going over means you are busted, and if you arrive at a “tie,” it means it is a push, and neither the player nor the house comes out victorious. The main idea of blackjack is when your starting hand combines an Ace and 10 or a face card.
The dealer will check all the players until each decides to stand and play their hand which will determine where the game ends. Typically, each hand is different, and most players use the “copy the dealer hit” on 16 or below; however, experts of the same have branded this a “bad strategy.” “The never-bust strategy” is another bad strategy.
The most significant advantage of these blackjack games is that the player makes the first move. If you pass the 21 mark (busts), you lose money to the Casino. If the casino goes over 21 on the same hand, the player still loses money. It is the dealer who gets to play the hand last.
Apart from being among the most popular casino games there is, there’s good value to be gotten from playing blackjack in the Casino. However, you could only win money if you have the correct strategy up your sleeves.
How To Beat The Dealer
In a blackjack game, you can beat the dealer if;
- Play a hand value that is superior to the dealer’s hand value.
- A “dealer bust” circumstance results when the dealer draws a hand value that is higher than 21.
- Using your first two cards to make a hand with a value of 21 before the dealer plays.
How The Dealer Defeats You
- Your blackjack hand value is over 21
- Your dealer’s hand value is superior to yours when the round concludes
The Blackjack Table Setting
The blackjack game takes place on a semicircular table that can accommodate many players. The most common blackjack table can accommodate seven players or spots, while there are other tables that can accommodate five to twelve players or spots. The dealer stands behind the blackjack table while the blackjack players sit on the other side.
Blackjack games have several rules and different number of decks, such as single deck game, double-deck, and multi-deck games. A 6-deck or an 8-deck shoe is used to play the most popular blackjack games. The single-deck game and double-deck game are still available but not very common in all casinos; this is why the “shoe games” are the other of the day.
Below is a standard overview of a session of blackjack;
- Player buys chips
- The player places a wager
- The dealer deals cards to players
- The player decides how to play hand
- Dealer plays hand
Player Buys Chip
Having chips makes you qualified to play on a blackjack table. The majority of casinos hardly accept cash; instead, you swap your money to get casino chips. Make your way to the table and place your money on the felt; note that you can’t give your money to the dealers because they are not allowed to collect anything from the players or give anything to the players.
When you place your money on the felt, the dealer will approach and place it visibly on the table so that the camera can see it. At this point, the pit boss will then approach the table to conduct a final check and determine the exact quantity of the cash.
The dealer will give you chip denominations based on how much you paid, and you are now free to place your wager. Finally, the dealer will arrange your buy-in clearly on the table for the camera to see.
How To Place A Wager
You are required to make a wager in the betting circle at the start of each round. The betting circle is a square or casino logo near the felt where the player’s bet goes to. The player’s bet limits are indicated on a placard on the extreme right or left side of the table. Most tables require at least $5 per hand; however, the amount depends on the casino you visit and the blackjack rules in that area.
The Dealer Gives Cards To Players
The dealer hands one card with the face up to each player at the table and one card with the face down to themselves after you place your stake. The dealer will deal a card facing up for the players and another facing up for his/herself the second time. The dealer now has one card facing up and one card facing down, while each player now has two cards facing up.
The Player Decides How To Play Hand
The dealer mostly starts with the player at their left side by allowing the player to play their hand. Since you have two cards in front of you, to start playing, you need to add the value of the two cards and arrive at a hand value between 4 to 21. If you have an ace and a card with a value of 10 on your first two cards, then you have a blackjack.
Having a blackjack means you won’t need to play every round of the game, and you will get 3 to 2 times your wager provided that the dealer does not have a blackjack too.
If the dealer has blackjack too, you won’t win anything, and at the same time, your initial wager or initial bet will be intact; this scenario is called “THE PUSH”-where both the player and the dealer have blackjacks. If neither you nor the dealer has a blackjack, the dealer will give you time to decide how you play your hand by pointing to the other players one after the other.
When it’s time to play, opt for the best hand signal to help you make the right decisions. Ensure the hand signal is clear so the camera can see it; also, note that dealers won’t react to your verbal signals.
Dealer Plays Hand
At this stage, you may be worried because you have many options, and you don’t know which one is the best hand. The best choice depends on the dealer’s face-up card; the face-up card is one in which every player can view the value.
You choose next to the basic strategy depending on your card and the one the dealer shows you. Basic strategy is a special and mathematical method of playing for every player’s hand combination and dealer-up card. Using a basic strategy saves you from the stress of guesswork.
The basic strategy came into existence when a computer played a wild number of rounds of blackjack and determined which pattern was the best.
Player Hand Resolution
Using basic strategy and playing your hand using any of the best options discussed above will create the following result;
- You stood straight away, meaning they played you a card that the basic strategy has instructed you not to take any cards on.
- You achieved a hand, meaning you picked extra cards (split, hit, or double), got a hand total of 21 or below, and still avoided bursting.
- You busted or decided to give up your hand, in which case you forfeit your wager.
The dealer will proceed to play their hand if your hand did not bust, and you have not surrendered. First, the dealer will flip their face-down card, called the “hole card,” and then add their 2-card hand. If, after all the additions, the dealer has a hand value of 17 or more, they get to keep their current cards without collecting more (stand), but if their hand total is 16 or less, they take extra hit cards.
Only the player has several options on how to play their hands; the dealer does not. Also, the dealer does not have the option to split, surrender or double, as the way they play their hand is constant. There is an exception if the dealer has an ace and a six that adds up to be 17 (soft 17).
Note that the ace is flexible and can be counted as one too, which means a six and ace can be counted as 7, giving the dealer a better chance to get a hand value of more than 17; however, this depends on the casino you visit.
What do you expect after you have played your hand and the dealer has played theirs too?
- The dealer will bust and pay one time the wager (even money) to every hand still playing on the table.
- If your hand remains in play after the dealer makes a hand between 17 and 21, the winner is the player who has the highest hand. If the dealer has the better hand, you lose your bet; however, if you do, the dealer will pay you one times your bet. If you have the same hand value as the dealer, it is called a “push,” and you won’t lose your money; however, you won’t get any payment on your wager either.
That would signal the end of a round. The dealer will sweep the cards up, commencing another round.
Rare Situations In Blackjack
In some situations, the blackjack game will deviate from the abovementioned rules and regulations. They include;
Insurance Bet/Even Money
Whenever the dealer’s card that faces up is an ace, insurance bets are said to occur on the side. The dealer gives every player the insurance bet option before the game starts or everyone starts playing their hands; it may be the even money option if you have a blackjack. If the dealer has a ten as their face-down card(hole card), you can submit another wager worth half your initial wager or less, necessitating you getting paid 2 to 1.
Submitting a wager worth half your initial bet means you are betting on whether the dealer has a blackjack or not and you will be paid 2 to 1 if you win. Experts advice is that every basic strategy player should avoid insurance bets or even money as only a card counter has what it takes to win this kind of bet.
Once every player buys their insurance bets, the players proceed to play their hands while the dealer verifies their hole card using a secret viewing window on the table. If the dealer has a ten underneath, it means he has a blackjack and will win everyone’s initial wager but if he does not have a blackjack, he will take every insurance bet made while the game continues.
If you have a blackjack and the dealer reveals an ace, you will be dealt “even money”; however, if you get “even money” you wont have access to the 3 to 2 times payment on your blackjack. If you did not accept the even money and the dealer has a blackjack, it will result to a “push” situation and you wont be offered any money on your blackjack.
If you couldn’t get the even money and the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, then you’ll be paid the standard 3 to 2. This is why experts stress that you shold avoid even money at all cost if you are not a professional card counter.
Non-Insurable Dealer Blackjack
Another rare case is that the dealer can decide not to offer insurance or even money even though he has a blackjack. If the dealer has a ten-up, they are allowed to verify their hole card before any player palays their hand. Insurance bet is available only when the dealer has an ace underneath in which case he has a blackjack. This means he will take evey bet on the table except for any player that has a blackjack too.
When everyone has busted before the dealer gets to play their hand, the situation is known as a dead hand. After this, dealer turns the face-down card(hole card) up for the camera to see and then sweep up the cards to get them in the discard tray. A dead hand automatically ends the game because the dealer already defeats all the players.
Blackjack side bets became popular some 20 years agoand the insurance bets are the common ones, it gives the counter a better chance of winning Blackjack. However, there other types of side bets and they require you to place a bet immediately you place your primary wager. Your bet can be on whether you will get the same card as the dealer, getting a pair as your first two cards or the probability of a dealer bust.
Not all casinos offer these side bets because they are not among the normal blackjack procedures and most experts dont advice you to play them.
Single Deck Vs Multi Deck Games
All things being equal, for every deck you introduce to the game, the blackjack house edge gets higher. A six deck blackjack game will have a bigger house edge than a two deck game if all other factors remain the same. The issue with this is that most of the other conditions are not always equal, and a single deck game will not give players the opportunity to double after splitting. In contrast, a casino’s 8-deck game can accept that.
Doubling After Splitting(DAS)
DAS, or Double After Splitting, refers to the ability to double down on a hand that has just been split. The reason why most casinos choose to use this option is that it gives players more advantages.
The blackjack switch is a different kind of game as you will start with two hands of blackjack and later decide whether the to switch the top cards on each hand depending on if it will give you a better set of two blackjack hands.
Blackjack is a simple but strategic game, you need to get familier with the rules if you want to be a pro. The tips above we get you on your feet and make you one of the bests.