The rules of blackjack are simple, the game is exciting and there is the opportunity to create your own strategy. For the experienced player who plays a mathematically perfect game and is able to count cards, the odds of winning are sometimes in that player's favor. However, even for the casual player playing a reasonably good game, the casino odds are smaller, making Black Jack one of the most attractive casino games for the player.

Blackjack Game Details

The standard 52-card pack is used for online blackjack , but most casinos use multiple decks at once. The six deck game (312 cards) is the most popular. Each participant tries to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over. It is up to each individual player whether an ace is worth 1 or 11. Face cards are 10 and every other card has the value on it. Before the game begins, each player places a bet, in chips, in the designated area. Minimum and maximum limits are set for wagering, which vary by casino.

Beginning Of The Game

The dealer shuffles the cards until they are mixed and matched. At the same time, the players place their bets. When all players have placed their bets, the dealer deals one card face up to each player in clockwise rotation and then one card face up to himself. A new round of cards is then dealt face up to each player, but the dealer takes the second card face down. So each player except the dealer gets two face up cards and the dealer gets one face up card and one face down card. In some games, the dealer receives his second card only after all players have been played out.

Getting a Blackjack Instantly

If a player's first two cards are an ace and a "ten-card" (a face card or 10), making a total of 21, it is a natural or "blackjack". If a player has a natural and the dealer does not, the dealer immediately pays that player one and a half times the amount of his bet. If the dealer has a natural, he immediately takes the stakes of all players who do not have a natural (but no additional amount). If the dealer and another player both have a "natural", that player's bet is a "push" (tie) and the player gets his chips back.

The Black Jack Game

The player on the left takes his turn first and must decide whether to “stand” (not ask for another card) or “hit” (ask for another card). Thus, a player can stay on the two cards originally dealt to him, or he can ask the dealer for additional cards, one at a time, until he decides to stay on the total (if it is 21 or less), or “bust” goes (if it is more than 21). In the latter case, the player loses and the dealer collects the bet placed. The dealer then turns to the next player to his left and serves him in the same way.

The combination of an ace with a card other than a ten is known as a "soft hand" because the player can count the ace as a 1 or 11 and draw cards or not. For example, with a “soft 17” (an ace and a 6), the total is 7 or 17.

Game Rules For The Dealer

When the dealer has served all players, the dealer's face down card is turned over. If the total is 17 or more, he must stand. If the total is 16 or less, he must draw a card. The dealer must continue to draw cards until the total is 17 or more, at which point the dealer must stand. If the dealer has an ace and the sum of his cards is 17 or more, the dealer must count the ace as 11 and stand. Thus, the dealer's decisions are fixed in all games, while the player always has the option of drawing one or more cards.

Split pairs

If a player's first two cards are of the same value, such as two jacks or two sixes, he may choose to treat them as two separate hands when it is his turn. The amount of the original bet then applies to one of the cards and an equal amount must be placed as a bet on the other card. The player plays the hand to his left first; only then is the hand played to his right. So the two hands are dealt separately and the dealer settles each one separately. With a pair of aces, the player is dealt one card for each ace and may not draw again. Also, if a ten card is dealt to one of these aces, the payout is equal to the bet (not one and a half to one, as in single hand blackjack).

Bet Double

Another option for the player is to double his bet when the original two dealt cards total 9, 10, or 11. When it is the player's turn, he places a bet equal to the original bet and the dealer deals the player only one card, which is placed face down and not turned over until the bets are paid at the end of the hand. With two fives, the player can split a pair, double down, or play the hand normally.

Choose insurance

If the dealer's up card is an ace, each of the players may place a side bet up to half the original bet that the dealer's up card is a ten card and therefore a blackjack for the house. Once all these bets have been placed, the dealer looks at the hole card. If it is a ten card, it is turned up and the players who placed the insurance bet win and are paid double their half-bet – a 2 to 1 payout. Of course, if there is blackjack for the dealer, the hand is over, and the players' main bets are cashed – unless a player also has blackjack, in which case it is a push.

How do you play blackjack? Frequently Asked Questions

Are the blackjack rules easy to learn?

Yes, blackjack is a very easy game to master.

Can I ask the dealer for help with the rules?

No, he is officially not allowed to give tips.

Can I also choose insurance if the dealer has a 10?

No, this is only possible if the dealer has an Ace.

Does the player choose how much the Ace is worth?

No, the system determines this automatically, based on what is best for the player.

When can I double my blackjack bet?

If your initial 2 cards have a value of 9, 10 or 11.

Written by: Jason Vink |

Jason is an online casino expert. He obtained a BA in Communications in Brussels before starting to work at internet gambling portals in Malta (EU) in 2012. He later joined and has since started sharing his expertise with our readers. Jason is able to assess and test an online casino on many different functionalities to ensure the enjoyment and safety. If you have questions for Jason, you can always send him an email: jason [at]