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A Guide to Blackjack Rules and Strategy

Blackjack is one of the world's most popular casino games. It's played in casinos across the world but online gamblers can get their fix 24/7.

From European blackjack to Blackjack Switch and Pontoon, Internet gambling nuts have a huge choice for real-money stakes.

The best part about blackjack is it is simple to learn, and the house edge is usually quite small. Of course, by playing optimum strategy you can reduce the house advantage even further.

This page is for you if:
  • You're keen to learn the basics of blackjack
  • You want to learn some simple strategy
  • You're curious about card-counting
  • You want to find some great blackjack sites

Blackjack Rules: Getting Started

The basic aim of blackjack is simple: you have to hit a total of 21 (or as close to) with your combined card numbers.

If the combined number of your cards are higher than 21, then you are "bust". In blackjack, you play against the dealer. The key to winning blackjack is by sticking to the basic strategy, and taking advantage of the opportunity to double down and split pairs.

In blackjack each player has four options and they are Standing, Hitting, Splitting and Doubling down. Each player receives two cards, with the dealer also receiving two (one of which will be visible to all players).

If the player is satisfied with his two-card hand, he will stand (take no further cards). Hitting is when a player draws another card, dealt face up. The player can continue to draw cards until he is happy with his count. If he goes over, he busts and loses his bet.

Top Blackjack Moves: The Split

Blackjack - Rules And Strategy

If a player is dealt two cards of the same rank, he is able to "split" his cards in some blackjack variants. This effectively makes each card the first card of two separate hands. Players place an equal bet on each hand and continue as normal.

There are some rules involved with splitting pairs:

  • Should the second card in the split hand form a pair, the player can split again
  • If a player splits a pair of Aces, he is not allowed to draw a third card to either hand.
  • If the player receives a third Ace, he may split again.
  • If a player scores a blackjack with a split pair, he wins immediately, but is paid only at 1-1 and not 3-2.

Top Blackjack Moves: The Double Down

If a player thinks he has a good chance of winning with his two starting cards, he can "double down". This means he places a second bet on his hand in return for just one more card.

As you need to get 20 or 21, doubling down on 11 is a smart move. With so many 10-value cards in the decks the chances of you hitting that magic 10 or picture card are strong.

The Dealer's Play

If the dealer does not have a blackjack (an ace and a picture card, making 21), his card remains face down and play continues.

A dealer blackjack will result in all players losing their bets. However, some Internet variants will result in a "push" (a tie where the player's bet is returned to them).

Understanding Basic Blackjack Strategy

Grasping the basic Blackjack strategy is not difficult, but it will require a small amount of effort on your part.

We understand you are eager to play Blackjack for real cash, so for the sake of this article, we will discuss the simplest Blackjack strategy which is used by players from all over the world.

There are further strategies you can learn to perfect your skill, or use when playing variations of the original game.

If you want to win at Blackjack online, you need to learn the basic strategy, and this chart will lead the way. It will help you to understand the basics of when to hit, stand, double down or split pairs. You will notice the player hand values are listed on the left axis, while the dealers are placed at the top. Furthermore, this chart is organized into a hard hand strategy, soft hand strategy and splitting pairs. If you don’t know what this means, please refer to the Rules of Blackjack section.

Blackjack - Card Counting Strategy

From looking at this chart, you may notice there are several hands with straightforward moves you can take. For example, you should always split on double Aces. When your hand totals 5-8 you should always hit, no matter what the dealer’s card shows.

Card Counting as a Strategy

Some people think that counting cards in Blackjack is illegal, and while casinos do not like players to do so, it is perfectly legal. Counting cards means the player keeps count of certain cards, which are passed on through the deck. With this count, and the basic strategy mentioned above, the player will get an idea of which cards will appear in the following hands. This information tells the player when to bet big, and when to bet small.

We can’t say we recommend card counting; it can get you banned from the top casino sites, which you don’t want to happen. Realistically, if you can master the fundamentals of the game, you can avoid the idea of counting cards all together.

Take Note of Blackjack Odds

Before you start to play Blackjack for real money online, there are a few favorable odds to be aware of.

Number of decks- In Blackjack, the number of decks used in the game will be between 1 and 8. The lower the number of decks used in the shoe, the better. When a game uses 6 decks, the house edge is lowered by .26%.

Soft 17 – At an online casino, Blackjack often requires dealers to hit on a soft 17. In games which the dealer stands on a soft 17, the house edge is lowered by 0.21%.

Double Down – When playing Blackjack, Internet casinos generally allow doubling down on any 2 cards, but some restrict certain hands that can be doubled. In this case, it will be noted as D8 or D9. If you see this, doubling is only allowed on hands 8-11 or 9-11. The house edge between D8 or D9 and Double any two cards is approximately 0.11%.

Double After Split – Most gambling operators will allow Blackjack players to double split hands. If they do not allow this, the house edge increases by 0.14%.

There are additional odds that can decrease the house edge and increase your chances of winning real cash on Blackjack. If you’re keen on learning these, keep checking back on this website for specifics. We are always adding new stuff.

Beating Blackjack

When you’re ready to play Blackjack for real money, the most important things to know are:

  • When to split pairs;
  • When to double down;
  • When to take a hit; and
  • That buying insurance is not recommended.

With a basic understanding of the rules of the game, the odds, and by learning the Blackjack strategy, you can lower the house edge by up to .50% or more. Perfecting your Blackjack strategy will take some time. So start with these fundamentals to build a solid foundation.

Our Casino Sites Online Have Great Games

If you want to put your newly learned Blackjack strategy to the test check out our top recommendations for online Blackjack casinos. Remember, at these leading websites you can always try a few practice rounds before you play Blackjack for real cash.