Blackjack rules: everything you need to know
Blackjack is one of the most popular online casino games available. Australian casinos usually have a top selection of Blackjack games from reputable software developers like NetEnt and Playtech.
This classic card game is played around the world and is one of the staple card game tables found at casino venues too. There is a range of different Blackjack variants that have been created together with the standard rules – the main aim, however, remains to create a card combination as close to the value 21 as possible.
If you want to learn how to play this exciting and fun online casino game, then read on. We have created an in-depth guide detailing everything from blackjack rules to viable playing strategies.
Understanding basic blackjack rules
Blackjack rules and aims
The rules of blackjack may seem complicated, but once you have learned the different phrases and playing options, you can pick it up quickly.
First and foremost, you must understand the basic aim:
Both the dealer and player must try to beat the other’s hand (in terms of card value), without exceeding the limit of 21
Simple enough? Of course, it is, but casino blackjack rules are more detailed than that. Aside from the basic aim, you must also understand the card values:
- Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10
- Aces are worth either 1 or 11
- All other cards are treated at their face value for standard blackjack rules
Aces represent an additional means of strategy as you can change the value of this card to potentially improve your hand.
For example, if your first card was 4, and your second card is Ace, your hand value could either be 5 (4 + Ace as 1), or 15 (4 + Ace as 11). In this scenario, you could stick at 15 and hope for the win, or hit at 5 and try for a better hand.
So, you understand the basic card values, and the aim of the game, below we have listed the terminology relating to Blackjack.
- Hit: To ask for another card (you can hit repeatedly until you stand, or bust).
- Stand: To hold your hand until the end of the turn (you cannot draw any more cards after this).
- Bust: If your card values exceed 21.
- Doubling: Your bet is doubled, and you get only one more card.
- Split: If you have two of the same card, you can split them into two hands.
At the start of a game, both the dealer and player are dealt with two cards. The player’s cards are usually face up, whilst the dealer has one face down, and one face up.
After this, the player then takes the first turn and chooses what to do – whether to hit, stand, double, or split (if possible). They continue until the conclusion of their hand – i.e. if they get 21, their hand is bust, or they choose to stand.
At this point, the dealer then reveals their hand and chooses what to do (unless the player busts at which point the round is automatically counted as a loss).
General blackjack dealer rules dictate that a dealer will automatically hit until their hand reaches 16. Once the dealer's hand is concluded, the round is finished, and any winnings are distributed. This concludes the basic blackjack rules.
How to play Blackjack effectively – Blackjack strategies
Now that you understand blackjack rules, let's look at a few basic strategies that can help improve your chances of winning:
Always double down on a hard 11
A hard 11 is any card combination totalling 11 – this is the strongest dealt hand in Blackjack. If you get this hand, it is always advisable to double down as your chances of winning are highest. The only exception is if the dealer’s first card is an Ace, in which instance you should just hit.
Refrain from taking an insurance bet
The insurance bet is affectionately known as a sucker bet. Insurance is offered when the dealer's face-up card is an Ace. You should not take the insurance as the payoff for this type of bet is typically 2 to 1, which is less than the possibility that the dealer has a 10.
Always split if your hand is a pair of aces or eights
Splitting a pair of aces is a no-brainer – you effectively double your chances of getting Blackjack. Having two hands, each with an ace offers much greater odds than having a single hand with two aces and a value of 2 or 12. The same applies to a pair of eights – 16 is one of the worst values you can have in Blackjack, therefore, two hands of 8 is preferable.