If you’re looking to try your hand at one of the most popular casino games in the world, blackjack is a great choice. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about blackjack, from what the game is to how to play it and some of the variations available. We’ll also recommend a few of our favorite online blackjack sites for players looking for a great gaming experience.
What are the rules of blackjack?
The basic rules of blackjack are simple. The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over, and you compete against the dealer. All players are dealt two cards, face up. The dealer gets one card face up and one card face down (the “hole” card). Cards two through ten are worth their numerical value, while aces can be worth either one or eleven points. Jacks, queens and kings are each worth ten points.
If your hand totals more than 21, you “bust” and automatically lose the hand. If the dealer busts, all remaining players win the hand. If neither player nor dealer has busted, whoever has the hand closest to 21 wins the pot.
When it’s your turn to be the dealer, you’ll put out a small bet – the “ante” – and each player must match it. The size of the ante bet determines how much is wagered on each hand. Once all players have anted up, each is dealt two cards face down. You’ll look at your cards, but keep them hidden from the other players. The player to your left starts by looking at his or her cards and deciding whether to stay in the game (that is, continue betting) or fold (drop out of the hand). If that player stays in, he or she puts a wager on the table; if not, that player simply drops out of the hand and forfeits his or her ante bet.
The player to the left of the stay/fold decision-maker then has the same choice. This continues around the table until all but one player have either anted up or folded. The final player can either match the current bet on the table what’s known as “calling” or raise it, which is known as “betting.” If you’re playing with a group of friends, there’s usually an informal understanding about how much can be bet on each hand. In a casino, however, there will be posted limits on how much can be wagered per hand. When all players have called or bet, each remaining player then reveals his or her hand.
The best possible hand in blackjack is an initial deal of an ace with any ten-point card. This is called “blackjack” or a “natural 21,” and the player holding this automatically wins unless tied with another player holding blackjack. If no one has blackjack, the person with the next highest hand total wins. Winning hands are paid out at odds that return the most money to the player over time assuming he or she continues playing long enough to overcome what’s known as the house edge. The exception to this rule is what’s known as a “push.” A push occurs when both the dealer and player have hands of equal value at the end of a round. In this case, no money changes hands and everyone simply gets their original bet back.
When all players have had their turn, the dealer then reveals his or her down card and plays according to set blackjack rules. If the dealer has blackjack, all players not holding blackjack automatically lose. If the dealer does not have blackjack, any player with a hand value higher than the dealers win while anyone with a lower hand value loses. Players with equal hand values “push” and simply get their original bet back.
Blackjack can be played with one deck of cards or multiple decks of cards. The number of decks used will usually affect what’s known as the house edge which is basically how much of an advantage over time the casino or house will have in any given game.
What are the different versions of blackjack?
The most common blackjack games you’ll find online are:
- American Blackjack is the standard blackjack game you’ll find at most online casinos. It’s played with six decks of cards and the dealer stands on all 17s.
- European Blackjack is similar to American blackjack except it’s played with two decks of cards and the dealer only hits on a soft 17 (i.e. an Ace and a six).
- Perfect Pairs Blackjack is a blackjack side bet that pays out if you’re dealt two cards of the same value. The odds and payouts vary depending on what cards are dealt.
You can also find variations of blackjack like Switch, Spanish 21, Pontoon and Super Fun 21 which have their own set of rules.
What is the best online blackjack site?
If you want to play for real money, then we recommend playing at an online casino that offers a good selection of blackjack games and has a good reputation.
If you’re just looking to play for fun, then there are plenty of free blackjack sites where you can play without risking any of your own money. Whatever your preference, make sure to do your research and find the best site for you.
Once you feel confident in your skills, put them to the test by playing for real money at one of our recommended online casinos:
- 888casino is one of the most popular online casinos with a large selection of blackjack games.
- Betway casino offers a wide range of blackjack games, including live dealer options.
- Mr Green casino is another great option for playing blackjack online, with a wide range of games to choose from.
- Royal Panda casino is a great choice for blackjack fans, with a wide selection of games on offer.
- Parimatch casino offers a great selection of blackjack games, as well as a live dealer option.
- LeoVegas casino opens up a whole new world of blackjack gaming, with a wide range of games to choose from.
When it comes to blackjack, strategy is key. Whether you’re playing for fun or for real money, knowing when to hit, stand, split or double down can make all the difference.
We hope this short guide has been helpful and wish you the best of luck at the tables!