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Blackjack guide

Blackjack – the king of casino card games and one of the most universally loved games originating from the US. This game became super-famous and popular not only because of being featured in hundreds of films and books but also because of the “myth” that it’s The Best Game to play if you want to beat the house.

In this article we will look at the rules, terms and strategies, so you can be sure that you will be armed with all the necessary information to play and win blackjack games in online casinos.


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Basic rules of Blackjack

In the Las Vegas casinos, Blackjack is mostly known as the game of 21, which is what the game is all about. The objective of Blackjack game is to get as close to 21 without surpassing it while beating the dealer. In this case, it’s important to remember that beating the dealer is, in reality, more important so if you can do it with let’s say 13 it’s good enough as long as the dealer busts.

The card values in Blackjack are very easy to understand. Any cards with numbers from 2 to 10 have their face value. Jacks, Queens, and Kings all have a value of ten while Aces can be valued at 1 or 11 points depending on what is more beneficial to your combination.

 

Many people mistakenly tend to think that Blackjack is any number of cards that make up a total of 21, but in reality, there is a term called "natural 21" when 21 is a sum of the first 2 cards dealt to you. In order for this to happen, you will have to get a combination of an Ace and a 10-value card as your first two cards.


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Each Blackjack round begins with every player making a bet after which the dealer gives out two cards to each player. The dealer himself also gets two cards and has to constantly display one of them. You as a player can choose if you want to have another card to get closer to 21 or not. The player with the hand closer to 21 is the winner. Usually, there can be anywhere from 1 to 7 players at the table but in the end, you are ultimately always just playing against the dealer, which is a very important rule to remember.

Most blackjack games nowadays use four, six, or eight decks of cards, which makes the process very hard for the card-counters. After cards are shuffled, they will be placed in a container called a shoe, from which the dealer takes out one card at a time.

 

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Useful Blackjack terms

Hit

The action of hitting is basically your decision to take another card or cards from the shoe in the hope to get closer to 21.

Stand

If you decide not to get any more cards, you stand assuming that your current card total is better than the dealer’s count.

Double down

After you've seen your first two cards and you think that your combination is a winner and will beat the dealer you can decide to double down effectively increasing your bet by 2 times. This can be potentially quite profitable, but be careful and make the right calculations.

Split

If both cards that you receive first have the same value, it might be a good idea split them. By doing that, you need to make a second bet on an additional card set so each one of your first cards will be the first card in a new pair. You will then play both pairs separately.

Surrender

If you have an opposite situation of doubling down and feel that your cards are worse than the dealers combination, you may choose to surrender. That will mean that you will receive half of your bet back and forfeit the game. It is a smart idea when you have a pair that totals up to 16 and you also see that the dealer shows you a 10 or an Ace. Experts do not recommend surrendering too often, as it will in effect make you lose your money.

Insurance

Taking insurance essentially means that you place another additional bet on the fact that the dealer will have a blackjack. You can only do that if the dealer has a showing card, which is Ace. This side insurance bet is independent from your original bet and the idea behind it is to even out the money that you lose/win. Again we do not recommend taking the insurance too often as the dealer only supposed to have 21 less than 1/3 of the time when his showing card is an Ace.

Bust

You bust and lose when you go over 21. The dealer can bust as well.

Win/Lose

If you didn’t bust, then you will win if your combination is higher than dealer’s one. You lose your hand and your bet if dealer’s hand is higher than yours and he didn’t bust.

Push

Push is the same as a tie and both you and the dealer have the same total and neither of you busted.

Natural

A natural or a blackjack as we mentioned before is a combination of 2 cards that totals up to 21. It can only be Ace plus 10 (or any card that has a value of 10 such as Jacks, Queens and Kings). Remember that if you have 21, which is a combination of 3 or more cards it is not a natural or blackjack. If you have 21 consisting of 3 or more cards and the dealer has a natural 2 cards blackjack he will win.


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Blackjack strategy

There are books of 100s of pages written on blackjack strategy and it would be absolutely impossible to include it all in one short article. What we suggest doing is studying the chart below that will tell you the best action depending on your current hand and the ‘upcard’ of the dealer. Starting up with these rules will already make you blackjack game much better.

Blackjack strategy chart

 

You can certainly use it when playing blackjack online but most land-based casinos allow it too as long as you don’t slow down the game by looking at it. So you can print it out and take with you to the casino. This table has been around for so long that casinos don’t mind players using it as it’s no secret anymore.


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Blackjack tips

Blackjack pays 3 to 2

If you see this sign at the casino, that will mean that you as a player will receive £3 for every £2 you wager. This is very standard and gives the house slightly raised odds.

Blackjack pays 6 to 5

This sign tell you that you better get away from this kind of casino. 6 to 5 has a lower ratio than 3 to 2, so this means that the casino is hunting for rookies and tries to confuse them with numbers. 6 to 5 is a sure sign that the house has better odds and you are more likely to lose.

Blackjack pays 2 to 1

Amazing news! But unfortunately, this doesn’t happen that often anymore. This type of blackjack gives players better odds than the house; that’s why most casinos avoid it. But if you’re lucky enough to see it, jump on the opportunity straight away.

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Where to play blackjack online

There are hundreds, if not thousands of casinos both online and land-based, where you can play blackjack. When choosing an online casino for your next blackjack game, remember that it’s important to check that casino is reliable, trustworthy and secure. Here, at casinohawks.com, we go through a huge checklist to ensure that we only recommend the best casinos that are worth betting your money at.

But what’s even more important for us – and for you! – is that the casino is a generous one, offering you a nice welcome bonus and some free spins that you can use for slot games when you’re not playing Blackjack and other card table games.

Check the list below to see which casinos offer the biggest bonuses and most free spins to our readers and make sure you take advantage of one or more of these offers.


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