Blackjack is a classic table-top casino game loved by millions across the globe. Rumored to date back as far as the Roman period, this game has been a past time for centuries.
From kids trying to beat their friends with their first deck of cards to professional gamblers hitting the tables to try and win the big bucks in Sin City and on gambling websites, Blackjack is the perfect mix of chance and skill, that can get your heart thumping with excitement.
What Are the Basics?
21 is the lucky number in this game, the closer you get, the better. The dealer will hand out two face-up cards after bets have been placed while dealing themselves a hand of one face-up card and one face-down card.
After the cards have been dealt the fun begins, how far do you dare to push? Players, in turn, decide to either hit or stick depending on the sum of the cards already on the table. Remember the aim of the game is to add your card value up to 21, go over 21 and you are bust, out of here, down and out, finished.
Blackjack Vocabulary for Beginners
There is a variety of blackjack lingo, you need to come to grips with if you want to play for money, keep up with regulars, and play against the live dealers.
This vocabulary may vary slightly from site to site and dependent on what version of Blackjack you are playing – be it land-based, live or online blackjack. The most commonly used words are not overly complex and very easy to remember, to get you started.
- Hit – this means you are instructing the dealer to add another card to your hand. Adding to your current value.
- Stand – an important word to tell the dealer you do not want to receive another card. Otherwise known as Stick or Stay. This command should only be used when you think your hand value is strong enough or another card may push you into bust (over 21).
- Splitting Pairs – A great choice to try and double or triple your chances. If you have a matching pair of cards, then you can create and play multiple hands. Usually, the maximum is three unless otherwise stated, allowing you to bet across all hands.
- Double Down – Think you’re in for a sure win? Then it’s time to double down. This allows you to view your first hand and immediately double your bet. However, once you have done this, you will receive your third card and no matter the outcome you must stand. Some casinos do allow you to increase your bet afterward but only by 100%
- Insurance – Because the ace card is highly sought after and holds significant power if the dealer turns up an ace, the table moves forward, betting half of your original bet. Additionally, if the dealers down card is discovered to be a 10 paired with an ace, an automatic 21. Players will be paid out 2 to 1.
- Surrender – Avoid losing you entire bet if you get dealt a bad hand by surrendering. This way you will only lose half of your initial bet if you decide this round is not worth playing for.
Focusing on the classic game, Blackjack is extremely simple to learn and follow. Blackjack is usually played with between 1 to 8 decks of 52 cards, giving players and the dealer a huge number of card combination possibilities. Because of this, Blackjack players have high odds against the house.
Cards are counted by their number value, not by their suite, making Blackjack unique from Poker. The picture or face cards hold a value of 10, while the ace is the card you want to get your hands on because it has two possible values, either 1 or 11. An ace can be a game-changer, but if you choose to set your face value at 11, then it is classed as a soft hand.
Rules for the Dealer
The dealer has strict rules they must abide by, these rules again differ on the type of game variant you are playing, but generally, there are 3 main rules they must play to. This time 17 is your lucky number. Dealers must hit on a soft 17, stand on a hand of 17 or higher, and hit on a hand of 17 or lower.
Knowing the dealer rules before play can give you the ultimate advantage as you can try and predict what face-down card your dealer has out in play, this is by no means counting cards, just fun predictions.
What Are the Bets and Payouts?
The exact amount you will be paid out depends on two main points. How much you choose to bet and how you manage to beat the dealer. Cleverly across most online Blackjack tables, you will see the payout rules displayed on the table-top.
The general rules for payouts are if your cards are closer to 21 than the dealer’s your winning hand will be paid at 1 to 1, same as if the dealer busts and you keep your value under 21.
If you have a lucky streak and receive a Blackjack hand of an ace plus any face card, you will receive a very lovely 3 to 2 payout. The maximum and minimum bets will differ from site to site, table to table. More commonly between the amounts of $5 – $25 for minimum bets and as large as $10,000 for maximum bets on high-roller games.
Don’t Surrender Before You’ve Even Begun!
Initially, Blackjack may sound complicated with its, game-specific language. But really Blackjack is a straightforward, and thrilling game suitable for all budgets. There are numerous strategies and tips available online that will help you play even more seriously next time you sit down at the virtual Blackjack table.
For now, having a good general understanding of how the game works will set you up for success and confidence in front of the dealer.