How to Play Blackjack Online – A Simple Guide to the Rules
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games. Whilst games such as slots rely on chance and require little skill, with blackjack, the decisions you make affect the outcome of the game. As such, it provides an immersive and engaging playing experience. If you fancy playing blackjack but are unsure of what is involved, you will find everything you need to get you started on this page.
The Basics of Blackjack
The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer. This can be done by getting 21 points with your first 2 cards (a natural or blackjack). Alternatively, by drawing cards that reach a higher total value than the dealer, without exceeding 21. There are different payouts for winning with various hands. The value of the cards in blackjack is quite straightforward. Cards 2 – 10 are equal to their numerical value. All face cards (jack, queen and king) are worth 10 points. An ace can be counted as either 1 or 11. The value of the ace always works in the favour of the player.
Instructions of How to Play
In order to play the game online, you must first place a bet, then click deal for the round to start. You will be dealt 2 cards initially. The dealer also gets 2 cards, with one of the cards dealt face up and the other face down (the hole card). You will then be faced with a selection of decisions as to how to play your hand.
The Player’s Decision – Hit or Stand
Once the cards have been dealt, it is the player’s turn to take action. If you have an ace and a 10 card, you have blackjack, the strongest possible hand. If your cards equal any other amount, you must decide what action to take. You can hit, meaning an additional card will be dealt to your hand. You can hit as many times as you like, provided you do not exceed 21. There are a couple of additional actions which players can take, and we will delve into these later. Once you are satisfied with your hand, you can stand, and once all players have completed their turn, play passes to the dealer.
The Dealer’s Turn
The dealer will start by turning over their hole card to reveal its value. If the dealer has blackjack, the round ends. All players lose unless they also have a natural blackjack. If the dealer’s cards do not total 21, they too must make a set of decisions depending on the cards they have. The dealer follows a specific set of rules regarding whether they should hit or stand. In most cases, if the dealer’s hand totals less than 17, they must hit. Once they get 17 or more, they must stand.
If the dealer is bust (i.e. their hand exceeds 21), all other remaining players win. If the dealer’s hand totals between 17 and 21, it is compared to the other players’ hands. Players with a higher point total win a payout of 1:1, so if you bet £10, you would win £10 and also get your £10 stake back. Players with a lower score than the dealer lose their bet. In the case that the dealer and the player have the same score, the result is a push. This means the player gets back their original bet. When the dealer has blackjack, only players who also have blackjack will get a payout. This result is paid at 1:1, rather than 3:2 when the player only has blackjack. It is worth noting that if a player’s hand has a total of 21 from 3 or more cards, this does not beat a dealer blackjack.
Additional Player Decisions
As mentioned earlier, in addition to the standard moves of hit or stand, there are a few more actions which are available to players, depending on the cards dealt. These can add an extra level of excitement to your gameplay.
If the dealer’s up card is an ace, you will be offered the option of placing an insurance bet. This is to insure you in the case that the hole card is a 10 and the dealer has blackjack. The insurance bet is half of your original bet.
If the dealer does not have blackjack, your insurance bet is lost and the game continues as usual. However, if the dealer does have blackjack, your side bet will be paid out at 2:1. Given that you will lose your starting bet, the insurance payout means that you will break even.
If the first 2 cards you are dealt have an equal value, you have the option to split your pair. You will need to place an additional bet to the same value of your first. You then continue to play each hand independently of one another. One more card will be dealt to each hand, and you can opt to hit or stand. Some casinos will allow you to split again if you end up with another pair in a hand.
In most cases, if you split a pair of aces, you will only be permitted to draw one more card per hand. If you get an ace and a 10 from a split hand, this is counted as 21 rather than blackjack. As such, the payout for winning with this hand is 1:1 rather than 3:2.
After your first 2 cards have been dealt, you have the option to double down. By clicking double, you will place an additional bet equal to your original bet. You are then dealt just 1 more card. You will not have the option to hit again after this card is dealt. If you win the game with this hand, you will receive the standard payout of 1:1.
Whilst you can double down on any hand in most blackjack games, in some variants, you will only be allowed to double down if your cards total a certain value. This could be a total of 8, 9, 10 or 11. You will also find that some casinos will allow players to double down on split hands.
In some variants of blackjack, you will have the option to surrender. If you are not dealt a good starting hand, you can opt to stop playing. You will get half of your wager back if you take this action. Some casinos will not offer the option to surrender if the dealer has blackjack.
Alternative Rules and Variants
We have covered the basics of the game of 21 in this article and you should now know everything you need to start playing classic blackjack. For the most authentic real casino experience, you should try live blackjack. Here, you play against a real dealer and other players will be seated at the table. You can also bet behind another player at the table, which is a great way to build your skills and understanding of blackjack strategy.
Of course, at online casinos you will find a rich selection of blackjack variants. Some of these feature innovative twists on the classic rules. Others feature interesting side bets. Once you have played the traditional game and have a better understanding of what is involved, you can try your hand at quirky variants such as Blackjack Switch and Double Attack Blackjack.