How to Play Blackjack
Players, it’s time to make your way to the Live Blackjack table.
21.co.uk online casino offers you innovative ways to play the classic card game that are as convenient as they are immersive. You may be familiar with the basic concept, but have you ever wondered how to play blackjack? Check out this detailed guide that’ll arm you with all of the knowledge you need to potentially beat the dealer and get the most out of your experience. Take your seats, gentlemen, and prepare for the ultimate online casino ride. Do you hold the right cards? It’s time to make your move.
The Aim of Blackjack
The aim of blackjack is quite straightforward - achieve a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s. Many people think that the objective is to achieve a hand that totals 21 (or as close as possible), but this is not entirely the case, as this does not always equal a win. The aim is to achieve a hand that is of higher value than the dealer’s, without exceeding 21.
When learning how to play blackjack, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with a few simple rules. All players will be dealt two cards each. The dealer will also receive two cards, one face up and the other face down so the value is not known to the dealer or the players.
All cards are to be taken at face value. Queen, King and Jack cards are valued at 10, whilst the Ace can be played as either 1 or 11. The Ace is always counted as 11, except in the situation that an 11 would take the total of your hand over 21. Suits do not have any meaning, you need only pay attention to the numbers. For example, if a player received a King and a 2, their hand would total 12.
So what happens when a hand exceeds 21? This is referred to as ‘busting.’ This applies to both the player and the dealer, and going ‘bust’ means you have lost the game. So, if the dealer was dealt a 10, an 8 and a 4, their hand would equal 22 and the dealer would therefore be busted.
Hard and Soft Hands
You may have heard the terms ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ hands in reference to blackjack. A hard hand is a hand that does not include an ace, or if it does, the ace is counted as 1. If an ace counts as 11, then you are holding a soft hand. If one of the first cards you are dealt is an ace, you should count this as an 11, as your hand will most likely convert to a hard hand as more cards are dealt.
Place Your Bet
Before any real action can begin, players must set their bets. To do this you must claim one of the seven seats at the blackjack table, unless you are using Evolution Gaming’s Bet Behind feature, which allows an unlimited number of players to place bets behind one of the seven seated players.
In land-based casinos, you’ll most likely find a betting box on the table in front of each player, which is where you will place your chips. Online casino games have the same box on screen, along with various chips which will be available at the start of each round. Select a chip to place a bet of that amount (you can select multiple chips at once). A chip’s colour signifies its value, but there is often a number printed on top of the chip as well. In Live Blackjack, the dealer will tell you when and how to place your bet.
Make Your Decision
Once you’ve settled into your seat and bets have been placed, it’s time to play. This is when the fun begins. You’ll be dealt two cards, as will all other players and the dealer. When all cards have been dealt, it’s time to make your decision. Will you stand, hit, double down or split? Let’s take a closer look at what all of this means before we proceed any further.
If you’re happy with the hand you’ve been dealt, you should choose to stand. This means you won't be dealt any further cards.
If you choose to hit, you’ll be dealt another card, increasing the value of your hand. Be careful you don’t bust.
This is where blackjack starts to get a little more interesting. The double down option means you are able to double your initial bet in return for receiving one draw card. This means you’ll go forward with a three card hand, and if you win, you’ll receive double the payout.
If you have two cards that make a pair, for example two sixes or two aces, you can opt to split them. However, when you do this, you must make another bet equal to your original wager. When you split a pair, you will go forward with each card as a separate hand. You can draw as many cards as you want to each hand, except sometimes dealers will only draw one card to a split ace. When playing with a split pair, you are required to play out the split hand on your right first. This must be played to completion before the other can come into play.
Various blackjack games offer insurance. Insurance is only available when the dealer’s visible card is an ace. In this scenario, you’ll be asked if you’d like to make this side bet. The insurance side bet is optional and and separate from your initial bet, and places money on the outcome of that the dealer’s down facing card is a ten or a picture card (making a 21). The majority of games will allow you to bet up to half of your original wager. This means that if your bet pays off, you’ll win at 2 to 1 odds. If the dealer’s concealed card is not a 10 or a picture card, your insurance side bet will be lost and the game will continue.
Got it? There are a variety of options available to you during Live Blackjack that can enhance gameplay and potentially increase your wins.
The Dealer Reveals Their Hand
When all players have made their move, it’s the dealer’s turn. The dealer will reveal the value of their second card. If the dealer’s hand totals 16 or less they must Hit. If they hold a hand with a value of 17 to 21 they must Stand. Should a Hit result in the dealer’s hand exceeding 21, the dealer is bust.
So Who Wins?
To win a game your hand must total higher than the dealer’s, or total 21 or less when the dealer busts. All players who achieve a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s will win, with bets being cashed out at the end of each round. If your own hand exceeds 21 or the dealer’s hand is closer to 21 than yours is, the dealer wins.
It’s Time to Play Blackjack
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