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Classic blackjack version
What is classic blackjack?
As the most original version of blackjack, classic blackjack tables can typically be found at almost all casinos, whether that's a land-based or online casino. With this being the classic version, the game rules are fairly simple to learn when compared to other card games.
You can also play blackjack via online virtual games or a live dealer blackjack table.
How to play classic blackjack
In blackjack, players aim to build a hand of cards that equals the value of 21 or is as close to that number as possible. Exceeding the value of 21 will cause the player to go "bust", resulting in a loss.
When it comes to the value of each card, number cards carry the value that is visible on the card. Picture cards such as Queens and Kings hold a value of 10, whereas Aces have the option to be valued at 1 or 11, depending on which will serve the player's hand better.
To begin the game, both the player and the dealer will receive two cards with the player receiving both of their cards face-up and the dealer collecting one face-up and the other face-down. Players are competing against the dealer's hand here rather than other players.
Once you have your initial hand of two cards, you can then choose to "hit" or "stand". Hitting will have the dealer draw another card for the player. Choosing to "stand" will mean that the player accepts the hand at its current value and they do not require any further cards for the round.
After each player has decided to "stand", the dealer's hand will be revealed. If the player has hit blackjack they will win. If not, the player will require a hand that is valued closer to 21 than the dealer's hand.
It is also worth noting that dealers will typically be required to stand when landing a soft 17 or hit when landing a soft 16 as part of the blackjack rules.
Classic blackjack betting options
Aside from the mandatory initial bet, blackjack does come with a range of optional bets that can be placed throughout the game.
Some of the options that could be available include:
Perfect Pairs - Here, players can bet on the first two cards that are dealt, being the same kind.
Insurance bet - Blackjack insurance bets become available when the dealer's face-up card shows an ace. Insurance will cost half of the initial bet but it will mean that if the dealer does hit 21 and the player's hand loses, the bet will payout at 2:1.
21+3 - Being placed on the player's two cards and the dealer's face-up card. The bet will cover the following outcomes; Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush and Straight Flush.
Over or Under 13 - For an under bet, the player is predicting that the first two cards will total less than 13. An over bet is placed on the outcome that the cards will total a higher value than 13.
With the initial bet, blackjack pays 3:2 for any successful hands that result in a win.
Summary of classic blackjack
Classic blackjack is one of the simpler card games for new players to learn, which is one of the reasons why this is the most popular form of blackjack, alongside the optional side bets that are available.
As the player is only competing against the dealer's hand, the game of classic blackjack can be played without needing other players. There are some versions that offer multiplayer varieties but the traditional game will only require the player and dealer.
You might notice in some games, the option to "Surrender". Selecting this option will allow players to withdraw from the game at the cost of half their initial bet. When landing a poor hand or noticing the strength of a dealer's hand, players will sometimes opt to surrender.
Classic Blackjack FAQs
Which version of blackjack is best?
There are several blackjack variants to choose from but the one you decide to go for ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Classic blackjack (Also known as European or American blackjack) is the most popular game generally.
Which strategies exist for classic blackjack?
There is no guaranteed strategy to ensure you a win but many players do follow strategies to understand when it is best to "hit", and when is best to "stand".
Some strategies have also been created to inform players on when they should split hands or double down. Many of these strategies aim to minimise the impact of the house edge with specific plays having a potentially higher chance of winning based on previous statistics.
What does it mean to split your hand?
When you have two cards in your hand that are the same, you have the choice to split the hand into two separate hands.
For example, if you had a pair of Aces in your hand, you could split the hand into two. This would mean that you will need to double your initial stake as you would technically be playing blackjack with two hands.
What does double down mean in classic blackjack?
After receiving your initial two-card hand, you can choose to double down on your bet by placing another bet that is equal value to your initial bet.
Doubling down must also be done before the dealer draws another card.
What is meant by hard and soft hands in classic blackjack?
If you have a soft hand, it is thought that your chances of going bust are relatively low. On the other hand, having a hard hand would mean that you are more likely to go bust.
For example, if you have drawn a hand with an ace that counts as the number zero, you are said to have a hard hand.
How many decks are used in classic blackjack?
Typically, a standard single deck of 52 cards is used to play classic blackjack. However, there are some variations of the game's rules where eight decks are shuffled.