Blackjack is a true gambling classic and one of the most popular casino games all over the world. It is also incredibly interesting, so no wonder it is featured in so many movies and even musical numbers. Toss in some good old prejudice on how the player can easily beat the system, and you’ve got yourself an incredible cocktail that guarantees a fun gaming experience.
In this article, dedicated to everyone who wants to try their luck in this insanely widespread game, we will tackle all the basics, as well as tips and strategies that can help you in pursuing your blackjack dream. Let’s learn how to play blackjack!
What is Blackjack?
We won’t bother you with definitions, but there are certain basics you need to know about this game. Blackjack is a card game, played with multiple decks of cards, at a casino table. Also known as 21, this casino classic is special because players don’t compete against each other, like in poker, but only against the house. The main goal of the game is to get as close as possible to 21 points without ever going over it.
How does the Blackjack Table Look Like?
The blackjack table is an essential part of every blackjack online India game. It has a simple layout with market positions. When playing online, especially RNG games, players can sometimes enjoy multiple hands at once, while at land-based casinos, customers each have only a single position. Other than the table, you will also notice the shoe, a special device that holds the cards after they have been shuffled. Only the dealer has access to it. Depending on the type of game and number of players, you will also need at least one deck of cards.
Blackjack Basics 101
Many will say how blackjack is incredibly easy and they wouldn’t be wrong. All you have to do is keep an eye on your cards and know how to add some numbers. However, playing blackjack for the first time isn’t necessarily easy or simple, so we created a shortlist that will introduce you to the flow of the game.
- Where to play blackjack online for real money – first register with a safe and reliable online casino, like those on our list. They also provide a tremendous variety of blackjack titles.
- Learn the rules – online blackjack rules are pretty much the same as for land-based blackjack, but some variants do have specific requirements and rules. Considering it is impossible to list them all here, click the game and check out the instructions before playing the first hand.
- Choose your position – in a land-based casino, this step is self-explanatory, but how to play blackjack at an online casino! More or less, it’s all the same. Once you launch the game, you will be able to choose your seat or position, despite sitting in your favourite armchair at home.
- Take a look at the cards – and not only yours, but everyone else’s. Blackjack cards are, unlike in poker, a public matter. Once the hand is done, the dealer will announce the winner (or you’ll be informed about the result by a computer algorithm).
Ok, now you know what a hand of blackjack looks like, but how to play blackjack for real? Before you even start, here is how many points, each card carries:
- Cards 2 to 10 – have their nominal value as written on the card, regardless of the colour
- Jack, Queen, and King – bring you 10 points each.
- Ace – can be worth one point or 11 points.
- Joker – not included in the game.
Considering blackjack is a game you play against the dealer, your main goal is to beat the house (represented by the dealer). You can do so in three ways:
- The dealer has more than 21 points.
- You are closer to 21 than the dealer is, for instance, you have 19 points, and the dealer 17.
- You get a blackjack (10-value card + ace) on your first two cards. This hand is also called Natural.
Of course, you will lose if the dealer scores 21 immediately, if you surpass 21 in points, and if you have a lower hand value than the house.
The dealer will always deal the cards clockwise: one card facing up for the player, and then one card for himself, facing down. So, if there are only you and the dealer at the table, you get a card and a dealer gets a card. If there are five punters at a table, they get the cards first, and then the dealer gets a card. Then, the dealer will provide everyone with the second card, again, players get a card facing up, while the dealer gets a card facing down.
At this point, the dealer will start with the person on their left (“first base”) and invite them to play their hand – hit (get an extra card), stand (stay as they are), surrender (give up), double down (ask for an additional card, while increasing the bet), split the bet (only if you are holding a pair). In the best-case scenario, you have a total of 21 points and you beat the dealer immediately, without having to play the entire round. If it happens that the dealer has a blackjack as well – you get your bet back and that’s it. It’s a tie.
After all, players are done with their bets, the dealer will reveal his second card. Considering they are playing in the name of the house, dealers have limited options. The dealer waits until the players have exercised all their options, then reveals his hidden card and hits until he has at least 17. There are no split bets or double downs for the man in charge.
How to Win Blackjack?
If you have seen this game in movies, you have probably noticed how everyone talks about one thing, and one thing only – counting cards. But how do you play blackjack by counting cards? Counting cards is a special technique that enables players to keep track of the cards dealt and used in the game. The fewer cards there are in the shoe, the easier it is for the punter to predict which card comes next, and thus, do a calculated move. Counting cards simply allows players to easily calculate all possible combinations, and do the right move when the time comes. Nowadays, card counting is not illegal, but keep in mind that most online casinos keep the right to deny you a withdrawal if they believe you have been counting cards.
Shuffle tracking is another, slightly more complicated strategy, very similar to counting cards. The main premise is that players follow certain sequences and clusters of cards during shuffling and mind-map different zones and clusters which enable them to predict which card comes next. Considering this technique has nothing to do with the cards on the table, casinos find it difficult to detect, but for this reason, it is also much more complicated than traditional card counting.
You can also try to use identifying concealed cards, but only if you are playing at a real casino venue. At online casinos, RNG games have animated cards that all look the same, without any distinctive signs of wear, while cards used in live casinos are simply too far away for you to see such details. All these strategies are legit, but they take months and months to master at online casinos that are also the best place to play blackjack online for real money.
And while the strategies we mentioned above are all nice and dandy, we also offer you some simple and easy tricks that can make your gambling results even better. Here is how to play blackjack in the best way possible.
- Be realistic – nothing is easier than convincing yourself you are good at blackjack, especially if you have seen a movie or two that features it. But let’s be real, you will probably have to play many hands before you can call yourself a pro. Don’t expect to go from rags to riches over night.
- Educate yourself – we get it, it is more fun to play than it is to read books about a certain game. But, blackjack is one of the very few games that can be learned from books.
- Track your cards – and everyone else’s. Even if you are not counting any cards, knowing how close or far everyone is from hitting that blackjack can definitely help you do the right move.
- Keep an eye on the dealer – in the end, you are playing only against the dealer. So, if your hand is 15 while the dealer has 6 points, stand. If you have 15 value, and your dealer has 19 – hit it. It’s all about knowing what card can have what effect on the game.
- Do the split – if allowed, always split your high cards. For instance, you get an ace and an 8, which is a total of 19. Considering you have two high cards, why not split them so you can make more money?
- Never play insurance – insurance increases the edge of the house – something you want to avoid at all costs.
- Avoid first base seat – if you are playing alone against the dealer, this advice probably won’t matter, but if there are other players as well, avoid the first base. Sitting further down allows you to think twice before making a final move.
- Start small – don’t come at the dealer as if you are the new sheriff in town. Rather start small, and cap your losing limits until you get a better idea of what the game is all about.