Blackjack is a card game that most of us are familiar with. If you've not played blackjack online or at a real-world casino, then you've probably played it with friends at a pub or even at home with your family. The game is very simple – you as the player compete with the dealer to score as close to 21 as you can without scoring more and going 'bust'.
Casino blackjack is played on a specially-designed table with markings on the cloth that mark the player positions, and also some house rules. The game is controlled by the dealer, who handles both the banking and the card distribution. The number of players playing against the house is determined by the number of marked spaces on the table, and a player may play in more than one position if there is space and he so chooses. In blackjack, the casino will more often than not use more than one deck of cards, and as many as eight. The more decks that are in play, the better it is for the house.
You will find blackjack available at most online casinos. We recommend one of the following casinos, where there is a decent supply of good blackjack online games to be found:
The basics of blackjack are relatively straightforward. The dealer deals one card face up to each participant, then one card face down to himself. Then the dealer deals another card face up to all players, including himself.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer starts the game. The player totals up the value of his cards. All cards are worth their face value aside from face cards, which are worth ten, and the ace, which can be worth one or eleven. The player must decide whether we wants another card to try and bring his total up to 21 without going over. The term for asking for further cards is “hit”. A player may ask for as many cards as he wants – one at a time – until he is either satisfied or goes over 21.
Many casinos allow you to double your bet if your two-card total is a certain value. The most common value where you are allowed to do this is eleven, but it can be anything from seven to eleven. This is known as “doubling down”. If you do double down, you can only receive one further card in addition to your original two.
You may also be able to split identical cards, such as a pair of aces. You then add the same bet for your initial hand as you do for your second hand, and you receive a new card for each newly separate hand. You then play both hands as normal. Casinos do not usually allow you to split a hand that has already been split.
If you are dealt an ace and a card worth ten, then this is called Blackjack and the casino will normally pay you one and a half times your bet in winnings. You only win though if the dealer does not get Blackjack as well, in which case this is known as a “push” and your bet is returned.
Once all the players have acted it is the dealer's turn. The dealer will deal themselves cards until they total 17 or more. As soon as the dealer reaches 17, they will stop – they will not try and beat you if they have 18 and you have 20. You have won, and you receive your winnings, which is the same value of your stake.
There are many different versions of blackjack online, each with a unique set of rules. Common variations include the number of decks used, what happens when there is a tie (or “push”) between the player and the dealer, and whether the dealer stops on “soft” 17 (i.e. an ace and other cards that total six, as opposed to a “hard” 17, which is an ace and other cards that total sixteen).
There are many strategies that will enable to play blackjack in the most profitable way possible. If you memorise the basic strategies, it will increase your chances of winning. You can also use various card-counting techniques, such as Hi/Lo and True Count.