In blackjack, a player and the dealer play against each other. The goal of the game is to reach the sum of 21 or be closer to the sum 21 than the dealer. But you cannot go over 21, otherwise you “bust” and lose the game.
Cards value in blackjack
- Cards from 2 to 9 have their face value
- Cards from 10 to K are worth 10
- Ace has a value of 11 or 1
Blackjack Rules and the Game Round
At the beginning of each game, each player and the dealer gets two cards. Player cards are dealt normally, ie face-up. Meanwhile, you see only one card face up in front of the dealer. The second card is face down and is called a hole card.
For players, the best combination is blackjack (natural – an ace and ten value card) If a player has this combination, he immediately wins, that is, if the dealer does not have a blackjack too. In this case, this is a draw.
Once all cards are dealt, the game continues with the player on the left of the dealer. The player first has to decide whether to use any of the side bets, which we describe later in this article.
After the cards are dealt the player has several options. Either his cards are good enough and he decides not to have other cards. This is the option to stand. If the value of his hand is not enough, he can ask for another card. This is the possibility of a hit. When the next card goes over 21, the player automatically pulls (busts).
Once all players play their rounds, it is time for a dealer to play. He first turns his hole card.
If he gets the natural 21 (blackjack), all players without natural lose. In the event the dealer does not have a blackjack, he decides according to the resulting sum of his first two cards. Unlike the players, the dealer cannot decide by himself but he has to follow the rules of the table instead. If the sum of his cards is less than 17, he must hit another card, otherwise, he will stand.
You can find dealer’s rules written on the table. There are only two basic ones.
- The dealer has to hit on the soft 17
- The dealer must stand on the soft 17.
It is crucial to pay attention to these rules. It is possible that in one casino you will meet several variants of the game with different rules.
If the dealer busts, all the players who remain in the game (do not win) win. If the dealer does not bust, all players who have a higher total than the dealer win the game. Players with the same amount as the dealer draw (they will return their original bet).
Player’s options during the game
Stand – if the player is happy with the value of his cards, he doesn’t draw another.
Hit – the player gets another card; this option can be used until the limit of 21 is exceeded.
Double – allows you to double your stakes during the game of blackjack, but only if you have been dealt two identical cards. If you decide to double, you will be automatically dealt another card but you will no longer be able to draw in the case of a double game.
Split – allows you to divide one hand into two and gives you a chance to win (or lose) twice in the course of a single game. If you have been dealt any pair, you can split the cards into two hands, which automatically closes another bet with the same amount that you bet and you can play with both groups separately.
After splitting, you can draw for each group as long as you want. If you have a pair of aces, you cannot get a blackjack and you can only get “normal” 21. If the dealer gets a blackjack, he wins. If the dealer gets 21, it means a draw.
Insurance – If the upcard is an ace, you can take “insurance” in case the dealer’s hole (hidden) card is 10 or higher. If the dealer’s second card is indeed 10 or higher, you win the insurance and score a 2:1 win. If the dealer’s second card value is less than 10, you lose your insurance.
Finally, it is important to say that blackjack is one of the few casino games where players have the opportunity to sway the advantage over to their side – thanks to card counting techniques! Even without card counting, Blackjack is one of the games with the smallest house edge and is absolutely minimal when the basic strategy is followed.
Different Variants of Blackjack
Rules of blackjack may also vary depending on the type of the blackjack. In the text above, we covered the most popular version of classic blackjack. But there are more versions of it.
Blackjack Switch is one of the mentioned blackjack variants. It is very similar to classic blackjack, with the difference that a player plays with two hands on which the stakes two identical bets. The dealer only plays with one, as usual. Before the player draws another card, he/she is allowed to exchange the other cards from each hand. In Blackjack Switch, keep in mind that the dealer draws on soft 17, blackjack pays 1:1 (instead of 3:2 because there is much more chance of blackjack) and doubling and splitting is allowed.
The Dealer bust if he draws 22, although your blackjack still wins. There are two types of bets: a regular Blackjack Switch and a “Super Match” bet.
- Blackjack Switch – The bet is placed in the same amount on each hand. There are two rounds places on your side of the table. Keep in mind that when you click a bet on one of your hands, you actually place two identical bets.
- Super match – is a small place in the middle of the table and you can bet it higher or lower than your hands. It’s a bit like poker and you win if you receive at least one pair of the first 4 cards received in the game. “Super match” is just practically a side bet and is completely optional.
All rules are based on the classic blackjack except:
- The player must place two identical bets.
- The player can change the other two cards with each other to achieve a better combination, including blackjack. E.g. If you have cards 5, 10 on the first hand and 10, 6 on the other – now you can swap 10 and 6 between each other to reach hands of 11 and 20.
- It is played with 6 decks of cards.
- Dealer hits on soft 17.
- The player can double after splitting even after switching (card replacement).
- Doubling is only allowed on two cards (unlike the Spanish blackjack).
- It is not allowed to split already split cards.
- Player’s blackjack is paid 1:1.
- When dealer 22 is drawn, it means to draw and return betting. Player’s blackjack, but still wins.
Spanish Blackjack (SP21) is another popular variation of blackjack and it has one of the best bets you could find in the casino at all. If you are looking for a little different compared to traditional blackjack, but at the same time you seek for a low house-edge game, Spanish Blackjack is game just for you.
SP21 uses six or eight decks to play. Each deck contains only 48 cards – compared to the usual 52, as it excludes four 10’s cards. Anyone who counts cards can tell you that removing tens from the deck moves the dealer into a significant advantage. But the SP21 gives players a lot of bonuses and favourable options. The rules are based on a 6-8 decks blackjack, including doubling after the split, later surrender and resplit.
In addition, SP21 offers the following improved player rules:
- The player wins whenever he reaches 21.
- Player’s blackjack defeats the dealer’s blackjack.
- The player can double any number of cards.
- A player may surrender at any time
- Surrender is allowed even after doubling
- 21 on 5 cards are paid out 3:2, 21 on 6 cards 2:1, 21 on 7 cards 3:1 although bonuses are not paid if the player has doubled.
- 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 different colours pay 3:2, the same colour 2:1.
- 7-7-7 of the same colour when dealer also shows 7 pay 1000 coins for bets between 5-24 coins and 5000 coins for bets from 25 coins. In addition, all other players at the table get 50 coins as a bonus. This bonus does not apply after splitting.
- The dealer can hit or stand soft 17.
- Typically, 6 or 8 decks are played.
- Some casinos allow a redoubling up to 3x.
Double exposure is a blackjack in which the dealer shows both of his cards. Naturally, there are other rules and changes that offset this advantage. Although house edge is slightly higher than classic blackjack, Double Exposure is one of the most enjoyable and fun games for players at all.
The rules are the same as in the classic blackjack but for these exceptions:
- The Dealer shows both cards.
- Dealer wins if tie, except for standard blackjack.
- Player’s blackjack is paid 1:1.
- Players are allowed to split only once.
Rules that may vary but are not strictly limited:
- Dealer hits or stands on soft 17.
- The player may or may not duplicate the split.
- The player can double on any two cards.
- The player can split more than once.
- The player can split two cards of the same value (eg queen and king).