Blackjack Casino Rules; Everything a Player Needs to Know

Any avid casino game player knows that the game with the best winning odds is Blackjack. That includes all casino games and not just the table games. But in order to become one of the best online blackjack players that brings home big winnings, one must know and understand all the ins-and-outs of the game as well as have a few practice rounds under one’s belt. So this article is for all the Blackjack beginners out there as we run through the blackjack casino rules, basics of blackjack as well as some other important info worth knowing before a player plays their first hand.

A beginner’s guide to the rules of Blackjack

The following are the fundamentals when beginning to play Blackjack:

  • The main objective of the game is to never go ‘bust’. That means that a player should try not to go over the value number of 21 when counting the card values of the cards that they were dealt.
  • The individual card values in Blackjack are as follow: Cards 2-10 are the same value as the number stated on the card itself, Face cards (Jack, Queen & King) are worth 10 whilst an Ace can be either 1 or 11 (which often makes it a pretty nifty card to have in a hand).
  • Every player including the dealer gets dealt two cards, but the dealer’s one card remains face-down ‘till the end of the round.
  • This is the one place an individual can request to be ‘hit’ without anyone batting an eyelid. To be ‘hit’ means that a player gets dealt another card. But a player can also request to ‘stand’ which means that they feel certain that they will go ‘bust’ if they should be dealt another card. To ‘stand’ will end a player’s turn for that round.
  •  If a player goes ‘bust’ they will lose regardless of the cards in the dealer’s hand.
  •  If a player’s first two cards equal 21 that is what is referred to as Blackjack and means that a player has instantly won (usually what amounts to about x1.5 the amount of a player’s bet). In order to get an instant Blackjack, a player needs to be dealt an Ace and a 10.
  • Casino rules dictate that a dealer ‘hits’ ‘till they have a hand value of 17 or higher.
  • If a player requests to ‘double’ instead of the normal ‘hit’ or ‘stand’ it means that their bet will be doubled, but they are only allowed to be dealt one more card.
  • If a player is dealt two of the same cards (a pair) they have the option of requesting a ‘split’. A ‘split’ means that the two cards will be divided to form another hand. This is a very welcoming rule to anyone who has ever been dealt two Aces. Although splitting Aces has the same result as doubling; each hand will only be allowed one more card to be dealt. It is very important to also keep in mind that a split will essentially double a bet in any way since the same bet amount will count for the second hand.
  • If a player doubles on a split hand they can triple or even quadruple their bet.
  • A player only has the opportunity to ‘double’ or to ‘split’ on their first request or first-hand request if a player had already requested a split. 

Although Blackjack rules may vary slightly based on the different variants of Blackjack available, the fundamentals of the game remain the same.

Blackjack split rules explained in five easy steps

Players should be able to discern when to request a split since it could be to a player’s advantage or detriment. In order to know whether it’s the right call to make follow these split guidelines:

1.      Always split a pair of Aces.

This is due to an Ace worth either 1 or 11. By keeping both Aces as a pair a player will limit their chances of getting Blackjack (or even close to it to be honest). But if a player decides to split their pair of Aces they will have 4 different opportunities of reaching 21 with either of the split hands.

2.      Always split a pair of Eights.

Splitting eights doesn’t dramatically increase the odds of winning, but it’s still better than not splitting them at all. 8+8=16 (which is a very risky number to request a hit on). Once a player splits the pair it’s impossible for them to go bust on the first hit and they at least have the opportunity at a better hand.

3.      Split Aces and Eights again after the first split.

Sometimes it happens that a player gets dealt a second pair of Aces or eights with their second hand after a first split. Depending on which Blackjack variant a player is playing, they will be allowed to split up to 3 times. It is important to remember the basic rules we touched on earlier; splitting again will essentially triple the original bet.

4.      Never split a pair of Four, Fives, or Tens.

As previously mentioned, a split means doubling the original bet. Splitting fours will not sway the odds in a player’s favor in any way. A pair of fours is a very weak hand, but splitting them will only give a player two weak hands. The same principle applies to fives, except that a pair of fives is a fairly decent hand (with an initial total of 10). Splitting a pair of fives will essentially decrease the odds or a player’s advantage of winning any money. When a player is dealt an initial two cards of tens it already equals a total of 21 and the only chance of bettering that total would be to be dealt an Ace (the odds of which are probably the same as spotting Bigfoot).

5.      Only split a pair of Twos, Threes, or Sevens if the dealer’s hand shows a total of seven or lower.

When it comes to twos, threes, and sevens splitting is based on different dealer hands. The rule of thumb is to split these pairs if the dealer’s hand has a value of seven or less. If a dealer’s hand shows a total of 8+ request a hit.

When it comes to twos, threes, and sevens splitting is based on different dealer hands. The rule of thumb is to split these pairs if the dealer’s hand has a value of seven or less. If a dealer’s hand shows a total of 8+ request a hit.

How to play Blackjack like a pro and win thanks to the basic strategy

There are many different strategies as to how to play the perfect winning round in Blackjack. In fact, players can study Blackjack strategy cards for almost every Blackjack game variant out there. It is important to note though that no strategy will guarantee anyone a win. Strategies will only increase a player’s odds of winning. Managing one’s bankroll is just as critical (if not more) as adapting gameplay according to a specific strategy. It’s not going to help much if a strategy gives a player a 60% advantage, but they bet their entire bankroll-and lose it- in the first round. But when it comes to strategy, the only Blackjack basic strategy that every player should follow is that they don’t go bust with a total of over 21.

But obviously, everybody is looking for a shortcut or a little “cheat sheet” to bringing home some winnings, so there are a few do’s and don’ts that can be considered Blackjack basics:

  • A player needs to be able to make the right betting call. As mentioned earlier, it’s not going to help much if a player is betting all their money on a pretty risky hand in the first round. And it’s also not going to help if a player is trying to appear like a high-roller throwing betting money around like it’s nothing on a hand that any casino table game player worth their salt can clearly see is a losing hand straight from the get-go.
  • A player needs to be able to discern between when to Stand, Hit, Double, Split or Surrender. Our previous guidelines will give a gambler a good foundation to work from and always remember that practice makes perfect and any gambler will get better with experience.
  • Players need to discern between pay-outs and not just betting. Most casinos offer players a standard 3:2 pay-out or a 6:5 pay-out. When it comes to playing Blackjack, players need to ensure that they always opt for the 3:2 pay-out option.
  • Beginners should always adopt a conservative strategy. This means playing on the Blackjack table games that give the lowest betting options. Blackjack is still gambling and no matter how many hours of Blackjack theory someone has crammed into their head before playing that first round, there’s still a chance that they will walk away from the table game with absolutely nothing. As a beginner, it’s inevitable that the house will have the edge. Rather play a conservative strategy in order to gain more experience and skill before raising the stakes.
  • Another basic Blackjack strategy that’s not for everyone is The Martingale Strategy. This strategy is incredibly simple in the sense that this strategy requires players to double their bet every time they lose. Like we said, it might be simple and basic, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Players will have to focus on that one big win since the goal is ultimately to cover any money lost as well as make a “profit”. This is also why they will need so much money just lying around that they won’t even blink after losing 20 consecutive rounds.
  • The other basic Blackjack strategy that’s easy to follow, but doesn’t require such deep pockets, is the 1-3-2-6 Blackjack Betting System. A player’s first win will start the betting sequence as outlined in the strategy name itself. The first loss will indicate to a player to stop playing. The sequence is designed to give players as many winnings as possible whilst the house edge seems to be on a bit of a hiatus.
  • Leave the insurance to household content and vehicles. Insurance bets will not only thoroughly confuse beginners, but it will also drain one’s bankroll faster than someone can say Blackjack.
  • Players should place their bets on Blackjack games that they know well. The basic rules of Blackjack might remain the same, but each variant has a different twist on the classic table game. Any rules players are not yet ready for can result in the house walking away with all their hard-earned money. When players are playing online it’s easy to check up on the game rules, but if players are going into the physical casino they will need to brush-up on the different Blackjack variant rules beforehand.

Is counting cards against Blackjack casino rules?

We often get asked about counting cards in Blackjack. Because counting cards is technically not illegal and seems quite simple, players seem to gravitate towards trying out that specific Blackjack “loophole”. But people don’t really know how technical and complicated card counting can be and although card counting is not illegal and it’s not really against Blackjack casino rules, it’s very much frowned upon by casinos and players can face a lifetime ban if caught.

Counting cards definitely tends to tilt the scales away from the house edge, but that’s only if players know what they’re doing and have the experience to back it up. Players also need to remember that Blackjack is very rarely played with just one deck in a casino. Casinos have long-since caught on to gamers’ antics and have put countermeasures in place to safeguard games against “unfair” wins. That’s why most Blackjack games now consist of multiple decks in order to give the house the edge.

Even with the multiple decks, players have found a way to still apply a card counting formula that will aid them in making betting decisions. When counting cards in a one-deck Blackjack game, players simply use the basic running count formula that is based on values given to individual cards. When counting cards in a multiple deck Blackjack game, players use the true count formula on top of the basic running count formula. If gamblers would like to find out more in-depth information regarding how to count cards in Blackjack and which various card counting systems and strategies exist they are welcome to read some of our other articles that explain all the ins-and-outs of card counting in Blackjack.

Live Blackjack casino rules every player needs to know

The only difference between playing Blackjack online and playing Canadian live Blackjack online is that there is a live dealer handling the bets and dealing the cards in real-time. Although a live dealer will not be able to actually see or hear players, the dealer will talk to them and they will be able to interact with the dealer and each other via live chat.

Although the basic rules of Blackjack remain the same according to the original table game or the specific variant, there are a few other differences (or rather nuances) to consider when playing live:

The atmosphere isn’t quite as electric.

Many gamblers go to casinos for all the bells and whistles (literally). They enjoy the chatter of the crowd, the chiming of slots, the clinking of glasses as the waiters serve drinks, etc. So sitting in one’s pj’s sipping hot chocolate whilst waiting for the cards to be dealt might be a little anticlimactic for some.

There are no time constraints.

This might be more of a perk than just a difference. Most live casinos offer live Blackjack games 24/7. That means that a gamer’s fun isn’t stopped by a casino closing its doors for the day. And gameplay might be the solution to a bout of insomnia whilst time zones in different countries have no impact on gaming whatsoever.

It requires more concentration.

Or so they claim. Many gamblers say that playing with a live dealer requires more focus than with a normal online game where there are no distractions from either the dealer or fellow players. We think this is very subjective to the particular gambler and their playing style and might have a little more to do with performance anxiety than with the game setting itself.

Live online casinos generally offer more variety

When one goes to the casino there are usually only a few Blackjack tables to choose from with limited variety and the biggest difference probably being whether a gambler’s bankroll fits the starting bets. Live online casino games usually offer quite a few different live rooms and quite a few interesting variants.

Live Blackjack requires a gambler to have a little bit more skill and experience.

Live Blackjack games are generally not for beginners. If one is still learning how to play the live bets and pressure of a live dealer and other players watching one’s every move might be a little fast and too intimidating. Under those circumstances, the pressure might lead to unnecessary losses and might even deter someone from trying to play again. We recommend that beginners start off by simply playing online; either by learning how by using free demo versions where it’s just them against the machine without any risk of losing any money. Or starting off with online games that offer low stakes with low original bets.

Online live Blackjack might be the solution to boredom.

Many online gamers spend a lot of time commuting or waiting in queues. Unfortunately it’s not yet possible for gamers to teleport to the nearest casino for a round of Blackjack whilst they wait to reach their destination or the front of the queue. Cue (no pun intended) live online Blackjack games. Suddenly bored gamers everywhere can join a live game from anywhere and whenever they’re on-the-go.

Live games have a higher pace.

This is yet another reason why live Blackjack games might not be the best choice for beginners. Dealers have been properly trained and they are highly skilled at what they do. They are the sleight-of-hand magicians of the online casinos. Whilst the normal online games have been programmed to go at a steady pace and often allows for players to even take a quick bathroom break in between rounds, this is not the case with a live game. If a gamer is unsure of whether they’ll be able to keep up, it’s probably best not even to try and find out ‘coz they’ll definitely feel the outcome in their wallets.

Players need to pick their live Blackjack poison.

All the Blackjack variants that are available to players to play – even original Blackjack – might not be the table game that’s right for that particular player. Just as some gamblers prefer playing the slots, others might prefer playing Poker or Baccarat when it comes to betting those chips on casino table games. Others might actually prefer one Blackjack variant such as Blackjack Switch or Spanish 21 over all others. The only way to find out is by trying out the different casino games and their variants. Once again, we do not promote trying one’s hand at a new game where there’s real money at stake. When testing out the casino waters rather opt for playing the free demo version of a game first before placing that first official bet only to lose it playing a game a gambler suddenly realizes they didn’t enjoy playing in the first place.

Gamblers don’t need to be monogamous.

Just because they’re a little different doesn’t mean that a gambler should commit to only playing live Blackjack games or normal online Blackjack games. There is absolutely no reason why a gamer can’t pick between live or normal online gameplay according to their preference in a particular moment. The only reason why we’re highlighting some of the major differences is to empower gamers to decide whether it’s something they would be interested in trying in the first place.

Card counting in live Blackjack games is much easier than in the actual casinos.

Although all casinos (including online casinos) have all kinds of countermeasures in place to curb any frowned upon “shortcuts”, practicing the art of card counting might still be easier online. The majority of casinos make use of staff on the ground as well as surveillance cameras to spot card counters on the casino floor. The closest a gambler can get to practice this skill in a live setting without anyone actually being able to see them is in the live casino game rooms.

Live casino games often have special bonuses and promotions.

In order to attract gamers, live casinos often offer gamblers special bonuses or promotional offers. The golden rule of all casino bonuses still applies; gamblers should always double-check the wager requirements connected to a bonus or promotion. Wager requirements or wager restrictions can make or break a bonus and turn a generous sounding bonus into something a gambler should stay far away from.

The quality, rules, and regulations boil down to the quality of the casino.

We always urge gamblers (especially beginners) who want to play online to properly research the platform they want to play on. If it’s not a reputable online casino, it’s almost guaranteed that a gamer will run into trouble – either with winning in the first place or withdrawing those winnings. The quality of a live game is also connected to the developer behind the live game. When a live game is provided by a famous online live casino developer such as Evolution Gaming, a gambler can rest assured that gameplay will take place glitch-free.

Whether playing inside a casino, online, or live online, Blackjack still remains the game with the highest odds tilted towards the gambler and we recommend giving this casino favorite a try any time of the day. 

Captain boy

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