How to Play Blackjack? A Comprehensive Guide to Blackjack Rules

Article by Simon Day
Live Dealer Blackjack
Last Updated: May 9th, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Blackjack online is among the most popular gambling games. The main aim is to hit the sweet number twenty-one. Not only is it one of the most exciting and thrilling card games, but it’s also one of the easiest to grasp.

You have many options when it comes to playing. You can play online against the computer or even against live dealers. Or, if you prefer the thrill of the sounds and lights of a land-based site and a fun night out at a real live table with other players. 

Knowing how to play blackjack is more than mastering how to get to 21. Many blackjack rules depend on the versions and many other factors.

In this article, we will not only look at the various blackjack 21 rules but also share some of our strategies and tips to help you master your game plan and, in turn, enhance your winning potential.

What Is the Goal in Blackjack?

There is one blackjack goal, and that is to hit the coveted number 21, preferably with the first two cards you are dealt. If not, then knowing when to stand, hit, double down, or split can boost your winning chances. 

Where available, surrendering your cards can be a good way to recoup your stake, but it’s not one of the basic blackjack rules and is not available in all variants of the game. 

When you join a table, you will receive two cards, both face up. The dealer also receives two cards, but only one faces upwards. His or her face-down cards are not revealed until you have made your final choices and bets. If you have a hand of 21 or less, you are still in the game. 

Knowing the goal in blackjack and how to achieve it is vital. It includes understanding when to make decisions based on your own hands. Let’s take a look at how to play. 

How to Play Blackjack?

Before you play for real money, we’ve covered the basics of casino blackjack rules for beginners. Knowing how to enhance your blackjack skills will not only seem less daunting when you sit at a table, but it also means you can use the strategies wisely to improve your play. 

If you have never played before joining a casino or a table, we recommend you play virtual blackjack for free at one of our many best online blackjack casinos here. You can test the strategies and learn the blackjack rules without financial commitment. 

Make it a habit to read the in-game rules, as there are so many slight differences between the multitude of versions available. These are readily available under the info button and will also show various payouts and if there are any side bets available.

Basic Blackjack Rules

Before we get going, we wanted to highlight some of the most basic blackjack rules regarding payouts and the best moves to make based on your hand. Here’s what you need to know: 


Regular wins payout 1:1 This is for a hand where your value is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand.
Blackjack win payout 3:2 If you hit the magical 21 on your hand, your payout is 1.5 times your stake.
Stand at 17 The dealer must stand on a hand totalling at least 17 and hit on any hands of a value of 16 or less. 
Card Values Numbered cards from 2 to 10 hold their face value, and face cards like the king, queen, and jack are worth 10. Aces can count for either 1 or 11, which will help you get closer to 21. 


With the basic rules covered, here are the steps to follow to play blackjack for real money: 

1. Players Make Their Bets With Chips

Before you can play any blackjack game, you will need chips. If you play online, virtual chips can be purchased from your casino account balance. 

At a land-based casino, you can exchange your cash with the dealer for chips. Do not pass your chips to them, as blackjack betting rules do not allow them to accept chips from you this way. You must place your chips on the felt to join the game.

The dealer will count the chips to match your buy-in and push them across the felt towards you. You should then check any local blackjack betting rules before proceeding with the first hand. 

2. The Dealer Distributes the Cards

Once your stake is accepted along with the other players, the blackjack casino rules state that the dealer must always deal clockwise, starting with the player next to them. In the first round of the blackjack card game, players receive one face-up card and the dealer’s face-up one. 

3. The Dealer Gives Everyone the Second Card

Next, the dealer will issue every player with a second card, which will also be face up. However, the dealer’s second card will be face down, meaning you only know about one of the dealer’s cards before proceeding with your next action.

4. The Player to the Left of the Dealer Begins the Gameplay

Another of the blackjack rules is that the dealer must always start with the player to the left. The player is also known as “first base.” Once it’s your turn, you must decide what to do with your two cards. Follow the simple blackjack rules at this next stage to decide whether to hit for another card or stand with what you have.  

5. The Player Chooses Whether They Want to Hit or Stay

This is the most critical stage, as your decision will determine the outcome of the game. So, choosing when to hit or stand in blackjack will affect the result. Another of the blackjack rules casino is that each player will have a chance in succession on how to play the hand. You have to make the correct hand signal for the camera’s sake to stand, split, double down, hit or surrender. 

To signify you want to hit, gently tap the felt with your finger. If you wish to stand, wave your hand over the cards, which signifies you don’t want another. When playing online, you simply need to tap the correct button that shows on your screen when it’s time to take an action.

6. The Game Cycles Around the Players Until Everyone Finishes Their Turn

If you’re playing alone with the dealer, you can skip this step. However, if there are other players at the table, each person must hit, stand, double down, or split, before the dealer reveals their second card. 

7. The Dealer Shows Their Card, and the Winners Can Be Established

Once every player has made their decision at the blackjack table, it’s time to reveal the winner. First, the dealer’s second card will be revealed. If the dealer hits 21, the best you can hope for is a push if you also have 21 in your hand. 

However, if the dealer goes bust and you’re still in the game, you automatically win. If both you and the dealer have a total of under 21, the one with the higher total wins the hand. 

8. Bets Are Paid Out and the Game Proceeds to the Next Round

With all cards revealed, you will be due a blackjack payout if you beat the dealer. With a standard win, you will receive a payout of 1:1. However, if you beat the dealer with blackjack (10 or picture card + ace), you will receive a payout in blackjack of 3:2. 

Special Techniques in Blackjack

Many players swear by various blackjack technique tips. Knowing what to do in certain scenarios and whether you’re looking to refine your strategy or explore advanced concepts, this section is your next step towards mastering the art of blackjack.

Let’s turn those odds around and pave your way to becoming a more skilled player by following some basic blackjack rules and strategy tips. 

Doubling Down

What is doubling down in blackjack? It is about having a hand that gives you an advantage over the dealer and it will cost you double your wager. For example, if the dealer’s up card shows a 4 or 5, and you have a 9 and an ace in your hand, you might want to double your stake. 

Once you double down, you will receive only one more card. You cannot accept more cards or take another hit on your hand. It’s a good strategy to double down if your cards total 9, 10, or 11, as you have a reasonable chance of receiving a 10-value card when you hit. 

To place your double-down bet, place your extra wager next to your bet, outside the box and let the dealer know by pointing at it with your finger. 


Another good option is blackjack splitting. Only players can choose whether to split, never the dealers. A split requires two cards of the same value and costs the same as the original stake. 

Blackjack splitting rules require you to point at your chips with two fingers to signify you want to split. Once you have separated, each hand is treated individually, so you could win on both, lose on both, or win on one and lose on the other, depending on the dealer’s hand. 

Online blackjack splitting is slightly different. Here on your screen on the table, there is a split button, which will automatically take an extra bet from your casino account balance. 

To split your hand, place your extra stake again outside your betting box, and this time, instead of one finger, use two fingers to make a peace sign on the table. 

It never makes sense to split tens or picture cards, but splitting sevens or eights can be a fruitful strategy for some players. 

Side-Betting (Insurance)

Side bets in blackjack have higher payouts and give players other betting options. An insurance side bet is one you will make if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. 

The chances of the dealer landing a ten-value card at this stage are high, which means you can place an insurance bet to try and land a winning payout. 

Most blackjack games require a bet of 50% your original wager for insurance and award a payout of 2:1 if the dealer wins with blackjack. 

Other blackjack side bets include perfect pairs, which does not affect the ultimate blackjack result but rather what cards land in your hand. The perfect pair consists of various card combinations and payouts, as detailed in the table below:


Bet Type Bet Description Payout
Perfect pair Two identical cards like two eights of hearts or two nines of spades 25:1
Coloured pair Two cards that not only have the exact same value but the same colour, like the king of spades and clubs, which are both black 12:1
Mixed pair Two cards with the same value but can be from different suites, like a three of hearts and three of spades 6:1


Although these side bets have higher odds, their probability of happening is much lower, hence the higher payouts. The house edge on these varies from 2% to 11%, which is way higher than a standard blackjack wager, which typically has a house edge of between 1% and 2%. 


Did you know you can surrender in blackjack? The two types of surrenders you can use depend on the casino where you play, and they can vary: 


Early Surrender Late Surrender
An early surrender may be where you think you may still have a chance, so you only want to surrender half your bet value and keep the rest riding. However, this option is the least common of the two, and you may find it challenging to find a casino that offers it. If the dealer has blackjack, you lose your entire bet. A late blackjack surrender also lets you surrender half of your stake after the dealer has checked their cards. You will surrender half your bet, and the other half will be returned to you. 


The blackjack casino rules for surrendering if at land-based hand signals are for you to draw a line across the felt behind your chips, a bit like cutting an imaginary slit into the table with a knife. Many dealers may mistake this signal for a hit, so be sure to inform the dealer if you want to surrender. 

Popular Blackjack Strategies

More experienced players will have their own blackjack strategy tips and tricks. The more you play and gain confidence, the more you can read up on our online blackjack page for more strategies, tips, and videos to help you improve your game.

We have some blackjack basic strategy options that are easy to learn and implement when sitting at a table. Whether you want to play at physical casinos or prefer the convenience of online Aussie options, these strategies can work at both:

Avoiding Side-Bets

Many players get drawn into side bet blackjack due to the high payouts and the element of variety it adds to the game. However, there is a reason they offer higher payouts – side bets are less likely to win. The house edge increases dramatically, making them less favourable betting options. 

More experienced players avoid these side bets in blackjack. This is mainly because including them in your wagers will cost you money over the longer term. These side bets may also distract you from implementing basic blackjack strategies.

Side bet rules also vary between casinos, both land-based and online. Adjusting and learning the new rules can cause confusion and more losses. The outcomes of side bets do not align with basic strategies, as you will have to rely on finding combinations of cards like identical suits, a royal flush, a straight or even three of a kind. 

While we don’t recommend these bets, if you do include them, always approach them cautiously and ensure correct bankroll management to ensure you stay within responsible gambling guidelines. 

Presuming That the Dealer’s Face-Down Card Is a 10

Many players use a blackjack betting strategy based on the assumption that the dealer’s hole (down) card is a 10. The logic behind this strategy is that the dealer having a 10-value card as their hole card is the most likely option, given the number of 10 cards in the shoe. 

Therefore, this is a risk-averse strategy, and it can be used alongside the surrender option. If you don’t think you can beat the dealer if they were to reveal a 10 as their second card, it makes sense to surrender your cards for some of your stake back.


Presuming That the Dealer Will Bust if Their Face-Up Card Is Not Higher Than 6

Another common misconception among bettors is that if the dealer’s face-up card is no higher than a 6 they will bust. There is no guarantee when it comes to winning at blackjack betting. Savvy players use what they believe to be the perfect blackjack strategy by incorporating the following: 


  • If you have a soft 18, and the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6, stand. A soft 18 is a hand that counts the ace card as either a 1 or an 11.
  • Another is always split 8s and aces, which allows you to create stronger hands and increase your winnings. 
  • Consider surrendering if you have been dealt a hard 15 (no ace) and the dealer’s up card is a 10. These situations may call for cutting your losses.
  • Another betting strategy in blackjack is to consider surrendering if you have a hard 16 and the dealer has an Ace, 9, or 10.

The Bottom Line

Despite its simplicity, blackjack is still one of the most popular casino games, loved by millions of players worldwide. Blackjack rules are uncomplicated, and with some practice, you can play online blackjack like a pro in no time. 

Our blackjack experts at Betsquare have found user-friendly casino environments where you can refine your skills when learning the blackjack rules. We suggest you play at one of our recommended real money casinos in Australia and test them risk-free before playing for real cash. It will help you to increase your skills while having fun at safe and secure online real money casinos.

Are you ready to take the plunge? It’s time to experience the thrill and strategy of blackjack first-hand. Why don’t you start your journey now and try it out today?

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