The classic blackjack game can be learned in a matter of minutes, and that’s the beauty of it. You can play a straightforward game without relying on any strategy to begin and get a grasp of the basics in no time. Still, if you want to put the odds in your favour, you’ll need to use something called basic strategy (more about this shortly).
The combination of luck and strategy is what sets this apart from other casino games.
At its core, the goal in blackjack is to beat the dealer without going over 21. The player and dealer are both dealt two cards at the start of the game with the option to ‘hit’ (take another card), ‘stand’ (stick with your current total) or ‘double down’ (double your bet in exchange for one extra card).
Players must decide which route to take before any additional cards have been drawn. Should they go over 21, this is known as busting and results in an automatic loss. You’ll also lose if you score less than the dealers, so the main aim is to achieve a total hand value of 21 or as close to it as possible.
The cards 2-10 are worth their face value, while Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth ten each.
The Ace is unique as it can count as either 1 or 11, depending on what’s most beneficial for your hand.
Once you understand the basics, you can move on to learn more advanced strategies and rules.
Let us give you an example of a hypothetical game of online blackjack.
You’d begin by placing a bet on the virtual table and then be dealt two cards. After clicking or tapping the deal button, you’ll be dealt two cards face-up, while the dealer will get one card face-up and one face-down.
When playing instant play blackjack, you won’t see an actual dealer. It’s just a computer program that randomly generates the cards.
Let’s suppose you were dealt a three and a five (it doesn’t matter which suit) for a total of eight. The dealer’s face-up card is a queen. You now have to decide whether you want to hit (take another card), stand (stick with your current total) or double down (double your bet in exchange for one extra card).
This is where it can get a bit tricky, and basic blackjack strategy would come into play for optimal play. But why don’t we assume that we hit, as to stand would be unwise, and to double down here has a slightly lower chance of success.
We’re then dealt a three, which is pretty good because even if we draw another card, we can’t go bust, and if we draw a face card, we have a strong chance of getting 21.
And bang! We draw a jack which gives us a total of 21!
The dealer flips over his face-down card and reveals an eight, giving him 18 – he needs a 3 to draw with us. He then draws a seven and busts, giving us the win.
And in a nutshell, that’s the rules of blackjack, and once you’ve got a handful of games under your belt, you’ll realize how easy it is to play. You can then look at additional rules, like splitting, surrendering, and insurance, as well as basic blackjack strategy.