Online Blackjack Game Guide
Blackjack or 21 (twenty-one), is by far the most popular casino table game. It is quick to learn the basics and playing blackjack is fun. The objective of Blackjack is for a Player to come as close to 21 without going over, while still having a higher total than the Dealer. Prior to receiving any cards, the Player must place a bet. Once the bet is made, the Player is dealt two cards face up. The Dealer is also dealt two cards. If the total value of the Player's cards is closer to 21 than the Dealer, the Player wins as much as was bet. The Player also wins if the Dealer goes over 21 and the Player has not busted.
- Blackjack is dealt with 6 decks of cards.
- Cards are re-shuffled after each hand.
- Dealer Hits Soft 17.
- Double on any 2 cards
- Split up to 3 hands.
- Surrender any first 2 cards.
- Split Aces receive only one card.
- No re-splitting of Aces.
Blackjack Card Values:
- Suits of the cards have no meaning in the game.
- Cards 2 through 10 are the face value.
- Jacks, Queens and Kings are all valued at 10.
- Aces can count as either 1 or 11 whichever is more advantageous.
Blackjack Player Actions/Bets
Bet - To place a bet, the Player must click on the chip value that they wish to bet.
Deal - Press Deal to begin the game once a bet has been placed. The Player gets two cards face up and the Dealer gets two cards.
Hit - Player desires another card to be dealt. The Player may take a hit at any time before standing.
Stand - Player desires to keep hand dealt. The game will automatically stand when the Player has 21 or after doubling down.
Split - If the Player's first two cards are of the same value (i.e. 7, 7, or Q, K) they may be split into 2 separate hands by placing a second bet of equal value. The Player may have up to 3 hands at one time.
If a Player splits two aces, only one additional card is dealt for each hand. A hand totaling 21 after splitting aces is considered 21, not Blackjack.
Double - When a Player has been dealt the first two cards and believes that the third card will give them a position to beat the Dealer's hand, they can "double down." The bet is doubled, and one additional card is dealt to the Player. The hand is automatically stood, and the Dealer then completes its hand comparing it to the Players' total.
Blackjack - Is achieved when first two cards total 21. Blackjack beats a score of 21 consisting of 3 or more cards.
Bust - Is achieved when total value of cards for either the Dealer or the Player exceeds 21. If the Player busts the bet is lost, if the Dealer busts the Player automatically wins the bet.
Push - Is achieved when the value of the Dealer's cards (from 17 to 21) and the Player's cards are equal resulting in neither winning. It also results in the return of the Player's bet.
Surrender - Once a Player hits surrender, the Player will receive 50% of his current bet and 50% will go to the house. Surrender is only allowed on the first 2 cards a player receives.
Insurance - Gives you a chance to protect yourself when you believe the Dealer might have Blackjack. If the Dealer's first card is an ace, and the Player believes the Dealer's hole card (face down) value is 10, the Player may purchase insurance against Dealer Blackjack at the price of half their initial bet. If the Dealer does have Blackjack, the insurance pays 2 to 1, which corresponds to the amount of the initial bet. If the Player has bought insurance and the Dealer does not have Blackjack, the Player loses his insurance. The Player's initial bet is then settled by comparing his cards with the Dealer's. If the Dealer and the Player both have Blackjack, the game results in a push with the Player profiting by the amount won by taking insurance - also called "even money".
Blackjack Basic Strategy
When we're talking strategy in Blackjack, you need to know about six basic components of the game.This section, deals with the first three:
Hitting and Standing, Doubling Down and Splitting.
Blackjack Hitting and Standing
The most basic place to start is hitting and standing. The most fundamental thing to remember is, because the dealer always has to take a hit on any hand 16 or lower, you won't win as much money when you're holding less than 17, unless the dealer busts. So, how should that statement affect your play? Here's a quick rundown.
If your hand is below 17 and the dealer is showing an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, or 8, you need to take a hit. Why? Simple. Whenever the dealer holds one of these cards his chances of busting are very slim, so unless you clear 16 your chances of winning are also slim. There are a few different ways to go when we're talking "soft hands," but we'll delve into those in our Tips and Tricks section.
So you may be asking when should I stand? If your hand is above 12 and the dealer shows a 4, 5, or 6, your best play is to stand. When the dealer is showing any of these three cards, his chances of busting are highest. In fact, it's more than 40 percent of the time. Think of how silly you'd feel if you took a hit with 15, caught a 10 and busted, only to see that the dealer had 14 and would have been forced to take a hit and draw the 10 instead of you. Every time you bust yourself instead of busting the dealer, you're not winning as much money as you could be winning.
Blackjack Doubling Down
Speaking of money, the best and fastest way to make it when playing Blackjack is by successfully doubling down at every opportunity. Doubling down can make you double your bet or end up costing you double if you do it in a bad spot. The first and most important rule of doubling down is, always double down any hand totalling 11. No matter what the dealer's showing, if you hit a 10 when you've got 11 he won't beat you.
So when else should you double down? When your hand is 10 and the dealer is showing a 9 or lower, double it up. When your hand is a 9 or you have a "soft" hand (an ace counted as 11) between 13 and 17 against a dealer's 4, 5 or 6, double it up. That's it though. Those hands give you the best shot at cashing in when you double down. Follow those rules and you'll end up on the winning end of a double.
The final strategy point, and what tends to be everyone's favorite or most hated part of Blackjack, is splitting. Splitting can be highly profitable if you do it with the right cards, or you could end up costing you by splitting a winning hand into a pair of losers.
The first thing to remember when splitting is, never split 10's or 5's. Ten's refers to any card valued 10, whether it be the actual 10 or any face card. Conversely, always split aces and eights, no matter what the dealer is showing. The reason behind splitting aces should be obvious, but you might be perplexed about eights. A pair of eights equals 16, which is really a middle-of-the-road hand in Blackjack. Like we said before, with 16 your only chance of winning is if the dealer busts. By splitting into a pair of eights, your chances of hitting two hands higher than 16 are actually quite good.
Other than aces and eights, your best bets when it comes to splitting is to split 2's and 3's against a dealer's 4, 5, or 6. When it comes to the rest of the cards in the deck (4, 6, 7, 9), the simplest rule is to only split these cards when the dealer's hand is showing a card of lesser value. There are variations on this rule however, so you may want to stick with aces, 8's, 2's and 3's for now.
Blackjack Strategy Tips and Tricks
When we're talking strategy in Blackjack, you need to know about six basic components of the game. This section, Part 2, deals with: Soft Hands, Insurance, and Surrender.
We initially mentioned soft hands in Part 1, so now let's delve into the details. Soft hands can be tricky for the Blackjack layman because they have their own special rules when it comes to hitting, standing and doubling down. As a quick reminder, Soft hands are any hand with an Ace, where the player can choose between 2 totals, ie A and 5 could be 6 or 16.
You want to hit a soft 13 through 17 whenever the dealer is showing 7 or higher. Remember, with any soft hand no matter what card you receive you cannot bust. Now here comes the tricky part, doubling soft hands. If you've got a soft 13 through 17, only double down when the dealer shows a 5 or 6. If you've got a soft 15 through 17, you can also double up if the dealer's showing a 4. Most of the time you'll want to stand on a soft 18, but if the dealer's sporting a 9, 10 or an ace, you'll probably be better off taking a hit. With your soft 18, always stand versus a 2, 7 or 8, and double down against a 3, 4, 5 or 6. No matter what the dealer is showing, always stand on a soft 19 or higher.
Finally on soft hands, if the dealer holds a 2 and you've got a soft hand, do not double down.
Blackjack - Insurance
The other mistake players make when a possible dealer's Blackjack rears its ugly head is insurance. In the long run insurance is definitely not worth it, but one of the worst plays you can make is insuring a hand of 20 made of up two 10's. Think of it this way; you're insuring yourself against the dealer having a 10 when you've already reduced the odds of him having one by having two yourself. Besides, don't we already spend enough money on insurance away from the Blackjack table?
Another mistake a lot of Blackjack players can make is choosing the wrong play when the dealer shows an ace and could be holding a possible Blackjack. This is one of the worst things that can happen to a player, when they get lucky and catch a Blackjack of their own. If a player has a Blackjack and the Dealer is showing an Ace, the player can still purchase insurance. Many players fear having a push forced on them and end up taking 'even money'. Taking Insurance on your Blackjack vs a Dealer's Ace is called 'even money' because regardless of the Dealer's hand, you will take an 'even money' payout of 1-1 on your blackjack.
By taking even money you could be giving away potential winnings. You may lose out on a few wins once in awhile, but your Blackjack account will be reduced in the long run by taking even money.
Blackjack - Surrender
One final tip before hitting the tables to make your Blackjack fortune; don't be afraid to surrender if the option is given to you. If, after the cards are dealt, the dealer is way ahead and the chances of you pulling out a win are slim, surrender, get 50 percent of your bet back and live to play another hand. If you're stuck on when to surrender and when to play on, remember this: always surrender with a hard 15 when the dealer has a 10, and always surrender with a hard 16 when the dealer has a 9, 10 or ace.
Blackjack - In General
If you're looking to avoid some other common mistakes, perk up your ears. If you think playing two hands instead of one against the dealer gives you better odds of winning, you're mistaken. Playing two hands will give you the same advantage as two different players playing a single hand versus the dealer using exactly the same strategy. The advantage there is zero.
Another way many players feel they can get an advantage is by increasing their betting or by using a progressive betting system. No matter if you're ahead or behind, your chances of winning the next hand remain static so increasing your bets during a streak of wins or losses is not necessarily a smart move. So-called progressive betting -- betting one chip, then three, then five, etc. -- is not a smart move either. This offers no increased chances of winning, and by losing the hand where you bet five chips after winning the two hands where you bet one and three chips, you wind up in the red. Unless you can count cards and know what's coming out of the shoe, progressive betting won't pay off.
Source: Casino School of Bodog Casino
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