The goal of reaching 21 is fairly easy to get to grips with, but there are still a few rules you need to know about before you play for real cash. To get used to them, we recommend playing for fun first. Let's walk through a typical game so you know how it all works:
Analyzing your hand value and all the dealt cards, make your next step to give yourself the best chance of being the closest to 21 without going bust.
Ask the dealer for another card. Do this when, based on the current value of your cards, either you're sure that the next card won’t cause you going bust, or you're willing to run the risk of the dealer getting a better hand.
Ask the dealer to move on to the next player and deal you no more cards. You'll probably do this when the value of your cards is quite high already (e.g. over 17), and you're can't be sure whether the dealer's hand will beat yours.
As a result of the move you just made, you’ll probably have a new hand value. You'll remain in the game if your hand is valued at 21 or anything less.
After all players at the table have made their decisions, the dealer will reveal his facedown card.
If your hand is closer to 21 than that of the dealer, you bust the dealer and win. If the dealer has 21 or a closer score to 21 than any of the other players, the dealer wins.
The dealer will issue your winnings if you’ve been lucky. Your payout amount will depend on the type of bet that you placed.
Now we've covered the essential steps to playing a standard game, there are a few other basic rules you'll need to keep in mind. It’s always worth knowing what payouts you’ll receive in various blackjack scenarios, and which moves to make depending on your hand. Take a look at the additional rules below:
In addition to the basic rules, more experienced players should also take note of the following advanced rules to take their blackjack game to the next level:
Our full blackjack strategy guide will give you lots of pointers as to when you should hit and when you should stand or double down. However, to get you started, here are two quick pointers to keep in mind whenever you sit down at a blackjack table, either online or in a brick and mortar casino:
This is a common mistake made by rookie players, who think that splitting face cards and tens can double their profits. In fact, statistically speaking it is never a good idea to split face cards, as you are swapping the high probability of winning with a 20 for the risk of losing twice your money if the new cards you draw aren’t the ones you want.
This is a no-brainer, or at least it should be! A pair of 8s gives you the dreaded 16, and by splitting these you are banking on at least one face card showing up to give you a good hand. Even a 1, 2 or a 3 are all good cards to draw to an 8, meaning that you have plenty of chances to make a winning hand. Likewise, a pair of Aces gives you an unfriendly hand value of either 2 or 12, so it’s a much better idea to split them and hope that 7s, 8s, 9s, and 10s show up.
It is easy to burn through your money at an online blackjack table if you don’t play smart, but follow our advice and you’ll soon be playing like a professional.
Blackjack offers some of the best value in the casino to the player, but only if you use the correct strategy and play with your head and not your heart. It's well worth trying online blackjack for free first, so you get a feel for the game and can put any strategies to the test.
Here are a few quick tips which everyone should take into consideration before approaching the virtual blackjack tables, but you can find some more in-depth blackjack tips in our guide:
Never throw good money after bad. Set a budget for yourself before you come to the table, and stick with it.
As you begin to play make sure to keep your basic strategy guide open on a separate window so you can refer to it quickly.
This is reckless play, and no one wants to see half their pot disappear in one go. Always bet responsibly.
Sometimes the cards just don’t seem to be with you, and it can be tempting to give up on your strategy. In the long run, following a strategy is the only way to have the best chances of winning.
The rules of blackjack are simple. You are dealt cards, which have the face value shown on them. You need to get a hand with a score of as close to 21 as possible, without going over it. Go over 21 and you’re out.
To give yourself the best chances of winning in blackjack, it’s worth brushing up on some blackjack strategy guides. Our strategy guide will walk you through a few in-game scenarios, and offer advice on counting cards and on when to alter your bets. Whilst it’s not 100% foolproof, it will definitely up your chances in the great game of blackjack.
Learning whether to hit or stand is the crux of blackjack. At first it can be difficult to know what to do, but with practice you’ll soon learn which moves to make. Take a look at our strategy page to learn which moves to make depending on the total value of cards in your hand, and the value of the dealer’s visible cards. Learning how to play your cards gives you the best possible chance of winning, but ultimately there will always be an element of luck involved.
A split is a move which can be made if your hand contains two cards of equal value. You can choose to split the hand into two new hands, and double your bet in the process.
Counting cards is one of the most widely used blackjack strategies. The idea is that card counters assign a value to cards as they see them being removed from the deck. This gives them a running value of the remaining cards in the deck. That value is used to tell the card counters whether or not the deck contains more large cards or small cards. They can then adjust their bets accordingly, giving them an increased chance of winning against the house.