How to Play: Blackjack for Beginners

How to Play: Blackjack for Beginners

Published Date · July 9, 2019 · Last Updated · Nov. 2, 2023 ·Read Time · 6 mins


Blackjack Overview for Beginners

This piece will explain how to play blackjack for beginners. Firstly, you place your bet. The bet is usually done by laying chips on the table, relevant for the amount you wish to stake.

Then you will receive two cards from the dealer. The dealer’s also dealt two cards, with one of them face-up so you can see what it is. In blackjack games, an ace can be worth 1 or 11, while number cards are worth their face value and face cards (jack, queen and king), are all worth 10.

If your first two cards add up to 21, i.e. you get an ace and a card worth 10, you’ll win the game, so long as the dealer doesn’t have a 21 also. If the dealer’s first hand is worth 21 and yours isn’t, you’ll lose.

There are several courses of action you can take if your hand doesn’t add up to 21:

–           Hit. You receive an additional card.

–           Stand. You receive no more cards and keep your hand as it is.

–           Double Down. You double your bet, receive one more card and then stand.

–           Split. If both your cards are of the same value, you can double your bet and separate the cards into two hands; each hand will be dealt an additional card

If your hand ever goes over 21 – you have bust and have lost that hand. If the dealer busts and you don’t, you win. Once you’ve acted, it’s the dealer’s turn. The dealer can’t decide what to do; instead, the dealer has to stick to rules depending on what the value of their hand is. In most games, the dealer has to hit on a soft 17, in others the dealer has to stand on this hand.

A soft hand is any line-up of cards containing an ace. If you have a soft hand, you can draw an additional card without going bust. This is because you can have the ace count as 1 instead of 11. A hard hand is any hand that doesn’t contain  ace, or a hand with ace that has to be counted as 1. Otherwise you’d go bust. For example, a hand containing a 6, and 8 and an ace is hard: if the ace is 11, your total would be 25 and you’d be out; the ace, therefore, has to count as 1, bringing your total to 15.

Blackjack Tips for Beginners

Once you’ve understood the basic blackjack rules, you’ll no doubt want to learn some blackjack strategies to help you beat the dealer to 21. One of the best strategies you’ll come across online is basic strategy; it tells you the best move you can make depending on what cards you have an what the dealer’s face-up card is. There are basic strategy tables available for all blackjack games, including games played with different numbers of decks and games played with slight rule variations.

You may want to play free blackjack so you can get used to the game and practice basic strategy without risking your money. Most online casinos will let you play for free, though at a lot of them you’ll need an account first. Once your confidence with the game has grown, deposit some money into your casino account and play using casino bonuses. With casino bonuses, you’re still technically playing for free, but if you’re lucky enough to score a win, you’ll get to keep the winnings. Bear in mind though that you’ll have to play through the casino’s wagering requirements before you can cash your winnings out.

Most blackjack games offer optional side bets in addition to the main bet. It’s best not to place any side bets as these are generally less likely to pay out than the main bet. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to stick with blackjack games that have lower betting limits. If you place lower bets, your bankroll should hopefully last longer, and you’ll get to play more games of blackjack.

The number of decks in blackjack games can vary greatly. Some are played with a single deck, while others can be played with as many as eight decks. You should play games that have a single deck, or as few decks as possible. The reason for this is that the fewer decks there are, the lower the house edge. This means that over long-term play, you’re likely to lose less of your money if you stick with games that have a lower number of decks.

Some more specific tips include always splitting a pair of 8s and always splitting a pair of aces. Likewise, you should never split a pair of 5s or 10s. You should double down if your hand is worth 11, or if your hand is worth 10 and the dealer’s upturned card is 4, 5 or 6; you should also double down if your hand is worth 9 and the dealer’s card is five or six. You should always hit on a soft hand since there’s no chance of you going bust. If it’s a hard hand you have, you should think carefully about whether you want to risk getting an extra card, as this may put you over 21.

Which Strategy is Good?

A basic blackjack strategy is often very effective in gambling and winning back your wager. If you want to minimise the luck factor in the game and take advantage of the low house edge, you should consider learning the basic blackjack strategy. It usually comes with a cheat sheet which clearly states what to do in every possible situation. Once you know it by heart, you will be able to master blackjack. It is essentially a simple chart which gives information in what to do in every blackjack situation. It has information which is personalised to every single possible hand. That is a lot to remember, but if you can store a lot of the information in your head then you will make the post of the casino’s small win percentage.

Card counting is a popular technique for playing blackjack that could even give the edge to the players. Although it is not considered illegal under British law, many casinos frown upon the practice and try to eradicate it. For now, you should stick to the basic blackjack strategy.

Other Types of Blackjack Games

As well as Classic Blackjack, there are a few other versions of the game where the rules have been tweaked slightly.

Red/Black Blackjack – Here, each player can bet on the colour of the croupier’s first card, either red of black. In this game, the croupier will automatically win the bet if their first card is a 2. The payout is 1:1.

Royal Match Blackjack – Here, the player can bet on the occurrence that their two cards will show the same colour. The payout is. Furthermore, if the player draws a king and a queen of the same colour, that’s a Royal Match and the payout is 10:1.

Over/Under 13 Blackjack –  This variant allows the player to bet on the value of the first two cards, in a way whether they think the score will be over or under 13. However, the aces always count for 1 and the casino wins on a 13. The payout is 1:1.

Switch Blackjack – Switch Blackjack allows each player to have two separate hands, each one with the same bet. The players have the option to trade their second card if they wish to.

Double Exposure Blackjack – Here, the croupier must keep their two cards visible in the eyes of everyone, which offers a sure advantage to the players. However in case of a push, the croupier is declared as the winner.

Spanish 21 Blackjack – This game requires the use of 6 or 8 decks of 52 cards. Each player has the option to draw a new card, to double down and to split aces, to surrender after splitting, and to double down any combination of cards. The bonuses of this game include the 678 with a payout of 3:2, a bet will pay 2:1 if cards are of the same color, 3:1 if they are all spades, and 777 against the 7 of the croupier returns a payout of £1000. Please note, however, that all the 10 are taken out of the decks, which handicaps the player.

21 Madness Blackjack – In this version, the player can only bet £1. If the player got a blackjack and the croupier does not, then the player receives a prize between £5 and £1000, decided by a prize draw. After giving you all the tricks of Blackjack, you are now ready to play this new game; all that is left for you to do is to select your favourite version according to what games are featured by your casino!

Get to know the best blackjack casinos and start playing now.


Phoebe Greenwood

Content Writer