Blackjack is a relatively simple game to learn, with straight-forward and clear rules. It is a ‘casino’ game; that means that you, the player, are playing against the casino, or ‘house’.
The game can be played between a dealer acting for the casino, and from one to seven players. For this explanation we’ll assume that it is just one player playing against the dealer.
Basically, both the dealer and the player and dealt two cards each. The players cards are dealt face down. When playing in an online casino, the screen shows the players cards face up, but the player is the only one who can see them.
The dealers cards are dealt one face up and one face down, so you the player can see one of the dealers cards.
The object of the game is to get to 21 or as close to 21 as you can without going over. What this means is that the value of your two cards is totalled, according to the face value. So that if you hold a 2 and a 5 then the total value of your hand is 7 (2+5). All ‘picture’ cards – Jack, Queen and King – are valued at 10. An ace can be either 1 or 11 (one or eleven).
Should the player’s hand have a value closer to 21 (without going over) than the dealer’s hand, then the player wins. The best possible hand is of course 21. If you have a ’21’ in only two cards, the first two cards dealt to you, this is actually called a ‘blackjack’.
So your first two cards would have to be an ace and a ‘ten’ value card. If you are dealt a ‘blackjack’ and the dealer is also dealt one, then no-one wins. This is a tie or ‘push’ situation, and the player gets their chips back – winning nothing and losing nothing.
This is a standard online casino blackjack table. The three cards at the bottom of the screen are the players cards, or ‘hand’, and the four cards at the top of the screen are the dealers cards.
As you can see, the player has been dealt a 6 and an 8 ande then another 6. This gives a total of 20. 6+8+6=20. Not a bad hand.
Now follow closely. This picture shows how the game finished – the player won. (woohoo!)
How that happened was like this; the player was dealt two cards, a 6 and an 8. The dealer was dealt two cards, a 5 and a ten. The player could only see one of the dealers cards, remember.
So, the player asked for another card, or ‘hit’. The next card the player received was another 6. Great! The player decided to ‘stand’, to not take any more cards, as they were holding ’20’ which is very close to 21.
To take another card when holding 20 would be very foolish.
So the player ‘stands’ on 20. Now the dealer turns up the second unexposed card and shows a 10 and a 5, totaling 15. He draws another card, which was an ace. Remember an ace can be a 1 or an 11? Well, the dealer called it a 1, as to call it an 11 would have put him over 21, or ‘bust’. 5 + 10 = 15 + 11 = 26. So calling the ace a 1, 5 + 10 = 15 + 1 = 16.
With 16 the player was still winning, holding 20, so the dealer draws another card. This was a king. A king is valued at 10 so that put him over 21. 5 + 10 + 1(ace) = 16 + 10(king) = 26. Bust!
Basically, that’s it. When playing online, the computer will do most everything for you. When it comes to making choices, should you mistakenly call for a card when quite obviously you shouldn’t – say you have 20 and ask for another card, you will be prompted before you are given the card. This is useful for a beginner.
There is a lot more to be said about learning blaackjack, and we’ll say it all, but in essence it is trying to get as close to 21 as you can without going over.
There is a basic strategy for playing blackjack, which involves learning how to play any combination of two cards when up against any value dealer face card.
If you are interested in this game then you really should learn that strategy – it will pay off for you over the long run.
In short though, there is quite a bit to learn in that strategy,a nd it can be quite daunting for a beginner. So, to get you started here are a couple of rules to help keep the odds against you within reason. To start, you should never take the insurance bet. This is where you are offered an extra bet, while your hand is in play, against the dealer having blackjack. How and where this happens will vary according to the casino you are playing in, and the rules of the particular variation of blackjack that you are playing, but it is a good rule to never take this bet.
Another good and easy to remember rule concerns doubling. This is in fact my favorite part of the game, and it can feel like a nice extra bonus when you dowuble down and win. The rules for when and if you can double will again vary according to the variation of the game and the casino where you are playing. So you might often be given the option to double even though you should never double in that situation. basically, only double when you have a total of nine, ten or eleven AND when your toal is higher than the total of the dealers card.
So, if you have 11, but the dealer is showing an ace, do not double. If you have a nine, but the dealer has a ten, do not double. Simple rule, but it will help you quite a bit.