No other casino game has been as glorified and glamorized as Blackjack. The game’s association with popular films like 21 and popular characters like James Bond have made Blackjack epically cool. But does the game live up to the Hollywood hype? The games many live and online fans would answer—resoundingly—yes. Of course hardcore Blackjack players know that the true thrill isn’t in watching or even playing Blackjack; it’s in winning it.
That’s why Casino Heaven is beating a path to Blackjack success by offering a slew of sound playing advice. Take a peek at our basics to learn the game from the ground up, then finish your education with a handful of helpful strategy tips.
Basic Blackjack Rules
Blackjack tables commonly seat as many as six players at once plus a dealer. As their title implies, the dealer distributes the cards, but they also collect and pay bets. To start any single Blackjack round, the dealer first gives each player two cards. The dealer gives themselves one card face up and one card face down and then waits for the players to make their moves before finishing their own hand.
Now the basic gist of Blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. Number cards 2-10 all count for their face value while any non-ace face card is worth 10. Aces are interesting in that they can either be worth 1 or 11 based on the person’s hand score at the time. For instance, anybody who gets an ace when they already have a hand of 11 or more will automatically have to play the ace as a 1.
Players have two basic choices: they may stand or hit. To stand is to accept their current hand while to hit is to request one additional card. Players may hit indefinitely until they go over 21; this is called “busting out.” In special circumstances, players may also split or double down.
If there’s one thing at the table that you should be watching, it’s the dealer’s first card. A large portion of your strategy will revolve around this single card. Of course you might get lucky and get a “natural” 21 with your first two cards, in which case you’ll automatically win the hand.
Not getting 21 doesn’t mean an automatic loss (unless of course you go over 21). You can still win by getting closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, which is why so much relies on their one face-up card. Say that the dealer’s first card is a 4, 5 or 6. While it may seem like an easy hand to beat by hitting, the smarter move is to stand if your hand total is already 12 or more. Why? House rules dictate that the dealer hits until they get 17 or more, so in this scenario the dealer is likely to bust trying to get their required total.
On the other hand, you’ll run into times where the dealer will hold a 2, 3, or 7 (and above) in which case you’ll want to hit on anything below a 17 since the dealer isn’t likely to bust with these hands. If the dealer’s first card is an ace, you will be given the option of purchasing insurance; because insurance wagers carry a massive house edge, you’re better off without them.