Blackjack is far and away the most popular casino game played world-wide. Part of the reason for this popularity is the fact that, when played correctly, blackjack offers better odds than any other game. Another reason is that, quite simply, blackjack is a simple game with rules that are easy to understand. Simply get a higher hand than the dealer’s without going over a count of 21. Of course there are a few other rules that you will need to know, and some basic strategies that help increase your odds of winning.

The basics

In blackjack, all number cards are counted at their face value, picture cards counted as 10, and the Ace counted at 1 or 11 at the option of you the player – whichever is more advantageous to your hand. Therefore, if you hold a 9 and a 5, you have 14, but a nine and an Ace can be either 10 or 20. A blackjack hand is a 10 (10 or picture card) and an Ace, and its beats all other hands (except another blackjack). If you have a blackjack, and the dealer has 3 cards that add up to 21, you still win, but if you have blackjack and the dealer also has blackjack there is a stand off (ie you neither win or loose). Bets must be placed before any cards are dealt, and most casinos give the player plenty of flexibility as to the bet amount.

A bet is placed by simply putting your chip in the bet box before the round of cards are dealt. Once your bet is placed, the dealer will give you 2 cards, face up. The dealer also deals himself two cards, one face up and the other face down. You are then given the option of standing (not taking another card) or hitting (taking another card). You can also at this stage choose to double down or split at this stage, but more about these later. You may hit as often as you wish but if you go over 21, you bust, and the dealer wins automatically. All instructions, standing, hitting etc are clearly indicated at our top 10 casinos.

The dealer will not take any cards until all players at the table have made their choices, and this is where the dealer’s biggest advantage lies. Any players that bust lose their bet even if the dealer also goes bust. Once all players at the table have either gone bust or stood, the dealer shows his face down card. If the dealer’s hand totals 17 or higher he/she must stand, they are not allowed to take additional cards. If the dealer’s hand is 16 or under he must hit until the hand has a value of 17 or higher. These two rules are a critical part of basic blackjack strategy, so be sure to remember them.

The dealer also busts and loses if they deal themselves over 21. If you beat the dealer with a normal hand (ie not blackjack) you double your money. If you beat the dealer with blackjack, you win 1 times your bet. If you get the same hand as the dealer, there is a stand off and you don’t win or loose (including blackjack hands). These are the basics but there are a number of other rules that it is very useful to have a good understanding of.

also useful to know

In most casinos, you can double down (double your bet) after receiving your first two cards. However, there is one condition. When you double down, you can take only one more card.

You can also split pairs. If your first two cards of the deal are the same value, you can split the cards and play two hands by placing a bet of the same value as your original bet on the second hand. So if you split a pair of 9’s you create two separate hands, each with a value of 9. Then you proceed to play out each hand as you would do normally.