What are the Rules of Blackjack?

Blackjack is sometimes known as 21, and is one of the most played games in any casino. It’s a high-strategy game, with odds that tend to fall on the player’s side. The rules aren’t overly complicated, which is another reason the game is very popular. So what should you know before you play?

Well, below you will find a detailed guide on the number of decks used, the card values, and the basic rules you need to know in order to successfully get that coveted 21. So, let's get started with our crash course in blackjack basics.

Rules of online blackjack games

The 21 Blackjack Rules in Detail

The number of decks used in play varies, depending on the casino and the game. The cards from 1-9 are assigned the pip value that they display. An ace is valued at either eleven or one. The king, queen, and Jack are known as face cards, and carry the value of ten.

There is one object of the game when it comes to playing blackjack, and that’s to beat the dealer. To do this, you have to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. That’s not enough for victory, however. In order for you to take the win, the dealer needs to have a total lower than yours, or to bust (exceed 21).

The basic rules of play in blackjack are very straightforward. When you’re playing online, the cards are automatically shuffled, and then you place your bet. Once both of your cards have been dealt, your options will be displayed on the screen. If your hand ever exceeds 21, it is bust, and your game is over.

You will be able to:

  • Stand. You just keep your two cards.
  • Hit. You receive one or more cards. This continues until you decide to stand or go bust.
  • Double Down. You can double your bet by only receiving one more card.
  • Split. If you have a pair, or two cards that are valued as tens, you can split your hand and double your bet. You now play with two separate hands.
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Betting Rules in Blackjack

At the beginning of the game, the cards are shuffled and the bets are placed. Starting from the left, each player is dealt a card, which is placed face up on the table. The dealer’s first card is also placed face up. The second card is dealt in the same way to the players – they can now see both of their cards, and are ready to play.

The dealer’s second card is placed face down, and is known as the hold card. The dealer can only peek at the hold card if the first card is an ace or has a value of ten. If both of the dealer’s cards come to 21 at this point, it’s blackjack, and the game is over. The dealer always plays last. Once all hands have been played, the dealer pays out any winnings, and collects any losing bets. A fresh game now begins.

Variations in Blackjack Play

It’s best to check for any differences in blackjack betting rules before you begin to play, as side bets in Blackjack Double Attack are allowed in certain circumstances. The rules can vary between casinos and games, but let’s go through a few of the more common ones.

Blackjack Game Variations

blackjack surrender
Blackjack Surrender is a game, in which players have the option not to play their hand.
blackjack double attack
In this version, you are offered side bets and double bets, as well as a ‘Bust It!’ wager.
blackjack pro
Standard blackjack at its best and a good choice for both beginners and advanced players.

Play Differences in Blackjack Rules

There’s a lot of variety in the online casino games on offer, so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Although each variant will have its own specific set of rules, these are usually easy to follow. There’s usually a help option available if you want to verify anything. The number of decks used in play differs. Online blackjack casinos normally use between six and eight decks, but you’ll also find single-deck games on offer.

Be aware that when the game is played online, the software automatically shuffles the cards, so the single-deck games don’t give you any win advantage. Cards are usually shuffled between hands, but some software has a random shuffle option, as well. Table limits vary, but with such a wide range of games online, you’ll easily find something that meets your requirements. As always when playing online, house rules will determine your maximum bet.

The Rules on Soft 17

Finally, it’s worth us having a look at the rules on Soft 17. In most blackjack games, the dealer’s hand stands at 17 or more. This means that at 16 or less, another card must be drawn. In some online casinos however, the Soft 17 rule is applied. This is when the dealer’s hand contains an ace, which is being counted as 11.

In this case, the dealer must hit on 17, which changes the house edge. It might seem that the rule increases the likelihood of bust, but the opposite is actually the case. On the occasions that the dealer doesn’t bust, the hand is high, and it tends to be a winning one. This is why it’s worth checking the rules on Soft 17 when you choosing your game.

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