Blackjack is one of a classic card game played in Casino’s all over the world. It is prevalently known as game of Twenty-one and is played with one or more normal deck of cards. There are 52 cards in a deck excluding Joker cards; these are divided into four suites namely Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs. Each suite has thirteen cards. These are picture cards of the Queen, King and Jack. They have a “10” value; Aces can have values of “1” or “11”; and the rest of the cards are the face value. The deck of cards is placed in a dispensing container known as the “Shoe” and is usually to the left hand side of the “dealer”. Blackjack is played in varied forms such as Spanish-21, Blackjack Switch, Multiple Action Blackjack, Super Fun 21 and others.

Blackjack essentially is a comparing game of cards between the dealer and the player. The main objective of the player is to get close to total of “twenty one” than the dealer without getting over “twenty one”.

play blackjack

The Game

The player has to make a bet to commence the game, then the dealer provides two cards to each player on the table and two cards to himself. Both the player’s card is provided face up whereas the dealer has one card face up and the other is face down, which is called the “hole card”. The hole card is revealed once the last hand / player has finished being played. The player cannot change or alter the bet once the first card is provided. The player based on the total value of his cards; the open card of the dealer and the cards on the table of other players need to decide his next move whether to Hit / Stand / Double / Split / Surrender by applying theory of probability. The dealer has to compulsorily opt for Hit on any value “Sixteen” or lower. If the player draws another card then it is a Hit; if the player doubles his initial bet and gets one more card it is a Double; Suppose the player has any two ten value cards or a pair of equal value cards then he can double the bet and separate his cards into two individual hands then it is a Split; if the player is unsafe and decides to forfeit half his bet and do not play any hand then it is a Surrender. Suppose the dealer’s upcard is an ace then “Insurance” option is offered prior to dealer checking the hole card. It is treated independently as a separate side bet that the dealer has a blackjack.Blackjack is receiving total value of twenty one on the first two cards; suppose the dealer and player hit a blackjack then it is no win to both. Receiving a blackjack either by the dealer or player will declare him as the winner.

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Getting a value more than twenty one, either by the dealer or player will declare him as loser and this is called busting. The player’s hand with an ace valued as eleven is termed as “Soft”; meaning the player can safely opt for an additional hit without getting busted as any other value card with an eleven will always sum up to twenty one or less. Any other condition other than soft hand is usually termed as “Hard”.

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Winning tips and strategies

blackjack rules

The game is always between the player and the dealer; the game does not exist between players. The bet amount is to be decided by the player after determining the minimum and maximum bet allowed on a particular table. The bet amount should be placed inside the nominated circle.

Hand signals must be used always to indicate a hit / stand / double / split / surrender or any other communication to the dealer. Verbal communication with the dealer should be avoided; if there is a conflict then the communication through hand signals can be accurately viewed through CC camera recordings and decision may be arrived at. It is always advised to change currency notes to cheque / coupons used in the casino for betting.

The total value of the player and the value of the visible card of the dealer shall determine the strategy to be adopted by the player. The basic strategy may be decided after calculating the risks and chances of achieving a total value closer to 21 than the dealer without getting busted.

The dealer need to take a card on any value of sixteen or lower, hence the chances of player to win with less value other than seventeen is very remote except if the dealer ends up busting i.e., value greater than twenty one. It is advised to player to play a hit on any value below seventeen if the dealer shows any card of value ten or nine or eight, since these are not likely to lead the dealer to bust.

In case of insurance bets, the player is more likely to lose the bet as the chances of dealer ending up in blackjack in only one in three times. It is advised to stand when the player has less than seventeen and dealer has a value of six hand value or below.

It is advised not to split cards of value of tens or fives; split eights or sevens always with the dealer’s equal value or lower value cards; also advised to split aces always

Double may be adopted when the dealer’s card value add up to below ten and the player gets a value equal to ten or if the player value is less than eighteen with a soft ace. The player is advised not to stand when the value is so small that the chances of bust is not possible by adding any value card.

All casino’s usually have a standard strategy card for beginners which act as a ready reckoner and helps the player to choose the strategy. Correct usage of the strategy card shall help the player to decide on the move to choose and minimize the wrong hands.

Always consider tipping the dealer so that the dealer has a soft corner and best interests towards you.

Never split two 5’s – Two 5’s give you a value of 10. You can double down and ask for one card to stand a chance to get closer to 21. If you spilt two 5’s you are making a bad decision.

Spilt two 8’s –Two 8’s make a 16, which is always a worst hand. If you spilt two 8’s you stand a better chance of at least one winning hand.  In case you draw two 10’s you make two 18’s which is a chance to win both the hands.

Never spilt to 10’s – This is an excellent hand with tow 10’s giving you a value of 20, which can be only be beaten if the dealer gets 21 which is very hard to get. You have a winning hand dealt out to you with two 10’s.

When to double down?

  1. If your count is 11, double down if dealer has 10 or Ace.
  2. If your count is 10 and dealer’s shows 9 or less.
  3. If your count is 9 and dealer gets 2 to 8.
  4. Definitely double down if you have a 9 and dealer has 4, 5 or 6.
  5. If your count is soft 13 or soft 14 and the dealer has a 5 or 6.
  6. If your count is soft 15 or soft 16 and the dealer has a4, 5 or 6.
  7. If your count is soft 17 or soft 18 and the dealer has 3to 6.
  8. Stand if you have 17 or higher.
  9. Stand if you have 12 to 16 and dealer has 2 to 6.
  10. Hit if you have 12 to 16 and the dealer has 7 or higher.
  11. Always draw if you need to soft 17 or less.
  12. Only draw if you want soft 18 and the dealer has 8, 9 or 10.

Doubling down is a great method to gain an edge over the house, so think wisely before you decide to use this strategy.

More on splitting strategy to Play and Win Blackjack

  1. Always spilt pair of 8’s which gives you 16 and is considered the worst hand.
  2. Spilt Aces as you get either 2 or 12, which on splitting becomes 11.
  3. Don’t spilt 4, 5 and 10.
  4. Spilt 2 and 3 if the dealer holds 4 to 7.
  5. Spilt your 6 if the dealer holds 3 to 6.
  6. Spilt your 7 if the dealer holds 3 to 7.
  7. Spilt your 9 if the dealer holds 2 to 6, 8 or 9.

Don’t lose focus and don’t make haste, and do not even give in to pressure. Remember that you are playing for money as well as have some fun.