Blackjack is hands down a true casino classic in its own right. It’s been played for centuries on end and it’s clearly not going anywhere anytime soon. As part of our extensive casino guide, we’re now going to take a closer look at how you fully master online blackjack. In other words, we’re going to talk about all there is to know about blackjack rules.
We’ll walk you through the objective of the game, card values, bet types, strategies and so on. If you’d like to find out more, just keep reading!
What is the Objective in Blackjack?
As far as blackjack rules go, there is only one objective you need to win the game: form a hand that amounts to 21. You can also win by having a higher value than the dealer, so as long as you don’t exceed 21 at any point in the game. If you’re extra lucky, you may even secure a win by drawing two cards that amount to 21 during the first card deal. Throughout the entire duration of the game, you are allowed to request more cards to help you reach 21 or to simply avoid going bust. We’ll talk more on this later, but for now, all you need to know is that 21 is the magic number!
As you can see, it’s one of the easiest casino games out there that you can master with a little bit of practice.
How to Play Blackjack
So, how do you put your blackjack skills and knowledge to the test? Although you need 21 to win, there are many other blackjack rules and key strategies that can help you win. Whilst all this information may seem overwhelming, we promise you’ll get the hang of it in no time once you’ve mastered the basics.
First off, all blackjack variants start with players placing a bet. This applies to all games that are equipped with a Random Number Generator (RNG) and live dealer tables.
Once you place your bet, the dealer or the croupier will deal cards from a device known as the shoe. This total amount of cards in the deck heavily depends on the game you’re playing e.g. Single Deck Blackjack, Multi-Deck Blackjack and so on. However, every game starts with both the player and the dealer having two cards. From that point onwards, you need to make up 21 or a value that is higher than the dealer. As soon as you make your move, the dealer will reveal his hand to see if he can Hit or go Bust.
This may seem like a lot of information at one go, but all you need to remember is the following blackjack rules:
- Place a Wager
- Make up a hand that doesn’t exceed 21
- The croupier reveals his hand
- The strongest hand wins
We’ll be talking about all these blackjack rules and moves in the upcoming sections.
Let’s talk values. In order to truly master all the blackjack rules in the book, you must familiarize yourself with each card value. Whilst it make take some time to know if you have a strong hand or weak hand, don’t fret, you’ll get there! That said, we still stress the importance of knowing one value from another as this can alter the outcome of the game. Additionally, it’s really not a great look if you decide to play for the big bucks and you don’t know your numerical cards from your face cards either.
So, first things first. As stated previously, blackjack is played between 1 to 9 decks (depending on the variant) each of which have 52 cards each. As far as values go, the numerical cards hold their pip value, the face cards amount to 10 and the Ace is valued at 1 or 11, depending on what the played/dealer decides. Just to make sure you’ve understood this, we’re going to break it down in the table below:
|TYPE OF CARD
|1 / 11 (According to what the player / dealer decides.)
Placing Bets and Dealing
Irrespective of the blackjack variant you choose to play, the general blackjack rules and the process remain the same. Bottom line; if you know how to play Classic Blackjack, you shouldn’t have a problem with trying your hand at Live Blackjack as all versions of the game follow a simple strategy:
Place your Bet
At the start of the game, you need to select the chip value. These are the same across the different versions, unless specified otherwise. The chips are then placed on the blackjack table. Once you’re happy with your bet, you can hit the ‘Deal’ button.
Dealing of Cards
As soon as you hit ‘Deal’, the croupier will deal your cards. At first, you’ll get two cards facing down, whilst the dealer gets and upcard and the other facing down. Hint: remember the dealer’s card. You can use it to your advantage at a later stage.
Making Your Move
You need to decide whether you require further cards to make up a hand that amounts to 21. If you happen to have an ace and a face card, you’ve already won since you can choose to value aces at 1 or 11. If you do not have 21 or you’re far off from the value, you can choose to try your luck or Stand as you deem fit.
Side Bets (Insurance)
Seeing as blackjack is renowned as one of the most popular casino games to date, it should come as no surprise that you also have the opportunity to place additional bets. In short, these are known as side bets. What’s great about them is that you don’t have to place huge wagers on them and more importantly, you can win some pretty big payouts. Here are some of the most common ones you’ll encounter when playing online blackjack:
- Perfect Pairs
Let’s take a closer look at how they can be used according to blackjack rules.
Insurance: This is perhaps the most common blackjack side bet. As per blackjack rules, this bet gives you the opportunity to half your original stake. In this case, the payout will be 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack. In this case, the insurance bet will decrease the house edge.
Perfect Pairs: In this case, only the player’s cards are used. As the name suggests, you can only win a payout if you have two of a kind:
- Mixed pair (Same Value but Different Suit and Color) – 5:1 payout
- Colored pair (Same value and the Same Color) – 12:1 payout
- Perfect pair (Same Card) – 25:1 payout
21+3: The 21+3 side bet grants payouts that based on the initial cards that are dealt and the dealer’s face-up card. The house edge varies according to the decks used. For example, the house edge stands at 8.78% for four decks, 7.81% for five decks, 7.14% for six decks and 6.29% for seven decks. As far as payouts go, here are some combinations:
- Flush (Cards of the same suit) – 5:1 payout
- Straight (Consecutive cards) – 10:1 payout
- 3-of-a-kind (Not suited) – 30:1 payout
- Straight flush (Consecutive cards of the same suit) – 40:1 payout
- Suited triple (Three of the same card) – 100:1 payout
Hit, Stand, Double Down and Split
Along with familiarizing yourself with the bet types, card values and how to actually deal them, you really need to learn some basic terminologies. You really don’t want to be THAT player who stops a game. So, the question is, have you ever heard about Hitting, Standing, Double down and Splitting? These play a huge role in determining the outcome of the game. That’s why it’s important to know what they mean, when to use them and how to use them correctly as the blackjack rules dictate.
Just like any other casino game, the house edge is also eve present in Blackjack. Whilst it’s relatively low compared to other games, the dealer still has a chance to profit from all of this. However, there are ways to go about it. With a bit of skill, knowledge of the game, a good strategy and a little bit of luck, you can easily decrease the house edge to less than. So how do the above mentioned terminologies come in? Let’s break it down.
Hit is the terminology you use when you want to ask for another card. From your end, you can continue to hit until you decide to stand or bust. As a rule of thumb, you should always hit if you have a total value of 8. Since there are so many 9 and 10 cards in a deck, it’s very likely that you have a strong hand in that way.
From the dealer’s end, he must always hit if the hand value amounts to 16 or less or if the total amounts to a Soft 17.
If you choose to stand, this means that you’re not interested in taking any additional cards. If you want our advice, you should always stand at 17, 19 or 20. The reality is that you can’t change things around by choosing to take another card, irrespective of what the dealer has. The objective is simple; Don’t go bust.
Choosing to stand also means that it’s time for the dealer to play his hand. As far as blackjack rules go, the dealer must always stand on a hard 17 and if the total amounts to 18 or more.
Commonly known as the money move, you have the option to double down during your gameplay so that you can make twice your profit. To put it simply, doubling down is the act of placing a second bet depending on the chances of winning the game. Depending on the blackjack variant you’re playing, doubling down can decrease the house edge to 0.13% and 0.42%. If you double down on 10 or 11, this will increase between 0.21% and 0.76%.
So, when should you double down? First of all, you need to remember that this is based on the mathematical calculations of the game. In short, you should double down when you’re positive that you’re going to make the dealer go bust. This usually happens when the card that is facing up is either 2 or 6.
You’ll find that splitting your cards also plays an important part in increasing the odds in your favor, as well as decreasing the house edge. For this to happen you first need to understand the pros and cons of splitting, as well as familiarizing yourself with the key opportunities of when it's best to split.
First of all, you can only split your hand if you have two cards of the same value e.g. two kinds, two fours or two Aces. Depending on the variant you’re playing, some blackjack rules allow you to split unmatched face cards since they amount to 10. In other words, you can split a King and Queen.
You also have to make sure that you place a bet that amounts to the same value as the original bet. As soon as this step is out of the way, your matching cards will be split into two hands. Additionally, you’ll also get an extra card for every new hand.
If you want our recommendations, Aces and 8s should always be split. Since Aces are extremely powerful, it’s highly likely that you’ll have a hand value of 10 for your next card. Eights should also be split since 16 isn’t a strong hand if you choose to stand on it. Additionally, if you hit, it’s also likely that you’ll lose the game. You should also never split 4s, 5s or 10s as you can very easily go bust.
Blackjack Hands Comparison
So, what’s your best bet to take home the gold? So far, we’ve talked about bets, card values and other terminologies. Here, we’re going to talk about your probabilities and odds when it comes to dealing cards. This will come in hand when you take your place at the blackjack table. In each of the player and dealer’s probability tables, some hands are better than others for both parties. So, we thought we’ll compile some information about the hand comparisons so you can have a better idea of what can make the dealer go bust.
This is only a general overview, but you can find more information on our Blackjack Odds and Payouts page.
Player’s Probability Table
|11 or lower
Dealer’s Probability Table
|PROBABILITY WHEN STANDING ON SOFT 17
|PROBABILITY WHEN HITTING SOFT 17
Top Blackjack Variants in Canada
We’ve done enough talking, it’s time to move on to what type of blackjack games Canadian players can check out. If you’re not sure which blackjack game is more your speed, you can check them out for free by opting to play the demo version first. Once you’ve brushed up your skills and you’re ready to bring the house down, it’s time to dive headfirst into the action by playing real money blackjack games.
From traditional blackjack games such as European Blackjack, to more thrilling titles such as Blackjack Switch, Free Bet Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack, Spanish 21 and Live Blackjack, we’ll tell you one thing; you’re certainly spoiled for choice.
Switch ‘em up! Did you know that you can switch two bad cards into two good ones? That’s where blackjack switch comes in! It is undoubtedly one of the most exciting variants to date. All you have to do is play with two hands of the same value during each round. You can then keep both hands or replace the second card.
Free Bet Blackjack
Free Bet Blackjack forms part of Evolution Gaming’s Infinite range of blackjack games. Featuring bets such as free Double Down and Split, four optional side bets and the Six Card Charlie rule, this game follows the blackjack rules of some of the most loved blackjack games.
European Blackjack or Classic Blackjack is the traditional form of blackjack. In this case, you are required to play with 6 decks where the dealer has to stand on Soft 17. The player can double down after splitting cards, except 4s, 5s or others that are valued at 10.
Vegas Strip Blackjack
Want to experience what it’s like to play blackjack in Sin City? Well, it’s you’re lucky day! We’ve got just the treat for you with Vegas Strip Blackjack. In this case, the blackjack rules require you to play the game with 4 decks of 52 cards each. You can double your hand, split up 4 hands as well as the aces.
Is Spanish 21 the blackjack game you've been looking for? According to the blackjack rules of this variant, it is played with a shoe of six decks. At first, you are given two cards but you will keep receiving them until you stand. Naturally, you still can’t exceed 21. Once you place a bet, you’ll receive the cards and you can hit or stand. The dealer will then place his bets.
You also have the option to split paired cards and two bet with two hands. You can also split your cards again if you are dealt another pair. In this case, the payout is 1:1.
Live blackjack is all about the thrills and the action. For the most part, it follows the same set of blackjack rules found in Classic Blackjack. However, live blackjack is played in real-time. This means that all live blackjack variants are streamed from casino studios and casino venues from around the world.
What makes it more exciting is the presence of the live dealer. The best part about this is that you interact with dealers whilst the cards are dealt and the best are being placed. Additionally, you can personalize your experience to your liking by adjusting the highly technological-advanced multi-angle camera. In this way, you can experience the action from all sides of the table.
With regard to the different variants, you’re also spoiled for choice. From Speed Blackjack, Power Blackjack, Infinite Blackjack and many more, you’re guaranteed a whale of a time. On that note, there may be a few tweaks in the blackjack rules, but for the most part, the objective remains the same.
Blackjack Rules FAQ’s
🧐 What are the basic rules of blackjack?
The basic blackjack rules you need to remember is to form a hand that totals to 21. You can also win by having a higher value than the dealer, so as long as you don’t exceed 21. Additionally, there’s also a chance of having the first two cards equal to 21. If the total is 21, you win, if it’s lower than 21, you have to make the necessary moves and incorporate key strategies to make the dealer go bust.
You can ask for additional cards and make moves such as Hit, Split and Double Down to improve your chances. You can also choose to incorporate strategies such as the blackjack basic strategy or card counting. All this applies to all blackjack games.
🤓 Is playing blackjack online the same as when playing at a land-based casino?
Yes, online blackjack follows the same blackjack rules that are used in land-based casinos. The main difference lies in the blackjack variants. Some of these feature different titles, as well as various betting options. You can also choose to play for free or for real money, just as long as it’s not live casino. Since live games are streamed in real time, it’s impossible to have a free version. Some titles include the following: European Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack, Infinite Blackjack, Free Bet Blackjack, Blackjack Surrender, Atlantic City Blackjack and many more.
🚀 Why is playing blackjack online better?
Whilst a visit to a top casino is always great, playing online comes with more perks. For starters, you have the convenience factor. You can easily play your favourite blackjack games (and other casino games) from the comfort of your home or on the go from all devices including desktops, tablets and mobiles. You can also play for free if you’re not confident in your abilities yet, as well as win bonuses along the way! (T&Cs Apply)
💯 Can I play Live blackjack from Canada?
Absolutely! Lucky for you, we are partnered with great online casinos who offer showstopping live blackjack from top contenders such as Evolution Gaming and NetEnt. If you’re looking for something special, don’t hesitate to give live blackjack a whirl!