Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in casinos. You can play it in any casino in the world (both online and brick-and-mortar). There is no online gambling hub listed at the most popular US betting sites, without blackjack as one of the main parts of its gaming catalog. Such enormous popularity lies behind two main reasons. First of all, as simple as straightforward as it is, blackjack is actually very fun to play. The thrill is guaranteed and the constant need for making important decisions highlights it even more.
In blackjack, you play against the dealer, not the other players. The game utilizes multiple traditional decks of cards. One deck has 52 cards in total, separated into four suits: hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds. While suits play a much bigger role in other games, you can ignore them in blackjack (at least when we speak about the basic rules).
Most of the cards are worth their rank in points, with an exception of the following:
- All face cards have a 10-point value
- Ace can be worth 1 or 11 points
Just sum the points up and you will calculate the score of your hand. The goal to get as close to 21 as possible (including 21). If the sum of your hand is higher than 21, you will bust and automatically lose the hand. You exclusively compare your hand to the one owned by the dealer. If you are closer to 21 than the dealer is, you win. It’s as simple as that. You can learn stuff like that on AmericaGambles by the way.
Before getting a seat at an online blackjack table, you should always check the rules for that specific game. In present times, there are numerous variations on the theme. Nevertheless, the most common rules specify the following:
- Dealer Must Hit Soft 17
- Blackjack Pays 3 to 2
- $5 Minimum & $500 Maximum
- Insurance Pays 2 to 1
The dealer has a scripted way in which he will play a hand (unlike the player). The dealer can’t hit (ask for another card to be dealt) a hard (a hand without an ace) 17 or higher, and he can’t stand on a 16 or lower.
Blackjack is a two-card hand that sums up to exactly 21 in total. If you get dealt 21 in two cards, you are an automatic winner regardless of the dealer’s hand unless the dealer also has a blackjack (in this case it is a push). Now, you regularly get paid at even odds (a $10 bet would net you a $20 win if you beat the dealer), but if you get a blackjack, you will get a higher payout (3 to 2).
In this case, a $10 bet would win you $25. Finally, you have the insurance option to try and cover losses if a dealer hits a blackjack. If you call for insurance, you will lose your stake, but get it back on insurance if you want to pay it before the dealer reveals his second card. The minimum and maximum bet amounts refer to the stake you are allowed to place per hand. These simple rules have made blackjack one of the most popular games in the world, despite the rise of video games in recent decades.
Card counting is an advanced strategy that helps you predict whether the next set of cards that are to be dealt is going to consist more of high or low cards. Instead of memorizing all cards (impossible), you just add 1 to the count if you see a 2,3,4,5 or 6. At the same time, you subtract 1 from the count whenever you see a 10 or an ace. You then adjust your bets in accordance with your total count. If it is positive, go for bigger bets, and vice versa.