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What are the rules of Blackjack?

One of the biggest advantages that the game of blackjack has over its casino games counterparts is the fact that you can lower the house edge. This potent skill can only be applied if you know how to play the game well.

With the appropriate blackjack strategy and the right decisions, you can flip this advantage to your side. We won’t even go into card-counting as it doesn’t merit attention at this point. Just pick the right table, have the right bonus offers and win money playing blackjack online.

Today we will dissect and pay a close attention the Blackjack rules.

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What are the Blackjack card values?

You should know by now that the game of Blackjack, which is better known as 21, is a table game whose aim is to create a hand whose value comes as close as possible to 21 by beating the dealer and not going over. It is a simple enough concept but there are rules in place that can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Let’s start with the Blackjack card values. Cards between 2 and 10 have the value corresponding that on the card. Face cards, on the other hand including Jack, Queen, King and 10 are all worth 10. The Ace can be worth 1 or 11, and you can use either number to help you build the hand and ultimately achieve 21.

There is one very basic yet important rule to keep in mind when playing live blackjack: You need to beat the dealer by having a hand that has a better value than his but without going over 21. Get a hand value of 21 and you’ve got a blackjack. And if Lady Luck is smiling upon you and you have a blackjack, you will get paid 2:1. It is of crucial importance that before you sit down at a table, you pay attention at the pay out values.

Some live blackjack games pay 1:1 on a blackjack. You should avoid these games and look at the pay out values.

If you’re new to the game of live blackjack, you will have your own space at the table, where you’ll be dealt out two cards, a betting area and an additional area for side bets.

The dealer will also have his own designated area as well as the ‘shoe’ that holds one or more decks of cards (depending on the game you are playing). If you are playing regular online blackjack, there will be no shuffling as you would at live blackjack.

At a brick and mortar casino as well as live casinos, there are as many as 8 decks of cards per game. This is done in a bid to stop people from card-counting, a procedure that is considered cheating at casinos.

What counting cards does is essentially tracking both low ad high-value cards in order to predict the outcome of a hand.

Basic table rules

There are some basic table rules that you must adhere to, to get started at the game of live blackjack. For starters, the casino is represented by the dealer. The dealer will have one card facing up for your convenience. The other card will be facing down.

Once the cards have been dealt out, you will be asked whether you want to hit or stand. By hitting, you will be requesting additional cards. By standing, you’re indicating you’re happy with the cards you have at hand.

Once everyone has completed their hands or else busted, by going over 21, the dealer will proceed to reveal his card facing down.

Unlike the player, the dealer must also adhere to the rules set out by the table which we will discuss in a bit. If you beat the dealer, you win. If you and the dealer have the same hand value, all bets are returned in a move called “push”.

Rules for dealers

In order for you to understand how you can win more, you need to fully understand the rules for the dealer and how it can affect the game. The dealer does not have the same freedom the player has. In fact, he has to follow strict rules all the time. This is done in order to help safeguard the casino advantage and to avoid any unnecessary mistakes that could cost the casino money.

This means that over a period of time, the casino will make a neat profit, regardless of how many games the player makes. We’d like to say otherwise, but no matter how much you try, the house always wins in the long run.

Anyways, when it comes to the dealer revealing the card facing down, he will apply the same rules each and every single time in order to determine the next course of action.

Usually, if the total hand value is 16 or lower, the dealer will hit. The dealer will continue to hit until he has a minimum amount of 17 or busting. If the dealer has a total hand value of 17, he always stands.

Blackjack rules UK: Payouts and table limits

Once a player has won a hand, the casinos pays out the win immediately. There are special exceptions when this doesn’t happen right away, and that’s in the case of the player having a blackjack and the dealer having an Ace as a face-up card.

There is a good reason for this. There’s a good chance that the dealer might also have a blackjack, which might result in a ‘push’. If the result is a ‘push’, the bet is returned. We recommend having a look at our Blackjack Strategy Chart to reach the best decisions.

Then there are always table limits that you need to keep in mind before you sit down at a table. Some tables have a strict £5 a bet, but we’ve seen live casinos such as 888 Casino and BGO that have a minimum accepted bet of £1.  When it comes to sitting down at a live blackjack table, you should always consider your bankroll.

If you have a small budget, you would want to make your gameplay last as much as possible so go for a lower stakes table. If you are new to live blackjack, also go for a lower stakes table so you can better learn the game before committing to larger bets.

Insurance bet

We’ll cut this short and state that insurance bets are never worth it. Don’t even think about it. Never take out an insurance bet.

An insurance bet is a bet on whether the dealer has a blackjack from the get-go. If you opt for the insurance bet, you are adding half your initial bet additionally to the table. If the house has a blackjack, the insurance bet pays out at 2:1.

If both the player and the house have a blackjack, it results in a push.

When to double down

The option to ‘double down’ is not available at all live blackjack games, but we will discuss this option regardless. To ‘double down’, you get to double your original wager for an additional single card.

We only recommend going for this option, if you are quite sure you are going to beat the house, such as in the case of the dealer’s upcard being weak, between the value of 2 and 6. Statistically, a dealer that hits when he has such a weak upcard is more likely to bust.

Many new players to live blackjack, tend to hesitate on this additional bet, but used and applied properly it can lead to a win. Remember to always sit at a blackjack table that accepts bets that you can afford and are willing to part with.

When to split

When the option of splitting becomes available at a table, there are also rules in play to guarantee success. The option to split becomes available when you have two cards of the same value. Splitting allows you to split the hand into two. It is only available when you have two cards of the same value.

Once you have placed the additional bet on the second hand, you will be dealt out an extra card per hand. You must then decide whether to hit or stand for each hand.

If you have split two Aces, you will only be provided with one additional card. You won’t have the option to hit. Once you’ve split the hand, you also won’t have the option to split the hand further. So these are two rules you need to keep in mind as they become futile.

There are times when it’s not wise to split and other times, when it can be beneficial. For example, you should not split 4s or 5s, as you are unlikely to bust with a hand of two 4s or 5s.

Splitting 9s

If the dealer has an upcard of a 7, a card of 10 or less or an ace, don’t split.

Splitting 7s

When it comes to a pair of 7s, we would recommend splitting as with a hand value of 14, hitting would likely result in a bust and the hand as it is, is quite weak. At the same time, splitting the hand, could also become tricky to building a solid hand.

If the dealer has an upcard of 8 or more, then we recommend splitting.

Splitting 6s

You should only split 6s, if the dealer has a weak card such as a 4 or a 5. There’s a good chance of busting when splitting 6s.

Splitting 2s or 3s

You should always split these two, especially if the dealer has a weak card such as a 5 or a 6.

Splitting Aces or Eights

Similarly, you should always split Aces or Eights. There’s a good reason for this. There’s a good chance that if you split a pair of Aces, you can get a 10 resulting in a Blackjack. Again, always check the rules of the live blackjack variant you are playing as some casinos only allow one additional card when you have Aces.

When it comes to a pair of eights, these should also be split as otherwise you have a total hand value of 16. A 16 is tricky as hitting could easily result in a bust and 16 is low value.


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