What is the goal of the Blackjack game?
The goal in blackjack is to beat the dealer. To help understand blackjack card rules and what certain combinations mean, it’s important to provide an overview of the game. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, nothing else really matters.
Many newbies assume that you have to get a score of 21 to win. Although that’s the best total you can get, it’s not the only way to win. In reality, you win a round of blackjack by not going bust and having a better score than the dealer.
✔FACT: You don’t have to get a score of 21 to win a game of blackjack!
Can you play blackjack against the house?
Yes. In some instances – i.e. at home with friends – you won’t be playing against “the house” i.e. a casino/ dealer. However, in general, blackjack pits you against the casino. This doesn’t mean there can’t or won’t be other players at the table. In fact, when you play online blackjack with us, you can choose to play alone or with others. But, regardless of how many people are at the table, it’s always you vs. the dealer.
Can you play blackjack against other players?
The aim of blackjack is to get a better score than the dealer and not other players. Having said that, there can be other players at the table. Their moves may influence the action, but you're not playing against them.
In general, multiplayer tables can accommodate up to five or six players. However, thanks to modern features such as bet behind, the number of active participants could be a lot higher. Whichever option you choose, blackjack betting rules are quite clear: it’s you against the dealer.
Therefore, when you’re thinking about the rules of blackjack and potential strategies, you mainly need to focus on your actions. Yes, there may be times when it helps to consider what other players are doing. However, in general, blackjack comes down to the actions of two players.
How to score hands in blackjack
At the start of each round, you’ll be asked to place a bet. Depending on the blackjack rules in play, the size of your bet will have to fall within a certain range.
Once you’ve made a bet, you’ll receive two cards. From here, the same blackjack card rules apply to everyone else at the table, including the dealer. To put it another way, everyone in play receives two cards. The important point to note is that player cards are dealt face-up, while the dealer’s cards are mixed. In other words, blackjack dealer rules state that only one of the dealer’s cards is visible after the initial deal.
Depending on the variant you play, the status of the hidden card will change. For example, blackjack rules in the UK state that the hidden card must be on the table in a face-down position. In contrast, American casino blackjack rules will leave the second card in the deck until it’s the dealer’s turn to act. Whichever ruleset the house is using, the fact remains that you’ll only know the value of one dealer card.
Once the initial deal is complete, your job is to make the best score/total possible, with 21 being the goal. Anything over 21 is invalid and you’ll have gone bust. When the action starts, you can stand if you have a strong total e.g. if your first two cards equal 18. However, if you feel like you need to improve, there are various moves you can make. In practice, the drawing rules in blackjack are:
What is the “hit” rule in blackjack?
Hitting is the word used to describe the process of taking an extra card in blackjack. You always have the option to hit, regardless of how many cards you’re holding.
What is the “stand” rule in blackjack?
To stand in blackjack means that you don’t want to take any more cards, i.e. you’re standing pat. Anytime you’re happy with your score, you can stand.
What is the “doubling down” rule in blackjack?
Doubling down is where you pay an extra bet to receive one additional card only. The extra bet must be the size of your original stake. In general, doubling down is only allowed once per round and usually after the initial deal. Although it’s sometimes possible to double on any total, this move is typically reserved for times when your starting score is 11 or lower.
What is the “splitting” rule in blackjack?
If you’re dealt a pair in blackjack, you can split them into two separate hands. To split, you’ll need to pay an extra bet that’s equal to the size of your original wager. Once you’ve done that, the dealer will physically split the hand into two.
At this point, each hand is given a second card. When the two new hands are complete, you can hit, stand, double and re-split (if you have another pair) just as you would with two standard hands.
What is the “surrender” rule in blackjack?
Surrendering in blackjack is the process of ending a round before its natural conclusion and receiving some of your money back. In some blackjack rule variants, you have the option to give up or surrender your hand but in others you won't be able to.
The surrender option is usually available before the dealer has revealed their second card. Players can choose to surrender if their starting total is weak and the dealer appears strong. When you surrender, you’ll receive 50% of your stake back.
When should you surrender in blackjack?
The action of surrender in online blackjack is one of the most important strategies to get right if you want to try and improve the long-term returns from your blackjack gaming. If you have no idea what surrender means in blackjack, read on as this section will explain the rules of surrender and how and when you can use it to your advantage.
What does it mean to surrender in blackjack?
The option to ‘surrender’ your blackjack hand is made available by certain blackjack tables and game formats. With some tables and online blackjack games it might not be offered, but it’s a good idea to know what to do when it is.
Surrendering your blackjack hand can be done after being dealt your first two cards. Players typically surrender their hand when they believe the probability of beating the dealer’s hand – based on the dealer’s initial face-up card – is low. In order to surrender, players must give up half of their original wager, but get to preserve the other half back in their bankroll.
What are the rules of surrender?
Typically, the option of surrender is only offered to players once they have been dealt their first two cards and the dealer is showing only one face-up card. However, depending on the rules of your blackjack table, it may still be possible to surrender after the dealer has checked their cards for blackjack. This means there are two forms of surrender available – early surrender and late surrender.
Early surrender tends to be less common at live and online blackjack tables. This is thought to be the most advantageous type of surrender, with players given the chance to surrender their hand before the dealer checks for blackjack. This is a big boost for players as it removes the prospect of losing their entire stake if the dealer does have blackjack.
Early surrender might be the best thing to do in the scenarios below:
· The Dealer has an Ace vs. Hard 5-7, Hard 12-17 or Pair of 3s, 6s, 7s or 8s.
· The Dealer has a 10 vs. Hard 14-16 or pair of 7s and 8s
· The Dealer has an Ace vs. a pair of 2s if the Dealer hits a soft 17.
Late surrender is more commonly offered to players at live and online blackjack tables. Late surrender gives players the option to end their hand and lose half of their original stake, but only after the dealer has checked for blackjack. In the event the dealer does have blackjack, the hand is over and players lose 100% of their original stake.
When should you take a late surrender?
Ultimately late surrender strategy in blackjack depends on how many decks are active in your game. Let’s look at the following scenarios:
Dealt a 14:
· You should take a late surrender against a dealer’s ten in single-deck blackjack
· Take a late surrender against a dealer’s soft 17 or a dealer’s ace in single-deck blackjack
Dealt a 15:
· Take a late surrender if your hand is nine + six or ten + five against the dealer’s ace in single- or double-deck blackjack
· You should take a late surrender if your hand is nine + six or ten + five against the dealer’s ten in blackjack games with up to six decks
· Take a late surrender if the dealer has a ten as well as an Ace on soft 17 in four-to-eight deck blackjack
Dealt a 16:
· Take a late surrender when the dealer has a ten or Ace in single- or double-deck blackjack
· You should also take a late surrender to a dealer’s nine, ten or Ace in four-to-eight deck blackjack
· Take a late surrender with an eight + eight hand against a dealer’s soft 17 if a split is not allowed
Dealt a 17:
· Take a late surrender to a dealer’s Ace on soft 17 if you have ten + seven in single-deck blackjack
When should you refuse a surrender?
There are some common errors that blackjack players make when it comes to using late surrender. Let’s look at the scenarios where you should refuse the option of late surrender:
· Refuse late surrender if you hold a hand worth 15 or 17 and the dealer stands on soft 17, showing a nine, ten or an Ace
· Refuse late surrender if you hold a hand worth 16 and the dealer’s up card is a nine
How does surrender affect the house edge?
By implementing the late surrender playing strategy discussed above, it should be possible to reduce the house edge of a multi-deck blackjack game by 0.07%. This might not sound a lot, but it’s these fine margins that will edge you closer to profitability in the long run.
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Blackjack Table Rules and Limits
Before we move on, it’s important to expand on a point we made earlier. In setting your bets, we noted that you’ll need to make a bet within certain parameters. Different blackjack tables will have different betting limits. In some games, you’ll be able to stake as little as 0.10 coins. In others, the minimum bet will be 100 coins.
The same applies to table rules. Depending on the variant, different rules will be in play. For example, blackjack European rules will be slightly different to blackjack rules for pick up 5. Because of that, you need to read through the specifics of each game before you play. Having said that, the general rules of blackjack will almost always apply in all instances.