Blackjack Rules

Basic Blackjack Rules

In casino games, as in life, rules matter. If you don’t play within the parameters of a game, you’ll never win a prize. Fortunately, in the interests of accessibility and enjoyment, the rules of blackjack, roulette, slots etc. are fairly simple. In fact, within a few minutes, you could be playing your favourite casino games and, potentially, winning some juicy prizes. However, the fact remains that you still have to learn how to walk before you can run.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through all the blackjack rules you need to know before you play. Starting with basic casino blackjack rules before addressing issues such as what an ace in blackjack means, this guide should help you walk the line like a pro. Of course, knowing the nuances of blackjack betting is just the start of your journey.

To give yourself the best shot of winning, you need to learn some strategy concepts. But, before you can even think about that, you need to understand the basics. So, without further ado, here are the blackjack card game rules you need to know.

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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

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

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.

Blackjack Card Rules

So far in this guide to blackjack’s rules, we’ve talked about the general process of winning and the moves you can make. We’ve also used the words “score” and “total” quite a lot. To win, you need to get a better score than the dealer. Naturally, you’ll only know if you’ve got a potentially winning hand if you understand the scoring system. Thankfully, international and UK blackjack rules are very clear on this.

Blackjack card values: numerical card values in blackjack

The face-value of a card is its value in blackjack. For example, if you’re dealt a 5 and a 10, your total is 5 + 10 = 15. This isn’t a particularly strong score, so you may decide to hit. At this point, you receive a 4. Using some simple maths, you now know that your total is 19 (5 + 10 + 4). This, in a nutshell, is how blackjack scoring rules work. However, there are some subtle twists.

What is the value of jacks, queens and kings in blackjack?

Casino blackjack rules state that all picture cards – i.e. jacks, queens and kings – have a value of ten. So, if you were dealt king + 8, your score would be 10 + 8 = 18.

The ace in blackjack: is an ace high or low in blackjack?

An ace can be worth one or 11 in blackjack. For this reason, it's regarded as the most powerful card in the game. The choice, in most situations, is yours. For example, if you were dealt ace + 7, you can choose to have a total of 8 (1 + 7) or 18 (11 + 7). But, in some cases, you won’t be able to choose i.e. if your hand was 10 + 2 + ace (a total of 13), the ace could only be worth one because 11 would take you over 21 (i.e. bust).

When you have a choice, hands containing an ace are known as “soft”. The reason they’re known as soft, as opposed to hard, is because it’s impossible to bust on the next card. So, if we go back to the first example (ace + 7), there’s no way you can get a score of 22 or more with a single card. If you choose to hit, you could draw a 3 and take your total to 21 (ace + 7 + 3 = 21). Alternatively, you could draw a 10 and your score would be 18 (ace + 7 + 10 = 18).

How much is the Joker worth in Blackjack?

In blackjack, the joker isn’t worth anything as it's not in play. Therefore, it won’t appear on the table and doesn’t have a value.

What’s the number of cards in blackjack?

The number of cards in play can vary between 52 and 416. Under some blackjack rules, there will be one standard 52-card deck in play. Other rulesets will specify more decks. In the same way, you need to note the specifics of any game you join, you also need to ascertain how many decks are being used. As a general guide, the best blackjack rules are those with the fewest number of decks. For most variants, there will be six decks (312 cards) or eight decks (416 cards) in play.

Does the colour of the cards matter in blackjack?

In short, no. Regardless of the game you’re playing, blackjack card rules don’t place more emphasis on certain card colours. 

Do card suits have rankings in blackjack?

In the same way colours don’t matter, suits also have no bearing on your score in blackjack. Although certain bonus blackjack rules place certain values on suits, that’s not the case in open play. Therefore, in learning simple blackjack rules, you don’t need to worry about the suit or colour of your cards when assessing the value of your hand.

Busting in Blackjack

What is busting in blackjack?

Busting in blackjack is hitting a score of 22+.

Any score over 21 is null and void. The rules of blackjack state quite clearly that the best score you can achieve is 21. Indeed, that’s why the game is often known 21. However, as we’ve already said, you don’t have to hit 21 in order to win. 

Any time you bust, you lose. Similarly, if the dealer busts, they lose. This is integral to the game. For example, if you decide to stand on a score of 15, you’d win the round if the dealer hit 23. This is where tactics and blackjack strategy comes into play.

When the dealer is in a weak position (i.e. holding a card that makes it likely they’ll go bust), you can afford to stand on lower scores. In contrast, when the dealer is strong, you may need to take more risks. In essence, you’re playing a game of cat and mouse where both you and the dealer are trying to improve your scores without going bust.

What are the odds of a dealer busting in blackjack?

The dealer will bust, on average, 28.6% of the time. Naturally, the actual chance of the dealer busting will vary depending on the value of their cards. For example, if the dealer has 10 + 6, there are quite a few cards that could take their total over 21. Therefore, as a player, it’s your job to assess how likely the dealer is to bust based on what you can see.

One other part of the equation you need to factor in is the dealer rules in blackjack. As per the standard guidelines, a dealer must draw on any total of 16 or lower. To put it another way, the dealer can only stand when they have a total of 17 or higher. Based on this, you know that a score of 16 is extremely dangerous for the dealer because the rules of blackjack force them to take another card. In this situation, their chances of busting are high. Therefore, when you’re plotting your next move, make sure you take into consideration all of these things.

What happens when you get blackjack in blackjack?

Anytime you win the round with blackjack, you’ll receive a 3:2 payout as opposed to 1:1 for standard wins. Why do you receive a better payout? Simple: because blackjack is the best hand you can make. Indeed, if busting is the worst thing that can happen in blackjack, hitting a score of 21 with two cards is the best.

To make blackjack, you need your first two cards to be an ace and a 10/picture card. If you do this, one of two things will happen:

  • You’ll beat any dealer total that isn’t blackjack.
  • You’ll tie with the dealer if they also have blackjack.

Even though blackjack equals 21, it trumps any other score of 21 made from three or more cards. For example, ace + 10 (blackjack) is better than 10 + 5 + 6. 

What happens if you never bust in blackjack?

If you never bust in blackjack, it’s a positive start but it doesn’t mean you’ll always win. By not busting, you give yourself a chance to win the round. What’s more, you put pressure on the dealer. But, even if you never bust in blackjack, you won’t always win simply because scores matter.

Insurance in Blackjack

You shouldn’t fear going bust in blackjack. At the end of the day, it’s a game of calculated risks. However, there are times when you have the option to mitigate certain risks. As we now know, the value of the dealer’s first card matters. If their face-up card gives them a better chance to make a high score, it’s described as strong. Although we can’t know the value of the next card to be dealt, we know that tens/picture cards are more numerous than any other single value.

Based on this, high-value face-up cards are more likely to make a strong score. Why? Because, based on probability, the next card is likely to be a ten. Of course, it may not be a ten. However, there is more chance it will be a ten/picture than any other value. Continuing this logic, it makes sense that an ace is the best card the dealer can hold. If the face-up card is an ace, there’s a stronger chance the dealer will make blackjack. In these situations, insurance can be helpful.

Insurance in Blackjack

Under the rules of blackjack, an ace for the dealer opens up the option of insurance. Because it’s such a powerful face-up card, the house will give you a form of protection. If you take blackjack insurance, you’ll receive some money back if the dealer hits blackjack. Naturally, there is a cost to this. If you want to protect yourself, you need to buy insurance at a price equal to 50% of your original bet e.g. if you stake 10 coins, insurance will cost 5 coins.

Assuming you take this option and the dealer hits blackjack, you’ll receive a 2:1 return on your insurance bet. So, if you pay 5 coins for insurance and the dealer has blackjack, you’ll get 15 coins back (ten-coin profit + five-coin stake back). This 2:1 payout allows you to break even overall. By staking ten coins to play and five coins for insurance, your total outlay will be 15 coins. Therefore, with a 15-coin return on winning insurance bets, you’ll break even overall.

What is insurance in blackjack?

Insurance is basically a way of protecting yourself against the dealer having blackjack but it doesn’t mean you should take it. Although blackjack rules make this available when the dealer has an ace showing, it’s known as a negative expectation move. Yes, on a single hand, it can allow you to break even when the dealer is strong. However, in the long run, it’s a losing play because you’ll spend more than you get back.

When should a player take insurance in blackjack?

The honest answer is that it's not recommended to take insurance in blackjack. Looking at the maths, the return on investment (ROI) for blackjack insurance is negative. Without diving too far into the specifics, in a 52-card game with two players, there are 49 unseen cards after the initial deal. Of those unseen cards, 15 are worth ten.

If you don’t take insurance (basically an even-money bet because you’ll either make money or lose it), you’ll win 49 units. In contrast, if you pay 50% extra for insurance, you’ll lose 1.5 units 34 times (when the dealer doesn’t hit a 10/picture card).

Based on these numbers, 1.5 units X 34 = 51 units lost. In contrast, if you don’t take insurance you’ll win 49 units. The difference between these totals is 2. When you compare these two results you get  2 / 51 = 0.039 X 100 = 3.9%. Therefore, you will lose 3.9% or 0.39 coins for every one coin you stake when you take insurance.

Because of the negative expectation of taking insurance, you shouldn't take this option. Of course, you can make any moves you like. So, if you "feel" as though the dealer might have blackjack, you're free to take insurance if you wish. But, again, just know that, in the long run, it's a losing play.

Blackjack Insurance Rules

To recap, the rules of blackjack insurance are:

  • The dealer must be showing an ace as their face-up card.
  • You can have a hand of any value.
  • The dealer will offer you insurance at a cost equal to 50% of your opening bet.
  • If you take insurance, you can still lose the hand.
  • If the dealer makes blackjack, you will receive a 2:1 payout on your insurance bet.

Blackjack Dealer Rules

Blackjack dealer rules are interesting. The question that some newbies often ask is can dealers make their own decisions in blackjack? In short, no. However, there are certain moves they have to make. The most important, regardless of whether it’s American, European or English blackjack rules, is that the dealer has to make a minimum score. Outside of that, the dealer isn’t allowed to split pairs, double down or take insurance in the same way you can.

Dealer wins if his total hand value is 21

In the event that the dealer’s hand reaches a value of 21, they have high chances of not losing hand. The only way they don’t win the hand outright is if the hands of other players also add up to 21, which results in a tie, known as a ‘push’. If the dealer’s hand tips over to 22 or greater, their hand is invalid and the player wins, providing their hand totals 21 or lower.

Dealer wins if you bust or surrender

The rules of blackjack are that the dealer will give each player two cards and then deal themselves one face up card. The action is then on the players to decide whether to ‘stand’, ‘hit’ or ‘surrender’. If a player stands, they are happy to stick with their first two cards. If they hit they request at least one more card from the dealer. However, this means players run the risk of going ‘bust’, i.e. the value of their cards goes over 21. Players may also choose to surrender and salvage half of their original stake if they believe their initial hand has a low probability of beating the dealer’s hand, based on their initial face up card. Whenever a player busts or surrenders during a hand, the dealer automatically wins the round.

Do dealers have to hit on 16?

Yes. The minimum score we referred to is 17. All blackjack 21 rules state that the dealer must draw on any total of 16 or under. If we come at this the opposite side, we can say that the dealer must make a total of at least 17.If the dealer has a total of 16 or less, he needs to hit

It’s important to reiterate that the dealer has no say in the rules of their cards being dealt. If, after dealing their first two cards, the dealer’s total value is 16 or less they are required to hit and take another card from the deck. The dealer must continue to draw cards from the deck until their hand totals a minimum of 17.

If the dealer has a hard 17, he needs to stand

There is a difference between a hard 17 and a soft 17 for the dealer. A hard 17 is considered a hand that totals 17 without an Ace, e.g. ten and seven or nine and eight. If the dealer has a hard 17 hand they must stand always and cannot hit an extra card, even if a player has a higher total than 17.

If the dealer has a soft 17, he needs to hit

The difference between a hard 17 and a soft 17 for the dealer is that the latter hand includes an Ace card, e.g. six and an Ace. If the dealer has a soft 17 hand they must always hit and receive an extra card. The dealer will continue to take more cards from the deck until their hand is a hard 17 hand or greater. Anything over 21 means the dealer’s hand is bust.

Can blackjack dealers hit after 17?

No. If the dealer has to make a minimum score of 17, then logic dictates that they must stand on any score that equals or exceeds that. So, in practice, the dealer can’t hit once they have a total of 17+. This blackjack dealer rule sits in stark contrast to your options as a player. Even though it might not be advisable to hit if your total is 17+, you have the right to do it.

The dealer, on the other hand, doesn’t. This is something that actually works in your favour. Because you have more freedom than the dealer in certain situations, it allows you to make more decisions and, potentially, get an edge.

If the dealer has a total hand of 18 or more, he needs to stand

Whenever the dealer’s hand reaches a value of 18 or greater, they must stand and cannot take more cards from the deck to try and beat the value of the players’ hands. For example, if the dealer’s first two cards are a ten and an eight, they must stand. Similarly, if their first two cards were two face cards, e.g. two Jacks, they would have to stand on 20 and could not split them in the same way that players can do with pairs.

Does the dealer always win?

It is a misconception among many online blackjack players that the dealer always wins. Some also believe that the dealer wins a disproportionate number of times compared with the players. To dispel these myths, an understanding of the probabilities involved with basic blackjack strategy is required. Those that don’t adopt basic strategy are likely to give the casino a higher house edge and, ultimately, experience a lower return to player (RTP) percentage.

What happens if a dealer gets a blackjack?

If the dealer gets blackjack, they beat everyone else that doesn’t have blackjack. Under general blackjack rules, the hand is a tie if a player/s and the dealer both have blackjack. The only time a player won’t lose is if the player has insurance.

Do online casinos have dealers?

Yes and no. Virtual online blackjack games, i.e. computer simulations, don’t have a physical dealer. Instead, they’re powered by something known as random number generators (RNGs). An RNG is a computer program that uses complex algorithms to produce random results. Every licenced online casino and game supplier has to have their RNG software tested by a third-party agency. Once the software is deemed to be functioning fairly, it’s certified. Therefore, even though you can’t see “a dealer”, all online blackjack variants have one, just in a different form.

Of course, there are also live dealer casino tables online. These games do have dealers. Because you’re able to see the action playing out in real-time, the dealers do exactly what you’d expect. From shuffling and dealing to counting out totals, the dealers will ensure you have a true live experience via your desktop or mobile. Naturally, these dealers follow the rules of blackjack, as do RNGs in virtual games. Therefore, you don’t need to adjust your play based on the type of table you’re sitting at.

Rule Variations in Blackjack

Before we conclude this guide to blackjack rules, it’s important to point out that not all games are the same. In the interests of diversity and entertainment, game developers have introduced unique twists over the years. Naturally, with each innovation, a new set of guidelines emerge. Now, in almost all situations, the basic rules of blackjack will always apply.

However, there will be times when certain conditions are either different or not present. What’s more, you might try a certain type of blackjack where new rules have been added to the mix. Because of this, you should always learn about the nuances of a game before you play.

What are blackjack rule variations?

In simple terms, blackjack rule variations are points at which certain conditions differ from the norm. For example, according to UK blackjack rules, the dealer goes bust with a score of 22. However, if you play Blackjack Switch, the dealer can win with a score of 22. These subtle differences are known as blackjack rule variations and they present themselves in games that break from the norm.

What is the “house edge” in blackjack?

House edge is simply a way of quantifying how much of an advantage the casino/dealer has in a given situation. Before you play, it's just as important to understand that the house always has an advantage as it is that blackjack rules can vary from game-to-game. This edge is always measured numerically. However, it’s the specific set of rules used that determine how much of an advantage the casino has.

Everything from the number of decks in play to rules regarding splits, totals and payouts will go into determining the house edge. For example, in certain games, the dealer must hit soft 17 (a hand containing an ace). If we assume there are eight decks in play and other standard blackjack rules apply, the house edge is 0.43%. However, if the dealer has to hit on soft 17, the house edge changes to 0.64% (i.e. less advantage for the casino).

How does the number of decks affect the house advantage?

The number of decks in play can increase or decrease the house edge. Mathematically, the fewer decks in play, the lower the house edge is. In general, most blackjack tables use six or eight decks. So, with the basic rules of blackjack in play, an eight-deck game has a house edge of 0.43%.

Reduce the number of decks to six and the edge decreases to 0.40%. Have just one deck in play and the game is basically an even-money proposition, which means it doesn’t favour you or the house. So, in short, the more decks there are, the bigger the casino’s advantage will be.

Blackjack Games Rules: Different Options for Different Variants

We’ve said that certain games have different rules and that you should do your research before you play. However, to give you a head start, here’s an overview of the most popular types of blackjack here at Paddy Power Games.

Premium Blackjack Rules

Premium Blackjack follows the general rules of blackjack. As well as all the usual moves, such as splitting, doubling and insurance, you can win prizes worth up to 100:1 through side bets such as 21+1. Additionally, if you can draw ten cards and avoid going bust, this is known as a Ten-Card Charlie. If you can make this hand, you’ll beat all other totals except dealer blackjack.

Premium Blackjack Single Hand

Like its multihand equivalent, Premium Blackjack Single Hand offers a standard ruleset. The main attraction here is that you’re playing alone and, therefore, dictate the pace of play.

All Bets Blackjack

If you like a little bit of everything, All Bets Blackjack is for you. This game combines all the blackjack rule variations and bonus options, meaning you’ve got a huge amount of choice.

Cashback Blackjack

Standard blackjack rules apply in this variant. The only feature you won’t be able to take advantage of is surrendering (i.e. giving up your hand after the initial deal). What makes Cashback Blackjack appealing is that you can end a hand early. After the initial deal, the software will offer you a cash amount to fold before the dealer takes their second card.

Buster Blackjack

Buster Blackjack features a side bet that allows you to win payouts worth up to 2,000:1. When you make a side bet, you’re speculating on how many cards it will take for the dealer to bust. For example, if the dealer draws eight cards and busts, you’ll win 2,000:1. Aside from this feature, standard blackjack rules apply, apart from the fact the dealer has to hit on soft 17.

Blackjack Surrender

In certain blackjack variants, you can fold before a round’s natural conclusion. Blackjack Surender is one of these variants. If you don’t like your starting cards, you can surrender and lose half of your stake. Other than this condition, standard blackjack rules apply, such as 3:2 payouts, insurance, splitting and the dealer always standing on 17.

Live Blackjack

The beauty of playing live blackjack online is that there are various rulesets. For example, certain games allow a set number of players to play. Others, such as Unlimited Blackjack, make it possible for multiple players to bet on a single hand. Beyond that, you’ll also find bonus games such as Quantum where certain payouts are enhanced by random multipliers. Basically, if you want to try a variety of blackjack rulesets, the live dealer lobby here at Paddy Power Games is perfect. In the Live Blackjack section, you can also find the Live Blackjack Lobby provided by Evolution Gaming.

Blackjack Rules Step by Step

1. Find a table you can afford

Even if you follow good basic strategy in online blackjack, you can run out of cash fast if you don’t play at a table that suits the size of your bankroll. Divide your bankroll into small increments and only use a small percentage of it during each blackjack session. At Paddy Power Games, we offer online blackjack tables with minimum bets starting from just £1 per hand. Always bet responsibly.  

2. Basic strategy is a must

3. Win moderately and scale your bets up depending on your winnings

Alter the size of your stake at the blackjack tables depending on whether you are on a winning or losing streak. If you lose several hands in succession, decrease the size of your stake. On the flip side, if you are running hot, consider increasing the size of your wager to maximize your returns. Remember, once that hot streak ends, return to your original stake size – don’t get greedy!  

4. Don’t try counting the cards

5. Acknowledge when you need to leave.

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Blackjack Rules Tips

Can you win real money playing online blackjack?

Some sites will offer free blackjack software, allowing you to hone your skills against the computer. The downside to this is that you won’t get real-money wins once you get to grips with the game. As soon as you’ve grasped basic blackjack strategy, why not try playing online blackjack at Paddy Power to try and win real money into your player account?  

How does winning real money at blackjack work?

In order to win real money at the online blackjack tables you’ll need to make a real-money deposit into your Paddy Power Games account first. This will give you funds that can be converted into chips at the tables, so that you are ready for action. All winnings are also converted back from chips into real money, available in your account balance.  

How much money can you win by playing blackjack?

What’s really exciting about playing online blackjack is that the amount you can win at the tables is only limited by how much money you can afford to stake. Most online blackjack tables will have a maximum bet as well as a minimum bet, which should be made visible in the table rules.  

Can you beat the computer in online blackjack?

It’s rational to worry about being cheated at online blackjack by the computer. However, at leading online casinos such as Paddy Power Games, all our table games are operated using a random number generator (RNG) algorithm to randomise the outcome of every single game. These algorithms are also regularly audited by independent third-parties to give players further peace of mind.  

What are the chances of winning at blackjack?

Typically, an online casino like Paddy Power has around an 8% edge when it comes to online blackjack. Luckily for you, if you can learn and implement basic blackjack strategy, you can reduce that house edge to as little as 0.2-0.5%!  

Is playing online blackjack worth it?

Absolutely! There are so many benefits to playing online blackjack. It offers a high-octane, fast-paced gaming experience, compared to land-based casino blackjack. You can also play live dealer blackjack online, which allows you to engage with human dealers that manage your game from their studio in real-time.  

How is online blackjack different from the other casino games?

Game speed is arguably the biggest difference between other table games and online blackjack. At the touch of a button, the computer can automate the deal of your first two cards and away you go. That’s unlike online roulette, which requires you to click and drag your chips to bet on your chosen number combinations.  

So, there you have it, that’s the rules of blackjack. Although we’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, it’s important to remember that the basics apply in almost all situations. If you can grasp the fundamentals, you should be able to turn your hand to any type of blackjack. Whether it’s games with UK blackjack rules or exotic variants such as Blackjack Switch, the basics will give you a solid base to work from.

If you are new to the blackjack world, learn how to play online blackjack.

To enjoy the best online blackjack variants via your desktop or mobile, use our sign-up link and create your first account at Paddy Power Games today!



Using basic strategy, it’s possible to reduce the house edge of online blackjack to between 0.2-0.5%. At this point, you will be very close to breaking even when you play. Over short bursts of gameplay, it can be possible to beat the house by getting a ‘run’ or succession of wins against the dealer.


Yes, you can. Some people believe that card counting is the only way to win at online blackjack. The truth is, counting cards is nigh-on impossible online anyway, due to the use of RNG algorithms to randomise the outcome of each hand. Basic strategy can reduce the house edge and give you a better chance of winning.