A beginners guide to Blackjack

Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017 09:27

Blackjack is probably the most popular casino game in the world. The exact origin of blackjack is unknown but references of the game dating back to the 17th century have been found. Whoever the inventor was they have been responsible for countless hours of entertainment for centuries. This is a brief guide for players new to blackjack or for those who want to brush up on their knowledge of the game!

The Rules

Before playing any casino game you should always familiarise yourself with the basic rules! Luckily the rules of blackjack are quite straightforward. In a game of blackjack, the player is competing against the dealer. The objective of the game is to have a total that exceeds the dealer’s total but is not greater than 21. In blackjack all cards count as their face value, picture cards count as 10 and aces can count as either 1 or 11. In blackjack, the card suits and colours are disregarded. The total of any hand is the sum of the card values in the hand.

To start the game the dealer deals 2 cards to themselves and each player. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face up (the upcard) so that the players can see its value while the dealer's second card is dealt face down (the downward). The players' cards can be dealt either face up or face depending on the game. The dealer deals from a dealing shoe which normally contains 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards.

After being dealt an initial two cards players then have the option of taking additional cards, known as taking a “hit”. Players who are happy with the total of their initial cards can ‘stand’. In a given round a player or the dealer wins by having a score of 21, or a score higher than all of the other players and the dealer. If the total of the dealer or a player’s hand exceeds 21 they lose, what’s known as going ‘bust’.

There are two types of hands in blackjack, soft hands and hard hands. A hard hand is a hand that doesn’t contain an ace or does contain an ace but it has a value of 1. For example, 9-8 is a hard 17. 4-A-10-2 is also a hard 17. Any hand that contains an ace with a value of 11 is known as a soft hand. For example, A-4 is a soft 15. A-2-2 is also a soft 15. If you receive an ace in your first 2 cards it counts as 11.


Blackjack is usually played by a maximum of 7 players. The game is played around a semi circular piece of cloth with the dealer in the middle. In front of each player, there is a box known as the betting spot where the players place their wagers. Chips are placed in the betting boxes prior to the dealer dealing the hands. Blackjack tables usually have minimum and maximum betting limits.

After being dealt an initial two cards players have a number of betting options. If a player has two like cards (e.g. a pair of 8s) they can split their hand. To split their hand they’ll need to make a new bet equal to their original wager. They then play with each card as a separate hand. Players also have the option to ‘double down’. Here players double their initial bet in return for receiving a single draw card. If a player is immediately unhappy with their hand they can also forfeit the hand and their initial wager.

Both virtual and live casino blackjack is available at most online casinos.