How To Play BlackJack – Casinofy’s Blackjack Guide
Preface: Blackjack is a fascinating casino card game where players employ tactics and strategies to gain an advantage over the dealer. The objective of blackjack is clear: beat the dealer’s hand total without exceeding 21. Any hand value that beats the dealer’s hand will win, and payouts differ depending on the strength of the winning hand. Despite the skill-based element of blackjack, luck is integral to the game. The casino retains an edge over the player, albeit minimal when players implement perfect blackjack strategy.
Casinofy’s blackjack experts have pooled their collective knowledge of the game to provide new players with the ultimate blackjack guide. In compiling this guide, several key elements need to be addressed, notably:
- Basic blackjack rules
- Blackjack statistics made easy
- Card Counting techniques for novices
- Budgeting for blackjack gaming sessions
- Tactics and Strategies that can be implemented easily
- Emphasizing the importance of demo-play blackjack games
- Picking reputable blackjack casinos to implement gaming strategies
Each of these topics is important in a comprehensive ‘How to Play Blackjack Guide.’ Casinofy’s methodology differs from every other blackjack guide on the subject, because our focus is on the player’s perspective, with an expert’s handle on the game. Our blackjack experts were once novices, and through their shared experiences, we have been able to piece together a new blackjack guide for players.
What is the Purpose of Playing Blackjack?
You may feel slightly puzzled by this question. Don’t fret, many players are. The purpose of blackjack is not to hit 21, contrary to popular opinion. The objective of the game is simply to beat the dealer’s hand total without exceeding 21. You play to win. Nobody plays blackjack to lose. That’s precisely why it’s important to learn how to play blackjack before you start betting real money. This casino card game – a favorite among players – has a relatively low house edge.
This means that the casino only has a slight advantage over the player when blackjack strategy is used. There are certain rules that determine when you should hit, stand, split, double, or take insurance. It is incumbent upon players to carefully consult blackjack strategy charts which provide you with a sampling of player hands and dealer hands, and what you should do based on your hand total and the dealer’s up card.
The house edge in blackjack games can be as low as 0.5%. This means that players can expect to lose just $0.50 on every $100 wagered on blackjack games over the long-term. This is substantially more favorable towards the player than slot machine games which can have anywhere from 92% – 97% RTPs (players stand to lose anywhere from $3 – $8 for every $100 bet on slot machine games over the long-term). When competing against the dealer in blackjack, it’s important to understand the rules that the dealer plays by.
For example, in standard blackjack, the dealer draws to 16 and stands on all 17 (hard and soft). This is an important rule because it indicates that the dealer will keep hitting (drawing cards) until a minimum hand value of 16. The dealer will not hit after the ‘draw value’ is reached. While assessing the purpose of playing blackjack, it is equally important to understand blackjack terminology. That is the topic of our next section.
How to Play Blackjack: Understand Basic Blackjack Terminology
Blackjack, like poker, features a unique set of words and terms which must be understood before you can play blackjack for real money. Let’s quickly glance over basic blackjack terminology for a better understanding:
- Blackjack – Any 2-card hand that equals 21 is a natural winner. Blackjack hands always include an Ace and a 10-value card.
- Blackjack payout – the best blackjack payout available to players is 3:2, but other blackjack payouts like 6:5 are increasingly popular at casinos.
- Blackjack insurance – blackjack insurance is offered to players when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. Blackjack insurance is a side bet – an optional bet – offered to players as a hedge against a dealer blackjack. It costs 50% of your original bet, subject to table minimums and maximums.
- Hit – to take another card.
- Stand – not to take another card and stay with your current hand total.
- Double – to take one final card and to double your bet.
- Split – splitting identical value cards such as a pair of 8s, 6s, 9s, subject to the rules of splitting at the blackjack table. When you split cards, you play split hands. For example, a player with 8s can split into two hands and bet on each hand in the same blackjack game.
- Payout on 21 – if you don’t have blackjack, but you have 21, the payout is different. A winning hand typically pays 1:1.
First Things First – Picking the Right Blackjack Table is Important
In the real estate market, you will often hear the words, ‘Location, Location, Location!’ In blackjack, there are three elements that you must pay particular attention to before you implement a winning blackjack strategy. These include the following:
- Always select blackjack games with 3:2 blackjack payouts, not 6:5 blackjack payouts. This makes a huge difference to your profitability in blackjack games. As a case in point, a $100 bet on blackjack will pay $150 in profit at a 3:2 table, but only $120 at a 6:5 table. This is not a trick, or a statistical anomaly – it’s something that you can actually consciously do when you play blackjack for real money.
- Always select blackjack tables which have the lowest number of decks of cards in play. This is particularly true if you are at a land-based blackjack casino, but it’s also useful for online blackjack games too. The fewer the number of decks in play, the better the player is able to implement card counting techniques. If possible, always play Classic Blackjack with 1 deck of cards, and 3:2 blackjack payouts.
- Practice blackjack online at reputable online casinos. Demo play options are readily available to help players fine tune their tactics and strategies when playing blackjack. It is feeble to deposit money and play blackjack against the dealer with a limited understanding of card counting, probability analysis, blackjack tactics and strategies, et al. Casinofy routinely reviews the best blackjack casinos for your benefit – it’s a good idea to play blackjack in demo mode at our recommended casinos.
Useful Tips for Playing Blackjack Online
Nobody should play blackjack without setting a budget. A budget is your lifeline for all sorts of casino games, including slots, card games, and table games. Your budget allocation should not be flexible during your gaming session. Set a fixed amount that you’re willing to use or lose on your blackjack gaming sessions. The precise value varies from one blackjack player to the next. Once you have exhausted your budget, it’s time to sign out and refocus your attention elsewhere. Responsible gaming advocacy means that you should never chase your losses, never gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose, and never borrow money to gamble with either. With a fixed budget in hand, you can confidently begin implementing these important blackjack tactics and strategies:
- With limited numbers of decks in play, you can use a simple visual count to evaluate the likelihood of a 10-value card appearing on the next deal. For example, if the dealer has a King showing, and you are playing 3 hands simultaneously, each of them with a 10-value card, the probability of an additional 10-value card appearing on the next card that gets flipped over is lower than if none of the visible cards on the table is a 10-value card. This is rudimentary card counting, and it is not a perfect science. Use visual cues to calculate the likelihood of a 10-value card being flipped over by the dealer on the next set of cards to be dealt.
- Never pay for a ‘guaranteed’ or ‘proven’ blackjack strategy. That’s a gamble with a certain outcome – you lose every time. Rather follow the sage advice presented to you in this Casinofy blackjack guide. Despite the fact that blackjack has elements of skill and strategy, luck has an outsized part to play in the cards that are dealt to players. There is another aspect of blackjack that many novices are blithely unaware of – the dealer is always last to act. This is significant insofar as the dealer is not required to play if the player busts. Since you are always going to be drawing cards first, you are also going to be busting first. The dealer doesn’t have to do that until after you have acted.
- Whatever two cards you have been dealt, always hit if your hand value is 11 or less. This is an absolute given, and it makes sense. The maximum that you can draw is a 10-value card which takes you to 21. After 11, there is a chance that the next card you hit will cause you to bust. The closer you get to 21, the greater the likelihood that you will bust. The perfect balance has to be struck to ensure that you don’t lose your bet simply because you don’t know what the dealer’s hole card is. It’s always a good idea to stand on 18+, but check the numbers to be sure.
While card counting is certainly an option for novices, it is not recommended as a viable strategy for newbies. With basic card counting, players assign values of 1 and -1 to specific groups of cards. The higher the count (associated with many low-value cards on the table), the greater the number of high-value cards in the deck, and the greater the likelihood of a high-card appearing. The opposite holds true for a low count (large number of high-value cards on the table). This simply means that there are more low-value cards in the deck. That’s when you bet small, not big!