When it comes to casino card games, few enjoy more popularity than blackjack. The simple rules and relatively small house edge make it into a very good option for new players.
Blackjack is also a good pick if you want to go for a quick playing session. And thanks to its popularity, blackjack keeps drawing in new players. If you want to get started in blackjack, then you’ve come to the right place. Slothino has the guide you’ve been looking for on how to play blackjack. Learn everything you need about blackjack rules, blackjack variations and blackjack strategies.
Blackjack: an introduction
Blackjack is a card game with fairly straightforward rules. It’s played with one to eight decks. You are going up against a dealer. Each of you will begin the game with two cards. One of the dealer’s cards will remain face up, while the other will be facing down.
Your objective is to obtain a sum as close to 21 as possible – but without going over that value. If that happens, you lose. Cards count the respective face value, while suits don’t matter. Jack, Queen and King are each worth 10, while the Ace is worth either 1 or 11. As the dealer continues to distribute cards, you can stand your hand when you think that your sum has a good chance of beating the dealer’s hand.
These are the basics if you want to play blackjack for the first time and without any previous knowledge. As you can see, it’s a fairly simple game, without too many complex rules. Players will place a bet at the beginning of the round, and win by getting a hand with a higher sum than the dealer’s. If the dealer’s hand busts and goes over 21, the player also wins. On the other hand, if the dealer’s hand has a higher value than the player’s, or if the player’s hand busts, then the house wins.
More than just luck, blackjack actually involves an element of skill. Combined with the simple rules and a relatively small house edge (less than 0.2% with the right strategy), blackjack is a common pick for both new and experienced casino players.
With the basics now out of the way, it’s time to take a proper look at how the game actually works. After placing your bet, you will be dealt two cards. The dealer will also have two cards, with one of them facing up and the other facing down. In some blackjack variants, both of the dealer’s cards will be facing up. After seeing the dealer’s hand, you can either stand or hit. Standing means that you won’t be dealt any more cards, staying put with the current hand value. Now if your hand sum isn’t anywhere near 21, you can hit and the dealer will give you another card. There is no limit here, so players can hit until their hand reaches a good enough value or until their hand busts and exceeds 21.
Now standing and hitting aren’t the only options available to the player. You can also double down or split. Doubling down, as the name implies, means placing another bet that has the same value as the initial one. This is a good strategy if you are dealt a favorable opening hand. Splitting lets you place the two cards from your opening hand into two separate hands. You must place a second bet of the same value as the initial one. In this case, the dealer will give you two additional cards, one for each hand. Each game variant has specific rules for splitting hands, so make sure to always check beforehand. If everything goes wrong, you can also surrender the bet. By doing so, you will limit your losses to 50% of the value, rather than losing the entire bet.
While the player has these three options, the dealer can only stand or hit. If the dealer’s hand value is 16 or less, they must always hit. If the dealer’s hand value is 17 or more, they must stand. In some variants, the dealer will stand on a soft 17 (a hand containing an Ace). Other variants will have the dealer hit on a soft 17. This is also important to keep an eye on, as it significantly affects the house edge.
The dealer always goes last, which offers them a slight edge. If the player busts first, the game is over. After the dealer is done, it’s time to compare hands. Whoever has the highest value wins. If it’s a tie, then the player receives their wager back. A blackjack (21 hand value) pays 3:2, while all other wins pay the regular 1:1. Some blackjack variants allow you to place side bets as well.
How to Play Blackjack and Best Blackjack Strategies
Blackjack is a game of statistics and probability. Since it involves skill and strategy, it also decreases the house edge. An unskilled player, with no previous knowledge about blackjack strategy, will significantly increase the house edge – and lose much more money as a result. But that’s all talk if we don’t bring along the numbers: while a good blackjack player can get the house edge below 0.2%, a player with no strategy will increase the house edge to 8% or higher – 40 times that previous value.
The first thing to do when playing blackjack is finding a game that offers you a better chance of winning. Single deck games will decrease the house edge, while eight-deck games will increase it. On the other hand, single deck games often pay less for a blackjack compared to the other ones. Games that allow the dealer to stand on a soft 17 will also increase the house edge compared to the ones that force the dealer to stand. Also keep in mind that some games will count ties as wins for the dealer. Of course, game variants that offer fewer risks to the player will also pay less, so it’s up to you to strike that balance and make the best choice.
Last but definitely not least, having a blackjack strategy table is definitely something to consider. These tables offer you tips on what to do with each opening hand. The strategy table is different depending on the number of decks.
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Blackjack at Slothino
Now that the intros are done with, are you ready to try your hand? Or maybe you first want to read some more about why Slothino is such a great online casino. Keep browsing our blog or check out other Slothino resources such as slothino-casino.com and slothino-bonus.com. Slothino is the right place for some gameplay n’ chill. Come hang around with us and play some blackjack. Slothino has plenty of blackjack variants for you to enjoy, including live blackjack. You might have a hard time picking between Double Exposure Blackjack, European Blackjack, Premium Blackjack, VIP Blackjack and much more. Take your time and choose whichever blackjack game suits you best. Stay a while, Play a while!