Emotions are distractions and might cause you to make excessive bets or playing strategy errors that will cost you dearly. The dealer's card which faces up. A computer or mobile internet device and an internet connection are all you need to begin. Figuring it all out can be a bit tough, but there's good news. If you are just beginning, this is the best kind of game, because you don't have to worry about handling the cards. It's even worse in six decks with a 7.
Part 1 – Blackjack Basics
If your total is higher than his, you win the bet, and he will pay the entire amount you have bet. After he pays you, you'll have your initial bet plus the amount you won in the circle.
So, what happens if you and the dealer tie, with the same exact total? A tie is called a "push", and you do not win or lose your bet. Your chips stay in the betting circle where you can leave them for the next hand if you want, or you can add to or remove from them as you wish before the next hand.
A blackjack, or natural, is a total of 21 in your first two cards. A blackjack is therefore an Ace and any ten-valued card, with the additional requirement that these be your first two cards.
If you split a pair of Aces for example, and then draw a ten-valued card on one of the Aces, this is not a blackjack, but rather a total of The distinction is important, because a winning blackjack pays the player at 3 to 2. A player blackjack beats any dealer total other than blackjack, including a dealer's three or more card If both a player and the dealer have blackjack, the hand is a tie or push.
The dealer will usually pay your winning blackjack bet immediately when it is your turn to play. In the face down games, this means that you should show the blackjack to the dealer at that time. Some casinos may postpone paying the blackjack until after the hand is over if the dealer has a 10 card up and has not checked for a dealer blackjack.
Other casinos check under both 10 and Ace dealer upcards, and would therefore pay the blackjack immediately. Regardless, when you are dealt a blackjack, turn the cards face up, and smile. It only happens about once every 21 hands, but it accounts for a lot of the fun of the game. The most common decision a player must make during the game is whether to draw another card to the hand "hit" , or stop at the current total "stand". You will be required to make hand signals rather than just announcing "hit" or "stand" to the dealer.
This is to eliminate any confusion or ambiguity in what you choose, and also for the benefit of the ever-present surveillance cameras. If you go over 21, or "bust", the dealer will collect your bet and remove your cards from the table immediately.
In the face-up shoe game, you indicate that you want another card by tapping the table behind your cards with a finger. When you decide to stand, just wave your hand in a horizontal motion over your cards. In the face-down game, things are a little different. You will hold the first two cards with one hand. To let the dealer know that you want to draw another card to your hand, scratch the table with the bottom of your cards lightly.
Watch another player at first to see how this works. The dealer will deal your additional cards on the table in front of your bet. Leave those cards on the table, but mentally add them to your total hand value. If you go over 21, just toss the two cards in your hand face up on the table. The dealer will collect your bet and discard your hand. When you decide to stand, tuck the two cards you are holding face-down under the chips in your betting circle.
This can be a bit tricky the first few times. Don't pick up the bet to place the cards underneath. Remember, once the cards are dealt, you can't touch the chips in the circle. Simply slide the corner of the cards under the chips.
Describing these moves makes them sound complicated. Just pay attention to what other players are doing and you will fit right in.
Much of the excitement and profit in blackjack comes from hands where you are able to "double down". This option is available only with a two card hand, before another card has been drawn. Doubling down allows you to double your bet and receive one and only one additional card to your hand. A good example of a doubling opportunity is when you hold a total of 11, like a 6,5 against a dealer's upcard of 5.
In this case, you have a good chance of winning the hand by drawing one additional card, so you should increase your bet in this advantageous situation by doubling down. If you are playing in a hand-held game, just toss your original two cards face-up on the table in front of your bet.
In either type of game, add an additional bet to the betting circle. Place the additional bet adjacent to the original bet, not on top of it. The dealer will deal one additional card to the hand. In a shoe game, he will probably deal the card sideways to indicate that this was a double-down. In a hand-held game, the card will be tucked face-down under your bet to be revealed after the hand is over.
Depending on what the dealer makes on his hand, it can be an exciting wait to see that card revealed at the end! You are allowed to double down for any amount up to your original bet amount, so you could actually double down for less if you wanted.
That's a bad move though. Remember that you do give up something for being allowed to increase your bet: If the correct play is to double down, you should always double for the full amount if possible.
And just when should you double down, you ask? For that information, just use our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. When you are dealt a pair of cards of the same rank, you are allowed to split the pair into two separate hands and play them independently.
Let's say you are dealt a pair of eights for a total of sixteen. Sixteen is the worst possible player hand, since it is unlikely to win as is, but is very likely to bust if you draw to it. Here's a great chance to improve a bad situation. If you are playing a hand-held game, toss the cards face-up in front of your bet just like a double down.
Then, in either type of game, place a matching bet beside the original bet in the circle. Note that you must bet the same amount on a split, unlike a double-down where you are allowed to double for less. The dealer will separate the two cards, and treat them as two independent hands. He will deal a second card on the first eight, and you will play that two-card hand to completion.
Many casinos will let you double-down on that two-card hand if you want. No matter what happens on your first hand, when you are done with it the dealer will deal a second card to your next hand and the process starts all over. If you get additional pairs in the first two cards of a hand, most casinos will allow you to resplit, making yet another hand. Typically a player is allowed to split up to 3 times, making 4 separate hands, with 4 separate bets.
If double after split is allowed, you could have up to 8 times your initial bet on the table! Note that you are allowed to split any valued cards, so you could split a Jack, Queen hand. However, this is usually a bad play. You will make more money on the pat 20 than you will trying to make two good hands from it. I wrote a post about just that: Why Splitting Tens is a Bad Move.
Another oddity comes when splitting Aces. Splitting Aces is a very strong player move so the casino limits you to drawing only one additional card on each Ace. Also, if you draw a ten-valued card on one of your split Aces, the hand is not considered a Blackjack, but is instead treated as a normal 21, and therefore does not collect a 3: With all these limitations, you may wonder whether it makes sense to split Aces.
The answer is a resounding YES. For accurate advice on what other pairs you should split, consult the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine. If you want to win at Blackjack, you will eventually need to learn basic strategy from a basic strategy chart or play the interactive strategy trainer. However, there are some quick rules and tips that you can learn as a beginner to decrease the house edge and formulate a strategy.
Remember there are more 10 value cards 10, J, Q, K than any other cards in the deck—so when a 10 will get you close to 21 and you are against a card that is bad for the dealer, you should double. A player 9, 10, or 11 would always be a good double when a dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6. This is because the 3, 4, 5, and 6 are starting cards that are more likely to make a dealer bust. The Ace is such a powerful card because pulling a 10 on a split will give you a Even though a 21 gained through a split is still only paid 1: Two fives total 10—which is a hand much better suited for doubling.
Insurance in blackjack is often misunderstood by players, and is a big money-maker for casinos. Naming this side-bet "insurance" was a brilliant marketing ploy, and some otherwise solid players will frequently make this bad bet to "insure" when they have a good hand. But actually, insurance is not always a bad bet.
For players who can recognize when the remaining deck is rich in ten-valued cards, this can actually be a profitable side-bet. Insurance is a proposition bet that is available only when the dealer's upcard is an Ace. When the dealer turns up an Ace, he will offer "Insurance" to the players. Insurance bets can be made by betting up to half your original bet amount in the insurance betting stripe in front of your bet.
The dealer will check to see if he has a value card underneath his Ace, and if he does have Blackjack, your winning Insurance bet will be paid at odds of 2: You will still lose your original bet unless you also have a Blackjack , so the net effect is that you break even assuming you bet the full half bet for insurance. This is why the bet is described as "insurance", since it seems to protect your original bet against a dealer blackjack.
Of course, if the dealer does not have blackjack, you'll lose the insurance bet, and still have to play the original bet out. Insurance is simply a side-bet offering 2: Not surprisingly, the casino has a substantial edge on this bet. In a single deck game, there are 16 ten-valued cards.
Assuming that you don't see any other cards, including your own, the tens compose 16 out of 51 remaining cards after the dealer's Ace was removed.
That creates a 5. It's even worse in six decks with a 7. Card counters can still beat the insurance bet, by only making the bet when they know that more than one-third of the remaining cards are tens. Unless you are card counter and know the deck is skewed sufficiently, just ignore the insurance bet. It doesn't matter whether you have a good hand or a bad hand. If you have a blackjack when the dealer turns up an Ace, he is likely to offer you "even money" instead of the insurance bet.
If you accept, the dealer will pay you the amount of your original bet and discard your hand of blackjack, before he even checks under his Ace to see if he has a blackjack as well. Many players think this sounds like a good deal, guaranteeing a profit even if the dealer has a blackjack. But that guaranteed profit comes at a price. Let me show you how it works:. So, casinos allow you to eliminate the insurance bet altogether, and simply declare that you want "even money" for your blackjack when the dealer has an Ace showing.
The problem is that you are still making a bad bet on insurance, which costs you money. A player who does not count cards should simply never take the insurance bet, even the "even money" variety. Some games offer the player a chance to fold their hand, and forfeit half of their bet. This surrender option must be done as the very first action the player takes on the hand.
In other words, you can't draw a card and then decide to bail out! Even when surrender is available, it is rarely used by players. Often, the rules posted at the table won't mention it even if the casino allows it.
And many players just don't like the idea of surrendering a hand. But for a smart player, it is a useful option, and reduces the house advantage by about 0. When surrender is available, make sure you know the correct strategy for using it. Most players who use the option surrender too many hands. If your game offers surrender, I recommend reading my complete explanation of blackjack surrender. In the most common variety known as "late" surrender , a player cannot surrender until after the dealer has checked for blackjack.
If the dealer has blackjack, you will lose your entire bet with no chance of surrendering for half the cost. Generally, the dealer in blackjack must hit if he has a total of 16 or less, and stand if he has 17 or more.
Seventeen is a weak hand, so if the dealer is allowed to try to improve the soft 17 hands, it makes the game tougher. When a dealer is allowed to hit soft 17, it adds about 0. Almost all other areas used the better rule of standing on all 17s. Over the years, more and more casinos have switched to hitting soft 17, and there are now far more H17 games than S17 games. You can still find some games where the dealer stands on all 17s, even in casinos where some of the tables use the H17 rule.
After splitting a pair, many casinos will allow you to double-down on a two-card hand that arises as a result of the split. For example, if you split a pair of eights, and draw a 3 on the first hand, it is valuable to be able to double-down on the resulting hand of As mentioned in the previous section discussion on pair splitting, there are several common restrictions on splitting Aces. You will receive only one card on each Ace after splitting.
Some casinos will allow you to resplit if you draw another Ace, and some will not. Sign in if you're already registered. Straight to Your Inbox. Bill Kaplan, co-founder of the MIT blackjack team that took Vegas for millions, has a few tricks up his sleeve.
You may not bring down the house, but here are 11 of his tips that will give amateur gamblers an extra edge. Always hit a soft 17 i. Never split 5s or 10s and never stand on 12 through 16 if the dealer is showing a 7 or higher. Never play cards when you're drinking. Never believe you're on a winning streak and never over-bet or make foolish plays. Never play for extended periods of time without taking a break, getting a drink of water, eating a snack, or simply stretch your legs.
Beware the "hot" and "cold" myth. Don't feel pressure to tip. You should only tip the dealer if you feel like tipping. Unless dealers are doing something dishonest -- and there are hundreds of cameras in the sky to make sure they're not -- they can't do anything that will affect your play. Blackjack is one of the classic casino favorites that you're bound to find at every site, but sometimes you'll discover a new aspect that you're not certain about.
For that reason, we've collated this list of frequently asked questions so that you can focus on enjoying your game and leave any queries you have behind.
The first place to look is on the pages of our website. We thoroughly research each online blackjack casino to be sure it has the best graphics, highest payouts, great bonuses and is safe and secure for your protection.
Don't rest your fate upon the outcome of a simple Google search. Also look for a site that offers both real cash and free play - free blackjack games allow you to 'test drive' the casino before taking the plunge with a real bankroll. A computer or mobile internet device and an internet connection are all you need to begin. You will have to download the casino's software, or for Mac and iPhone users, play at online blackjack casinos that offer web-based, no download software platforms. You get each online casino's blackjack software at that casino.
They are not interchangeable so if you want to play at a different real money blackjack casino, you have to download the new casino's software too.
You can also play at no download online casinos but you still have to complete a player registration form first. Don't worry though, the registration process if free and it only takes a couple of minutes. Yes, most online casinos with real money games also offer free online blackjack games so you can get used to the game, develop your strategy and have fun without risk. However, even though these games look, sound, and feel just like the real thing, you cannot keep any of the winnings that pile up while playing for fun.
For the sake of brevity, most of the table rules are abbreviated. Knowing what is allowed and not allowed will make the game easier for you. Some of the abbreviations used can seem like foreign languages until you get used to them. The most common ones are:. The dealer can also bust under the same circumstances, which is a great thing for you. Insurance is a side bet, of up to half your original bet and can be made when the dealer's "upcard" is an ace.
If the dealer has a natural 21 your insurance bet pays out at 2: This might sound negative, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. When early surrender is allowed, you can surrender your hand if the dealer is showing an Ace and only lose half your bet instead of all of it.
If you surrender early you only lose half your bet, so in the long run it seems to make a lot of sense to get out if your cards are bad. However, it is always a risk because even what seem to be really bad hands can end up winning if played right, and the dealer busts.
There are no sure things on the casino floor. In general, online casinos use the same rules as live casinos when it comes to blackjack hence, the same strategy works. Having said that, bonuses and loyalty programs offer you chances to make up for the house's built-in edge.
Just because lots of players will lose in the long run, doesn't mean you have to! The online casinos are heavily regulated by all countries that allow them. Do yourself a favor and use our reviews to find your next real money blackjack casino and avoid the less scrupulous alternatives.
Yes, but it is just as hard, and actually impossible at an online blackjack casino because of the speed that the computer plays. You assign a value to types of cards in the deck with a positive or negative value.
Then you keep a running value as cards are dealt out giving you a more accurate reading of what types of cards are left in the deck. Check out our blackjack card counting guide and trainer for more. There are many good strategies for playing blackjack, both online and off. You can and should use any of the common strategies at online blackjack casinos, whether you're playing for free or for real money. You won't gain an edge over the house, but you'll reduce their edge to the point where the game is nearly perfectly fair.
The sum of all money that you have access to for gambling purposes. Keep this separate from the college fund! This is the first card drawn from the top of the deck. A hand that is worth more than A bust is always your fault since your starting two cards can never be worth more than Card counting is never effective online. The percentage of cards that have been in play since the previous shuffle.
Important information for card counters. The choice to double your original bet typically with a strong hand with the limitation that you must accept exactly one more card. This cannot be performed on a hand that contains more than two cards. Betting the same for each hand. No variation in bet size. Typically considered a bad strategy, though it makes sense if you aren't counting cards.
A listing of known card counters referred to as a black book which circulates among casino security workers in brick and mortar casinos. It is named after Griffin Investigations: A hand that can only have one value — either without any aces, or a hand with a high enough value that any aces can only be worth 1.
When there is only one player playing at the blackjack table. Most online games are played heads-up. The house's statistical advantage. With all other things being equal, a lower house edge is better from the player's perspective. In blackjack, your ability determines the house edge. A hand that does not require any action to be worth Only contains two cards.
This hand cannot lose. Any hand that contains one or more aces that can be worth either 1 or Since this hand has a degree of flexibility, it protects you from busting after a hit. The decision to forfeit a blackjack hand and have half of your wager returned to you.