Ok, our mischievous little gambling friends — you want to know all the secrets behind the game of twenty-one, do you? Whether it’s a land-based casino version or you prefer to try your luck right from your couch, we are here to present you with the easiest way to learn everything about the second favorite table game in the world. Naturally, the King among table games is undoubted, the one and only — his Royal Majesty, Poker. This makes Blackjack a Prince or a Knight if you like.
If you want to play Blackjack for real money, after reading our guide, it should come naturally. Of course, we need to approach this matter one step at a time. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. And we have to mention one more thing here — don’t get discouraged if you aren’t as successful as you’d like to be at the beginning. Learning how to play Blackjack is a process. A relatively short one but nevertheless, a process.
If you want to know how to win real money at Blackjack, you need to learn the basics first. So, what is the thing that attracts all different kinds of players? The fact that you don’t play against another player. In this game, the only opponent is the casino itself. Regardless of whether you’re playing an online Blackjack game, or you’re sitting face-to-face with the house dealer, the essence of the game never changes.
In a nutshell, the only thing you need to think of is the magic number — twenty-one. Engrave this into the back of your skull. It’s the single most important thing in the game. Chase the twenty-one or at least, get as close to this number as you possibly can, as long as you don’t go over it. If you happen to get a higher number, you automatically lose the round.
Play Blackjack Online — How to Win Real Money
Before we proceed to the game description, we’ll deliver what you came for. Of course, you want to win — you are playing for real money. Therefore, you need to be very wise in the choice of an online gambling house of your preference.
What do we mean by this? It’s simple; the casino you choose to place your money at has to be a good and respectable institution. With an endless ocean of online gaming websites, it’s not so easy to make the right choice. Many of them tend to disguise the horrific terms and conditions by luring customers in with generous casino bonuses. They will go to great lengths just to take some money from your credit card.
You need to be extremely cautious when picking the right venue. If you have friends who play online and are pleased with their casino choice, you can take their advice and sign up there. However, if this is not the case, you can decide for yourself. Before you do, however, study the casino’s policy and read their terms and conditions ten times if necessary. Some of the rules were written with the intention of confusing the users.
If you find any clause confusing, contact the casino’s customer support. Any decent online casino has a 24/7 live chat option. If that isn’t the case, we advise you to find another casino. The only way for you to win money as an online Blackjack player is to be sure that your potential winnings will actually be delivered. Do you follow? No? Let’s elaborate.
There are many blacklisted online casinos. Just visit a couple of major gambling platforms and search for the users’ experience comment section. If you see too many complaints about payouts or slow delivery, don’t simply walk away — run.
Let’s put it simply — Blackjack is a game of chance. Thus, the only thing you can count on in the game is Lady Luck. Sure, there are some card-counting strategies, but there is only a handful of professionals who can actually succeed using these methods. So, if you want to win real money, make sure the online establishment of your choice has a good reputation and puts the user first.
Of course, it’s best to try playing Blackjack at a casino which has the best house edge. Now that we got this out of the way, it’s time to start with the basic game rules.
Start Playing: Blackjack 101
As we have previously established, the only real opponent you have in this game is no other than the house dealer. And the game cannot exist without these two essentials — the dealer and a deck of cards. The gameplay is pretty exciting and straightforward. You just have to know the card values in Blackjack in order to accurately calculate your score.
Let’s just say that, if you want to master some Blackjack techniques, other than the pure understanding of the game, you need some mathematical skills. Don’t worry; you don’t have to be Einstein — the math we’re talking about is pretty basic. On the other hand, if you are any good at math, the knowledge you possess combined with Blackjack basics makes you a potentially good player. Just put the knowledge and skills to use.
Every Card Game’s Hearth and Soul: The Deck
Most of the rules we are going to mention here apply to both online casinos and land-based ones. In both versions, standard fifty-two-card decks are used. This is the case across the globe. In North America, casinos tend to use multiple decks and shuffle them all together. The most prevalent mixture consists of six decks with a total of 312 cards.
In a land-based casino, the house dealer uses a plastic card. This unique addition isn’t played with though. It’s there simply because it helps the dealer shuffle cards. It indicates when they should be shuffled. The reason we are mentioning this is because in most respectable online casinos, you get to choose if you want to play a basic online Blackjack game or a version with a live dealer.
If you have never played any live games online, they basically resemble a Vegas or Atlantic City-styled room which looks precisely like a land-based one would. You place your bets and do everything you would normally do if you were sitting at a real table.
Every time the house decides to use over four decks of cards, the dealer will use a shoe. This item is a plastic-box-like device. It allows the dealer to take one card at a time.
Betting, Scoring, Card Values, and the Main Objective of Blackjack
There is no way to be any good or play at all if you don’t know the game’s primary goal. The objective is very straightforward — you have to reach number twenty-one before the dealer does. Even though this sounds pretty easy, it most certainly isn’t.
As we’ve already said, the number you are trying to hit is twenty-one or as close to this figure as possible. As long as you get slightly under twenty-one, you are either a winner or you keep playing. On the other hand, if you go above twenty-one — that’s it for you, better luck next time, bye-bye, adios, the end. But hey, if it’s any consolation, the dealer is in the exact same position. Except dealers don’t gamble with their own money.
Ok, first things first; let’s learn a couple of things about card values because you need to know how to count your cards in Blackjack accurately. The only card which may be a bit confusing is Ace. You see, in Blackjack, Ace can be counted both as one and as eleven. It’s up to players to decide. All face cards’ value is ten. As for other cards, each retains its inherent value.
Before the first card gets distributed, you have to place your chips in front of the dealer. Now, about the betting limits; it all depends on a casino you choose to play at. Whether you chose to play at an online or a land-based casino, you can place a wide range of bets — from $1 to over $500.
Perfect Pairs — An Ace and a Ten
After you have placed your bet, the house dealer will shuffle the deck. When the cards get mixed well, it’s players’ turn to cut. Of course, this applies in land-based casinos. In order to prevent any card-counting strategies, the casino operators place the plastic card at the bottom of the initial sixty cards.
Now here’s a bit about the dealing process. Once every player who participates places their bet, the dealer will distribute the cards, two cards each in the clockwise direction. Both players’ cards should be placed face-up. The dealer then gives two cards to the house. Unlike players’ cards, only one of the dealer’s cards is face-up; to add an element of mystery, the other one remains hidden.
There is one situation every Blackjack player dreams about: a natural. A natural is a perfect pair consisting of an Ace and a ten, in which case the former counts as an eleven. When we do some simple addition, we see that the score is twenty-one which makes you a lucky, lucky bastard. This combination is called both a natural and a blackjack.
On the other hand, if the dealer has this delicious combination, well, you’re pretty much doomed. But hey, your chances are still pretty good. This is all part of Blackjack’s magic and charm. It’s exhilarating yet straightforward.
In case you happen to be lucky and get a natural, you’ll get your bet back and half of it on top of that. And vice versa, the dealer collects bets from all players if they get a natural. There is another possible situation here, i.e., both you and the dealer have a score of twenty-one. This is called a tie, and you can take your chips back if such a scenario occurs.
The dealer will peek at the hidden card if the single exposed card happens to be an Ace or a ten just in case the house has a natural. If they do, they will expose the card; if not, it won’t be checked until it’s the dealer’s turn to play.
What Does the Gameplay Look Like
In case you aren’t the only player in the game, the first player on the dealer’s left side gets to decide first whether they’ll demand an additional card or remain at what they have. If they chose not to take another card, this is known as a ‘stand.’ If they ask for another card, this is called a ‘hit.’ Whether a player will hit depends on what cards they received and just how close they are to twenty-one. This means you can remain on the two original cards or try to reach the goal by asking for some additional cards.
You can ask for one new card at a time. You just have to be careful not to exceed twenty-one. However, if you do exceed this number, you are going ‘bust.’ This is a term (and truly an appropriate one) for the situation you are in since you are about to end your Blackjack journey here, my friend.
Let’s talk about the term ‘soft hand’ a bit. This is basically any hand which contains an Ace except, of course, the combo of a ten and an Ace. It’s more often than not that you’ll get this combination. In this scenario, you can choose how to count your Ace, as a one or as an eleven.
For example, imagine a scenario where you have an Ace and a six in front of you. You can count them both as seven or as seventeen. If you decide on the latter, it’s called a ‘soft 17.’ And if you are in a situation like this one, naturally, you’ll choose a soft hand. However, you might want to come even closer to the target number.
Even though the chances that you’ll go bust are significant, you should know that you still have the option to count an Ace as one. This can prove extremely helpful. It’s safe to say that a soft hand is often a salvation belt.
When it’s dealer’s turn to play (after serving each player), the long-hidden card that tormented you for so long is ready to be revealed. Hold your breath. If the card is seventeen or higher, the dealer has to stand. On the flip side, if the dealer’s total turns out to be sixteen or lower, then another card must be drawn. The dealer has to draw until the total is at least seventeen or more, and at this point, they must stand.
If the dealer happens to have an Ace, and if counting it as eleven would bring them seventeen or more than that but less than twenty-one, an Ace has to be counted as eleven. Thus the dealer must stand. This means that the decisions the dealer makes are not really decisions; they are always predetermined.
Doubling Down and Splitting
Here is another potentially handy feature in the game of twenty-one — the split. For instance, if the two cards you get just happen to be of identical values — e.g., two Kings or two sevens — once it’s your turn, you may choose to split them to make two hands. At times, this can be an advantageous strategy.
But you should be aware of the fact that splitting makes your original bet transfer to only one of your newly made hands. If you want both of the cards to be in the game, you must bet some additional money. You have to play your left hand first and do so by standing or hitting at least once. After these acts, you get to play the second one.
If you split them, your two cards will be considered two independent hands. The house dealer will treat them as two separate players. Splitting Aces can bring you two chances to get a natural. That’s why many casinos limit the players’ right to split them.
There is another popular move in Blackjack. Namely, you can double down. You can use this option if your original two cards’ worth is either eleven, ten, or nine. Basically, you get to double your bet. Once it’s your turn to play, you get to raise the initial bet for an equal amount of money if you wish. The dealer will provide you with one more card, but this time, you don’t get to see this card, it must remain face-down. After the bets are settled, you can check this card.
Here’s some excellent news for you — the dealer cannot split or double down.
The Settlement and the Insurance Bet
If the card in front of the dealer happens to be an Ace (the exposed one, of course), the house allows you to make a side bet. The side bet can go as high as half of the amount of the original bet, and it’s better known as ‘insurance.’ After you choose to make this kind of a bet, the dealer will reveal the hidden card.
If it’s a ten, you are the winner. And it’s not just any win; you’ll receive double the amount of the initial bet, i.e., a 2:1 payout. Now, that’s the authentic charm of casino games. Even though this might sound sweet in theory, we never recommend you to do it because it’s risky. If the house has a blackjack, the dealer will confiscate your entire main bet. The casino has an advantage since you get to act first. If you go bust, you will lose your wager; this will happen even if the dealer busts as well.
So, there you go. Once you master the gameplay and a couple of tricks — like when to double your bet or split — you will be more than ready to play online Blackjack for real money in no time. To sum things up, you need to make the right choice while picking an online casino you’ll play at. It has to be a respectable, trustworthy institution.
Carefully comb through terms and conditions. They have to be clear. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try to find a casino that offers different versions of the game, such as European Blackjack for example. Contact customer support via live chat if you’re experiencing any problems.
If you like the game, once you master its rules, you can try your luck at a land-based casino. Learn the value of the cards by heart, choose a good online casino, and — voila! You’ll be having fun while winning some real cash along the way.