How to play blackjack

How to Play Blackjack at a Casino?

Casino Guide

Blackjack is one of the most famous card games in the world of casinos. No one really knows the origin of Blackjack, but its thought to be originated in 18th-century France.  In France, the name of the game was vingt-et-un which translates to 21. This is why in some parts of the world, Blackjack is also known as 21. 

Edward O. Thorp published a book with a basic strategy to win at Blackjack. The book was published in 1963, and named “Beat the Dealer”. For some people, the book has even provided a livelihood.

Blackjack is All About the Cards

Blackjack is a simple game to learn and understand. It is played with 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards. The cards used to be shuffled by a dealer in the past, but now the cards are shuffled by a shuffling machine. Most casinos have now started using the shuffling machine.

If you’re playing the single deck or double deck game, then the dealer holds the cards and deals them out. In games that include multiple decks, the cards are dealt out of a box that’s called a shoe. 

In handheld card games, the cards are dealt facing down. Players can pick up and look at their cards. If you’re playing a shoe-based game, then you are not allowed to touch your cards. And keep in mind that two cards are dealt face up.

How to Win Blackjack – Basic Play

The playing pattern is the same for both types of games. The objective of Blackjack is to beat the dealer. You need to get to a total score of 21 or get as close as you can to the score. 

If your total number is higher than the dealer’s total without it going over 21, you win. But if the total goes over 21, it’s called a “Bust” and you lose the round. If it’s the dealer that busts, then you win. This rule makes blackjack extremely interesting and fun to play. 

But do keep in mind, that a dealer’s bust percentage is often lower than the player’s.

How to Play Blackjack At a Casino – Card Values

Unlike Poker, the kind of cards you have doesn’t matter. The only thing that matter is the numbers you get while you’re playing Blackjack. 

The numerical value however is where things get a bit confusing. Cards ranging from 2-10 are counted as the same. King, Queen, and Jack are also counted as 10. An Ace, however, can have two values. It can either be a 1 or eleven.

If you get a hand without the Ace, it’s called a hard hand. This is because it has only 1 value. A hand with Ace is called a soft hand as the value can change. If you have a soft hand where the card total goes over 21 when you count the ace as 11 becomes a  hard hand. 

All this may seem confusing at first, but once you get into a habit of playing, you’ll learn.

Table Play Guidelines of Blackjack

Blackjack is played at a semi-circular table. There’s a section for each player. When you sit down at the table, you have to buy chips from the dealer or have to use your own chips. Then, you have to put a bet in the betting circle. Once all the players have made their bets, the game begins. 

If you’re playing a multi-deck game, and the cards are being dealt from the shoe, here’s how it would go:

  • Each player will be dealt two cards facing up and one card facing down. The facing-down card is called a hold card.
  • Once all the cards are dealt with, the dealer will start the game. 
  • The player sitting on the left side of the dealer plays first. 
  • The last person to play is called the third base.
  • You’ll have to decide how to play now that you know the two cards the dealer has and the two cards you have. 
  • All Blackjack beginner’s guides will tell you to imagine that the dealer has a 10 in the hole. This isn’t always true, but it helps in making bets.

How to Win Blackjack – Using Hand Signals

As we told you above, in a game dealt from the shoe, you aren’t allowed to touch the cards. So, you should know the hand signals you have to use. This also keeps the game moving and prevents miscommunication. The signals in Blackjack are:

  1. Hit

Taking a hit means taking another card. To signal the dealer to take a hit, all you have to do is tap the table. You can even make a beckoning signal from your hand. If you want another card after the first one, repeat the signal.

  1. Stand

Once you’ve got the cards you desire, you signal the dealer to stop giving you cards. This is known as Stand. The signal for the stand is to wave your hand over your cards. 

  1. Double Down

Doubling down allows you to double your bet after you receive your first two cards. Some casinos limit your doubling to hands that total 10 or 11. DOA is a great rule for the players. 

To show that you’re doubling down, you have to place an additional bet next to your original bet. Some casinos also allow you to double down less than your original bet. But it has to meet the minimum requirement of the table. 

  1. Split a Pair

If you have been dealt a pair, two cards of the same value, then you can choose to split these into two separate hands. To do this, you’ll have to take on an additional bet. This bet has to be equal to your original bet. 

To signal that you’re splitting a pair, you have to put your bet next to your original bet in the betting circle.

The dealer will give you a second hand along with the first card.

Getting a Blackjack

Now that you know how to play Blackjack at a casino, all that’s left for you to do is to win. If you or the dealer is dealt an ace, and a 10-value card, you’ll have a Blackjack. This happens only if the dealer doesn’t have a Blackjack at the same time too.

If both you and the dealer have the blackjack, it’s the best-case scenario. You neither win nor lose. You just get your bet back. This is known as a push. If the dealer gets the Blackjack, then the dealer wins.