Blackjack is among the most played table card games at both online and land based casinos. The reasons are quite simple – the game offers players the best odds of winning at any given hand and has very simple rules. Don’t be discouraged if you find the basic strategy quite complex at first. You need to do a little practice on the free games and you will be good to go.
Blackjack games are also known as 21. This is because players with a hand value of 21 or closest to 21 without crossing over automatically win. For instance, if you get a 10 point card and an Ace (valued 11) you automatically win.
During the game play, each player competes with the dealer. If the dealer is closer to 21 than the player, the casino wins, the player loses. Your first hand is made up of two cards. If your first two cards have a value of 21, you will win one and a half times your original stake. This hand is called a natural blackjack. At most online casinos, a Blackjack is dealt at least once for every 20 hands.
If your initial hand is less than 21, you can ask for an additional card. This extra card should help you get closer to 21 without crossing over. Taking an additional card is known as a Hit while refusing to take an extra card is known as a Stand. Anyone who goes over 21 automatically loses and this is called a bust or break.
After the cards are dealt, the dealer completes his/her hand. If the dealer busts before the players, the players win. If both hands have the same value, this is known as a Push or Tie – no one wins or loses. If the dealer has a lower hand, the players win. The only instant that the dealer wins is if he/she is closer to 21 than the players.
All other wins are paid 1:1 except when using insurance.
Most players tend to mistake the main objective of playing Blackjack games is to get as close to 21 as possible without crossing over. However, Aura Game tends to disagree with that statement. The realistic objective/goal is to beat the dealer. For instance, you can beat the dealer with a hand value of 13 which is way far from 21 as the dealer is also prone to busting.
The bets and the deal
At online blackjack, you will often play as a single player. However, if there is a multi-player option, each table holds between 1 and 7 players. Each player will be required to place his/her bets in the circle present at the table. The dealer will deal two cards to each player, face up. He will also deal two cards to himself, one face up and one face down. This gives you a hint on how close he is to 21. Keep in mind that other players don’t count as you are playing against the dealer and not them.
After everyone has cards, the play will start with the right most player and continues up to the left most player. The higher hand wins as long as it doesn’t go over 21. If both the dealer and player bust, the player still loses. Players have the following options:
- Stand – End your turn without taking an extra card.
- Hit – Take an extra card if you feel the hand is way far from 21. You can hit as many times as you want.
- Doubling Down – This allows you to double your wager. Here, you will take only one extra card.
- Splitting – This is where you separate a pair of cards which have the same value. Each card will be a separate hand and you will have to place another bet for the additional hand. Each hand can hit or stand.
- Surrender – This option allows players to give up their cards before the dealer calls a blackjack. You will only lose 50% of your bets. Not all casinos offer this option.
Each player gets only one turn per hand. It will not come back to you. Players can hit as many times as they want, but once hitting is over, that’s it.
Once players are done, the dealer flips over his/her hole card. The dealer must hit until he has a hand value of 17 or more. In short, the dealer can make decisions depending on what the players have.
Winning and Losing
Any face card J, Q or K is counted as ten while an Ace is counted as 11. Any other card has a value equal to its face value. However, an Ace can be counted as 1 if the 11 leads to a bust. The rick behind playing blackjack is fairly simple – basic strategy and card counting.