How to Play Blackjack: Rules and Gameplay

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Learning how to play blackjack may seem complicated because the rules vary from casino to casino. However, the basic blackjack rules are pretty much the same no matter where you go, and, you can even purchase or download a blackjack strategy chart to provide you with instructions throughout the game.

The value of blackjack cards is the same everywhere: number cards count as their numbers, face cards are worth 10, aces are worth 1 or 11, and the goal remains the same: get closer to 21 than the dealer without going over (depression ). To get Blackjack, the dealer or player must deal 2 cards with a value of exactly 21.

Now that you know that, let’s start at the beginning and see how to play blackjack with our step-by-step guide.

Learning how to play blackjack may seem complicated because the rules vary from casino to casino.

How to Play Blackjack: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s take a look at how it works when playing blackjack online at Galaxy Casino. For this example, we are using the Advanced Blackjack game, although there are many other versions of blackjack available.

Select your bet amount

1. Select your bet amount

We chose a table with a minimum bet of $0.50, which can be played on one or more hands. In this example, we will choose to play just one hand, this time not making side bets such as Players Pair or 21+3, but only Straight Blackjack.

Dealing cards

2. Dealing cards

Click the green “Deal” button and you will receive two cards into your hand and one card will be dealt face up to the dealer. In our example, the player gets a 2 and a 2, while the dealer gets a 7. Your hand score is obtained by adding your cards together, so our hand has a total of 4 cards.

Players can choose to stand (take no more cards), hit (take one or more cards), double (double down and take another card) or split (when the cards are the same, we can split and play two hands).

If the dealer’s first card is an ace, the player is insured against the dealer who has a blackjack. If the player chooses to accept, they will be paid the amount of their bet and will win at odds of 2:1 if the dealer reveals the blackjack. In our example, the bookmaker was hit with a score of 7, so no insurance was offered.

To play this hand, we will follow Michael Shackleford’s blackjack betting strategy, which recommends splitting the hand in this situation. (Note: Michael’s betting strategy suggests the best statistical games, but of course this does not guarantee a win on every hand).

Select player action: stand/hit/double/split

3. Select player action: stand/hit/double/split

By choosing to split, the player now plays two hands with the dealer. Cards are drawn and the two hands are now 2 and 8 (=10) and 2 and 10 (=12). Again, following Michael’s betting chart, the player would double down on the banker’s 10 against the banker’s 7.

The player continues to act until standing or collapsing

4. The player continues to act until standing or collapsing

By doubling down, a player doubles his/her bet and takes only one card. The new total is 14, and after doubling the player must stand up, even if it is not a good hand.

The dealer takes cards until he stands or goes bankrupt.

5. The dealer takes cards until he stands or goes bankrupt.

The dealer must continue taking cards until their hand total reaches at least 17 points. Here, the dealer’s score is 16 (7+3+6) and therefore has to take another card. The last card is an 8, which means the dealer goes bankrupt over 21, so the player wins with two hands.

Claim your bonus

6. Claim your bonus

In this game, the player won $3, double the $1.50 stake in this game. Players will always win an amount equal to the amount they bet, except in the case of blackjack (Aces and 10 hands), in which case there is usually a bonus percentage, or side bets with different odds. We’ll take a quick look at three side notes on this particular game here:

Blackjack side notes explained

  • Player Pair: When the first two cards in a player’s hand form a perfect pair (2 identical cards, e.g. 4 hearts and 4 hearts), a colored pair (same number and color, e.g. 4 hearts and This type of side bet wins on a 4 diamonds) or a red/black pair (same numbers, different colors, such as 4 hearts and 4 clubs).

  • Reseller Pair: As above, but for the dealer’s first two cards.

  • 21 + 3: This side bet wins if the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s first card form a straight flush, a straight, a three-card flush, or a three-card combination.

    Here are the odds for all winning hands, including the side bets mentioned above:

Winning Hand1:1
Perfect Pair25:1
Coloured Pair12:1
Red/Black Pair6:1
Suited Three of a Kind100:1
Straight Flush40:1
Three of a Kind30:1

Note that the odds listed above refer to the Premium Blackjack game at, and odds may differ slightly when playing different blackjack variations.

Choosing the Best Actions in Blackjack

After the cards have been dealt, the player must make one of the following plays:

  • Hit – (take another card)
  • Stand – (take no more cards)
  • Split – (divide a hand of equal card numbers into two hands)
  • Double – (double bet and take just one more card)
  • Insurance – (pay for insurance against blackjack if dealer is dealt an Ace first)
  • Surrender – (fold the hand and lose half of player bet)

Not all of these options will be available for every hand, or even every type of blackjack table. However, by following the advice of the strategy table below you will maximise your opportunity of winning at the blackjack table. The numbers along the left-hand side of the table represent the player’s hand, and the numbers along the top are the dealer’s first visible card. So for example, if the player has a 7 and a 3 (totalling 10) and the dealer has a 5, the best option statistically is to Double Down, to double the player bet and take just one more card.

As a general rule of thumb, it is generally a good idea to assume that the next card to be dealt will always be worth 10. This is because more cards – 10, J, Q & K – have a value of 10, while every other number is represented by just one card.

Make sure to check out the Blackjack Strategy Guide written by the ‘Wizard of Odds’ Michael Shackleford, which goes into more details as to the best way to play blackjack.

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The dealer’s upcard influences player decisions. Players often use the dealer’s upcard to make strategic decisions, such as whether to hit, stand, double down, or split.

Insurance is a side bet offered when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. It allows players to bet that the dealer has a Blackjack. If the dealer does have a Blackjack, the insurance bet pays 2:1.

A round concludes when all players have completed their actions, and the dealer reveals their hole card. The dealer follows specific rules for playing their hand. Players win if their hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s without busting.

Blackjack is a popular card game played in casinos. The objective is to beat the dealer by having a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, without exceeding 21.