Blackjack - sometimes also known as twenty one - is probably the best known of all casino game. Players compete against the dealer and not against other players. It is played with one or more decks of 52 cards and the objective of the game is to beat the dealer in one of the following ways:
Face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) are counted as 10 points. A player and the dealer can count an ace as 1 point or 11 points. All other cards are counted as the number shown on the card.
A player has four options available...depending on what cards they have been dealt.
HIT: If you hit you take another card in the hope of getting closer to 21. If your total exceeds 21 after hitting you have "bust" and lost the bet. In a live casino game you usually signal you want to hit by pointing to your cards or scratching or waving toward yourself. Verbal calls to hit are not usually accepted. Signals are used for the benefit of the security cameras above the table so a taped record of exactly what happened is on hand to settle any potential disputes.
STAND: If you stand you are deciding to draw no more cards in hope that your current total will beat the dealer. Signal a stand by holding a flattened palm over your cards.
DOUBLE: You may elect to double your original bet and receive only one more card regardless of its denomination. Some casinos restrict doubling down to hands in which your first two cards total 10 or 11. Others allow you to double on any two cards. Double down by taking a chip or chips equal to the amount of your original bet and placing them next to your bet.
SPLIT: If your first two cards are of the same denomination you may decide to make a second bet equal to your first and split the pair...using each card as the first card in a separate hand. For example, if you are dealt two 8s you can slide a second bet equal to the first to your betting box. The dealer will separate the 8s and put a second card on the first 8. You play that hand out in normal fashion until you either stand or bust. The dealer will then put a second card on the second 8 and you play that hand out.
If you want to be successful at blackjack you really should learn basic strategy.
This is the best possible strategy choice of choosing to Stand, Hit, Split or Double for every possible hand. Basic strategy uses a static set of rules and works whether the house is using conventional dealers, card shuffling machines or random number generators. It also works for online versions of blackjack.
Most players start learning by referring to a basic strategy chart.
Blackjack - as with all casino games - incorporates a "house edge"...a statistical advantage for the casino that is built into the game. The advantage of the dealer's position in blackjack comes from the fact that the player has to go first. If you bust you lose regardless of whether the dealer subsequently busts or not.
However, blackjack players using basic strategy will lose less than 1% of their total wagered amount with average luck. This is very favourable when compared to other casino games. The loss rate of players who deviate from basic strategy is usually much greater. Especially after too many free beers in a casino in Vegas...so I've been told! :)
The top 10 free bet blackjack basic strategy chart below shows you how to play your first two cards based on the dealers up card. Since the top 10 free bet blackjack basic strategy chart only deals with the first two cards you need to learn what decisions to make after taking a hit.
After a few hours practice this becomes second nature...but it might help cement the idea in your head if I spell it out in plain English as well.
HOW TO PLAY HARD HANDS - A hard hand is when you have two starting cards that do not contain an ace:
HOW TO PLAY SOFT HANDS - A soft hand is when one of your starting cards is an ace:
HOW TO PLAY PAIRS:
Counting cards is actually pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it...but it can take a LONG time to master!
Most people think card counting has to do with memorising the cards but that is not actually true. In blackjack it is good for you when there are more Aces and picture cards (Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings) remaining in the deck. Card counting is simply a system used to keep track of the ratio of low cards to high cards.
There are four main steps to counting cards.
This can get a bit confusing so I'll leave it to the top 10 free bet blackjack expert below to get you up to speed.
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