Blackjack has been around in land-based casinos since the 17th century. The fan following of the game continued when the game was adapted to online casinos. With Blackjack being offered in live casinos now, players get the same thrill and excitement at their fingertips. Many sites like Babu88 offer blackjack games on mobile.
We know what blackjack means to a card game lover. And so many gamblers are intrigued and wish to try it. This guide is intended to help beginners understand the game’s dynamics. We will also discuss the popular game variants offered in online casinos today.
Blackjack is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. You can find single-deck blackjack as well as multi-deck blackjack. At the most, the game involves 8 decks. Some tables allow 5 players, while some allow 7 or 12 players. The common ones, however, accept 7 players.
Each blackjack game, irrespective of the variant, starts with two cards dealt to the players and the dealer. The players pit and aim to make a hand total as close to 21 points against the dealer. If you go over, you will automatically bust. A total of 21 is termed ‘blackjack’.
The primary bet you will make is on your probability of beating the dealer with the said total. The catch is only one card of the dealer (also called the upcard) is visible to you. The other card (Hole Card) stays face down until the dealer plays his hand.
The points of the cards are as follows:
- A: Can be counted for 1 or 11 points, based on what benefits the player
- 2-10: Counted at their face value
- J, Q, K: Valued at 10 points each
The Aces play a significant role in the game because of their dual nature, which can make or break the game in your favour. They are required to make a blackjack hand. Some games offer side bets, where you can insure against the dealer’s blackjack if their upcard is an ace (since they have more probability of making a blackjack hand). Such a bet costs half of your original bet and pays 2:1 if the dealer gets a blackjack. But, experts say only professional card counters should make this side bet.
When you and the dealer have blackjack or the same hand value, it is called a push situation. You simply get your original wager back in such a case.
The game does not conclude with only the two cards in your hand. You, as well as the dealer, can enhance the hand by getting more cards. There are five main strategies that you can use to indicate whether or not you wish to add cards to your hand.
- Stand: It means you feel your hand is strong enough to beat the dealer. You would use Stand if you are too close to 21 and feel additional cards will bust your hand.
- Hit: Choosing to hit means you wish to get more cards from the dealer. They will deal the cards to you one by one until you bust or choose to Stand. You can get as many cards as you wish with this strategy.
- Double Down: You will double down your original bet and get one more card. Some casinos allow double-down at a lesser amount.
- Split: Splitting means you have the same point value in both cards and can split them into two hands. You can also split a J and a K since they are both 10-point cards. Some casinos do not allow double down after splitting as it is not generally beneficial to them. In contrast, some have player-friendly rules allowing re-splitting aces where you can re-split aces for up to four hands.
- Surrender: You may opt out of the game if your cards are too weak. You get half of your initial bet back when you surrender. Some initial blackjack variants allow early surrender when the dealer hasn’t seen his Hole card, while most allow Late Surrender. The reason is the latter is more favourable to the casino.
The dealer cannot use Double Down, Split, or Surrender out of these strategies. Also, different games can have varying rules on whether the dealer can Hit on a Soft 17 (A total of 17 with an Ace, as A can be counted for 1 and 11). The games that allow the dealer to Hit on Soft 17 are generally advantageous to the casino.
Understanding which strategies to use is overwhelming on the first look. There are detailed blackjack strategy charts that you can refer to according to the cards in your hand. These include rules like you should always split aces and 8s and never split 5s, 10s, etc.
Besides the rules on how to play your cards, the game also involves betting strategies explaining how to stake money in the game. Broadly, there are two types of popular blackjack strategies. These are Martingale and D’Alembert.
- Martingale: After each loss, you will double your bet if you are following a Martingale Strategy. This strategy believes that an eventual win will recoup all your past losses. However, this strategy is risky as you will keep stretching your bankroll.
- D’Alembert: This is more sustainable and ideal for risk-averse players. It involves increasing your bet after a loss with a set amount and decreasing by the same amount if you win.
Despite whatever strategies you choose, remember, blackjack is a game of chance; you can only try to minimise your losses and maximise your wins without a sure-shot guarantee.
It’s time we come to how the game is conducted. Let us explain it in steps.
- Research blackjack casinos thoroughly and see which would serve you the best. Babu88 is a great blackjack casino offering multiple variants of the game. Register on the site once you have made your choice.
- Visit the table games or the live games lobby per your preference and zero down on the blackjack variant you wish to play. Read the game rules before making a deposit.
- Choose among the available deposit options and make your first deposit.
- Place chips on the table.
- Two cards are dealt to each player on the table.
- Use strategies and add more chips to the table accordingly.
- The dealer reveals the face-down or the Hole card and plays their hand.
- Payouts are given out according to the outcome. If you reveal a blackjack while the dealer doesn’t, you are paid 3:2 of your initial bet.
The bet limits vary in different casinos. The minimum you can expect to bet on blackjack is $5, and the maximum can be around $15,000. While most tables allow players to play on a single seat, there are multi-hand blackjack games where you can play on two seats simultaneously to even out your losses.
The house edge is commonly used to estimate the payout from a blackjack game. It is the part of the bet that invariably goes to the casino, irrespective of the game outcome. Many variants of blackjack have emerged over time with different side bets. These often have a high house edge and are beneficial for the casinos.
The house edge in multi-deck blackjack games is generally high. However, that doesn’t mean single-deck blackjack will always pay better since they might have stricter rules. For example, they might pay 6:5 on a player’s blackjack instead of the standard 3:2. It might not allow doubling after splitting or re-splitting aces.
So, reading the rules well when picking your game is very important to know what to expect.
Renowned software providers like Kingmaker, Spadegaming, and others have developed different blackjack variants for online casinos. Also, live casino providers like Evolution Gaming provide cutting-edge live blackjack games at the convenience of your home. Some of the common ones are:
- Blackjack Perfect Pairs: You can place an additional side bet on your first two cards being a pair.
- Blackjack Switch: You get two hands and switch the top cards to create a better hand.
- Spanish 21: A game played with 48 cards instead of 52. Here, you will bet on matching your cards with the dealer’s upcard.