The Greatest Gambling Game Guide to Blackjack

Table of Contents

The Greatest Gambling Game Guide (4G): Blackjack

Blackjack Rules: A Short History and High Level Overview

A Condensed History of Blackjack

Blackjack is by far the most famous card-based gambling game in existence. With “twenty-one” as its precursor, its first true historical representation came in a book by Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes. A gambler by hobby, Cervantes’ Rinconete y Cortadillo focused on two gamesters in Seville. The gamblers were proficient at scamming in the Spanish version of twenty-one, and it was first noted that the objective was to reach 21 points without going over, and that the ace is either one or eleven. Written in the very early 1600’s, this implied that blackjack in itself is several hundred years old.

When brought to the United States, casinos offered bonuses to stimulate interest in the new game for seasoned gamblers. One common bonus was a ten to one payout if the player’s hand was a black jack (spades or clubs) combined with the ace of spades. Called the “blackjack”, the name stuck to the full game, even after the bonus disappeared. In modern blackjack, this refers to any hand that is an ace and face card, regardless of colors or suits.

The first mathematical strategic concept devised for optimal blackjack strategy came in the mid 1950’s. Four men wrote a paper titled “The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack”, which was published in the American Statistical Association Journal. This publication would turn into the foundation of all future efforts to develop blackjack-beating strategies, and was the premise for the famous blackjack strategy book “Beat the Dealer”.

High-Level Blackjack Overview

A “hand” begins with players placing bets. The dealer then deals two cards to each player, and two to himself, one face-up, the other face-down. The players then decide to stand, hit, double down, split, or surrender (fold). Acting last, the dealer must hit if their total is 16 or lower, and stand between 17 and 21. The players win when their hand totals higher than the dealer’s, or if they have 21 or less when the dealer busts (has over 21). That’s it!

Blackjack Rules: Far More Granular

The overall objective of blackjack is to beat the hand the dealer plays by either having a total that exceeds the dealer’s, or not going over 21 when the dealer busts (goes over 21).

Card Valuation

Every card is counted at face value in the game of blackjack. Image cards (jack, queen, king) are also referred to as face cards, and are counted as 10. Aces count as either one or 11. Suits don’t matter, and the total of any hand is the sum of the values of the cards in that hand. A hand containing a king and a five is 15. A hand containing a three, four, five and six is an 18. It’s assumed by default that the ace counts as 11, unless counting as 11 causes you to bust, in which case the ace value changes to a one.

Busting Out!

When a dealer or player hand exceeds that magical total of 21, this is referred to as “busting”. If a player was dealt a 10 and a five, and drew one more card, which has a value of eight, the player’s hand totals 23, and the player busts. If a dealer was dealt a five and a four, and drew two additional cards, that had values of six and seven, the dealer’s hand totals 22, and the dealer busts.

Soft Hands and Hard Hands

A hard hand is defined as any blackjack hand that doesn’t contain an ace, or does contain an ace and it needs to be counted as a one. 10 and seven is a hard 17. Six, ace, 10, two is a hard 19. Any hand containing an ace counting as 11 is considered a soft hand. Ace and six is a soft 17. Three, two, ace, and four is a soft 20.

When you receive your initial two-card hand and one of them is an ace, count the ace as an 11, regardless of what the second card is. Often, when you are initially dealt a soft hand (remember, that’s a hand with an ace), drawing more cards will cause it to become a hard hand. For example, a five-ace hand starts as a soft 16, but a draw of a six turns it into a hard 12. This is important to know, as the strategy differs even if the total is the same (a 10-seven is a hard 17, while an ace-six is a soft 17).

Common Betting Rules in Blackjack

Physical blackjack is played on a semi-circle shaped table covered with felt, typically seating a maximum of six to seven players, plus a dealer. A betting spot, generally a square or circle, sits in front of each player position. This is where the chip wager is placed. The blackjack dealer is responsible for dealing all cards, utilizing global protocols and standards of blackjack. The dealer also pays winning bets, collects losing bets, and ensures the game moves at a reasonable pace.

In many physical casinos, you don’t use cash to place bets, but rather chips. To buy chips to use for blackjack gambling, you sit in an available seat at the table, wait for the round to complete, and put your cash on the table in front of the dealer to receive chips. The dealer convers cash into chips and slides them to you. The chips stay stacked neatly in front of your place.

Value of Chips

Most casinos have their chips color coded to signify what their value is. Also, the value is generally shown on the chip itself. A white chip is usually a dollar, a red chip five dollars, a green chip $25, black $100, purple $500, and orange $1,000.

Chip color White Red Green Black Purple Orange
Chip value $1 $5 $25 $100 $500 $1,000

Card Decks

Each table will likely have some form of indication as to what the maximum and minimum betting limits are. If a table has a minimum bet of $100, you won’t be able to drop a red $5 chip down and play a hand, your minimum bet must be $100. Before sitting down to play, ensure you check limits posted by the table.

Before the cards have been dealt, each player bets by putting chips in their betting boxes. All players and the dealer each receive two cards. All player cards are dealt face down, and one of the dealer cards is face up. This shows the payers its value. The hole card, facing down, is unseen.

Most blackjack games are dealt out of a “shoe”, which can hold between four and eight decks of standard playing cards depending on the size. If this is done, the cards for the players may be dealt face up, as the additional decks make it more difficult to count cards. In single or double deck blackjack games where the dealer holds the decks, the cards are typically dealt face down.

In such games, players may touch the cards with one hand, provided the hand is above the table. After seeing the first two cards, a player plans their tactics, the most popular of which are outlined in the below section Blackjack Strategy.

In-Play Rules for Blackjack

The following playing options are the most widely used rule sets in blackjack:

Rules for Hitting

When you decide to “hit”, you are telling the dealer that you would like them to deal you an additional card. In shoe-based blackjack games, this is indicated by tapping the table with your finger on or close to your cards. In other games, such as handheld decks, you scratch the edges of the cards on the felt.

Rules for Splitting Pairs

If you end up with two of the same cards, you have the chance to split them. When you do this, you need to make another bet that is equal to the original bet by placing the chips next to the original bet on hand. When you do a splitting of pairs in blackjack, you play each individual card as its own hand and you can draw as many cards as you’d like for each one (except split aces in most casinos).

Rules for Standing or Staying

Standing or staying means that you are alright with the total of the hand, and would like to stay put with the cards you have. In games of blackjack played with a card shoe, you indicate this by waving your hand over the cards, palms down. In handheld games, you tuck your cards under your chips in the betting box.

Rules for Doubling Down

The doubling down option allows players to double their initial bet in return for a single draw card. In most casinos, you can only double down once you receive your initial two cards, and before drawing a third. To signal to the dealer that you’d like to double down in shoe games, place your chip next to the original. In hand games, put your cards on the table face up and then place a second bet.

Rules for Surrender or Folding

The surrender option is permitted from time to time, allowing a player to fold with an automatic loss of half to all their original bet. In most places, players can only do this after the dealer has checked their cards and ensured they don’t have blackjack (a total of 21 spread out through all cards in the player’s hand). Once a player draws a card, the surrendering option is not available. If the dealer has blackjack, this is also not an option. If you wish to do this, just surrender your cards to the dealer.

Rules for Insurance

When the dealer’s face up card is an ace, they will ask players if they’d like to place an insurance wager. This is a side bet where the players are gambling that the dealer’s hole card will be a ten-valued card (10 or face card). Players can make this bet less or equal to half the initial bet. To make this bet, put your chips on the insurance line above the betting spot. The player wins if the dealer has a ten-valued card in the hole, and the win pays two to one odds.

Rules for Even Money

If a player hits blackjack and the dealer has an ace, the dealer will ask the play if they would like to “even money”. This means the dealer will give a one to one payoff on the bet before checking the face-down card for blackjack. This yields the same result as an insurance bet on your hand. It acts as an additional chance for bettors to win extra money, and has no leverage in the final result of a blackjack hand.

Playing Rules for the Dealer

The blackjack dealer has no specific playing options. Blackjack casino rulings state that the dealer must draw if their total is under 17, and stand when it is 17 to 21. In some places, dealers might have to hit on a hard 17, though. So, if a dealer has a hand consisting of a five and a jack, then their total is 15, and they must draw. Conversely, if a dealer has a queen and an eight, then their total is 18, and they must stay.

Hand Wins and Losses

If a player’s hand exceeds 21, they lose. If the player’s unbusted hand exceeds the total of the dealer’s, the player wins and is paid one to one odds. If the player and dealer have the same total, it’s a push or tie, and the player gets their bet back. An untied blackjack hand is called a natural, and is paid at three to two.

Blackjack Strategy

The most important piece of information to learn about blackjack before sitting at a table is basic strategy. The basic strategy of blackjack was first formulated by supercomputers analyzing millions of possible blackjack scenarios and hands. These simulations basically showed the mathematical probability of improving a blackjack hand or beating the dealer. These strategies assist the player in determining the actions to be taken for every possible combination of cards.

A very vital thing to remember is that almost all basic blackjack strategy can be proven incorrect in the long run. However, the finite nature of mathematical probabilities shows that specific playing situation, based on the cards of the player and the exposed card of the dealer, will yield a somewhat predictable outcome after thousands to millions of hands of play.

It’s imperative as a serious player of blackjack to learn these basic strategies, as using it will assist in eliminating the usual five plus percent advantage the casino has over unskilled, beginner blackjack players. With these basic strategies, the house advantage is whittled down to half a percent, making blackjack one of the most profitable casino games to play.

Basic strategies vary in accordance with the playing conditions being exposed to, and the potential for variants based on geographic location and individual casino. Mainly up for grabs is the number of decks in the show being played. Below are listed the basic strategies for both single deck games and multiple deck games and shoes. Don’t alter your play from this basic strategy if you plan to retain those half percent house odds. Straying from this will almost guarantee that your odds of winning will decrease the more you play.

Single-Deck Basic Blackjack Strategy

Standard Card Scenarios

  • If your hand is an eight, double if the dealer’s upcard is a five or six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is a nine, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is a ten, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to nine, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an 11, always double, regardless of the dealer’s upcard.
  • If your hand is a 12, stand if the dealer’s upcard is a four, five or six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is between 13 and 16, stand if the dealer’s upcard is a two to six, otherwise hit.
  • Obviously, if you have a 17 to a 21, always stand, as your odds are very high.

Ace Card Scenarios

  • If your hand is an ace-two to an ace-five, double if the dealer’s upcard is a four to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-six, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-seven, double if the dealer’s upcard is a three to six, and stand on a two, seven, eight or ace. If they have a nine or 10 card, hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-eight, double if the dealer’s upcard is a six, otherwise stand.
  • If your hand is an ace-nine, always stand, regardless of the upcard of the dealer.
  • If your hand is two aces, always split, again regardless of the upcard of the dealer.

Double Card Scenarios

  • As stated, if your hand is two aces, always split, again regardless of the upcard of the dealer.
  • If your hand is double twos, split if the dealer’s upcard is a three to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double threes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a four to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double fours, double if the dealer’s upcard is a five or six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double fives, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to nine, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double sixes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double sevens, split if the dealer’s upcard is two to seven. Stand at ten, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double eights, always split, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard is.
  • If your hand is double nines, split on a two to nine, except for a seven. Stand on a seven, ten or ace for the dealer’s upcard.
  • If your hand is double tens, always stand, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard is.

The above numbers assume that the casino does not allow doubling down after splitting pairs, as is the case with most casinos. If you happen to be in a casino where doubling down after pair splitting is allowed, then use the following pair splitting rules instead:

  • If your hand is double twos, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double threes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double fours, split if the dealer’s upcard is a four to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double sixes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double sevens, split if the dealer’s upcard is two to eight. Stand at ten, otherwise hit.

Multi-Deck Basic Blackjack Strategy

Standard Card Scenarios

  • If your hand is a five to eight, always hit, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard is.
  • If your hand is a nine, double if the dealer’s upcard is a three to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is a ten, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to nine, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an 11, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to ten, and hit on the ace.
  • If your hand is a 12, stand if the dealer’s upcard is a four, five or six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is between 13 and 16, stand if the dealer’s upcard is a two to six, otherwise hit.
  • Obviously, if you have a 17 to a 21, always stand, as your odds are very high.

Ace Card Scenarios

  • If your hand is an ace-two or an ace-three, double if the dealer’s upcard is a five or six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-four or an ace-five, double if the dealer’s upcard is a four to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-six, double if the dealer’s upcard is a three to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-seven, double if the dealer’s upcard is a three to six, and stand on a two, seven, and eight. If they have a nine or 10 card or an ace, then hit.
  • If your hand is an ace-eight, ace-nine, or ace-ten, always stand, regardless of the dealer’s upcard.
  • If your hand is two aces, always split, again regardless of the upcard of the dealer.

Double Card Scenarios

  • As stated, if your hand is two aces, always split, again regardless of the upcard of the dealer.
  • If your hand is double twos, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double threes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double fours, double if the dealer’s upcard is a five or six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double fives, double if the dealer’s upcard is a two to nine, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double sixes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a two to six, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double sevens, split if the dealer’s upcard is two to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double eights, always split, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard is.
  • If your hand is double nines, split on a two to nine, except for a seven. Stand on a seven, ten or ace for the dealer’s upcard.
  • If your hand is double tens, always stand, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard is.

The multiple deck strategies listed above are valid if players can double down after splitting pairs. If that is something that is not a viable strategic maneuver (again, typically based on location and individual casino), then use the following pair splitting rules.

  • If your hand is double twos, split if the dealer’s upcard is a four to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double threes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a four to seven, otherwise hit.
  • If your hand is double fours, always hit, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard is.
  • If your hand is double sixes, split if the dealer’s upcard is a three to six, otherwise hit.

Common Blackjack Etiquette

Blackjack, like any other game of chance and skill, has etiquette, codes of conduct, and strategies that must be followed. These are vital to ensure the integrity and playability of the game. These etiquette rules encompass all playing styles, to keep from causing issues at the table. Here are some common mistakes made by beginner players to avoid:

Holding Cards With Both Hands

In blackjack games where the cards have been dealt face-down (single deck and double deck most likely) the cards are picked up with a single hand, not two.

Handing Money Directly to the Dealer

All transactions of money need to be visible to all security cameras if gambling in a physical casino. Always place your cash outside the betting spot and inform the dealer what types of clips you would like in exchange.

Card Touching

When there are four or more decks being used, they will likely all be dealt face up from a shoe to ensure proper flow of the game. This is for two reasons: It keeps the cards from being marked or switched, and it speeds up the game, as the dealer can announce the totals of each player’s hand.

Removing Cards

Cards that are in your hand must always be in the full view of both the dealer and security cameras. A player should never put them in their lap or put them below table level.

Object Placement on the Blackjack Table

Any handheld item, such as a wallet, bag, or purse, should be either kept on the player’s body, or placed next to you. Purses it is fine to keep in the lap. It’s fine to have a drink on the blackjack table, but utilize casino-provided drink holders to retain the quality of the table felt and keep from rings forming.

Touching Chips After the Bet is Made/Cards Are Dealt

Your initial bet stays on the betting area, untouched by yourself or the dealer, until the hand has completed. Once the dealer begins the dealing of cards, that is the player’s cue to not touch chips until complete.

Placing A Larger Chip On A Smaller Chip

If you find yourself betting with two or more different values of chips, it is customary to always place the higher value chip on the bottom of the stack.

Betting In the Middle of a Hand

In most casinos, this is not appropriate. Some casinos have no mid-shoe entry signs posted at the table. If there’s no sign, it is common to ask other players at the table if they mind if you join them. A lot of players have a superstition that new players will change the flow of cards, leading to their loss. It’s always best to ask first.

Online Blackjack Play Versus Land-Based Blackjack Play

Advantages to Online Blackjack

Online blackjack has a far better level of convenience. There is no need to get dressed, get prepared, and travel somewhere to place a bet at a blackjack table. This can be done from the comfort of your home at any time of the day or night. This is ideal for those who are disabled, those who have prior responsibilities that require them to be home, or those who have busy schedules and little time to sit down and play.

Due to strong competition for player spots, online gambling sites tend to offer highly lucrative signup bonuses to new players, generally between 20% to 75% of their initial investment. Along with this is a typical 24-hour customer service, although it may be slower than the in-person support you might be used to.

Also, most online blackjack sites have more robust rule sets than brick and mortar physical casinos do. Regardless, it’s still important to check the rules before you begin play, to ensure familiarization. Additionally, online blackjack tables alleviate potential distractions of other live players (such as cigarette smoke, loud talking, etc).

Disadvantages to Online Blackjack

Unlike their brick and mortar counterparts, where the exchange of money into chips is instant, online blackjack can sometimes take days for funds to be validated and deposited. In tandem with this, customer service on some smaller online gambling sites is incredibly subpar, with responses taking hours to receive, and only via email or ticket system.

Typically, there are very specific requirements necessary to reach the level of whatever bonuses the gambling sites offer. Also, you will miss out on the banter and ambience present in land-based blackjack gameplay. The convenience of online blackjack games can also end up becoming addicting for some players, with gambling addiction rates rising with the influx of gaming sites available.

And of course, the looming disadvantage. Operation of gambling sites in the United States is not legal. For this reason, most gambling sites are offshore, and have no official government agency to assist their players in the event of a dispute between the online gambling provider and the player. This begs the question:

Are blackjack gambling sites safe? Do they play by the rules?

Most potential new players become curious about the safety and trustworthiness of blackjack gambling sites, as most are offshore with no real local oversight in place. When online gambling came to fruition, cheating and hacking was rampant on some of the larger and many of the smaller sites offering blackjack. This included not only software-based cheating, but also collusion between players. In the current day and age, major online blackjack sites have strong protection in place to prevent cheating and hacking. Many are licensed, practice fair gambling practices, and are frequently audited by third parties to ensure this stays the case.

Starting Online Blackjack Gambling, The Right Way

First off, you’re going to need a computer and access to the Internet. If you are in the developed world, there is a high likelihood you have these things. Once this is acquired, set up an account with the site you wish to begin playing blackjack on. This generally consists of filling out an application and depositing an initial bankroll into an account. Before doing this, it’s vital to real information on the gambling site in terms of transfer options, minimum deposits, new customer rewards and bonuses, and how much play is required to obtain the bonus.

You also need to know how to remove money from your account, and how long the withdrawal process takes. Additionally, most online blackjack sites require a download of their specific software to your computer. Some sites allow web browser play, but those are few and far between.

How Online Blackjack Determines Odds

Most blackjack gambling software will show a graphical representation of a typical blackjack table. Usually, there are multiple available varieties, with differing rules. Make sure you know which rule set you are going by when you choose your online variant. If you’re interested to know what the odds are, use the House Edge calculator to determine the advantage the house has based on the rule sets keyed in. It doesn’t take much to experience massive losses from not knowing what you’re doing with online blackjack.

To make a bet, in most cases you select the size of bet you’d like to make, and then press deal. Once dealt, there will be various playing options, which were outlined above. It’s extremely important that you utilize the proper playing strategy when playing blackjack online. If you play a six-deck game, the strategy is going to differ wildly from a one-deck game, for example.

Playing Live Blackjack Online

A popular change from the completely digitized online blackjack is real-time streamed online blackjack with human dealers. This simulates the brick and mortar live casino experience like no other virtual option. The technology has advanced to the point that a player at home will see a live dealer in real time shuffling and dealing cards in a real casino while interacting with the players. Like land-based casinos, dealers wait until players place their bets, and then they deal. Online players see on their computer screens interactive control panels where they can place bets and input strategic decisions on a per-hand basis.

Blackjack gambling websites offering live dealer services use third party providers to stream these live games. A major advantage of these versus brick and mortar casinos is that there is no need to wait for an open slot at a table as sometimes is the case with busy times at physical casinos.

Online Blackjack Summarized

If you wish to play blackjack online, there are several things that need to be done. They include:

  • Researching reputable online gambling sites offering blackjack as a gambling option that have solid reputations.
  • Ensure the site you decide to use is audited by third parties regularly, licensed properly, and consults with recognized experts in the field of blackjack.
  • Research who the owners of the site are, and do background research about them, determining their online footprint and ensuring they have not been involved in any shady gambling activities in the past.
  • Find out how to deposit and withdraw from your account, make sure there are no exorbitant transfer fees, and that they have 24-hour customer support. If it’s a phone number for main support, call them during odd hours to test. It’s also good to determine what the process is for complaints, and how the site goes about resolving issues.
  • Consider new customer bonuses offered by the site. Dig deep, some are hidden well on social media pages. Check what the play requirements are for these bonuses. Additionally, consider player reward programs offered by the site of choice.
  • Thoroughly read through the playing rules for the different variants of blackjack offered. Determine the house edge for the variant you decide to foray into.
  • If the site of choice offers multiple deck blackjack games, determine when the cards are shuffled, provided you are interested in trying your luck counting cards.

Blackjack Variants

Vegas Strip, Atlantic City, and European Blackjack

Three of the most common variants of blackjack are Vegas Strip, Atlantic City, and European. These names are not any kind of trick. Vegas Strip blackjack is the common variant played in Las Vegas. Atlantic City blackjack is the typical playing variant in Atlantic City, and European blackjack is very common in European countries and casinos. These are commonalities, though, not steadfast rules.

Vegas Strip blackjack is played with four decks. On a soft 17, the dealer commonly stays. Doubling by players is allowed on any two cards chosen. Doubling after the split is allowed. Re-splitting is allowed, but surrendering is not allowed. In Vegas Strip blackjack, the dealer can peek on tens and aces.

Atlantic City blackjack is played with eight decks. On a soft 17, the dealer commonly stays. Doubling by players is allowed on any two cards chosen. Doubling after the split is allowed. Re-splitting is allowed, and surrendering is also allowed. In Atlantic City blackjack, the dealer can peek on tens and aces.

European blackjack is played with six decks, but can vary. On a soft 17, the dealer commonly stays. Doubling by players is allowed on only nine, 10, and 11. Doubling after the split is allowed. Re-splitting is not allowed, and surrendering is not allowed. In European blackjack, the dealer cannot peek at any time.

Blackjack Double Exposure

Blackjack double exposure is an interesting twist on blackjack, where both dealer’s cards are exposed before the players can make decisions. This comes at a clear benefit to the players, but it is countered by the fact that the dealer wins all ties. The only exception to this tile is when both the dealer and player have blackjack. In this case, the player’s stake is returned and gameplay continues.

In this common variant, winning blackjack hands are only paid at even money (so one to one). In this respect, players lose out. Double exposure blackjack is a solid variant to play if you are looking for something out of the ordinary from traditional blackjack. Even though seeing both dealer cards is an obvious advantage, the overall edge for the house is not much different than other variants, due to other changed rules to push some things to the house’s favor.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is a multi-hand variant, where each player plays two hands simultaneously. This means two equal stakes must be placed before the round begins. Each hand is dealt two hands per usual, but the player gets to choose to switch a card between hands if they do so choose, allowing them to create a stronger starting hand and giving players a strong advantage.

As was the case with double exposure blackjack above, there are additional rule changes that balance the advantage and put it back to normal levels. Blackjacks are only paid out at even money, and if the dealer busts with exactly a 22, all bets that are in play are pushed forward to the next round. The only exception to this rule is blackjack itself, which obviously beats a dealer hand of 22.

Progressive Blackjack

This is a commonly played variant that is played similarly to conventional blackjack. The only true difference is that there is an additional side bet players have the decision to place. This bet pays out if a player is dealt an ace as the first card in the round. If a player’s two cards are both aces, they receive an even larger payout from the side bet. If those two aces are suited, the payout increases yet again. If a player receives four consecutive suited aces, they win the entire progressive jackpot.

Concluding the Greatest Gambling Game Guide: Blackjack

Blackjack is a high stakes, high impact game. There are strategies to gain an advantage over those not using them, but in the end, the house is meant to always win. Regardless, workarounds exist to attempt to put the odds in the favor of the player.

In this guide, we touched upon a short history of the game, as well as a high-level overview of how it’s played. We went in depth with granular rules, including card valuation, busting, soft versus hard hands, common betting rules, chip values, and decks.

We pushed into in-play rules for hitting, splitting, standing, staying, doubling down, surrendering, insurance, even money, rules for the dealer, and winning and losing. We dove into single-deck and multiple-deck blackjack strategies, etiquette, and several frequently asked questions regarding blackjack and its many variants.

We then dove head first into online gameplay, showing how it differed from brick and mortar table gaming, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we went into detail on several specific types of variants that exist based on a player’s location.

Blackjack is a wild west show. However, we are confident that you now have a good amount of necessary information to get started in the world of blackjack, whether real-world, live online, or simple online gameplay, and come out the other side winning. Happy gambling!

Things To Look For When Choosing a Blackjack Casino

When players find themselves in land-based, real world casinos, or on the Internet looking to play either live dealer blackjack or purely online blackjack, they should make decisions based on where to play. Many players take several factors into consideration when deciding upon the best available table.

In land-based blackjack, players study both the dealers and other players at a table before taking a seat. Some check the amount of chips the dealer has in their chip tray, or how many the table players have in front of them for playing. Some potential players might go so far as to stand and watch to see how the game progresses before sitting down, checking how well the others are playing, and how that skill level is translating to winnings.

Maximum and Minimum Betting Limits

It is vital to remember that when looking for a solid blackjack table to play at, to check on the table wager limits. For example, some blackjack tables, real world or online, may have minimum bets of five dollars, while others may have minimum bets of $25 to $100. If a player isn’t aware of this and sits down at a $100 table instead of a five dollar table, they might get their chips cashed in and lose out on half their bankroll before the cards are even dealt.

Table maximum bets are not as important as minimum bets when looking at blackjack tables to play at. This is, of course, unless you happen to be a high roller blackjack player looking for the thrill of the large bets. In this case, check maximum bets as well to ensure you aren’t going to be spending all day at a blackjack table for a maximum bet you were not aware was smaller than anticipated.

Gender Decisioning in Blackjack Tables

Most casinos that are land-based have more female blackjack dealers than male. Typically, the ratio is two to one female to male. This is most likely because, over history, a high percentage of blackjack players at land-based and live casinos are male. Males prefer female dealers, and have overall tipped female dealers more than males.

Additionally, it’s a double-edged sword situation for male dealers. Land-based casinos hire more female dealers than male for the reasons stated above, and those male dealers who do make the cut usually tend to have the less trafficked tables and the resulting lower tips. Additionally, casino management is likely of the belief that female dealers can be more compassionate and sympathetic towards players when losing, enticing them to stay at the table and continue playing.

Chip Presence of Dealers and Players

You may be one of those blackjack players who looks for the tables where the dealer doesn’t have a stack of chips in their chip tray. This implies that the dealer has been losing and the players have been winning. If the dealer has a good bankroll of chips in hand, either they are being tipped extremely well, or the table is experiencing some serious house edge (meaning the dealer has been winning and the players have been losing).

Other reasons for a large skew of chips either for or against the dealer, though, are that the dealer may be storing tipped chips in a pocket or hidden part of the table, or the players have been pocketing their own chips to restrain themselves from going “all in” for more than they wish to gamble. Additionally, it might be closing in on shift change, and the pit boss thought it was best to top off the dealer’s chip tray before leaving the casino for the evening. The pit boss might have even just started their shift and decided to fill the dealer coffers to the brim to not have to go about and do so other times throughout the evening.

The Truth About Chip-Peeking

If you are one of the blackjack players who only seek tables where the players have a good number of chips in front of them, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind. These chips are not tell-tale signs that everyone at the table is winning. Honestly, it could simple mean that they bought in for a good amount of money and are just starting to win after losing a good amount.

Also, this works in reverse. Players having few chips does not always mean that the players are losing consistently to the house and depleting their bankroll. On the contrary, they could be in cahoots pocketing their consistent winnings to keep other players from butting into their run of the table. Everything is not always what it seems. Be cautious and alert.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing in Blackjack Table Decisions

If you are one of those blackjack players that will stand and watch a table before sitting down and playing, just to see if the blackjack players are winning or losing, there are a few important things to remember. For example, if you stand and watch for a few minutes, or even a shoe or two, and you find that players are winning more hands than losing, they could very well be on their first winning streak. Conversely, if you stand and watch and you discover players are losing more hands than winning, they could have been winning all night and their luck is just dropping back down to house edge levels.

In the end, choosing a blackjack casino and table should be based on the comfort of table limits, user friendliness of the gameplay (whether land-based or online), and many other factors. Everyone’s decisions are different, and selecting a table based on the dealer or chip count alone is never a good determining factor. Use your head and read through the blackjack game guide, or live blackjack game guide if you prefer to stay away from land-based casinos, to get all the information you need. Also, check out the extended frequently asked questions page for a full rundown of dozens of questions most asked by blackjack patrons. And have fun out there! Happy playing!