From an outsider’s perspective, Blackjack could seem like a very simple game, but the number of options open to players make the game more varied than one might expect. We’re going to go over the basics of Blackjack for beginners, but even intermediate players might pick up on a tip or two that could prove valuable at an unexpected moment. So, without further ado, let’s get into the basics.
The Aim Of Blackjack
The aim of blackjack is quite simple: score higher than the dealer without going over 21. Cards 2 through 10 have their face value; Jacks, Queens and Kings have a score of 10 and Aces have a score of 10 or 1 at the player’s discretion.
At the game’s outset, you’re given two cards. You can then choose to ‘hit’ (take another card) or pass (not accept any further cards). The dealer’s first card is visible, but their second card is face down. Once you’ve hit or passed, the dealer will then reveal their second card. If the dealer’s score is 16 or lower, they will be forced to take another card and could end up bust.
If the dealer goes bust, you win double your bet. If the dealer has a higher score than you, you lose your bet and if your score is over the dealer, you win double your bet. If you’re dealt a ‘Blackjack’ you win instantly and you win big. A Black Jack is a 10 card and an Ace and pays out 3:2 or 150%. Simple so far.
However, at the Blackjack table, you can do more than simply hit or pass. You also have the option to double down – which means you double your bet and receive a card, and your turn is over (you can’t hit again). Doubling down should be done on a strong hand. You can also split your hand if you have two cards of equal value.
This allows you to bet on two or even three separate hands, giving you a better chance of winning or at least breaking even. Some Casinos offer a surrender option which allows you to essentially ‘fold’ if you have a weak hand, only losing 50% of your wager. Another play is to put down insurance. This happens if the dealer has an Ace and has a high chance of pulling a Blackjack.
If a Blackjack is drawn by the dealer, you’ll lose your hand but double the insurance bet – essentially breaking even. Many professional Blackjack players say you should only use the insurance option if you’re a seasoned card counter as it rarely pays out in the long run.
Hopefully these basic, yet essential pointers have you on your way to winning many a hand at the Blackjack table, but remember that the more you research, and the more you learn, the more you’ll win. Lastly, game responsibly. Always set limits for yourself and never go over them. Keep track of the time spent at the tables as well as the amount of liquor you’ve consumed. Good luck!