Blackjack is a great game for the for the gambler that likes to get value for their money. It has one of the lowest house edges of all the games found in a casino, and is fun to play. In fact, in some situations the player can even have an advantage over the casino when playing Blackjack. It’s a great game to play in both land-based and online casinos; it can also be used to good effect to profit from bonuses offered by online casinos, See our articles on casino bonuses for more info! You can also try out your favorite blackjack strategy by using a free cash bonus, no deposit required from any of the large number of online casinos that offer no deposit casino bonuses to attract new clients. View our list of no deposit casino bonuses.
The object of the game is simple: make a hand of cards that is adds up to more than the dealers hand without going over 21, or busting! All cards 2-9 score their face value, tens and all picture cards score 10, and an Ace can score 1 or 11, which ever gives you the best score.
The dealer will deal each player and themselves two cards, the dealer will turn one of their cards face up, and leave the other face down, so you have some clue as to what you need to beat.
Each player in turn will then chose from a number of options:
Hit – take another card, you can hit as many times as you like as long as your hand adds up to less than 21.
Stand – stick with the hand you have and hope it beats the dealer.
Double – can only be your first action, or first action after splitting, doubling doubles the bet you have placed on the hand, and gives you one more card. After doubling you can take no further actions.
Split – if your cards are the same rank, such as 77, you can split them and play each as a separate hand. If you chose to do so the dealer will deal you a second card to each hand. This also effectively doubles your bet as you are now playing two hands each for the original bet amount.
Once all of the players have finished, the dealer will turn over their second card and then play their hand in a similar fashion. Once all the hands are played, if your score is higher than the dealer, but not over 21 then you win!
If you make a Blackjack (get dealt exactly 21 with your first two cards) then you win 3:2 on your original bet, so if you bet $10 and make a blackjack you’d be paid $15. All other wins are paid at 1:1.
There is one other bet you may be offered: if the dealers face up card is an Ace, you may be offered “insurance” against the dealer having blackjack. This is an extra bet that is heavily loaded in the houses favor, it’s best to always decline.
Most players do not have much of a system and play the game like they would any other casino game, that being by the seat of their pants and hoping to get lucky. By using the blackjack strategy chart below, you can reduce the house’s edge to a very small percentage. This is particularly useful if you are clearing casino bonuses online. If you manage to break even after you have played the required wagers to clear the bonus, then the bonus is pure profit.
Blackjack Strategy Chart
For a full explanation of this chart, click here.
Use this chart to clear bonuses at online casinos to maximize your return from each casino. You could also use it in a land-based casino to lose at a very slow rate while hitting up the complimentary drinks!
Once the hands have been dealt, add up your cards and find your hand down the left hand column of the chart. Note that pairs and hands with aces are special cases. If your hand is below 8 then follow the instructions for 8. If your hand is over 17 then you always want to stand.
Next, follow the chart along until you find the column that matches the dealer’s face-up card and you should find the correct action to take in that box. After hitting, repeat this process until the chart tells you to stand (or you bust).
After a split some casinos do not allow you to re-split should one of your two new hands also be a pair. In this case simply follow the actions for the total of your cards.