This guide will walk you through how to play blackjack by covering
the all-important basics, as well as more advanced tips from the experts. Blackjack is one
of the easiest games to play, but wrapping your head around the best blackjack strategy can
make a massive difference to how much you win!
We’ll cover blackjack rules, how a game works, strategy tips, card
values, key terms, different game variations, and how to win.
Object of the game: Beat the dealer by:
Place your bet. You have to bet at least the table minimum. If you’re
online, select the chip denomination and then click on the betting box.
Get your cards. Each player receives two face-up cards form the dealer. The
dealer receives two cards as well but one of them is dealt face-down (the
Look at your cards and decided to hit (you get another card), stand (stick
the cards you have), double(put out another bet equal to your first and
ONLY one more card) or split (when your're dealt a pair you can split it
two separate hands).
See if you win. After all the players have made their decisions the dealer
over their hole card and draws more cards according to rules set by the
(more info below). If your hand scores higher than the dealer's without
over 21, or the dealer busts and you don't, you win.
As long as you’ve played card games before you’ll have no trouble understanding
blackjack card values. In blackjack, aces are worth 1 or 11, face cards (jacks, queens
and kings) are worth 10 and all other cards count at face value. Let’s go through each
group of cards separately to make it all really clear.
In blackjack you’ll hear different names for the group of cards that include jacks,
queens and kings. Some people call them “face cards” because they have faces on them and
they’re also called “paint cards” because of the coloured ink used in the pictures.
Whatever you call them, they’re all worth 10 points.
Aces are special cards in blackjack because they can be either 1 or 11 points. When you
count it as 11 the hand is called "soft". An ace and 5, for example, is a "soft 16"
can also be counted as a 6. When an ace is counted as 1 point the hand is called “hard”.
The best possible card combination is an Ace card and a 10 value card (10, J, Q, K).
This is a natural 21 (known as blackjack) and if you have one of these combinations you
will never lose, but always tie or win.
The most fundamental part of blackjack to learn is the different actions you can take
when you’re playing a hand. After that, the next step in your blackjack strategy
training is to learn which action to use in every possible situation. When you know what
to do in each situation, you'll know how to play blackjack. In this section we’ll
explain all the actions clearly, plus the basics of when it’s best to use them.
Hitting means you want the dealer to give you another card. Generally
speaking you want to hit when you think the dealer will end up with a better hand
than you. Since you can only see one of the dealer’s cards it’s hard to know when
to hit. Basic strategy says to always hit hard 11 or less, always hit soft 17
or less, hit hard 12 when the dealer shows anything except a 4, 5 or 6 and hit
hard 13-16 when the dealer shows 7 or higher.
Standing means that you don’t want any more cards. This is clearly the best
option when you have a really good hand but there are also less obvious
times when it’s the best move. Always stand on soft 19 or more, always stand on
hard 17 or more. Always stand on soft 18 when the dealer shows 9, 10 or ace. It’s
also best to stand on hard 12 when the dealer shows 4-6 and to stand on hard
13-16 against a dealer 2-6.
When you’re dealt a pair (two cards of the same rank) you have the option to
split them into two separate hands. When you split a pair you must put out a
second bet equal to your original bet. After you split the dealer puts
anothercard on each of your original cards and you play each hand out individually.
Always split aces and eights but never split fives and tens.
To double down you must put out another wager equal to your original bet and
the dealer will give you just one more card. Doubling down is a powerful move
and one of the most profitable parts of blackjack. Basic strategy tells you to
double down on hard 10 unless the dealer has an ace or a 10. You should also
double on hard 11 except when the dealer shows an ace, and double on hard 9
when the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5 or 6.
In blackjack you have the option of forfeiting the hand and keeping half
your bet. Most casinos only allow you to surrender after the dealer has checked
to see if they have a blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack they win
automatically and no surrender option is given. It’s profitable to surrender
a hard 16 that’s not a pair of eights when the dealer shows 9, 10 or ace. It’s
also smart to surrender hard 15 against the dealer’s 10.
When the dealer has an ace showing they will often offer the players
“Insurance” or “Even Money”. This is a special side bet that pays out if the dealer’s
hole card is worth 10 points, giving them a blackjack. The strategy for whether
to take insurance is easy: Don’t. It’s a bad bet that will lose you money in
the long run and it’s really easy to stay away from.
Learning blackjack strategy isn’t too hard but it does take time. The goal is to
remember the most profitable action to take in any possible scenario. It’s a lot to
remember, which brings us to our handy blackjack strategy chart below. You can use the
chart for free and, with a little practice, you’ll start to get familiar with all the
different hands and situations.
Deciding which blackjack game is best for you comes down to a mix of getting the
best odds and finding the best value and player experience. If you’re playing blackjack online
you’ll have your choice of traditional blackjack or fancy new styles like Blackjack
Switch and Progressive Blackjack.
Remember, you can try them all out for free before you risk any real money. We
always suggest doing this to find one you like, then you can start comparing online
casinos and using your bankroll.
The best online blackjack casinos offer big bonuses that match your first deposit
when you sign up. They should also have a wide selection of different blackjack
games including live dealer tables. Check out our recommended casinos to get started
- and good luck at the tables!
Have questions related to Blackjack? Don't worry, our FAQ has you covered.
The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer by not going bust and getting a hand closer to 21 than the dealer. You can play with 1-8 decks. Aces count as 1 or 11, 2-10 cards count as per their numbers and all face cards are also worth 10. Each hand is valued at the sum of the point values of the cards, except a blackjack which is the highest hand.
Dealers give two cards to each player face up, followed by two cards to the dealer position, one of which is face up while the other is face down. If the dealer is showing an Ace or 10, they will offer an insurance bet before checking for blackjack, which would be a win for the dealer, beating all player hands except a blackjack which would be a push.
Players can choose to stand, hit, double, split or surrender. Once all the players stand or go bust, the dealer will play out their hand. If the dealer goes bust, any player who didn't bust will win. If the dealer does not go bust, the higher point total between the player and dealer will win.
Always hit on hands worth 11 or less and stand on 17 or higher.
Double on a 9, or on a 10 or 11 if your hand is worth more than what the dealer is showing.
For hard hands valued 12 to 16, stand if the dealer is showing a 2-6 but hit if the dealer has a 7 or higher showing.
For soft 13 to 15, always hit.
Double down on a soft 16 to 18 if the dealer is showing 2-6, but just hit if the dealer is showing 7 or higher.
Yes. Blackjack is the best hand that you can get. While 21 is a winning hand, blackjack still beats it.
Yes. Blackjack is a two-card hand worth 21, so an Ace plus a 10, Jack, Queen or King. 21 is any hand worth 21, no matter how many cards it takes to get there.
Blackjack is paid out 3:2 while other wins are paid out 1:1. So, if you wager $10 and get a blackjack, you'd win $15, whereas if you hit until you made a winning hand of 21, you'd win $10.
In blackjack, you are allowed to split pairs to make two new hands, such as splitting two Aces. You need to add a bet to back the second hand. Depending on the rules of the blackjack variation you're playing, you might be limited to a certain number of splits, doubling down after splitting or which hands can even be split in the first place. Remember that even if you split aces and are dealt a 10-value card on top, it counts as 21 after split, not a blackjack.