The game of blackjack, also fondly known as 21, is one of the most liked and most often played casino card games around the world. Its simplicity, combined with the fact it also can be played masterfully when skill and strategy are employed, has made it a favorite choice among players around the world.
From the very basics you need to know in order to play, along with a few tips and tricks for advanced strategies, this is what you need to know to make the game more enjoyable – and to help you win more.
Know The Basics
The rules of blackjack are simple: try to beat the dealer and get as close to the number 21 as possible without going bust (going over the set number target of 21). All cards played are worth their numerical values shown (i.e.: 2, 5, 7) except for face cards (also known as royal court cards) which are worth 10.
The Ace is a wild card in the sense that it can be played as either an 11 or a 1, depending on which will help the player the most. Each player is dealt two cards and then needs to decide if they will stand (keep their hand and not draw any more cards), hit (have another card dealt to them), split their hand into 2 hands, or fold.
Based on this the dealer will then either hit the deck to get up to 17 or higher or stand. Players will only win if their current hand is closer to the mark of 21 when compared to the dealers, without going bust.
The ability for players to achieve what is known as an instant or natural blackjack is rare but not impossible. What needs to happen is that an Ace and a 10-value card are drawn. This will then pay out a ratio of 3:2 on average unless the dealer also has somehow hit blackjack. If this has happened, then the game goes into either a push or tie.
To play beyond just the basics of the physical cards, it would do well to learn the Basic Blackjack strategy. This involves looking at some of the recommended basic strategy charts which show the best card choices based on the ‘precise hand which you’re dealt when compared to the dealers shown up-card. Most players find that by using the very basic strategy, they can help to lower the house edge of the casino significantly.
Do Well At Blackjack By
To play well when you’re just starting out in the game, it pays to play only at low-stake games. This is the best choice you can make since you’ll extend your bankroll and allow you to learn the ropes while feeling less pressure.
Don’t Place An Insurance Bet
While this may look like it’s a safe choice for beginners, especially when the dealer’s up card is an Ace, usually the odds aren’t in the player’s favor. Most blackjack players recommend skipping this.
The Advanced Strategy Options
Those seeking to delve deeper into the strategy side of blackjack would do well to read up on some advanced blackjack strategies and consider learning about statistical odds as well. These will take practice to master but can help to improve your winning odds even more.
A top choice for more advanced blackjack players is that when a pair is dealt to you, you split it rather than play it together. By splitting your pair into two separate hands, you double your options of winning. However, choosing when to split pairs is what separates beginners from more advanced players. So choose wisely.
Being able to know when to double down is a large strategic advantage for most players. Deciding to do this after receiving the first two cards is what will allow you to increase your winning odds. While you may have a fantastic hand, remember to only double down once you know you’ve weighed your winning odds against the dealer’s up card.
Fold or Surrender
For many new players, the idea of folding seems as though you’re admitting defeat which is something they want to avoid. However, doing this strategically when the odds aren’t in your favor extends your bankroll and allows you to put the money towards hands you can do well on.
All The Different Blackjack Games Available
While Blackjack is fairly standard when it comes to the rules, it must be noted that there are variations of the game that are available to play online at ZAR Casino and in certain physical casinos. The most common varieties of blackjack that you’ll find are:
Double Exposure Blackjack
Not quite as commonly played as the other two variants, Double Exposure Blackjack is a game where both of the dealer’s cards are shown face up for everyone to see. Despite the obvious advantages this gives to players, the casino compensates for this player advantage by ensuring that the dealer automatically wins all ties unless the player has a natural blackjack (a 10 card and an Ace).
This is the most commonly played style of blackjack. In the European blackjack version, the dealer receives only one card to start with, and they are not allowed to check for blackjack until all the players have completed their actions. This is considered to be an advantageous variation of blackjack since it reduces the house edge.
The variation known as Spanish 21 uses a deck that does not have any 10-value cards within it. While this extends gameplay choices it also increases the house edge. To compensate for this, it provides favorable rules specifically to players, like the ability to double down your bet after any number of cards have been dealt already.
The game of blackjack is an easy one to learn the rules to and start playing straight away. To give yourself the best odds however, you should take advantage of the ability to use skill and strategy in your gameplay along with needing that little bit of luck. So whether you’re a blackjack beginner or a more advanced player, brushing up continually on the basics and incorporating advanced strategies can only increase your winning potential.