How to play Blackjack

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Blackjack basics

Blackjack is a fun, exciting card game played between a number of players (from 1 to 7, depending on the table) and a dealer. It's probably the most famous and popular of all table games in the casino, but can seem a little confusing until you understand the rules and the betting options.

The aim of Blackjack is to beat the dealer by getting a points total higher than his / hers.

To do this, you have to make decisions on the cards you're dealt. The options you have available to you are listed below.

NB if you think the aim of Blackjack is to get 21, read this article: How to win at Blackjack - and why new players don't!'

The cards

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Blackjack is normally played with 8 identical packs of 52 standard cards each (416 cards). Each card has a point value indicated by its number - e.g. 4 of Diamonds = 4.

The exceptions to this are that Jacks, Queens and Kings - all of which count as 10.

Aces count as either 1 or 11.

The deal

At the start of each round, you place your desired bet, then the dealer deals 2 cards to you and to himself. Both your cards are face up, but only one of the dealer's cards can be seen.

The game

You then have a number of betting options:

you do not receive any more cards.
you ask the dealer to give you another card.
you double your bet and receive 1 more card only.
if you have a pair, you can split it into 2 separate hands.
fold your cards and lose your bet.
if the dealer is showing an Ace, you can insure against Blackjack.

Getting Blackjack

'Blackjack' is when you or the dealer have a points total of 21 from an Ace and a 10 value card.

Going bust

If, while hitting, your points total exceeds 21, you bust and your bet is lost.

The hole card

When you decide to stand, the dealer then reveals their hidden card (the 'hole card') and then either stands or hits until he reaches a points total of 17 or more.

Often, in trying to reach 17, the dealer will bust. If you have a valid hand when they bust, you win. If you have busted before the dealer busts, you still lose!

The payout

If you have Blackjack, you win 1.5 times the amount of your bet.

If the dealer busts or your points total is higher than his, you win the same amount as your bet.

If your hand has the same points total as the dealer, you get your bet back.

If your hand is lower than the dealer's, you lose.

The best casinos for Blackjack

Check out the casinos below for the best Blackjack games currently available.

Online Blackjack guide

Blackjack is the most popular game in the casino, and for good reason - it's simple to learn, but offers experienced gamblers the opportunity to refine a strategy that could give them the edge over the casino.

In order to take you from beginner through to High Rolling Blackjack player, we've put together a comprehensive Blackjack guide, that tells you everything you need to know:

Blackjack strategy

The 'perfect' Blackjack strategy has to cover every possible combination of cards. This quickly becomes hard to remember, especially under playing conditions.

We've developed a simplified, easy-to-learn method that allows you to start with a basic strategy, suitable for most hands you'll encounter, then takes you step by step to a more advanced level, until you're playing like a pro.

Blackjack variations and side bets

Casinos offer a multitude of Blackjack variations, each with a subtle twist on the standard game. They have also introduced side bets, optional bets that can win even when the main hand loses!

We've detailed all the major variations and side bets in this separate guide. Once you're familiar with the basic game, you can choose a variation that gives you exactly what you want!

How to win at Blackjack

New Blackjack players often think that the object of the game is to get a points total as close to twenty one as possible. It isn't.

To win at Blackjack, you just have to beat the dealer - and you can do this with a points total of nineteen, fifteen or even twelve.

Play Blackjack for free

Practice your new-found Blackjack strategy skills on this free play game which you can play without downloading, on your mobile, tablet or desktop.

You'll get 2,000 play money credits and as long as you want to practice!

Blackjack with Live Dealers

Live casino Blackjack

Once you've familiarised yourself with the rules of Blackjack on the free play Practice game, why not try playing with real Live Dealers? It's the most authentic casino experience you can get, without leaving your home!

At our Live Casinos, you can always find a table to play at (or Bet Behind!) and place bets from as low as £1, right up to £5,000!

Read through the articles above, practice until you feel coonfident, then head over to one of our casinos and play Live Blackjack now!