How to Play Blackjack – Dummies’ Guide

How to play blackjack dummies' guide.


Blackjack is easily among the most infamous casino games for having a negative expectation. In layman terms, a blackjack game gives a higher advantage to the casino than the player. On the other hand, blackjack is one of the most engaging casino games with a chance to win big bucks. With online casino guides for beginners, you can learn how to play blackjack in no time.

Many people face confusion about whether blackjack and 21 are the same game. To answer this, they are the same game, and blackjack is indeed called 21 since the goal is to reach the number 21 or closer. Unlike baccarat, blackjack gives the player an opportunity to do something about the hand in play which can result in huge payouts. While the casino has the dominance when it comes to the rules set for the game, it most certainly does not put the player in a blind spot. We are going to teach you how you can own the house at a blackjack game.

How to play blackjack: the basic rules

The game follows in the shadow of baccarat in the most basic sense. On the other hand, in blackjack, the player gets to be more involved than in baccarat. First things first, the goal of the game is to beat the dealer by getting closer to the number 21 without going over it. In the unfortunate scenario that the dealer gets closer to 21, the player loses. To understand how the points work, let’s take look at the values of each card:

2-10Face value
Jack, Queen, King10
Ace1 or 11 (depending on the other card/s)

The dealer deals out two cards to all those participating, including themself. Both the cards of the players are revealed but only one from the dealers set. Hence, the player always goes first in a game of blackjack.

The 3 outcomes

  • Winning the hand: in this case, you win an equal amount to your bet 
  • Losing the hand: if you lose, the total amount of bet placed goes to the dealer
  • Pushing the hand: in this scenario, you push to get the same amount as the dealer, in which case you don’t win or lose the bet

Although, there is a tie in case both the dealer and player end up getting the same score. In this scenario, the player can push to get a better score. However if the player chooses to stand in case of a higher hand, neither the dealer nor the player wins. Hence, there will be no win or loss in terms of a bet.

The payout options in blackjack

During the game of blackjack, which involves betting money to win more money, there are options to win more money than double the bet. Putting the basics out there, winning a hand will result in an equal payout to the bet, and losing will result in losing your bet completely.

In a certain hand, you can win money according to the ratio 3 to 2. This payout results in a natural win or a blackjack. A blackjack win is a score which is exactly 21 with just the first two cards. This can only happen if a card of value 10 pairs with an ace, making the sum total 21. If you win at a casino table which pays at 3 to 2, you’ll win 150% of the bet. For instance, a bet of $100 could win $150 for a natural win.

the payout is the best part when you are learning how to play blackjack.
The payout is one of the best parts when playing blackjack.

Having said that, some casinos (read greedy) offer a payout ratio of 6 to 5. Do not let the higher numbers fool you since it only gives you a profit of 120%. Pro tip: do not play at a table which has natural blackjack win at 6 to 5.

4 playing decisions a player can make in blackjack

We have all seen in movies, where actors playing blackjack famously say ‘hit me’, well that is one of the decisions a player has to make when playing blackjack. Although, it is important to note that the casinos stress on not saying the actions out loud, instead making hand gestures which are in association with the actions. This is done in order to record the gestures via cameras in case a conflict arises.

The 4 decisions are:

  • Hitting: in case a player wants to get a better hand to increase the probability of a win, they can request another card by either tapping or scrapping on the table
  • Standing: if the player is satisfied with the hand they have been dealt, they can wave their hand above the surface of the table signifying that they will stand
  • Splitting: this rule applies in case the player is dealt a pair, in which case they can split the set into two separate piles, each with a separate bet and card. Even face cards can be split if they show up in pairs. Moreover, some casinos allow players to split different face cards since their value is the same, i.e, 10.
  • Doubling down: when a player feels they are in an advantageous position they may simply add an equal bet and signal the dealer. The dealer places another card in a horizontal position which means that the deal is over and in case the dealer loses or busts, the player wins double the money

It is important to note that the dealer does not have to perform these decisions, with the exception of hitting. This gives an advantage to the player when playing blackjack.

When to double down

How to play blackjack? Use simple math. There is a strategy at play when it comes to doubling down. While this bet can certainly increase the chances of winning more money, it can also cause a bust since the total hand can exceed the limit of 21. In this case, a simple thumb rule comes into play. Doubling down is most effective in the situation where the initial deal makes a total of 11. Doing simple math here will make it simple that no matter what card appears due to hitting it will not cause a bust.

However, it is also important to remember that since doubling down allows a single card after which the deal is over. Consequently, if the single card is of a lower value, it may hurt the chances of a win. Therefore, it is essential to observe whether the dealer is in a weaker position than the player.

Doubling down strategy also suggests that the values 9, 10, and 11 are a prime time to go for it. Although, an integral part of this technique will payout in cases where the dealer’s card is a 10 or face card. In the end, the use of judgment is of priority when it comes to using this option.

Basic strategy and card counting – How to play blackjack?

As intimidating as blackjack can be, there are ways you can beat blackjack. If you have heard of blackjack you must be aware of basic strategy and card counting techniques. Basic strategy is perhaps the perfect way to learn how to win at blackjack. A lot of mathematical calculations come up with a set of moves you can make to turn the odds in your favor. It takes time understanding and memorizing these moves which can make you not embarrass yourself on a casino table. However, this still does not give you an advantage over the casino.

How to play blacjkack? Have a hand like this
These cards add up to 21, we have a winner.

When the “how to play blackjack” question is arising there is always someone who says card counting. Card counting does. Yes yes, we are all aware of how card counting is illegal. Technically it is not illegal since you are using your brain to win at a game the casinos are encouraging you to play. Although, it needs to be mentioned that the casinos are awfully paranoid that they will get ripped off in which case they might escort you out if found guilty.

Blackjack insurance explained

Blackjack insurance is similar to real-life insurance, except in the game you are insuring your bet. Insurance in blackjack offers you a chance to win back the bet even if the dealer gets a blackjack. When the dealer gets an Ace in the first deal, they will offer the player to place an insurance bet. The insurance bet basically saves half of your original bet in case the dealer gets a 10 value card and gets a blackjack. 

In the scenario where the dealer gets an ace, the player can place half of their original bet in the insurance zone on the table. In a rather unlikely event, if the dealer does, in fact, get a 10 value card, the insurance bet will pay 2 to 1. Sounds a little reassuring, right? Well, it’s not.

The odds of the dealer having a blackjack are 9 to 4 which means that a player may lose an insurance bet more than half of the time. Counting cards is a skill which can give an advantage in this situation, by calculating the number of 10 value cards still left in the deck. Otherwise, this is an option which will make you lose a lot of money in a long sitting.

The casino’s advantage – How to play blackjack?

How to play blackjack and what are your odds against the casinos? Casinos are skillfully deceptive of making sure they do not go in loss which is why they have some frustrating rules which favor them. For instance, if in a hand both the dealer and player bust (go over 21) the game is immediately over. On the downside, it does not emerge as a tie but as a loss for the player. In case, you are anticipating a loss, some empathetic casinos offer a surrender option. Do not be shy to wave the white flag, it will only result in a loss of 50% of your bet instead of the heartbreaking 100%.

How to pick a blackjack table?

Each casino offers a variety of table options for blackjack. Some come bearing advantages for the players while others may earn you a drawback. The first rule to identifying an advantageous table is to look for the payout offered on a blackjack win. If it is 3 to 2, it takes you one step closer to finalizing the table.

Secondly, checking if the table offers the surrender option. In order to surrender a player needs to mentally calculate if the chances of the dealer winning are higher than their own. In such a case, a player can surrender before the round can progress further than the reveal of the initial cards. For many players choosing to surrender option is a sign of weakness. Which sounds absurd, since surrendering can save you 50% of a bet which can be invested later on in another bet.

The third thing to look for when choosing a table is more dependent on how the player wants to progress in the game. Choosing a table that is full will make the game progress slower than an empty one which means you can keep in check with your losses. In case of a power blackjack strategy, an empty table will give the boost a player requires.

How to play blackjack online

Playing blackjack online is similar to playing in a casino. Except one has the convenience of sitting in their pajamas. There are multiple sites and phone applications that allow players from all over the world to participate in online blackjack tables. The rules are similar when it comes to choosing a table. It is up to the preference of players, whether they want to play with a real-life dealer or an automated one. Either way, the game unfolds the same way.

Buying bets online is a simple method and each website offers several deals when it comes to buying bets. Once the bets are ready, players can place them on the virtual table and the game begins. Just like casino blackjack, the rules apply exactly the same. Contrary to popular belief, online blackjack games are a quick process. Unless one gets a really tired dealer who has had a long shift.

Online casinos hold a special advantage for players who are learning how to count cards. It is a less intimidating place without the fear of some bouncer watching you do mental math inside your head. So if you are interested in learning how to count cards, you can start off with online blackjack. Once you start online blackjack check out the latest online blackjack bonuses.

Do’s and don’ts at a blackjack table

There are some atticates when it comes to playing casino games and blackjack has no exception.

  • Do not hand the money to the dealer. Always place the amount on the table and the dealer will pick it up, count it precisely and you will receive the chips. This is done in order to avoid malfunction for the cameras. The process has to be clear and visible to all.
  • Do not touch the cards. Since the dealer is the only person handling the cards, there is absolutely no need for you to engage with the cards on the table. Another reason for this is that the casino does not want you to swap cards from a secret stash in your pockets.
  • Do not touch your bets once the betting time is over. A similar reason prevails here as well. In case of a bad hand, the casino will notice if you try to decrease the amount of the bets or vice versa.
  • Use hand signals instead of telling the dealer about your decisions. The hand signals will be recorded and will be proof in case any complexity arises.
  • Always know what your next move will be instead of guessing. The beginners’ luck will only take you so far and remember, this is a negative expectation game which will result in losses after several rounds.

Final thoughts

With all this knowledge of blackjack, you can now try to master the game. The online casino guides for beginners will help you double your money in no time. With this being said, you can head out to the nearest casino and cash out your luck with the help of some tips we delivered to you. Hope your how to play blackjack question is answered.


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