Learn the Blackjack Rules

A casino elite favourite, blackjack is a skill-based card game which rules certainly need to be understood to be enjoyed properly.

The rules for blackjack are simple, but there are some minor and major details that we’re going to cover in this simplified guide to playing blackjack online.

You’re going to leave this page feeling like a pro – are you ready?

Let’s dive into it.

If you have any uncertainties regarding the rules, you can always ask the live dealers

Basic Rules of Blackjack

Let’s start off with the basic rules of how to play blackjack. The main goal is, as some of you most certainly know, to get as close to 21 without overstepping said card value.

The dealer deals cards and you can decide to stand or hit – depending on your initial value and the dealt card value, that is. Simple enough so far, right?

The strategic part comes in when you’re trying to anticipate the next card in the dealer’s shoe and adjusting your approach accordingly.

Here are some other bits of useful rules:

  • Face cards have a 10 card value.
  • Ace have a card value of 11 or 1.
  • The player wins if he has a better hand than the dealer, without going above 21.
  • The best hand is ace and a face card also referred to as blackjack.
  • If the dealer and player have the same value by the end of the round, the player gets his wager back, also known as a push.
  • If a player lands a blackjack and dealer 21 by multiple cards than ace and a face card, the player wins with the name-giving “blackjack”.

Card values

All cards possess different values and it’s absolutely essential you know what those are in order to determine if you want to hit or stand.

This enables you to strategize your actions and will make you a much better blackjack player.

Here are the card values:

  • 2-9 = value is corresponding to the card number
  • Queen, King, 10 and Jack = 10
  • Ace = 1 or 11

Blackjack Live Dealer Rules

Not only the player has to adhere to certain blackjack rules, but so does the dealer. For one, the banker has to make sure, that the players can’t get a peek at the cards, which makes perfect sense.

In some blackjack variants however, he also has to stand at a soft 17, which certainly makes room for thought when playing blackjack online.

Here is the regular live dealer procedure lined up:

  1. The dealer lets the players place their bets.
  2. Dealer deals cards from left to right and gives the players 2 faceup cards each and himself one face up and one facedown.
  3. The dealer then lets players make their decisions.
  4. After each player has done that, the facedown card is revealed and so are the player’s cards, determining the result of the round – and starting a new one in the process.

You vs the dealer

Some rules- as mentioned – don’t apply to the player as much as they do to the banker,

For example the aforementioned stand on a soft 17. The dealer has to hit until he reaches 17 or more, whereas the player can make the choice of standing on whichever value he wants.

That gives the player a lot more flexibility, whereas ensuring a sense of stability when it comes to the banker.

For this example, you’re rocking a soft 20 and a sweet blackjack!

Blackjack betting rules

So, you’ve sat down at your favourite online blackjack table and you’re ready to place a bet, hoping for the best.

Hold on there cowboy, there are a few things to consider beforehand. How about some insurance? Splitting? Surrender?

If all these terms mean nothing to you, you’ve come to the right place. Below you will find some of the most common blackjack rules you might want to know:

Blackjack insurance rules

The option is available only after all the initial cards have been dealt, and only if the dealer shows an ace.

To take it, you must put up half your wager. If the dealer has blackjack, you win the insurance bet, usually at 2 to 1 odds – meaning you break even on the hand

Doubling down rules

Technically speaking, doubling down in blackjack is a situation where, after you are dealt your two original cards, you decide to double your initial bet in return for a single card.

Your option to hit or stay eliminated – in the hope that you will either hit a hand that beats the dealer’s or the dealer will bust.

Splitting rules

In blackjack, the standard rule is that if the player is dealt a pair of identically ranked initial cards, known as a pair, the player is allowed to split them into separate hands and ask for a new second card for each while placing a full initial bet identical to the original wager with each.

This is how the betting interface looks like. From here, you can either double down, hit, stand or split

Side bet rules

The 21+3 blackjack side bet is based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s upcard.

If the three cards form a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, or straight flush, the player wins. The original 21+3 side bet standout for each winning hands was a 9:1, leading to a house edge of 3.24%.

Surrender rules

Surrender is a move that is offered in the Blackjack variant Blackjack Surrender.

The move is used by players who prefer to fold their hand and lose half their bet rather than lose the whole amount. Hence, instead of playing out the hand, a player would attempt to surrender instead, which can be a smart move in the right situations.

Game awareness is needed for this one, and that will come with time and practice – we promise.

The blackjack game round

  1. Players place their bets
  2. The dealer deals the players 2 cards each face-up and deals himself one facedown-card and one faceup-card.
  3. Players make their decisions.
  4. Banker reveals his/her cards, with that the result and ends the round.

Number of decks of cards

When we talk about blackjack, we speak about regular blackjack – unless stated otherwise.

The base blackjack version is played with 8 decks of cards. There are other versions, such as multi-deck blackjack, there are more decks to be found, which isn’t always an advantage for the player, so choose your version wisely!

Check out our guide to online blackjack for more info on that.

Even money

The even money bet is a side bet offered to the players involving a natural (an Ace and a ten-valued card, being 20 in value altogether) in case the dealer has an Ace as a face-up card.

This bet will cost you half the size of the original bet.

The even money bet protects the player from a push if the dealer has a blackjack, which is another way of securing your bet, if all things go south during a round.

House edge

This one is a little tricky, since it depends on the casino, the version you play and, even more importantly; your skill level.

The house edge in blackjack regularly is around 0.5%, making the inexperienced player give up another 1.5% approximately, so make sure you brush up on more advanced blackjack strategies, before wagering large quantities.

The house edge can never be fully negated but you can surely cut the percentage down by having your wits about you.

Rules of payouts

Of course it pays off to know how payouts work, in order to plan your wagers and naturally the next round you’re going to play.

Regular blackjack pays 2:1, which should give you an idea of how to adjust your finances during each round.

Our advice would be, play a few rounds with lower bets and no side bets to get a feel for the game and see how you fare – you’d be surprised how your playstyle will change after playing a couple of rounds!

Blackjack Rules FAQ

The basic rules are simple; receive 2 cards from the banker per round and one additional one per strike – then hit or stand to get as close to 21 without going over it. 21 is blackjack and automatically wins you the round.
You do! The best thing to do is read our guide to online blackjack.
House edge in blackjack scores around 0.5% if you use a basic strategy, going up if you choose to play advanced.
The regular version of blackjack hosts eight decks of 52 playing cards – excluding jokers.