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Blackjack - Game Strategy, Rules and Tips
Introduction   |   Strategy    |  The Rules   |   Tips
 
Blackjack Game   A large favorite with many casino-goers, blackjack is a game of one-on-one between the player and the dealer regardless of how many people might be at the table. The object of blackjack is to get a hand closer to 21 than the dealer, without “busting”.

If the player has a hand with a point total higher than 21, they “bust” and the dealer automatically wins.

Once the player peeks at the two cards dealt to them, they have the option to hit or stand. If another card is wanted the player “hits” or if happy with what they are dealt (and think their hand will beat the dealers) they “stand”.

Should the two cards dealt to the player be a pair, the player has the option to “split”: the hand splits into two separate hands, and a bet equal to the initial is placed on the second hand. Each hand is played the same as a regular hand.

After viewing the two cards dealt to them, the player can take the chance of doubling their bet and being dealt only one additional card. This is known as “doubling down”.

If the first card to the dealer (the card shown to the player) is an ace, some tables will offer the option to take out “insurance”. Should the dealer have a blackjack, the player’s bet is insured and they will not lose it.

When the hand ends in a tie between the dealer and the player it is called a “push”, and neither the dealer nor the player wins the hand.

After reading through this introduction, as well as the tips and strategies, be sure to check out our Casino Review section which will lead you to some of the best casino’s around offering the popular game of blackjack.
 
Live Blackjack   Let’s face it – the goal of all who gamble is to win, win, and win again! While we can’t promise that you will win every time (that would be an outrageous lie), following certain strategies will help put the odds of winning into your “hands” (pun intended).

When playing blackjack you need to consider the dealers face up card in addition to your own. Trying to know when to hit or stand can be daunting to most beginner blackjack players, so a very useful tool is a Strategy Chart.

These charts suggest whether you should hit, stand, split, or double down according to which cards you have and what the dealer’s shown card is. These charts are legal in both online and land-based casinos…some casinos actually offer these to players to set beside them as they play!

Splitting can be a hair-raising decision. A general rule of thumb is to NEVER split 10’s or 5’s and to ALWAYS split A’s and 8’s. Splitting other cards can be a yes or no, all dependant on the card the dealer shows. Again, this is where a Strategy Chart comes in handy.

To double down or not to double down? This is another tricky decision that can have you scratching your head and debating. Ideally you will not want to double down when you have a hand of 8 or below, or anytime the dealer shows an A. If the dealer does not show an A, then the odds are in your favor to double down when you have a hand of 10.

When it comes to blackjack, insurance is not all it’s cracked up to be. When you take insurance it’s basically a side-bet that the dealer does have a blackjack. If they do, you win; if they don’t, you lose. The majority of experts in this game agree that insurance is really nothing more than passing your money over to the house, as the odds are more favorable that the dealer does NOT have a blackjack. The only time insurance should be taken is if you are an experienced card counter and are quite certain that the dealer does, indeed, have a blackjack.

Now then, if you’ve read all the tips, strategies, and rules of the game…do not forget to check out our Casino Review section for all the best casinos in which to begin your blackjack experience!
 
Blackjack Hands   While some rules in blackjack are unchanging, some rules vary not only from casino to casino, but also from table to table. You will want to ensure the rules of the table you are sitting at to maximize your winning potential!

A blackjack occurs when the first two cards dealt equal 21: an A and a card with the value of 10 points (10, J, Q, or K). Should you decide to split a pair of A’s, though, and are dealt a 10 point card it will not be considered a blackjack, but rather a 21. This is an important distinction as a blackjack beats a hand of 21.

A variant which may be allowed is called 5 Card Charlie. Simply put, this is a hand of five cards that does not go over 21. An example would be a hand containing 2, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The point value of this hand is only 16, but may provide you with an instant win!

When choosing a table or casino, consideration must be paid to how the dealer is to play his hand. The two variations of these are: “Dealer Stands on all 17’s” OR “Dealer Hits Soft 17”. If the dealer stands on all 17’s they must continue to draw cards until the value of their cards is 17 or higher. Once the dealer hits 17 or higher they must stop and stand on what they have. If the dealer hits on soft 17 (soft meaning that one of their cards is an ace – which could be counted as either 1 or 11) they must draw on it rather than stand. In this variation, the dealer will stop drawing cards if they have (for example) a 10 & 7, but must draw if they have 17 created by an A & 6. An A & 6 could be counted as 7 or 17, and is therefore “soft”. The value of a 10 & 7 cannot be anything other than 17 and is called “hard”.

These are the most straightforward and common rules in blackjack but you will definitely want to confirm the rules of the particular casino, table, and variation you chose to play at. After you are familiar with the rules, tips, and strategies and feel ready to begin playing blackjack, look at our Casino Review section to find only the best online casinos!
 
Casino Blackjack  

The number one tip (after reading all the tips, strategies, and rules of course) is to utilize the “freebie games” which many top online casinos offers. A great rule of thumb is to get your feet wet by getting in some practice hands before you wager your real and hard-earned cash. These games offer you the chance to familiarize yourself with the game and get into a “comfort zone” before you get into hard-core playing.

Just as one wouldn’t perform a solo in Carnegie Hall without practicing, you don’t want to perform at a blackjack (or other game) table without a few hands of practice in.

Starting with a freebie game will also get you into the practice of not only winning, but having fun. If something isn’t fun, it’s a chore; who wants to do chores during their down-time hours of enjoyment? Sure, losing a hand and your cash is NOT fun, but the game in itself is supposed to be! What you really want to do is relax, have fun, and (of course) win when you can!

Maximize your enjoyment! Don’t start playing fast and furious; it can be hazardous to your bank account! Find a balance between winning large and playing as long as you can. Realistically, it’s not much fun to lose your entire investment after ½ hour of playtime.

It’s quite important to keep your cool, and NOT try to recoup the loss of your last hand by betting irrationally on your new hand. Too many players make that mistake, both in online and land-based casinos. When you lose a hand (yes, it WILL happen…even to the best of players) it’s best to just chalk it up to a learning curve and move on from there. Let it go, take a breath, and start fresh without the lost hand in your memory bank!

The last tip we can offer is Look to the Future! If you want to play again tomorrow without having to lay out some more moolah…play that way. One of the best tips for land-based casinos, one that translates as well to online casinos, is to put what you are willing to spend in one pocket, and your winnings in a different pocket. When the spending pocket is empty you simply get up and walk away!

You are now ready to play blackjack…have fun, and may the cards be with you!

 
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