Developed in France in the 1770s, Blackjack is a popular online casino game with both luck and skill playing a part in the thrills it induces. The low house edge, being easy to learn and the potential high returns all contribute to its popularity.
Blackjack is traditionally played with multiple 52-card decks, with most favoring the 6-deck game. In online blackjack, the cards are “shuffled” by using a random number generator – which helps guarantee fairness and limit card counting.
Basic Blackjack Gameplay
Whether you play in Vegas or online at Grand Rush casino, the objective of blackjack is relatively simple – each player is pitted against the dealer and aims to get as close to 21 as possible. If you exceed 21, you bust.
The cards are valued with their corresponding number from 2 through to 10, with the player having a choice between 1 or 11 for an ace. Kings, Queens, and Jacks, which are known as face cards, are valued at 10 each.
To start the game, each player is dealt two cards, both facing up, while the dealer receives one card facing up and the other facing downward.
After determining the collective value of your cards, you can decide to hit or stand. If you have a high hand value, such as above 17, it is advised to stand, however, below that you may wish to call for a hit, where you will be dealt an additional card. This is where the game gets exciting as this will either bring you closer to or break over the 21-point limit. After all bets have been placed, the dealer reveals his hidden card and plays their turn. If their cards tally is below 17, they are required to draw until they reach a card value of 17 or above. If they initially receive a total or upward of 17, they are required to stand where they are.
Additionally, if an ace is drawn by the dealer and, counted at 11, it would contribute to a value upward of 17 but not over 21 – they are required to count it as that and stand.
Once the dealer has played their turn, the cards are compared and whoever gets 21, or the closest to it, wins.
Naturals, Splitting Pairs, Doubling Down, And Insurance
A natural occurs when you score 21 after receiving your first two cards. If the dealer’s upcard has a value of 10 or is an ace, they are allowed to confirm if the face-down card completes their natural. If you both have a natural, it is a tie and your chips are returned, however, if you beat the dealer with this hand, you receive 1.5 times your bet as payment.
If you receive a pair on your initial cards, you are then able to split them – creating two distinct hands which are played separately. Your original bet is then doubled and split between the cards. If you are splitting aces, you are only allowed to draw a single card for each ace. The rules for a natural do not apply if you hit a ten when you draw in this situation.
You may choose to double down if the sum of your original cards is between 9 and 11. This involves doubling your bet and you will receive a card that is faced down and only turned over once after all other bets are settled.
The options to double down or split are not available for the dealer.
Insurance bets, which are against the dealer getting a natural, are offered if the dealer’s upcard is an ace. However, it is generally advised to avoid this type of bet – especially in online blackjack, where counting cards is not an option.
Diving Deeper – Strategic Insights To Up Your Game
A perk of online gambling is you can have your strategy guide open on a different tab for a speedy reference into the strategies you are choosing to employ. You can also create your own strategy guide – consolidating your strategies into one document and catering them to your unique needs.
Remember strategy is the best way to maximize your chances of winning so stick to it, even when the cards don’t seem to be on your side.
Now for some tips on actual gameplay!
The dealer’s upcard determines how you should proceed. If it is an ace or is ranked 7 or higher, basic strategy suggests that you continue to draw until you have a card value of 17 or above.
In contrast, if the dealer’s upcard is between 4 and 6, hit until you pull a hand value of 12 or higher.
This strategy lures the dealer into calling for hits to beat you and bust their hand during their turn.
Always use a mix of intuition and discernment when calling for a hit and avoid taking a card if it will push you bust.
If you are dealt an ace and a card with a value lower than 10, it is termed a “soft hand”. This means that if you draw one ranging high, such as a 16 or 17, you may wish to draw another card to get even closer to 21.
If you happen to bust you can play the ace as a 1, which would lower your total, after which, you can continue to draw – ideally pushing until a card value of at least 18.
When splitting, you should always split aces and 8’s. Unless the dealer has an upcard with a value of 8, 9, or 10, you can happily split 2s, 3s, or 7s.
Don’t ever split 5s – which are more suited to doubling down, or identical 10s. A pair of 4s gives a good card value to draw more cards on, so consider playing a normal hand. Furthermore, 6s should only be split if the dealer’s upcard ranges between 2 and 6.
Double down with a hand value of 11. The same goes for a 10 unless the dealer has a 10 or ace. With a hand value of 9, it is advised to only double down if the dealer has an upcard of between 2 and 6.
Even if you have mastered strategy, it’s important to always remember to gamble responsibly. Trust yourself to know when to quit, set and stick to a budget, and enjoy the fun of the game!