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How to Play Blackjack: Our Expert Guide

Ready to learn how to play blackjack like a pro? We love nothing more than teaching beginners how to beat blackjack at land-based and online casinos. Our easy to understand yet comprehensive guide teaches you everything you need to know about the beautiful game of blackjack in a matter of minutes.

We give you the lowdown on blackjack rules and their common variations, game terms you’ll need to know, and help you understand why blackjack etiquette is so important. We even provide a list of fun blackjack game variants that you can play for free right here on our website.


Blackjack Rules: A Full Overview

Before we go ahead into our step-by-step guide on how to play blackjack, we want to familiarize you with the game’s rules, the card values and everything else you need to know.

Blackjack is an extremely popular card game that pits you against the dealer. The objective is to beat the dealer by scoring as close to 21 points as possible without “going bust.” The rules of blackjack dictate that you or the dealer bust – simply another term for lose – with a hand value that totals more than 21.

There are three ways to win when you play blackjack. The first method of victory is to hit a blackjack when the dealer doesn’t. Also known as a “natural,” a blackjack is when you score 21 with the first two cards you are dealt. The second way to win is by scoring higher than the dealer without busting. The third and final way to win when you play blackjack is to watch the dealer bust by exceeding 21.

The simplicity of blackjack rules and a favorable house edge make it a favorite among gamblers. By using a basic strategy, you can swing the blackjack odds in your favor with a house edge of just 0.5%.

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Play Blackjack

To give you a better understanding of how to play blackjack at a casino, we have broken down each step of the game. Our step-by-step guide walks you through a typical round of blackjack, covering everything from placing your bets at the start of a hand to the big reveal when you find out if you’ve won or lost.

Choose a Table and Place Your Bets

Whether you play blackjack at a land-based casino or one of the best online casinos, the first step is choosing a table. All tables have minimum and maximum bets, so make sure you know what they are before sitting down. Then place your bet to be included in the next hand.

The Cards Are Dealt

Every player who has placed a bet is dealt two cards, both face-up. The dealer also deals two cards to themselves – the first is always face-up and the second is always face-down.

It’s Time to Act

Now that you know the value of your hand and the dealer’s up-card, it’s decision time. Your options will ultimately depend on the blackjack rules, but five of the most common actions are:

  • Stand

    Inform the dealer that you don’t wish to be dealt any additional cards.

  • Hit

    Request an additional card to help you increase a low total.

  • Double Down

    Double your original bet to receive one more card and then stand.

  • Split

    Place an additional bet to split a pair of cards into two separate hands.

  • Surrender

    Take back half your bet and forfeit the hand when you expect to lose.

The Winner is Revealed

After every player’s final hand value has been determined, it’s time for the dealer to turn over their second card. Blackjack rules dictate whether the dealer must stand or hit, depending on the value of their hand. The winner of the hand is then announced, and bets are settled.

Common Variations in Blackjack Rules

After learning how to play blackjack, you may be amazed by the number of rule variations and conditions that can affect a blackjack game and how it’s played. Being aware of some of these rules is extremely important, as they can impact the odds of the game and the likelihood of you winning.

Five of the most common variations include:

  • Early Surrender – This rule allows you to forfeit your hand for half your bet before the dealer checks their hand for a natural blackjack. It’s considered one of the most confusing blackjack rules, but it’s actually very straightforward. Saying that, not too many online casinos offer it.

  • Re-Splitting Aces – You’ll be rubbing your hands if you are dealt another Ace after the first split. You now have a chance to hit to two natural blackjacks for a big payout. Even if you fall short of scoring 21 with both hands, they should still be in a strong position to beat the dealer’s hand.

  • Split Any Time – It might be rare, but this rule allows you to split a hand after drawing additional cards as long as you have two cards of the same value touching each other. An example of this would be a hand containing cards valued at 3, 2, and 2. You could choose to split the deuces.

  • Doubling After Splitting – There is a reason why this blackjack rule isn’t allowed in many blackjack variants. Your odds of winning increase when you split a pair. For example, if you were dealt two 10s, splitting and then doubling would give you a significant edge over the dealer.

  • Insurance – This is a side bet that allows you to buy insurance when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. It costs half of your original bet and pays 2:1. If you choose to take insurance, you’ll be hoping that the dealer reveals a 10, Jack, Queen, or a King to make a natural blackjack.

Our Easy Guide to Blackjack Etiquette

Considering a visit to your nearest land-based casino now that you know how to play blackjack at casinos? Then we must emphasize the importance of blackjack etiquette. While you just click a button and have nothing else to worry about when you play blackjack games online, there is an unwritten code of conduct that you must abide when playing at land-based casinos. The main dos and don’ts are:

Try These Fun Blackjack Games Online

Feel like you’ve mastered how to play standard blackjack? Then it’s time to experiment with some of the most popular blackjack variants offered at online casinos. While the goal remains to beat the dealer without busting, these exciting variations put a welcome twist on traditional blackjack dealer rules.

Play Blackjack at Our #1 Online Casino

Now that you know how to play blackjack and win, why not put your skills to the test? Practicing in demo mode can be lots of fun, but it doesn’t compare to beating the dealer and winning real cash.

Sign up to our #1 real money casino to play blackjack online:

How to Play Blackjack FAQ