Blackjack Rules for Beginners

How to play Blackjack?

It is of the utmost importance to understand the rules of any casino game whether you intend to go to a casino or choose to play online. It is widely and wrongly assumed that winning casino games is down to sheer luck. Without learning how to play casino games before placing a real money bet on them, you’re starting at a disadvantage.

Within this article we will give you everything you need to develop your Blackjack strategy, as well as providing a few Blackjack tips that you should find helpful.

How to play Blackjack

It is a common misconception for anyone learning how to play Blackjack that the goal is to have your cards total as close as possible to 21. The actual aim of Blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hands in one of two ways.

  1.       Your total exceeds the dealers total
  2.       You don’t go over 21 when the dealer does

Before cards are dealt, each player must place a bet by putting chips in their respective betting boxes. There will often be minimum and maximum betting limits on each table so be sure to check what these are before placing a bet.

After all players have placed a bet, the dealer will deal each player, including themselves, two cards each. One of the dealer’s cards will be dealt facing up for the rest of the players to see. This is known as the dealer’s upcard. The dealer’s other card is known as the downcard or hole card as this is dealt face down. In games dealt from a dealing shoe usually containing 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards, the player’s cards will be dealt face up and should not be handled by the player. In games dealt by hand usually using a single or double deck, the player may handle the cards with only one hand and must keep them above the table at all times.

Once the player has seen their own cards and one of the dealer’s cards, they must keep essential Blackjack tips in mind and then make their playing decision.

Value of cards

The most obvious and important thing to learn first and foremost before you play Blackjack is the value each card holds.

  • Picture cards – Kings, Queens and Jacks count as 10 each
  • Ace – Can count as either 1 or 11
  • 2-10 – These remaining cards are always counted as face value
  • The total of your hand will be the sum of the value of the cards you have.

Value of chips

The value of each chip is usually imprinted on them and you’ll often find that they are also colour coded so it’s generally very easy to know how much each chip is worth.

Dealer’s rules

It is just as important to understand the Blackjack rules the dealer has to follow as well as the players to understand completely how to play Blackjack.

A dealer, unlike the rest of the player’s, has no playing options. The dealer must continue to draw cards until their total reaches 17.  When their total is between 17 and 21, the dealer must always stand. Depending on the casino, the rules may differ so be sure to check these out before playing. For example, some casinos have the dealer stand on a soft 17, in other casinos, they must hit. If the rules are that the dealer must stand on a soft 17, this is better for the player.

As a player, you do not have to follow the dealer’s rules and we consider part of basic Blackjack tips that you do not. If both the player and the dealer bust, the dealer wins which is why the dealer’s rules work in their favour and not the players’.

Winning and losing

According to the Blackjack rules, if the value of the player’s hand exceeds 21, the player loses. If the value does not exceed 21 but is higher than the dealer’s card value, the player wins and the odds paid out are 1 to 1. If the player and the dealer’s card value is the same, this means it is a push and the player’s bet is returned.

Blackjack Terminology, tips and tricks


When the value of your hand exceeds 21, this is known as busting. When you bust, you lose your wager but when the dealer busts, so long as you yourself haven’t busted or surrendered the round, you win.

Doubling down

When doubling down, you will double your wager and receive one last card for the round. If you beat the dealer when doubling down, you will be paid double your original wager. If you lose, you will lose double the amount of your original wager and if you tie, your hand will be a push.


A push is where your hand and the dealer’s hand have the exact same value. If a push occurs, you will have all the chips you put down returned to you, meaning you neither win nor lose.


To hit is to ask the dealer to deal you another card during your turn. You can continue to hit until you have the value of 21 or over.


To stand is to tell the dealer that you do not want any more cards.

Buying Insurance

To buy insurance in Blackjack is to place a side bet which is an option which becomes available when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. When buying insurance, you are betting that the dealer has a face card (King, Queen or Jack) in the hole, giving the dealer Blackjack, the amount of 21. The bet equals half your initial wager. If the dealer doesn’t have Blackjack, all the insurance bets will be collected and the original game continues.


To surrender in Blackjack is to give up your hand, essentially folding, and take half your wager back. This should only be done when you have less than a 25% chance of winning with the hand you have.

Hard Hand & Soft Hand

A hard hand is a hand dealt without an ace or in which all the aces have a value of 1. For example, if you have an ace, a 9 and an 8, you would have a hard 18. A soft hand is where there is an ace in your hand that counts as 11.

Pair Splitting

If you are dealt two like cards for example two aces or two 6’s, you have the option to split. Doing so splits your cards into separate hands. If you choose to do this, you must put down another bet equal to the amount of your original wager.

Experienced Blackjack players will always tell you to split a pair of 8’s or aces as they are two of the most awkward Blackjack hands to have.

Even money

When the dealer has an ace showing and the player has a blackjack hand, the dealer will ask the player if they would like even money. Agreeing to this means the dealer will automatically give you a 1 to 1 payoff on your bet before checking their downcard for a potential blackjack.

What other betting/casino guides & strategies are available?

Now you know more about how to play Blackjack, how to follow the Blackjack rules, and have even picked up a few Blackjack tips, you can expand your betting and casino knowledge by checking out’s wide selection of betting and casino guides. You’ll soon learn everything you need to know to master the roulette rules, bingo rules, Baccarat rules, online casino rules, and so much more.


Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in the world and now with this guide, you have everything you need to know to play Blackjack, follow the Blackjack rules, learn a few key Blackjack tips and even develop your own strategy. You don’t need to follow the same rules of the dealer, you are not bound by the house code and all you need to focus on is beating the dealer’s hand.

Remember to check the betting limitations as per each table and the varying house Blackjack rules –  and always remember, if you get a pair of 8’s or Ace’s in your hand, split them!

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