So, you’re a beginner or have never learned how to play 21? Don’t worry it’s not too late to learn how to play blackjack! Jetbull’s team decided to put together this article that comprises all the most important information about blackjack and teach you how to play live casino blackjack like you’ve been playing it your whole life.
In this article you will find all the rules, the lingo, the best strategies as well as how to manage your bankroll to always come out on top. Read the article to find out how to make the house lose.
How to play blackjack in a live casino
Blackjack, also known as 21, is one of the most famous casino games and it has been around for quite some time. Moving from brick and mortar casinos into the online world where we have live casino blackjack things remain the same, except you can play from the comfort of your home.
It’s played against the house and the purpose is to get as close as possible to 21 without going over. The dealer will give two cards to you and two to himself and then you decide if you want to double up, stand, split or hit. Depending on what you choose the dealer will give you another card (or not) and then it’s time to count the points and see which one of you has the number closest to 21. This is how to play 21 in a nutshell, but things are a little more complicated than this.
What should we know when playing blackjack?
Cards Value: Imagine a regular deck of cards. The cards from 2 to 10 have face value, meaning that a 2 will be 2 points. The Jack, Queen and King are each worth 10 points. The Ace can be worth either 1 or 11 points, but this will be decided on every hand in favour of the player. So, if you get a Jack and then you get an Ace you will have 10+11=21.
Table Limits: the table limit is the minimum and maximum bet that a player can make at a gambling table. This differs from casino to casino. Usually the minimum table limit is $5, and the maximum depends on whether that table is for normal players or high-rollers, but most of the time it’s somewhere around £10.000- £20.000. Placing a bet that’s equal or above the minimum table limit is the first thing that you have to do to start playing.
The Order of Dealing Cards: No matter if it’s just you and the dealer or 6-8 players, the dealer will first deal one card to each player, clockwise, and then one to himself and then repeat until everyone has two cards. Each player will have both cards face up, while the dealer will have one up and one down. If the game is played with just one deck than all cards will be dealt face down, but this rarely happens.
Hitting and Standing: Once the cards have been dealt there are two basic actions you can take. If you’ve assessed that you or the dealer don’t have a natural win (also called blackjack, when your first two cards equal exactly 21) then it’s time to decide what you want to do. If you think you are as close as you are going to get to 21 then you stand and receive no other cards, while if you’re quite far and think another card will help you can hit and receive a third card. If you’re wrong and go over 21 then it’s a bust and the dealer will take your bet and move to the next player.
Double Down: This is another option you have after you’ve seen your first two cards. If you think that the cards are favourable, and you could win you can place a second bet. You will get a third card (without the possibility of getting a fourth) and then will be forced to stand regardless of the total.
Multiple Splits: if the two cards you have been dealt have the same number of points (two Aces, two 5s, a King and a Jack) you can choose to split them and double your bet. This means that you will play two hands simultaneously and receive another card for each of them. You can have multiple splits, up to a maximum of four in general.
Surrender: Most casinos will accept surrenders which means the players will get back half their bet if they give up on their hand. The surrender must be the only action on the hand. There’s also a Late Surrender that takes place after the dealer has checked the second card and does not have a Blackjack.
Insurance: if the dealer has a 10 or an Ace face up then the players have the option to place an Insurance bet. This means that they place an additional bet equal to half of their original bet. You can win this bet if the dealer has Blackjack.
Push: After the cards have been dealt, a player has insurance and it’s time to see what everyone has if the dealer has blackjack the round ends and all players lose their bets except for the one that had insurance. If the dealer and another player has blackjack then the result is a push and the player’s bet will be returned while insurance bets will be paid out 2:1.
Other important things to know about Blackjack:
Card counting is illegal: this is the most well-known tactic of cheating the system and having more chances to win but it is illegal in all casinos and you will be banned and/or prosecuted for doing this. So, don’t count cards, instead try many different blackjack games and find the one you are most comfortable with and try some legal strategies.
Dealer must Hit on Soft 17: a combination of an ace with a card that’s not a ten-card is called a soft hand because the ace can be considered either 1 or 11. A soft 17 (an ace and a 6) can be either 7 or 17. 17 is a good hand but the player might want a higher total so you can take another card and consider the Ace to be 1. While a player can do as he pleases, a dealer will always stand on a soft 17. He will take cards if he is 16 or under and from 17 he will stand.
Five Card Trick (Five Card Charlie): In some versions of blackjack, if the player draws five cards without busting, they get a 1:1 payout. The payout is 1:1 regardless of the value of their cards or if the dealer’s hand is better. The player only loses if the dealer gets blackjack.
Number of Decks in Play: Usually the standard 52-card pack is used, but in most casinos several decks of cards are shuffled together. The most popular game is the six-deck one that totals 312 cards. There is also an additional blank plastic card that will never be dealt but it is placed at the bottom of the pack to indicate to the dealer when the pack should be reshuffled. Four or more decks in play will be dealt from a shoe, which is a box that allows the dealer to remove cards, face down, one at a time without having to hold so many cards in his hand.
Payout for Blackjack: Winning with more points than the dealer will get you a 1:1 payout so for a £5 bet you will get a £10 win. If you have less points than the dealer or if you bust, you lose your bet. When your first two cards equal 21 and you get a blackjack, your payout will be 3:2, meaning that a £10 bet will get you back £25. Insurance usually pays 2:1. During a split if you get 21 it’s not considered a blackjack and therefore you will only get 1:1. There are also some variants on blackjack in which the payout is 6:5 for 21 rather than 3:2, which means that you should always be careful when choosing a live casino game to play so that you find the one with the smallest house edge.
What are the most popular blackjack terms?
- Anchorman: the player in the last seat of the table, on the dealer’s far right, the one that is last to act
- Blackjack: getting a total of 21 points and winning the game
- Bust: a hand that has more than 21 points making you lose automatically
- Dealer: the casino employee that deals the cards
- First Baseman: the player in the first seat, on the dealer’s far left, the one that is the first to act
- Flat Bet: betting the same amount on every hand with no variation whatsoever
- Hard Total: a hand that has no ace or in which the ace acts as a 1
- Head-to-Head: when you only play with the dealer and no other player
- Hole Card: the card of the dealer which you do not see
- Stiff Hand: any hand that has a total of 12 to 16 which can bust if you get a 10-value card.
- Upcard: the card of the dealer which is exposed and seen by all
For those of you who struggle with bankroll management
The hardest thing to do when playing blackjack isn’t learning the rules and how you could win, it’s knowing when to bet, how much to bet and when to stop. Bankroll management is maybe the most important part when gambling online or offline. You need to always play live casino games responsibly.
In order to be perfectly safe, you have to decide out of your money what you need for important things like rent, food, health etc. and if you have anything less that you don’t need set it aside for entertainment purposes. Then when you gamble only use the entertainment money and nothing else.
When you play blackjack, you have to take into account the table limits and how much you can comfortably play, even when you’re losing, without going over your budget or ending the game too soon.
Let’s say that you have £100 to play with. If you find a live casino blackjack table that has a £10 minimum limit, then you can only play 10 hands and if you lose then you’re done. This is why for this budget you should choose a blackjack table that has a lower minimum limit so that you can have more fun with the same money. If you have a bigger budget, you can go higher.
The most important strategy to use is to divide your bankroll into 100-150 bet-size units. Bet with one unit until you get a winning streak and then you can increase your wagers with one half unit for each hand. If you lose once and end the winning streak return to one unit.
Where to play online blackjack?
Now that we’ve come this far you already know all the basics of Blackjack and are ready to test what you’ve learned. You know the rules, the lingo, the strategies, all there’s left for you to do is put it to the test. And we can help you with this too. On Jetbull you will find a wide selection of live casino games, including many types of blackjack. From NetEnt’s Multiplayer Common Draw II to Ezugi’s Unlimited Blackjack – Auto Split or Evolution’s Blackjack VIP, Jetbull has it all. Test your knowledge of blackjack on Jetbull Live Casino!