How to Play Blackjack in a Casino: A Guide
Blackjack is an old card game founded in the 18th century. The game came from France, where an early version was called “Vingt-et-un”, which means “21”. It’s one of the simplest card games, and its basic strategy was described by Edward O. Thorp. Since Thorp’s book was released in 1963, blackjack has taken casinos by storm. Thanks to its simplicity and relatively low house edge, blackjack became one of the most popular casino games.
If you don’t know how to play blackjack in a casino, now is the right time to learn. We will introduce you to the blackjack game and its basic rules, elements, and strategies. After reading our article, you will be familiar with the game and can start practising blackjack on no-deposit casino sites.
What Is Blackjack?
Blackjack or “21” is one of the most exciting card games out there. It’s not like poker, where you compete against other players. In blackjack, you compete with a dealer. The game’s goal is to beat the dealer by drawing a hand that is less or equal to 21 (hence the game’s name, 21). That’s it. Blackjack rules are pretty simple, which is one of the reasons why the game is popular among first-time casino players. You will also win if you draw the hand that values 21 on your first two cards, and the dealer’s draw is not 21.
If your cards score goes above 21, you lose the bet, and the house wins. You will also lose if a dealer’s hand is greater than yours at the end of the round.
How to Play Blackjack in a Casino
Blackjack is played with a traditional card deck, but there can be a different number of decks in play. For example, one of the most popular blackjack variations is played with six decks. Some variations are played with one, two, four, or eight decks of cards.
The cards are dealt and shuffled by the dealers in traditional casino houses. However, most modern casinos use trays that hold and sometimes even shuffle cards, also known as “shoes”. In some blackjack casino venues, you can also play one deck or two deck blackjack games. But most sites where you can play blackjack offer multi-deck games. Regardless of the variant that you choose to play, the rules of blackjack remain the same.
Unlike poker cards, blackjack cards don’t need to be organised in a specific manner to win the game. For example, the suits of the cards will not affect the game at all. What matters is the total value of the cards you hold.
Blackjack is a card game played with a traditional deck of 52 cards. When it comes to the rules of blackjack, the first thing we need to talk about is the card values.
Blackjack card values go like this:
- Cards from two to ten are counted according to their numeric value. This means that “2” is counted as two, “3” is counted as three, and so on.
- Face cards (jack, queen, and king) are counted as 10.
- The value of an ace in blackjack can be either 1 or 11, depending on the value that helps you win.
For example, if you have a jack and a seven, your score is 17. But, if your cards are an ace and seven, the total is either 8 or 18. The value of an ace is a part of the basic blackjack strategy that you need to master.
There is a difference between hands with and without an ace. A hand that has an ace is called a soft hand, and its value can change. A hand that doesn’t have an ace is referred to as a hard hand; it has only one possible value.
The Blackjack Table
Blackjack tables are semicircular. Depending on the casino host, the tables will be able to accommodate different numbers of players. For example, some can fit only five players, while others can go all the way up to twelve. The most common tables have places for seven players, which is considered the typical blackjack table setup.
One of the blackjack casino rules is that the dealer stands on the opposite side of the table. Every blackjack player has a circular or rectangular space in front of them, where they can place their bets.
How to Play Blackjack in a Casino in Four Steps
Classic blackjack is simple to play, so you won’t have any trouble learning the ground rules even if you are a beginner. Here’s what you need to know:
Step 1: Players buy blackjack chips
If you want to play blackjack, first you need to buy chips from the dealer. You cannot play with cash. The ground rule is that dealers don’t take the money from a player’s hands, so you need to put the money on the table. Once you put the money at the marked place on the table, the dealer will give you chips equal to the amount of money you placed.
Step 2: Players place bets
Blackjack betting rules require you to place the bet at the beginning of the round. Each casino table has a square or some other marked place where you can place the wager. Of course, before start gambling, check the wagering requirements. The minimum stake varies from casino to casino.
Step 3: A dealer deals cards
The game starts when the blackjack dealer deals cards. In blackjack, cards are dealt clockwise. Each player first gets one card face up, while the dealer’s card is face down. Then, the second card is dealt face up for each of the players and the dealer. So, before the blackjack betting starts, each player has two cards face up, and the dealer has one card face up and one face down.
Step 4: Hand signals
One of the blackjack card game rules is that players are not allowed to communicate with each other or with the dealer verbally. Instead, they use hand signals. This way, they show how they want to play, depending on their cards.
Here are some basic hand signals that players can use during the game.
Hit means that players want to get another card, usually because their current hand is well below 21. The signal for “hit” is tapping a table in front of you. You can also tap the table again if you want another card. It depends on your hand if you are going to use this signal multiple times. Once you learn the basic strategy, blackjack will become like second nature, and you will know when to use “hit” again and when not.
If you are satisfied with your cards’ value, you should use the “stand” signal. Wave your hand over the top of your cards to signalise the dealer that you don’t want to receive another card.
Blackjack double down
You can double down your bet after the first two cards are dealt. If you want to double down, your bet will be doubled, and you will get one more card. The signal you use is placing an additional wager on top of the bet you’ve already made.
Split a pair
If your hand consists of two cards of the same rank (a pair), you can split them into two separate hands. According to the blackjack split rules, you need to place an additional bet that is the same as your original bet. You simply put an additional bet next to your original one to signal the dealer that you want to split the pair. You should not separate the cards; the dealer will do that. You also play one hand at a time. After the cards are divided, the dealer will give you a second card, and then you will decide to hit or stand. You repeat this process for both hands.
You can give up the game if you don’t like your initial hand. The signal for this is to draw a line with your finger behind the place you put your bet. You will get back half of the bet you placed.
One of the blackjack dealer rules is insurance. Basically, if a dealer has an ace as an up card, they will offer you a side bet or insurance. A side bet means you wager half of your original bet or less and bet that the dealer’s hole card is ten. Simply put, you bet on whether a dealer has a blackjack or not. It’s a risky move and not one very likely to win – after all, you need the dealer to get one very specific card for this to work, while blackjack can be won with many different card combinations.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
Whether you’ll play blackjack at your local gambling house or on some popular betting site, you should learn the basic strategies at least. A basic strategy is a mathematically proven method that helps players to decide when they should hit and when to stand instead.
For example, if your initial cards are 12 to 16, you have a “stiff” hand. It means that you can signal a hit. If a dealer has an up card between 2 and 6, it is “stiff” for a dealer.
If both you and the dealer have a “stiff”, then you should stand. There are, of course, variables to consider, but thinking about all ace variations is key to advanced blackjack strategies.
One thing is for sure: you should definitely learn more about the game and get some practice in before you start gambling with real money. Many live casino sites have blackjack tables with a really low house edge where you can practice this simple-to-learn but hard-to-master game.
How do you play Blackjack at a casino?
If you want to play blackjack at a casino, you must buy blackjack chips first. Modern casinos don’t allow blackjack gambling with cash, so you’ll need to exchange money for chips. You need to place the money on the felt, and the dealer will put the chips on the table. One of the most important rules for blackjack is that you don’t place money into the dealer’s hands. All cash must be placed on the table so the casino camera can see it clearly.
How much money do you need to play blackjack at a casino?
It depends on how long you want to play. Each casino has its own minimum and maximum bets, so you need to check it with the host.
How many players can sit at a blackjack table?
Blackjack casinos usually offer tables for seven players, but you can find tables that can accommodate up to twelve.
When to double down in blackjack
You can double down your bet after you get the first two cards. It’s a favourable strategy for a player, but you need to be familiar with the basics of blackjack first. In some casinos, the host will not allow you to double down just any two cards you have and limit this move to hands that total 10 or 11.
What is an ace in blackjack?
An ace can be valued as one or eleven, depending on what helps a player to win. A hand that contains an ace is called a soft hand.
How to win at blackjack
Casino blackjack is an easy game to learn but to win at this game, you need to become a professional blackjack player. We hope that our “how to play blackjack in a casino” guide will help you get started, but practice and experience will be invaluable in improving your skills.