If you are a fan of table games at Slots Baby or just making money in general, then you have more than likely heard of blackjack, a game that currently stands as one of the most popular games going today for many different reasons. Blackjack is a game of skill, one that can take months if not years to master.
This is where this article comes in. If you have always wanted to learn how to play the casino game 21 then you have come to the right place, we consider ourselves experts when it comes to these sorts of games, having spent an awful time studying the table and being in the thick of it all. We would advise you read this one all the way through to the end; there’s no telling how much knowledge you can cram in here!
Blackjack has been around for a really long time, how it has managed to stay relevant in that time comes down to just how accessible the game is, transcending multiple cultures and boundaries in its approach; partly the reason why we are incredibly excited to bring new players to the fold with this article you are reading today!
Before we get into some of the more difficult aspects of blackjack, let’s start with the basics first (if you are comfortable with the basics then feel free to move onto the other sections below). Blackjack begins with the dealing of cards, from here the player will then cast their bets. Once bets have been locked in, the dealer will then deal two cards to the players and two to himself, and the game will begin. The dealer will reveal one card face up and the other face down.
The value of these cards isn’t as simple as they seem. Just because your card has a number/letter on it does not equate to the value of the card outright. Take for example the ace card, which can count as either a 1 or 11 in the heat of play. Card suits have no meaning in blackjack, meaning the total of any hand will be the sum of the card values in hand.
From this point, the player must then decide on whether or not they want to stand, hit, surrender, double down or split. Each of these decisions impact the game in their own unique/exciting way. We’ll get into each of these options later, but for now, know that they are there. The dealer will make his/her move last and must land on the number 16 or less and stand on 17 through 21.
Players will win should their hand be higher than the dealer's hand, or alternatively, they have 21 or less (should the dealer bust by going over 21). The trick here is to outlast the dealer in your efforts. It could be that you bluff a little for them to make a mistake. Your decisions throughout the game will impact the way that the dealer responds in tow, remember that; trip the dealer and the pot is yours.
When a player/dealer goes over 21, then you will bust. This is a very common occurrence in the game and will no doubt be the bane of many a talented player out there. Some call this ‘breaking’ although the most common name for it is busting. Say for example you are dealt a 10-6, you draw yet another card and it reveals a 9, this will then cause the player to bust as their total will equal that of 25, 4 over the desired 21.
Making smart decisions in the lead-up to the dealers reveal will keep you in check. Experts recommend that you utilise strategies that will no doubt help you in your efforts. Counting cards, for example, is an excellent way of memorising the board and will keep you from rushing into decisions that could cost you the hand. Veteran players count cards, it’s why they win so often.
Counting cards can be quite tricky and requires a lot of discipline so you might find that this fits more of your intermediate players out there. In saying that, if you are confident enough, go right ahead! Counting cards can stop you from going bust every single time if you memorise every possible outcome there is on the table at any given moment.
Okay, so for you to make the best possible decisions with every play, you’ll first need to identify what kind of hand you have. There are soft hands and hard hands. A hard hand is any hand that does not contain an ace — unless the ace counts as one in this particular game. For example, 10-8 is a hard 18 hand whereas 5-A-10-2 is a hard 18. Any hand that contains an ace that counts as an 11 is known as a soft hand.
Think of it like this, a hard hand is the sort of hand that will cause you to bust, especially if some of the smaller value cards have already been spotted in the dealer's hand and across the table in other hands. A small hand will set you up for the rest of the game as it gives you the best starting point. You should be able to identify which hand you own the moment the cards are dealt.
Many players out there panic if they are given an ace straight away, this is more of a blessing than a curse depending on the second card in your hand at the beginning. Again, this will depend entirely on the sort of blackjack games that you are playing as you’ll find that different rules are applied depending on the version that you are playing at that given moment.
You’ve more than likely seen the game of blackjack played before in some of your favourite tv shows and movies, it always looks so fun and easy, and well, that’s because it is! Blackjack is played across a semi-circular table, one that is covered in a vibrant green cloth. Blackjack is played with up to 7 players, so as you can see it can be quite confusing to a lot of players out there that don’t know how to approach the table and succeed. Confidence is key here, it always has been.
In front of each player, they will find a square box, otherwise known as the betting spot, this spot is one that allows the player to wager as they see fit. Casino chips should be set down in front of the player, with each chip representing a different numerical value, the more chips you set down, the higher the bet, simple.
Trained casino dealers have worked for years honing their craft in order to be the most effective possible. The dealer is responsible for keeping the game going at a somewhat steady pace while also dealing cards and collecting losing player bets. If you want to become a blackjack dealer then you will need a license in order to do so, it’s that strict.
Every time you enter a game, players will be made aware of the betting limits of this particular game. It’s hard to say what the max/min amount is at each table as every game is entirely different. Be sure to make a smart bet, to begin with, if you are only just entering a game, this will give you the ability to gage to the rest of the table before you even think about stepping up your game.
Only bet a decent amount if you are completely sure that your hand at that moment is going to come through for you. Having an ace straight away is always going to help you — there’s a reason why the saying ‘an ace in the hole’ is such a famous phrase. The player's cards are normally dealt face down so that they can hedge their bets accordingly, although in some cases they are dealt face up.
Once you have been dealt your cards, you must then make a decision accordingly as we’ve already mentioned. There are plenty of decisions here to make, all will impact the rest of the game as it plays out so remember to play smart. Here are some of the most common moves utilised by players:
Hitting: To hit means that you want the dealer to give you another card to add to your hand. This should only be used by players who are confident in their efforts moving forward. When hitting you can either say the words hit or tap the table with your finger in order to indicate that you want another card adding to your deck.
Standing: When you stand you are telling the dealer that you are happy to proceed without adding another card to your collection. You should be standing if you are in possession of a hard hand. Standing on a soft hand is somewhat pointless depending on the hand in question. To signify that you are standing you should wave your hand over the cards with your palm down.
Pair Splitting: Say you have two identical cards, you can then exercise your right to split them. When splitting you need to bet an equal bet to your starting bet and place your chip next to the original chip bet on the hand. When you split, you are then playing each card as a separate hand. For example, you split a pair of 8s, that gives you a lot to play with moving forward.
Double Down: To double down is to double down on your bet, therefore adding to an amount that you have already set down initially. Doubling down will give you a lot of momentum, especially if you are in possession of a killer hand that will no doubt spell victory the moment the cards are dealt. You can only double down once the first two cards have been sold, meaning you can’t do it on the third card or any subsequent card after that.
Surrender: Some blackjack games will give you the option to surrender your bet and hands without losing the cash. Usually, this is a one-time use sort of deal, one that will help you a lot if you have a hard hand that is just a little too high.
It will give you peace of mind knowing that you can save yourself for the next round where you can no doubt start from scratch. Keep in mind also that the same rules as doubling down apply here too, meaning you can only surrender before the third card in your hand is dealt.
When playing blackjack, one should be made aware of various unwritten/written rules that will help you in your journey from novice to expert. These rules will vary depending on the sorts of games you are entering. Try to remain as focused as possible too, as lousy etiquette can get you kicked off the table if you aren’t careful.
When playing, you don’t want to be handing your money directly to the dealer, the dealer will take the chips from you in turn. You shouldn’t be touching the cards on the table either, the signals you can give the dealer have been designed for a reason, making it easier for you to make bets without interrupting the flow of the game outright. These games can go on for long stretches of time on occasion, so having a decent flow will help you reset should your hand not lead to a win.
Other rules include holding your cards with two hands, this is known to be incredibly off-putting to everyone else at the table. This is the same reason why you don’t want to every hold your cards under the table. The game doesn’t look too fondly on cheaters, and you tampering with the cards under the table can cause suspicion to arise.