Blackjack basics

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in Australia. The Australian blackjack is played almost under the same rules as it’s played all over the world. The rules slightly differ in the land-based casinos, but online blackjack rules are the same. Today you can play a wide variety of blackjack games at online casinos. Most online casinos even allow players to play free blackjack before making a real money bet. Now, let us remind you of classic blackjack rules. The main goal of blackjack is to have a hand with the total point value more than the dealer’s, but it mustn’t go over 21.

Blackjack rules

In blackjack, you play against the casino in the person of the dealer. When playing online blackjack you will not see a dealer, but just the inscription on the table and hear the voice. However, when you are playing live blackjack, you will see a pretty dealer, watch her shuffling and dealing cards, hearing her voice as it happens in the land-based casino.

The dealer is responsible for the whole game from shuffling and dealing cards to handling bets. The game is played with different number of decks ranging from 1 to 8 which are shuffled after each hand in online blackjack. Once the bet has been placed, the two first cards are dealt to the player and the dealer. You can see your cards and one of the dealer’s cards as well. Then you have to decide whether you will hit (take more cards) or stand (refuse taking cards). Once you’ve stood, the dealer turns over his hole card.

There are different rules in regard to what the dealer has to do when his hand is worth 17. Under the classic blackjack rules, the dealer must stand on all 17 hands (soft or hard) and hit when the hand value is 16. However, there are some blackjack variations allowing the dealer to hit on a soft 17, which increases the house edge.

If the first two cards are worth 21 (an ace and a 10-valued card), it’s Blackjack, the highest possible hand. If you get blackjack you win unless the dealer has blackjack too, in this case the outcome of that hand is a “push” or a tie.

You can see all possible bets on the table layout. The player wins 1:1 means he wins the same amount as he’s bet. The blackjack usually pays 3:2.

The suits of the cards do not matter in the game. You can calculate the hand value by summing up the point value of each card in your hand.

Card value

All pip cards (from 2 to 9) have their pip value.
10 and face cards count as 10
An Ace is worth 1 or 11 depends on the player’s hand.

Blackjack hands

The main hand in the game is BLACKJACK also called Natural. It is the hand that is made up of an Ace and any card that has a point value of 10.

And now I’d like to add some words about hands with an Ace. I’ve already mentioned the Ace can count 1 or 11. For example, you get an Ace and 5 meaning you have a hand with the total value of 16. It is a soft hand because you can count an Ace as 11, then your hand is worth 16, but if you want to take a chance and hit you can count the Ace as 1, then your hand is worth 6, and you still have a chance to increase the total value of your hand.

Let’s imagine you are dealt an Ace, Jack and 5, then you’re holding the 16 hard hand. You can’t count the Ace as 11 here without busting!

Player Options

hit blackjack

HIT
take one more card. The player can use this option as many times as he wants until he busts or gets a hand of 21.

hit blackjack

STAND
refuse to take more cards.

hit blackjack

DOUBLE DOWN
the bet the player can place after getting the first two cards. Some of the blackjack variations let the player double only on a total of 9, 10, or 11. Once you have doubled down, you will only be dealt one card more.

hit blackjack

SPLIT
when a pair has been dealt the player can SPLIT it, and play two independent hands then. The play should double his original bet (one bet for the first hand and another for the second hand).

Extra Blackjack Options

There are some additional blackjack options: Insurance, Even Money and Surrender.

Insurance – when the dealer shows an Ace, the player can make the insurance bet. If the dealer gets a blackjack, the player will be paid 2:1, but not the original bet. If the dealer does not get a Blackjack, the player will lose his Insurance bet.

Even Money – when the player has a Blackjack and the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, the player can make an Even Money bet (worth half of the original bet). This bet protects the player from a push as it turns out the dealer gets Blackjack as well. In this case, the player will take his original bet back and gets the Even Money bet, 2:1.

Surrender allows the player to take half of his original bet back if he believes he will lose his hand. You can make this bet before hitting or standing. Surrender allows the player to save half of the original bet. There is an EARLY surrender and LATE surrender. When it comes to the Early Surrender the player can surrender half of his bet before the dealer checks for Blackjack, while the Late Surrender let the player surrender only after the dealer has checked his face down card for Blackjack. Not all casinos allow Surrender.