The Ultimate Guide to Blackjack for Beginners

When thinking of casino table games, one of the first games that come to mind is blackjack and that’s because it’s one of the most popular casino games the world over.

Believed to be have been played since the beginning of the 17th century, blackjack is made popular by the fact that it offers one of the lowest house edges in the casino – if played correctly. If you’re looking into getting started with blackjack, all you’ll need is our guide to blackjack for beginners and time to practise.

An Introduction to Blackjack

Blackjack is a unique casino card game in that you play against the dealer, as opposed to other players. Using a traditional 52-card deck of playing cards made up of 4 suits – clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades – blackjack makes use of card rankings in order to determine your score, as detailed below.

  • Ace: worth 1 or 11 points
  • Face cards (King, Queen, Jack): worth 10 points
  • Number cards (2-10): worth their value in points (2 =2, 3=3, etc.)

Blackjack Scoring

In order to determine the score of your cards in blackjack, all you need to do is add up all the points of your hand. The hand with the highest total is the winner and the aim is to get as close to 21 without going “bust” (going over 21).

For example, if the total of your hand is 19 and the dealer only has a hand totalling 17, then you’re the winner of that round .

The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is played at a table designed specifically for the game and generally seats 7 players and a single dealer. There are also phrases printed on the table and may include the following:

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2
  • Dealer must hot soft 17
  • Insurance pays 2 to 1
  • The minimum and maximum bets

Blackjack pays 3 to 2: a blackjack is a 2 card hand which totals 21 and is an automatic winner, unless the dealer also has blackjack which means the bet is a push – no one wins and your bet is returned to you. If you hit blackjack, your bet is paid back at 3 to 2, meaning if you placed a bet of $20, you’ll receive a payout of $30.

Dealer must hit soft 17: the blackjack dealer has to play his hand in a specific way and hitting is one of the actions available to players and the dealer. When hitting, you’ll receive another card and the dealer must ‘stand’ (not take any more cards) upon a hard 17 or higher and must always hit on 16 or lower.

Insurance pays 2 to 1: insurance in blackjack is an optional side bet which can be taken up if you believe the dealer has blackjack. If you take up insurance and the dealer does in fact have blackjack, you’ll lose your original bet, but win on your insurance bet at 2 to 1.