Blackjack: how to beat the dealer

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Blackjack is widely considered a casino classic. So, when searching for a new game to play, or even if you’re simply looking to brush up on your skills for when you next play live Blackjack online, or in a land-based venue, you’ll want to know everything you possibly can about your potential gameplay. 

The game itself was originally known as Vingt-et-Un, which is a direct translation of Twenty-one. This is the value you’ll be aiming to get your hand to, as you attempt to beat the dealer. 

With this in mind, join us as we take a look at exactly how to play Blackjack, and most importantly; how you can win…

How to play

Ultimately, Blackjack is a game of chance, but understanding basic strategy can help you along the way to a win. Firstly, you’ll want to place a bet, then, the dealer deals two cards to each player, and two to themselves. The player’s cards will be face-down, and the dealer will have one face-down, but the other face-up. 

The game is usually played with between one and eight decks of cards, and all cards count as their face value. Jacks, Queens and Kings all count as 10 and an Ace can either count as one or 11, depending on whichever best suits your gameplay. 

Once you’ve worked out your hands value, you can choose to:

  • Stand (stick with the cards you’ve got)
  • Hit (ask for another card)
  • Surrender (back out of the game)
  • Double down (double your bet)
  • Split (if you have two of the same cards, you can separate them into two hands)
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When you’re happy with the value of your hand, and it equals 21, or as close as you can get it without going over, the dealer will act. Remember, they must hit if they have a value of 16, and they have to stand if they have a hand value of 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21. 

How to win

You will win if your hand totals higher than the dealer’s hand, or you have 21 or less when the dealer goes bust. If your hand totals the same as the dealer’s, this is known as a tie and you will keep your bet, but if you go bust, or your hand totals less than the dealer’s hand, you’ll lose. 

There are various tips you can use in the attempt to boost your winning chances. These include never taking insurance, as this actually leaves you with worse odds, and using a strategy card, so you always know the best option available to you with any hand you get dealt. Avoid progressive strategies and remember that the other players have no effect on whether you win or not – gameplay is between you and the dealer. Always bare in mind, though, that Blackjack is a game of chance and, like any casino game, a win is never guaranteed. 

Where to play

If you think you’re ready to try out your Blackjack knowledge, then you can find the table game ready and waiting for you to play online, whether this be virtually or live, and at any land-based casino.