Blackjack is a very popular card game, played at casinos around the world and online as well, including here at Europaplay. The game is also known as 21, as the goal in the game is to get a combination of cards with a total value as close to 21 as possible without going over. Blackjack is game in which players compete solely against the dealer to try to make the best hand, and not against other blackjack players seated at the same table. In most casino and online play, more than one deck of 52 cards is used. You can immediately get into the blackjack action online, and also try out the various blackjack variations, such as Blackjack Pro, Pontoon, and more, all of them based on the same rules of basic, classic blackjack.
Read the information below which will help you learn blackjack. There are plenty of blackjack tips to ensure that you will leave the table a winning player. Enjoy!
Europaplay offers you three exciting ways to play blackjack online. You can download the Europaplay software; play the Flash version directly in your web browser without downloads; or play mobile blackjack on your phone. No matter which method you choose, you’ll still need to know the basics of the game, so read below to understand how to play blackjack.
Simple Guide to Blackjack Play
We know you’re eager to master blackjack, so we’ve provide you with simple rules and explanations giving you a basic understanding of the game. Once you have mastered this, you can proceed to blackjack strategies and blackjack tips, in order to improve your game play. This wealth of blackjack information will help you on the path to becoming a winning player.
In each round of game play, called a hand, you are playing against the dealer, who represents the house (the casino). Your goal is to have the total value of your cards close to, or equal to 21, without going over 21, and in doing so, have a higher total than the dealer’s.
If the total value of your cards is over 21, you “bust”, and the dealer automatically wins, no matter what the value is of his cards.
Jacks, queens, and kings are all valued at 10. Numbered cards are valued according to their face value. An ace is valued at either 1, or 11.
A two-card hard with a value of 21 (an ace and a jack, for example) is considered a “blackjack”, and you automatically win.
You start by placing your bets for the hand. The dealer then deals you (and all other players at your table) two cards face up, while to himself, he deals one card face up (his up card) and the other card face down. The card not visible to anyone is known as the ‘hole’ card. Your strategy deciding how to play your cards will be determined on the basis of seeing the dealer’s face-up card.
Once you look at your own cards, you have the option to make one of five basic moves:
Hit: This means to have the dealer deal you another card. You can keep hitting as long as the total value of your cards does not exceed 21. If you go above 21, you will be ‘busted’ and lose automatically.
Stand: If you do not want to take another card, you can elect to ‘stand.’ You should consider this option if the value of your cards is extremely close to 21, but you should also consider the dealer’s face-up card and the amount of risk you are willing to take before you make your decision.
Double Down: This doubles your bet and you receive just one more card, after which you will be required to stand no matter what you have (unless you bust out of the hand).
Split: If you’re dealt two cards of equal value, you can split them into two hands. If you elect to do this, you will receive one more card for each hand. You will place a new bet on your second hand and play both of them separately against the dealer. Splitting your pair into two hands is optional.
Surrender: In some versions of blackjack, like Blackjack Surrender, you are allowed to surrender your hand. This means that you can forfeit and receive half of your initial bet back. You would surrender in cases where you don’t believe you have a chance of beating the dealer.
Whether you win or lose the blackjack hand depends on what the dealer has, as long as you haven’t busted. The dealer’s hole card is turned over and he continues to hit. If the dealer goes over 21, he busts and you are the winner. If the dealer does not bust, you will win only if your cards’ value is higher than the dealer’s. If the value of your cards is less than the dealer’s, you lose. If your hand is equal to the dealer’s hand, something that is called a “push”, neither you nor the house win the hand.
Your goal is to get as close to 21 as possible in order to beat the dealer. However, the more you hit, the greater the chance that you will bust. Sometimes it’s best to stand even with a relatively weak based on the dealer’s face-up card. If there’s a good chance that the dealer will bust, you want to make sure to remain in the hand.
Your decision whether to hit or stand will be based not only on the cards you were dealt, but also on the dealer’s face-up card. If the dealer’s card is a small number, it is usually safer for you to stand when you have a weaker hand, like 15. If you have a high total, like 18 or 19, no matter what you should stand, as the probability that a 2 or a 3 will be your next card is very slim.
If you’re playing one-deck blackjack, a valid option is for you to keep count of the cards previously dealt, allowing you to make an educated calculation what card will next be dealt. The more cards that are visible to you, the more accurate your count will be. Obviously, this is not as valid a possibility in a multi-deck game.
The bottom line is that you should make your decision whether to hit or stand based on the cards in play, your understanding of basic blackjack strategy, and your willingness to accept a certain amount of risk regarding the consequences of your move.
Blackjack is a game to enjoy, and with options to play the game at Europaplay in a download version, a Flash version, or on your mobile phone, you are bound to have fun!
When to Split and When Not To Split
Receiving a pair allows you to make an educated decision whether to split your cards into two separate hands, or play them as one hand. On the one hand, you stand to double your win, or at least increase your chance of winning while on the other hand, you are doubling your risk. How do you make the very important decision whether to split your cards or not?
Invariably, your decision depends on the dealer’s up card. Take a look at this table which gives you a comprehensive guide whether you should hit or stand based on the cards you’re dealt and the dealer’s up card:
It’s always tempting to split your cards, especially if you are eager to gamble on the possibility of doubling your win. But knowing that you could also double your loss will make you sit back and give proper consideration to your cards and the dealer’s card.
Let’s examine a few example blackjack hands and consider whether you should split or not.
Split for sure
The cards: You are dealt two 8s, and the dealer‘s up card is a 5
What you should do: Split the cards into two hands. This is a perfect example of when you should split. The dealer’s five shows that he is very weak because a face card puts him at 15. With 15 he is forced to hit and there is a good chance that this will bust him. While your two eights give you a total of 16 (which is in itself good against the dealer’s 15), splitting them is even better. You have a good chance of getting two high hands, both of which will win against the dealer’s 15. This is a good opportunity to double your profits.
Double Down instead
The cards: You're dealt two 5s, and the dealer’s up card is a 4
What you should do: You might consider this another case where the dealer is weak and be inclined to split, but you shouldn’t! Better yet is to double down. You have a natural 10, and there is a good chance that you will get a very strong hand when you hit. Splitting your fives would be pushing your luck, and the move might likely backfire. In this case it’s much wiser to double down, a low risk option that could give you a big win.
Hoping the dealer will bust
The cards: You are dealt two 3s, and the dealer’s up card is a 4
What you should do: Splitting two 3s could be dangerous, as you might end up having two hands with a value of 13, and both could bust. Standing on 13 is just fine when the dealer is weak too. If the dealer shows a 4, 5, or a 6, there is a good chance that he will bust. In that case, you will be in a position to double your money. So split your threes, but be ready to stand if you do hit 13.
Stand with the sure thing
The cards: You are dealt two 9s, and the dealer’s up card is a 7
What you should do: You may be tempted to split your 9s as there is a good possibility that you could end up with two hands having a winnable value of 19. But, there’s also a chance that one of those hands, or both, will hit a low card. After that, you’ll be in a tough spot with a good chance of busting. When the dealer has a 7, he could already be in position to stand with 17. Your 18 could beat that, so best to stick with the sure thing.
Always, always split aces
The cards: You are dealt two aces.
What you should do: Split your aces. This is what you should always do when dealt aces, which is a perfect scenario for splitting. Aces can count as either a 1 or an 11, giving you multiple possibilities with the next card, and most of them are good. The most likely card you will be dealt will be a 10, and how can you do better than that?
Now that you have basic knowledge how to play blackjack, you’ll be eager to hit the tables. Be sure to read the Blackjack Dos and Don’ts guide before you start. Europaplay is pleased to offer you a wide selection of other casino games – make sure to try them as well. Get into the action today!