For players looking to learn how to play blackjack, you’ve come to the right place. River Nile Casino has put together a comprehensive guide to learn how to play 21. It’s easy to follow and contains plenty of important information. While this Blackjack guide is intended for new players, some veterans also might learn a thing or two. So, let’s jump right in and learn how to master this incredible casino game.
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Blackjack USA Guide
Before we dive in and take you through how to play Blackjack, it’s important that our Blackjack guide gives you a strong foundation to build on. We highly recommend you read through our Online Blackjack page, which will provide you with everything you could ever need to know about the game, but here the most important aspects you need to know.
How to Win Blackjack & Card Values
Before you can start playing Blackjack, it is important to understand the main aim of the game. In Blackjack, players are competing with the dealer. The goal is to get a hand valued at 21, or closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand. Players must not exceed this number though, as that is known as a Bust and means you immediately lose the round.
With 21 being the goal, let’s take a quick look at the value of the cards.
- Ace – An Ace is valued at either 1 or 11
- Face Cards – Face Cards, K, Q, J, are valued at 10.
- 2-10 – The normal playing cards have their face value, so a 5 is valued at 5.
House Edge in Blackjack
Blackjack has a relatively low house edge; however, it does vary between different variants of the game. Several factors that impact this, including the number of decks being used and if the dealer is required to stand on a soft 17. Generally speaking, the house edge could be as low as 0.43% or as high as 2%. Still, this is an extremely low house edge, and a player’s technique can influence how well they do.
Counting Cards in Online Blackjack
Counting cards is a technique used in Blackjack that keeps track of the cards that have been dealt. By doing so, the player knows what cards remain and can determine the odds of high and low-value cards being dealt. Card counting is quite difficult to do correctly, and land-based casinos can remove a player from the table if they suspect them of using this technique.
In terms of online casinos, card counting is practically pointless. Online games of Blackjack will use between six and eight decks of cards and the decks are completely reshuffled after each hand, something that doesn’t happen in land-based casinos.
How to Play Blackjack – Step by Step
Now you have the basics; it’s time to look at how you actually play the game online. When players select blackjack at a USA online casino, they’ll be presented with a virtual Blackjack table. You will see your available bankroll, as well as a number of casino chips of different value.
- Step 1 – Choose the size of your bet. You do this by clicking on the casino chips to create your desired bet.
- Step 2 – Once you are happy with your bet size, click on deal. You will now be dealt two cards, as will the dealer.
- Step 3 – The game will tell you the value of your hand. If the dealer was dealt an Ace, you will also be notified. If you were dealt two of the same cards, you will be given the option to Split your hand.
- Step 4 – Players will now look at the value of their hand and choose to hit, or stand. Hitting means they will be dealt another card, while standing means you are happy with your hand’s value and no more cards will be dealt.
- Step 5 – Once the player elects to stand, the dealer will reveal their cards. The dealer will then Hit or Stand. The value of their hand will be totalled and whoever is the closest to 21 will win.
Important Blackjack Terms
If you’re going to learn how to play Blackjack properly, there are a few terms that you need to be familiar with.
- Bust – When a hand exceeds a value of 21. This means the hand automatically loses
- Blackjack – This is the strongest hand in the game. It consists of an Ace and a card with a value of 10. Whoever has a Blackjack hand, wins immediately.
- Hit – To request another card from the dealer.
- Stand – No more Cards will be dealt
- Split – When a player is dealt two of the same cards, they can split them and essentially play two hands.
- Hard Hand – A hard hand is a hand with a fixed value, as in there is no Ace.
- Soft Hand – A soft hand has an Ace in it, with a value of 1 or 11. This means the hand has two potential values and cannot go bust by requesting another card.
- Double Down – Some versions allow players to double down when confident of a win. This means they double their bet, but are allowed to draw one more card only.
- Up Card – The dealer’s card that is facing up, so you can see its value.
- Hole Card – The dealer’s card facing down, so you cannot see its value.
Blackjack Tips and Tricks
While we will go into more detail on Blackjack strategy elsewhere on the site, here are a few helpful tips and tricks for new players.
- Play Blackjack for free before playing for real money.
- Learn the rules and card values
- The main goal of Blackjack is to beat the dealer, not to get 21.
- Set yourself a bankroll and stick to it. Do not chase losses. If you run out of money, stop playing.
- Always make sure you are sober when playing Blackjack, or any casino game. Gambling while intoxicated leads to poor decision making.
- Always take the dealer’s up card into consideration before making your decision.
- If the value of your hand is less than eight, you should always hit.
- If you get a pair of Aces or Eights, the general rule is to split them.
- If you have a hand with a value of 18, it is wise to stand.
- You should also stand on 17, if the dealer’s up card is seven or less.
- If your hand is valued between 12 and 16, you should hit if the dealer’s up card is less than seven.
For more tips and tricks to use at American casinos, check out our guides below.