The objective of this casino game is always to get a hand total of 21, or as near as possible without going higher. A total of 21 exactly is known as Black Jack, and gets you the highest possible return. Since the aim is to hit 21, the game is also often known as Twenty-One or, in French, as Vingt-et-Un.
First, you need to place your bet. Next, the dealer and participating players each get two cards. The cards from 2 to 10 count as their pip value, and face cards are worth 10. Aces count as 11 or 1, depending on what works best with the rest of your hand. You can see your cards, obviously, and will be able to see one of the dealer’s, which will be facing up. Based only on this information, you need to decide what move you want to make.
Make Your Move
Over time several different versions of Blackjack have arisen, but the basic moves are to Hit, Split, Double Down and Stand. Hitting simply means getting dealt another card. You can only Split a Pair of same-ranked cards, where you divide them into 2 hands. A new card is dealt to each of your new hands. Doubling Down means you double your stake, and get a new card.
Finally, when you’re happy with your hand, you Stand and end the round. When all players are Standing, everyone reveals their hand. You’re paid out even money if your hand total is under 21 and the dealer’s total is either lower than yours, or is over 21. If you’re lucky enough to land Black Jack, you get a 3:2 return.
European vs. American Blackjack
Though there are several subcategories in Blackjack, the two main variations in the game are European and American Blackjack. The key difference in their rules is when the dealer gets their second card. In the European format, the dealer gets one face-up card when you get your first two. They get their second card later.
With the American version, two cards go to the dealer. If the card facing up is and Ace or has a value of 10, the dealer can “peek for Blackjack”. This means they can check to see if their hand is Blackjack. If it is, the round ends and you don’t place bets on your losing hand.
Additionally, the American format uses six to eight decks of cards, whereas their European counterparts use two. The differences between the casino games pose their own challenges, and you can try both at Spin Casino Canada.
There are strategy charts that explain exactly what to do for every possible combination of your first two cards. There are also a few rules of thumb that you should keep in mind. Always Hit on a total of 8 or lower, Double Down on 10 or 11, and Split Pairs of Aces and 8s.
Start with these basics, and then learn and play more. Negative and Positive Progression betting strategies, live game card counting and other techniques can help you enjoy the game a little more.