Blackjack Rules

The rules of a given Blackjack game depend entirely on the variation you are playing. Some games won’t allow certain player decisions, while others will. Fortunately, many of the rules are the same as those you will find at a brick and mortar casino. To keep things simple and focused on the basics, we’ve created a concise list of the most commonly used Blackjack actions, when they are used, and effect will be.

A Stand action communicates to the dealer that they player does not wish to draw cards and remains with the hand they currently hold. This will end further actions for that player. The game continues with the next participant to the left of the player.

A Hit action communicated that the player wants to receive another card from the dealer. The player can hit as many times as they like, provided they do not go bust. The player must stand when they have finished hitting.

A Double action communicates that would like to double their wager on the hand. The player will need to place the additional bet on the appropriate position and they will receive one final card from the dealer.

A Split action communicated that the player is holding a pair of like or identical cards and that they wish to split that hand into two. The player must place an additional wager on the appropriate position and can then play both hands independently of one another.

A Surrender action communicates that the player believes their hand will not outrank the dealer’s and wishes to forfeit the hand. The player then recuperates half of their initial wager and the hand ends.

An Insurance action takes place before the cards are dealt. Insurance is purchased by the player to mitigate a loss if the dealer holds a natural 21. The hand is played as normal and the insurance does not come into play unless the dealer holds a natural.

A Bust occurs when either a player’s hand or the dealer’s hand is valued higher than 21 points.

A Push occurs when both a player’s hand and a dealer’s hand are of equal value at the end of play. In this case, the player’s wager is returned.

Dealer Hit/Stand

There are a few additional rules you’ll want to be aware of as you progress from Blackjack enthusiast to Blackjack expert. One of the first is when the dealer should stay. This rule differs on jurisdiction when it comes to land-based casinos. In online casinos, it differs depending on the variation of online Blackjack. There are two main approaches to the dealer hit/stand rule. On one hand a dealer will be forced to hit/stand on a soft 16/17, on the other a hard 16/17. A soft hand is characterized by a hand consisting of an Ace and any combination of cards that achieve the remainder. So, a soft 16 is any combination of Ace and additional cards that reach a hand value of 16. A hard hand is one without an Ace or one containing an Ace that must be counted as a 1. In this case the dealer is forced to hit or stand according to the rules of the game.

Late/Early Surrender

The Late or Early surrender rule is not available in all variations of Blackjack, but is common enough to include in this guide.

Surrender, when allowed in your designated online Blackjack game, is rarely permitted when a dealer holds Blackjack. In this case, the dealers hand showing an ace will be checked prior to surrender being made available. In this case, the rule is referred to as a late surrender. Early surrender is provided before a dealer would check to see if a Blackjack is held. Either in a surrender specific Blackjack game or a no-hole card variation. In most cases, a medium strength hand is surrendered against a dealer ace. That is, provided the hole card remains unchecked.

It is advised that only very poor hands be surrendered. This is because a 25% chance to win the full bet is better than the player surrendering half their wager.

Resplitting

Splitting cards can be completed in most versions of online Blackjack. In the event a player’s split hand or hands again have the same value, resplitting may be permitted. This is referred to as a resplit. If the player chooses to complete the resplit, they are then required to place an additional wager equal to their initial et on the hand. Whether this action can be competed an unlimited number of times or is restricted to a certain few depends on the variation. The table itself will usually display the game’s policy on resplitting clearly.

Hit/Resplit Split Aces

When it comes to splitting aces, the actions are then a bit more restrictive. In such cases, the rules will stipulate that a player is unable to split, double, or take another hit on either hand. Of course, variations of Blackjack have emerged to counter this rule and allow all these action upon splitting aces. Players will simply need to educate themselves on what the talbe’s stance is on splitting aces. Keep in mind that a card valued at 10 points dealt on a split ace is not a natural 21, but rather a soft 21 and will influence the payout.

Doubling Down Restrictions

Certain games have rules against doubling down on any split hand, not just aces, because this restriction increases the house edge.

Doubling down on certain combinations, such as 9/10/11 or 10/11 only, are allowed under what is called the ‘Reno rule’. The rule is in place to keep players from doubling down on especially advantageous hand combinations, such as a soft 13-18. Again, the restriction is in place to increase the house edge.

No Hole Card Blackjack And Original Bets Only

Outside of the Us, Blackjack is typically played with no hole card. This means that the dealer is not obligated to factor in his second card after players have made their decisions. The result is a situation where it is seldom good practice to double or split against a dealer’s 10 or Ace card showing. Dealer Blackjack results in a loss for the player’s splits and doubled bets in this case. Split aces against a dealer 10 is the only exception. Original Bets Only, or OBO, rules appeared in no hole card games to state that only the players original bet is lost in the aforementioned situation. The remaining split bets and doubles are pushed to the player.

Blackjack Bets

Unlike casino table games such as roulette and Craps, there is not a menagerie of bets you can make in Blackjack to capitalize on your cards. However, there are proven strategies and courses of action you can implement to better your chances of receiving a payout.

Initial bets are placed before cards are dealt and signal that the players wants to participate in the next hand dealt. Bets must be placed according to table minimum and maximum wagering requirements. Depending on the variation, players may be able to occupy more than one seat at the table, thus increasing their available betting positions.

When it comes time to make a move, there is a lot to consider. This is where Blackjack’s ‘a day to learn, a lifetime to master’ philosophy comes from. The short and sweet of it is that players want to hit in the beginning when they have low value cards and stay when they have a strong hand. The dealer’s visible cards influence this decision quite a bit and you can get an idea of how the path of decision making is influenced in the table below. Keep in mind tat these are not absolute and you should develop your own approach to the game in accordance with the style of Blackjack you are playing.

Player Hand

Dealer Up Card

Hard

2 to 6

7 to A

4 to 8

Hit

Hit

9

Double

Hit

10 or 11

Double with more than dealer

12 to 16

Stay

Hit

17 to 21

Stay

Stay

 

Soft

13 to 15

Hit

Hit

16 to 18

Double

Hit

19 to 21

Stay

Stay

 

Split

2’s, 3’s, 6’s, 7’s, and 9’s

Yes

No

8’s and A’s

Yes

Yes

4’s, 5’s, 10’s

No

No

This should be plenty to go on when it comes to getting stated with online Blackjack. Use our resources to learn more about this and other online casino games as well as where to find the best online Blackjack promotions.

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