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How To Play Blackjack For Beginners

Blackjack is one of the most popular table casino games in the UK. While it is primarily based on chance, it also involves a bit of skill and strategy. 

Therefore, if you fancy playing blackjack but need help figuring out where to start, this Wizard Slots blog may be able to help.

We’ll discuss how to play blackjack, the general rules, side bets and what blackjack insurance is. Continue reading to find out!

How To Play Blackjack In a Casino

Before we get into the details of how to play blackjack in a casino, we will first explain the basics of blackjack. 

When playing blackjack, your goal is simple: try to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over.

If your hand goes over 21, you lose, which is also known as going ‘bust’. However, if you don’t go bust and you beat the dealer, you win. 

There are a few steps that you may follow when playing blackjack at a casino. Let’s go through some of them below:

Find a table to join: Land-based casinos typically have a number of blackjack tables that players can choose from, each with its own maximum and minimum stake values. Most players decide based on the stake sizes, the dealer, or the number of players already on the table. 

Make a move based on your initial hand: Once you have selected a table and placed a bet, the dealer will deal two cards to each player. Examine what your hand value is and decide to either stand or hit. Hitting means asking the dealer for an additional card.

Standing means you are happy with your hand value, and you want to stay with it. 

You can only stand once, but you can hit as many times as possible, unless you bust and go over 21. 

Split or double down: Depending on the table’s rules, you could potentially decide to split or double down. Splitting means dividing your hands into two, so you have two different hands. But usually, the cards must be of the same value, for example, if you have two 8s. 

If you double down, this usually means you think you have a pretty good hand and potentially a higher chance of hitting a 21. So, you double your bet and receive an extra card from the dealer.

Wait for the dealer to reveal their hand: Once everyone on the table has made their decisions, the dealer will reveal their hand. If the dealer has a higher hand than you or everyone on the table, the dealer wins. But if you have a higher hand than the dealer, you win. However, if both you and the dealer have the same hand, known as a tie or a ‘push’, you will likely receive your bet back, depending on the rules of the casino.

Blackjack Rules

Like all casino games, blackjack also has its own rules you need to follow.

Following and understanding these rules may also improve your chances of potentially winning or staying at the table because you may be asked to leave if you break the rules.

Since there is a wide variation of blackjack games, the rules may differ slightly depending on the version of blackjack you play. However, the basic rules usually remain the same.

In addition, the casino may impose its own rules on top of the basic blackjack rules, so it may be best to read the blackjack rules and the casino rules that may apply to that specific table.

Below are some of the basic blackjack rules;

  1. Blackjack is a card game typically played with one deck of 52 cards. Naturally, the cards have different values; some are more valuable than others. 
  2. The higher-valued cards, worth 10 points each, are called face cards and consist of the King, Queen and Jack. The numbered cards (2 to 9) are worth their face values. So, a 2 is worth 2 points, a 3 is worth 3 points, a 6 is worth 6 points, etc. The Ace cards can be worth 1 or 11 points. 
  3. All initial bets must be placed before the game begins. 
  4. The player on the left side of the dealer always goes first.
  5. After the initial deal of the first 2 cards, you can choose to either stand, hit, split or double down, depending on the hand you have got and the game/casino rules. Splitting or doubling down requires an additional bet amount.
  6. Generally, you can only split if you have 2 cards of the same value. That is called splitting pairs. Splitting results in 2 separate hands. Therefore, you need to place 2 bets of the same size. For example, if your initial bet was £2, splitting will result in a £4 bet.
  7. The verdict of your hand will be determined after the dealer reveals their hand.
  8. If the dealer busts, you and everyone at the table win, and your payout will depend on the value of your hand. 
  9. A typical payout for a regular blackjack hand is 1:1. That means your hand beats the dealer’s, but is not equal to 21.
  10. Having a hand that is precisely 21 is called having a blackjack, and it has a higher payout potential of 3:1.

There are also some special rules that may apply to some blackjack games such as insurance or a surrender

Insurance is a side bet that can pay you out if the dealer ends up with a blackjack, and a surrender means giving up half of your bet before the game ends. 

However, these may not always apply.

Blackjack Insurance Explained

Insurance is a side bet that can be offered to blackjack players if the dealer’s up-card is an Ace. If taking an insurance bet, you are betting that the dealer’s hand will be a blackjack.

The bet wins if the dealer has an Ace card and a 10, creating a blackjack. Otherwise, it is lost. The insurance bet typically costs half of your initial bet and can pay out 2:1. 

However, the dealer’s chances of having a blackjack made up of an Ace card and a 10 are around 30%, respectively. 

For example, if your initial bet is £5, your insurance bet may be £2.50. If you lose your initial bet and win the insurance bet, you will pocket £5 plus your £2.50 back. However, if both bets lose, you lose £7.50.

Essentially, you may potentially lose more money than you would have without the insurance bet. Therefore, weighing your options before taking the insurance bet may be best.

Blackjack Side Bets 

Blackjack side bets are additional bets you can make on top of the current bet you have placed. Blackjack has only one main bet: that your hand will be or be as close to 21 as possible and beat the dealer. 

Side bets are any other bets beyond the possibility of you getting a 21 or beating the dealer. Most blackjack side bets may be placed before the cards are dealt, while others are offered after the initial 2 cards are dealt.

The most popular side bets include insurance, 21+3, perfect pairs, royal match and lucky ladies.

  • Insurance Bet: With this side bet, you wager the dealer will have a blackjack made of an Ace and a 10 card. It is offered after the initial deal but before the dealer can look at their hole card.
  • 21+3: With the 21+3 bet, you wager that your first 2 cards and the dealer’s up card will form 1 of 5 specific combinations, namely: Flush, Straight, Three of a kind, Straight Flush and a Suited Three of a kind.
  • Perfect Pair: You wager a Perfect Pairs side bet on the outcome that your initial 2 cards will be a mixed, coloured or perfect pair.
  • Royal Match: This bet wagers that your first 2 cards will be a King and Queen of the same suit. 
  • Lucky Ladies: This is a side bet that wagers that your first 2 cards will equal 20 points. The cards can be of the same suit but different rank or the same suit and rank. The latter typically offers a larger payout than the former.

The list of side bets above is by no means exhaustive. There are countless blackjack side bets in casinos, but the above are only a few of the popular ones. 

Blackjack Strategy: Is Blackjack Luck or Skill?

Blackjack is a game of chance, which is where the idea of ‘luck’ came from. The results are predominantly random. However, it does involve a bit of skill and strategy, which may potentially help minimise your losses and maximise your winning potential.

Therefore, the outcome of your blackjack game may rely on both chance and skill. While you cannot control the chance factor, the skill or strategy you use to play blackjack may potentially help to lower the house edge.

Being skilled in blackjack means understanding the rules and strategy. Understanding these means you may have a better chance of possibly winning than someone who may be playing blackjack blindly.

For example, if you have a hard 20 (2 cards valued at 10 each, like a 10 and a Queen), you have a pretty solid hand and your chances of winning may be slightly higher than if your initial cards were a 6 and a 5. This knowledge can then help to inform your next decision: double down (if available), or stand. Getting these 2 cards was pure luck or chance, but knowing which decision to make is skill and strategy.

So, while you have no control over which cards you receive, you have a say over how you play them, which is a skill. Therefore, we can safely say blackjack is a game of luck and skill.

How To Play Online Blackjack

The steps you can follow to play blackjack online are relatively simple and straightforward. 

First, you must have an active account with a reputable online slots site like Wizard Slots. You know if a casino is reputable if it is registered and has its information readily available on its website. 

Then, register an account with them and find a blackjack game you wish to play.

If you want to play online Blackjack with Wizard Slots casino, for example, these are the steps you can follow:

  1. Click the Join button to register an account or log in if you already have one.
  2. Go to the Search Bar and search for the blackjack game you wish to play, for example, Classic Blackjack With Perfect-11.
  3. Launch the game, set your preferred stake, and play.

If you want to play live blackjack online, the same process applies, but instead of launching the game, you join a table (if there is a seat) and make your desired bets before the dealer calls the betting off.

With live blackjack, you can also interact with other players and the dealer in real time, potentially giving you a more in-house blackjack experience.

Play Blackjack For Real Money at Wizard Slots

Now that you have enough information about the basics of blackjack, are you ready to try it here at Wizard Slots?

Whether you are a seasoned blackjack player or a novice, our games are entertaining, innovative and accessible via mobile phones and desktops. 

To register, simply click the Join button and follow the prompts. 

Remember to always play responsibly.

*All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins, etc.) mentioned in relation to this game are subject to change at any time.