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Similarly renowned as Twenty-one. The rules are straightforward, the gameplay is exhilarating, and there is room for strategic depth. In fact, the odds are sometimes in favor of the expert player who plays a mathematically perfect game and can count cards.
Blackjack is one of the most appealing casino games for the player, even if the player is only a casual participant who plays a reasonably good game. While Blackjack’s popularity dates back to World War I, its origins can be traced to the 1760s in France, where it was known as Vingt-et-Un (French for 21). Today, Blackjack is the only card game found in every casino in the United States. As a popular game played at home, slightly different rules apply. The casino is the dealer in the casino version (a “permanent bank”). The dealer remains standing during casino play, while the players are seated. The dealer is responsible for all aspects of the game, including shuffling, dealing, and taking bets. In the home game, each participant has the opportunity to serve as the dealer (a “changing bank”).
It is common to use a 52-card pack, but in most casinos several decks of cards are shuffled together. The most popular version is played with six decks (312 cards).(312 cards). A blank plastic card is also used by the dealer. This card is never dealt, but is placed toward the bottom of the pack to signal when the cards are to be reshuffled. The dealer draws cards from a shoe (a box that allows the dealer to remove cards one at a time, face down, without actually holding one or more packs) when four or more decks are being played.
GOAL OF THE GAME
Each player attempts to defeat the dealer by achieving a hand total as close to 21 as possible without exceeding 21.
Whether an ace is worth 1 or 11 depends on the individual player. Aces are 10 and any other card is its point value.
Players are required to place a bet, in chips, in front of them before the deal begins. There are minimum and maximum betting limits, with a general range of $2 to $500.
THE SHUFFLE AND CUT
The dealer shuffles the pack thoroughly until all of the cards have been mixed and combined. The dealer chooses one of the players to cut, and the plastic insert card is positioned so that the last 60 to 75 cards or so are not used. (Not dealing to the bottom of all the cards makes professional card counters’ jobs more difficult.)
After all of the players have placed their bets, the dealer deals one card face up to each player in clockwise rotation, followed by one card face up to themselves. A new round of cards is dealt face up to each player, but the dealer discards the second card. As a result, all players except the dealer are dealt two cards face up, while the dealer is dealt one card face up and one card face down. (In some games played with only one deck, the cards are dealt face down to the players, who get to keep them.) Today, however, almost all Blackjack games have the players’ cards dealt face up with no player touching any cards.)
A natural or “blackjack” occurs when a player’s first two cards are an ace and a “ten-card” (a picture card or 10), resulting in a count of 21 in two cards. If any player has a natural and the dealer does not, the dealer pays that player one and a half times their bet right away. If the dealer has a natural, they must collect all bets from players who do not have naturals (but no additional amount). If the dealer and another player both have naturals, the player’s bet is a stand-off (a tie), and the player receives his chips back.
If the face-up card of the dealer is a ten or an ace, the player examines their face-down card to determine if the two cards make a natural. If the face-up card is not a ten or an ace, they must wait until the dealer’s turn to view the face-down card.
It is the player on the left who has the choice of either “standing” (not asking for more cards) or “hitting” (requesting more cards in order to get closer to 21, or even exactly hitting 21). Accordingly, a player may either stand on the two cards originally dealt to them, or ask the dealer for additional cards, one at a time, until he or she either decides to go “bust” (if the total is over 21), or stand on the total. When the player loses, the dealer collects the wager wagered. After serving the player to their left, the dealer turns to the player to their right.
A “soft hand” is a combination of an ace and a card other than a ten-card, because the player can count the ace as a 1 or 11, and draw cards or not. For example, a “soft 17” (an ace and a 6) results in a total of 7 or 17. While 17 is a good hand, the player may wish to draw for a higher total. If the draw results in a bust hand by counting the ace as an 11, the player simply counts the ace as a 1 and continues to play by standing or “hitting” (asking the dealer for additional cards, one at a time).
THE DEALER’S PLAY
After each player has been served, the dealer’s face-down card is revealed. If the sum is at least 17, it must stand. If the total is 16 or less, they are required to draw a card. The dealer must continue taking cards until his or her hand totals 17 or more, at which point he or she must stand. If the dealer has an ace and counting it as 11 would bring the total to 17 or more (but not over 21), the dealer must count the ace as 11 and stand if doing so would bring the total to 17 or more (but not over 21). Consequently, the dealer’s decisions are always automatic, whereas the player always has the option to take one or more cards.
It is the turn of the player to say “Hit” or sign for a card by scratching the table with a finger or two in a motion toward themselves, or they can wave their hand as if indicating to someone, “Come here!” When the player stands up, they can say “Stand” or “No more” or can indicate this intention by moving their hand sideways, palm down, just above the table.
A player may decide to treat two cards of the same denomination, such as two sixes or two jacks, as two separate hands when their turn comes. On one of the cards, the original bet is placed, and an equal amount is placed on the other card. In order to play the hand to the right, the player must first play the hand to the left by standing or striking one or more times. Consequently, the two hands are treated separately, and the dealer settles with each on its own merits. If a player has two aces, he is given one card for each ace and is not permitted to draw again. Furthermore, if a ten-card is dealt to one of these aces, the payoff is equal to the bet (not one and one-half to one, as in blackjack at any other time).
The player also has the option of doubling their wager when the first two cards dealt total 9, 10, or 11. When it is the player’s turn, they place a bet equal to the initial bet, and the dealer gives them just one card, which is placed face down and is not revealed until the end of the hand. The player may split a pair of fives, double down, or play the hand normally with two fives. Notably, the dealer does not have the ability to split or double down.
Any player who sees the dealer’s face-up card is entitled to make an additional wager of up to half the original bet that the dealer’s face-down card is a ten, thereby allowing the house to achieve a blackjack. The dealer examines the hole card once all side bets have been placed. When a ten-card is dealt, players who placed an insurance bet win and receive a payout of double their half-bet – a 2 to 1 payout. In the event that the dealer has blackjack, the hand is over and the players’ stakes are collected – unless another player also has blackjack, in which case it is a stand-off. In general, insurance is not a good idea for the player unless he or she is quite certain that there are still a significant number of undealt ten cards.
Once paid and collected, a wager cannot be returned. The fact that the player goes first is a significant advantage for the dealer. If the player busts, they have already lost their wager, regardless of whether the dealer also busts. If the dealer exceeds 21, the dealer pays the amount of each player’s bet who has stood. If the dealer stands at 21 or less, he pays any player with a higher total (not exceeding 21) and collects any player with a lower total. If a stand-off occurs (a player and the dealer have the same total), no chips are paid out or collected.
After settling each player’s wager, the dealer collects that player’s cards and places them face up against a clear plastic L-shaped shield. The dealer continues dealing from the shoe until he or she reaches the plastic insert card, which signifies a reshuffle. As soon as this round of play concludes, the dealer shuffles all the cards, prepares them for the cut, places them in the shoe, and play continues.
For a player to be successful at blackjack, he or she must play each hand optimally, taking into account the dealer’s upcard at all times. When the dealer’s upcard is a strong card, such as a 7, 8, 9, 10, or ace, the player should not stop drawing until he or she has 17 or more. When the dealer’s upcard is a weak card, 4, 5, or 6, the player should stop drawing when his hand total reaches 12 or higher. In this situation, you should never draw a card if there is a chance of going bust. With such a weak hand, the objective is to let the dealer hit and, hopefully, go over 21. When the dealer’s up card is a fair card, such as a 2 or 3, the player must stop when their total is 13 or higher.
General strategy with a soft hand is to continue hitting until a total of at least 18 is reached. Therefore, with an ace and a six (7 or 17), the player would hit rather than stand on 17.
Following is the basic strategy for doubling down: When a player has 11 points, they should always double down. With a total of ten, he must double down unless the dealer reveals a ten or an ace. With a total of nine, a player should only double down if the dealer’s card is average or poor (2 through 6).
A pair of aces or eights should always be split; identical ten-cards should not be split, nor should a pair of fives, since two fives total 10, which can be used more effectively in doubling down. A pair of fours should also not be split, as eight is a good number to draw to. 2s, 3s, and 7s can typically be split, unless the dealer has an 8, 9, or 10 card, or an ace. Lastly, sixes should not be split if the dealer’s card is weak (2 through 6).
How Do You Play Blackjack?
Playing real money blackjack games on Casino-review-form.com is very simple.
- No registration or software download is required. Simply select the free blackjack variant of your choice and wait for the game to load.
- In a typical game of blackjack, both you and the dealer are dealt two cards. The objective is to beat the dealer by scoring as close to 21 as possible without going over. This depends on the total value of your cards. Face cards are valued at 10, and aces may be worth either one or eleven points.
- Hit, which means to draw another card, or stand, which means to keep the cards you have. Remember that if you go over 21, you will bust and lose the game immediately.
- As the dealer’s cards are revealed, you will discover whether you or the dealer had a higher score. If you and the dealer have the same score, the game is considered a push and your wager is returned.
- Continue betting or leave and select a different game. The beauty of playing blackjack online for entertainment is that you will never lose money. Visit our page on how to play blackjack for more information.
Top Blackjack Variants to Play
The objective of the game remains the same across all blackjack variations, despite each variant’s unique twist. The best part is that you can play them for free right here, so choose your favorite and begin playing blackjack for free.
A more recent variant, Blackjack Switch sees players receive 2 hands at the start of the game, with the option to switch the best two cards between them. The other significant difference is that a dealer’s hard 22 is considered a push (tie).
Blackjack Perfect Pairs
A player can place a pair of side bets while playing Perfect Blackjack to further increase their winnings. Depending on the situation, a player may choose to place a mixed pair, color pair, or perfect pair on their hand.
Surrender rules are incorporated into Blackjack Surrender, which allows players to fold their hand and receive half of their bet back. You can benefit from it if you get a bad starting hand, as the house edge is reduced by 0.07-0.09%, however, it should only be utilized in these circumstances.
The house edge in European Blackjack is slightly higher than in American Blackjack, which is 0.62%, but it remains very popular at online casinos. If you double down after a split, you will lose your entire bet if the dealer has blackjack.
Atlantic City Blackjack
Atlantic City Blackjack is one of the most popular blackjack variants, as the rules are the most favorable to players, with a house edge of just 0.36%. Atlantic City Blackjack – also referred to as American Blackjack – uses eight decks and offers players the chance to surrender, while the dealer must stand on all hand totals between 17 and 21.
Single Deck Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack is probably the variant you’d play with friends, as you use a single pack of 52 cards. This is a popular variant of blackjack, as the house edge is cut to 0.3% and card counting also becomes easier than with multiple decks of cards in play.
Double Exposure Blackjack
The most notable difference in Double Exposure Blackjack is that you see both the dealer’s cards face-up, instead of just one. This swings the odds significantly in favor of the player, although it’s balanced by blackjack paying out 1:1, rather than 3:2.
Why Play Free Blackjack Games Online?
Many blackjack players like to practice with free versions of the game. This free blackjack practice enables them to test out various strategies and really know their odds before embarking on real money blackjack games. Less serious players like to play free online blackjack for fun, enjoying the fact that there’s no need to make a deposit, register for an online account or hand over any personal information. Game developers have also released a range of apps where players can enjoy social games of blackjack. It’s a great way of enabling players to play blackjack against friends, for free.
- No sign up and no deposit, so you can play quickly and easily without sharing personal data.
- Over 60 free blackjack games available on our site, giving you an excellent choice of variants.
- Play exclusive titles for fun without the risk of losing any real money.
- Rated by our reviews team, so you know that you’re playing the best titles out there.
Free Blackjack Strategy
As mentioned above, one of the great advantages of free blackjack games is that you can get to grips with numerous different strategies without risking any cash. You’ll be glad to hear that most strategies for real money games can indeed be tested on free versions as well.
If you’re looking for detailed information on which strategies or popular betting systems to try, visit our blackjack strategy page. There you’ll find plenty of top tips that can also be applied to free play.
The Best Starting Hands
It’s good to have a basic idea of what constitutes a good hand, so below we’ve listed three of the top hands:
An Ace and any 10-value card is an instant win in all blackjack variants
Any two 10-value cards will give you a total of 20. In most variants, it’s wise to keep hold of these rather than split.
a combination of an Ace and a 7 gives you various playing options, and depending on the variant, can be used to your advantage with different strategies.
Make the Right Moves with the Help of Strategy Charts
As most players know, in blackjack it’s always crucial to make the right decision for the hand you’re dealt. However, with so many different combinations possible, it’s hard to remember the best move for each scenario. Below we’ve added some free blackjack strategy charts to get you started.