Blackjack strategy & guides

Blackjack, or by its other name, Twenty-One, combines logic, maths and luck so it’s only natural to include all these factors into your game. Let us explain the main rules of this game and a simple strategy to follow.

What’s rather unusual about blackjack is that it can be played with 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards. The cards can be dealt face down or face up. Either way, the rules are the same. Your purpose is to beat the dealer by obtaining a total higher than his without going over 21. When your hand goes over 21, you “bust,” meaning that you lose regardless of the dealer’s hand. Conversely, if the dealer busts, you win.

Cards 2-10 are counted at face value and all face cards have a value of 10, whereas an ace can be either 1 or 11. You will often hear the terms soft hand, meaning a hand that contains an ace, and a hard hand, one that does not. If you get dealt a card to a soft hand and the sum of the 3 cards with the ace counted as 11 is higher than 21, the hand becomes hard.

Now, what can you actually do in blackjack? You can get a blackjack, meaning the exact value of 21, in which case you win. If both you and the dealer have 21, it’s a push. If the dealer has blackjack and you don’t, you lose.

Hitting means that you want to be dealt another card. The other option is standing, meaning that you don’t want another card. You can double your bet after 2 cards, an action referred to as doubling down. If you are dealt 2 cards of the same rank, you can split them into 2 different hands and you must make an additional bet.

There’s a simple way to decide when to hit or stand. The player’s hand is called stiff if your first cards total 12-16. The dealer’s hand is stiff if his up card is 2-6. If both of you have a stiff hand (one that is busted with a hit), you stand. A pat hand for the player is a total of at least 17, in which case you stand, and for the dealer is any card between 7 and ace. If you have a stiff and the dealer has a pat, you hit.