How To Play Blackjack

There are many different types of Blackjack that can be played online, the most popular version is American Blackjack. You can find American Blackjack, European Blackjack, Pontoon (Spanish 21), Vegas style blackjack, Multiple hand Blackjack and more at various online casinos and at land based casinos!

History of the Blackjack Game

Blackjack itself dates way back to 1760’s France where it was known as ‘Vingt-et-Un’, which is French for 21. Blackjack is a card game between the dealer and the players. Blackjack also originates to Spanish where it was known as ‘one and Thirty’ – the rule was to reach 31 with a minimum of three cards. Some people also suggest that it was the Romans who invented the game with wooden blocks of different numerical values. No matter where the game originated from, it has grown in popularity and become one of the most popular and exciting games to play at casinos.

Aim of the Blackjack Game

In American Blackjack, you compete against the dealer and not the other players at the table. The object of the game is different with the different variations you can play. In standard American Blackjack you need to beat the dealer by getting bang on or as close to 21 as possible – without going over that number! The cards the dealer deals you have numbers and you must know when to stick with them or carry on – without losing.

How to play Blackjack?

To start with in American Blackjack, the dealer will take a standard deck of 52 cards and shuffle them. In land based casinos they will place a plastic marker into the deck of cards as an indicator of when to shuffle the deck next. Once the players have placed their bets on the table, the dealer will begin the game.

He will place a card (picture facing down) in front of him on the table and continue to deal to the players. The Players are dealt a two-card hand from the dealer and you must add the value of those cards together. Kings, Queens and Jacks are counted as ten points each. Ace cards can either be 11 or 1 – it’s up to the player to decide. All of the other cards are counted the same as the numeric value stated on them, example if you have a 9 of hearts, the number is 9. Once the dealer has dealt the players, he will turn his card around on the table so everyone can see. After receiving your two cards, you have the option of opting for a ‘hit’ – this is where you take an additional card from the dealer to try and reach the number 21. The round is over when a player or the dealer has reached the number 21 or by having a final score close to 21 or less than 21.

Scoring higher than 21 is known as ‘bust’. If the dealer busts and the player has less than 21 then the player wins.

The dealer must continue to ‘hit’ until the cards total 17 or more. Players win by not busting and having a higher numeric value than the dealer.

how to play blackjack

Player decisions

Once the player has received their initial 2 cards, they have up to four options;

  • Hit – take another card from the dealer.
  • Stand – take no more cards from the dealer (this is also known as Stand Pat’, ‘Stick’ or ‘Stay’.
  • Double down – a player can increase their initial bet by 100% in exchange for committing to stand, once they have received one final card.
  • Split – If the first two cards of your hand have the same numeric value, a player has the option of splitting them into two hands. This can be done by moving a second bet (equal to the first bet) into the area directly outside the betting box. The dealer will then separate the two cards and place a new card on each.
  • Surrender – when a player surrenders, the house will take half of the players bet and returns the other half to the player. This terminates the players hand.

Other ways to play

As previously mentioned, there’s many different types of Blackjack games to play, some of which are:

  • Multiple hand blackjack – this is a game that’s played with 5, 6 or 8 decks of 52 cards. Players in this game ca play more than one hand in a single session. It’s a fast paced game that sees every hand being played separately. The object of this game is to score a blackjack and beat the dealers hand. In this game, the player is not allowed to surrender at any point and some casinos allow players to double after splitting.
  • Pontoon – this is the British version of Blackjack. A deck of 52 cards is used and the aim of the game is to again beat the dealers hand without going over the value of 21. Players will keep taking cards from the dealer until they have the hand they think will beat that of the dealers. A player can only ever surrender against a dealers face card (picture card) and if the dealer has a neutral card – the player loses their entire bet.
  • European Blackjack is very much like American Blackjack, but it has a few variations. This is a 6 deck game where the dealer will draw on all hands up to 16 and stand at 17’s. You may double down on any two cards split or re-split. If a player has an 8 card hand and hasn’t gone bust, they will beat the dealers hand (if the dealer doesn’t have a Blackjack that is).


Blackjack is without doubt the most popular table games when it comes to casinos and it is a very simple game to learn and very easy to play. You don’t actually know what the dealers hand is going to be so you have to know when to act first. You will find so many different types of Blackjack games at online casinos so you should read the instructions before you get started as each game has different playing methods.