how to play blackjack at a casino

How Do You Play Blackjack

Blackjack is perhaps one of the easiest casino games to learn and play. One common question is, how to play blackjack at a casino? Simply, the aim of the game is to get a total score of 21 points. When you sit down to play blackjack, the dealer starts by distributing the cards to players to the left. Each player is dealt two cards, and the dealer will get two cards. All cards with a number value are worth that amount in points. Eg. A 9 of clubs is worth 9 points.

The dealer’s hand is slightly different, as they leave one card face down and one card up until the end of the round when they tally up the points. All picture cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings) are worth 10 points. E.g If you got dealt a three and a King, your total is 13 points. Ace cards are worth 1 or 11 points. A player can use this card strategically to make a different hand to get closer to the magical number of 21.

how to play blackjack at a casino

Once the cards have been dealt, the player then has two basic choices. They can ‘Stand’, and keep the cards they have if they are happy. Or they can ‘Hit’ and be dealt another card from the dealer to try to get closer to 21. The dealer must hit if their hand total is less than 17, and they must stand if the total is 17 or above.

If the total points for a player’s hand exceeds 21, then the player will bust, and the dealer will win the hand. If a player is dealt a ten or a face card & an ace, they have made blackjack and will win the hand automatically. The payout for making blackjack is 3 – 2. There are a few other options available to players, and these are detailed below.

Double: This option allows the player to double the size of their bet, the dealer will then deal only one extra card for the player’s hand.

Split: This option is allowed when the player has a pair or two 10 point cards. If they elect to Split, they will separate their two cards, and double the stake, making a total of two hands for the player. The dealer will then deal an extra card for each hand, and the player can choose to hit or stand for both hands.

Surrender: This option allows a player to forfeit half of their bet after receiving their initial two cards. The hand will not be played, and the player will keep half their wager for the next round.

With advances in technology, more online casinos are offering live dealer blackjack games with fantastic HD audio & video streaming and friendly, attractive & professional live dealers that deliver an amazingly realistic casino experience for players. You can see our top picks of online casinos that offer live dealer games below.

Best Sites For Live Blackjack


Australia, Canada, Europe & New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States Of America

What Is The House Edge In Blackjack

For those starting out learning how to play blackjack at a casino, understanding the house edge can be a good starting step. The house edge in blackjack is the percentage chance of the casino winning any given hand. This is how the casinos make their money. Depending on where you play blackjack, the house edge can vary. The average house edge for the game is approximately 1%, making it one of the more favorable casino games for players to try their luck on.

Other popular games like Roulette have a much higher house edge between 2.6%-5.2%, meaning the casino will win more on average from a roulette game than from a blackjack table. Players that are good with numbers and employ a solid blackjack strategy can minimize the house edge in blackjack to make it as low as possible, ensuring a better win rate in the long term.

Odds Of Winning In Blackjack

Blackjack is a great game for the strategically minded players. The overall low house edge is a welcome feature that isn’t found in many online casino games. One of the great things with this game is the ability for the player to increase their odds of winning. This can be achieved in several ways.

Traditionally in offline casinos like those found in Las Vegas, card counting was the favored method for reducing the house edge and increasing the odds of winning in blackjack games. Players from all around the world would travel to the ‘Sin City’ to try their luck counting cards. Some made millions of dollars in profit while others were introduced to the dark side of mob-controlled casinos and were subject to beatings, threats, arrest, and much more.

odds of winning blackjack

As the game has grown and been played in more offline & online locations, it has evolved and is now played with a varying number of decks (up to 8) to help combat card counters and keep the game fair overall. Generally speaking, the more packs of cards in the game, the higher the casino’s house edge will be. Some basic odds of winning in blackjack can be found below.

One way of measuring the odds of winning in blackjack is by using the dealer’s visible card value. This can be useful to get a quick understanding of how likely it is for a player to be successful in winning the hand. The table below shows the Odds Of Dealer Busting (%) and Advantage For Player (%)

Dealer’s Visible CardOdds Of Dealer Busting (%)Advantage For Player (%)

Another popular way of measuring blackjack odds is by calculating the odds of going bust when a player elects to hit and get an extra card. In the table below, it makes it very clear that any time a player receives a hand total that is less than 11 points, they should always hit, as there is a 0% chance of going bust. The possibility of them busting rises as the value of their hand goes higher.

Hand ValueChance Of Going Bust (%)
11 or under0

Side Bets In Blackjack

Any player at the table has the option to make side bets. This can help generate more action from the game, but in the long run, it can be a risky strategy. The aim of these side bets is for the casino to get more players to put chips onto the table. This increases the chance of the casino generating money from the game and leads to more profits.

A side bet is an extra wager placed on the game at the start of the round. The two most common side bets are Perfect Pairs and Insurance. Perfect pairs occur when the player is dealt two cards of the same value, E.g., 2 x 10 or 2 x Jacks. Three different types of perfect pairs can occur.

Mixed Pair: Two cards of the same value, but different colors. This has a payout of 5 to 1.

Colored: Two cards of the same value and color, but different suit. This has a payout of 10 to 1.

Perfect Pair: Two cards of the same value and suit. This has a higher payout of 30 to 1.

Insurance: This is an option that will protect the player from going bust if the dealer gets blackjack. If a player chooses this option and the dealer receives 21 on their starting hand, they will get a payout of 2 to 1. If you’re just getting started playing blackjack online, then it might be best to avoid side bets and focus on learning and implementing a simple blackjack strategy so that you can get a good understanding of the game.

When To Hit In Blackjack

There are many different strategy guides for those learning how to play blackjack at a casino and some are full of useful tips. One of the most common questions that’s asked is, when to hit in blackjack? This answer will vary with each person depending on their appetite for risk. We have outlined some of the strategies that are popular in the blackjack world below.

  • If the dealer has a visible card that is a 7, 8, 9, 10 or an Ace, and your hand totals 8 or 12 through 16, you can hit
  • If the dealer’s visible card that is an Ace, and your hand equals 11, you can hit
  • If the dealer’s visible card that is a 10, and your hand equals 10, you can hit
  • If the dealer’s visible card that is a 7, 8 or 9, and your hand total is 9, you can hit

Everyone’s style of game play will vary, and it’s best to start small as you learn the ropes. Once you have been playing for a while, you will develop a better understanding and feel for the game, and you can learn new strategies and adjust the way you play. By knowing when to hit in blackjack, you can play more games with a reduced house edge, a higher win rate, and get a much more enjoyable blackjack experience.

When To Stand In Blackjack

It’s essential to understand when to stand in blackjack as well as when to hit. Developing your own strategy for the game will ensure you play within your comfort level and have the most fun at the same time. You can follow some simple guides to pick the best times to stand in your game of blackjack.

  • If your hand total is 17 or over you should stand
  • If the dealer’s visible card is less than 7, and your hand total is 13 or more, you can stand
  • If you have a pair of 10’s or face cards, instead of splitting them, you can stand
when to hit blackjack

When To Double In Blackjack

For players that enjoy a higher level of risk and reward, it can pay to know when to double in blackjack. This option allows you to double your stake size and receive an extra card from the dealer. This can be wise in specific scenarios and enable you to choose the right time to increase your bet size and hopefully, your overall win. You can follow a few simple guides for when to double in your blackjack game.

The most convenient times to double are when the player has 9, 10, or 11 in their starting hand. The main aim in this scenario is to land a ten or face card to make a hand total of 19 or 20, which can be especially helpful if you win the hand with 2 x your starting bet size.

  • Choose to ‘double’ a total of 10 unless the dealer has an Ace or 10
  • Choose to ‘double’ an 11 only if the dealer doesn’t have an Ace in hand
  • Choose to ‘double’ 9 if the dealer has a 3, 4, 5 or 6 visible

Where To Play Live Blackjack Online

If you’re just starting and want to learn how to play blackjack at a casino in 2020, our first tip would be to sign up with an established site that offers high-quality live casino games. Depending on your location in the world, there will be different websites available for you to use. We have listed some of the best sites for the main GEO areas below.

The second tip is to keep your stake sizes sensible. If you follow basic bankroll management, you can enjoy more of your favorite casino games and withstand any losing streaks that may go through. As you get more experience with the game and the rules, you can adjust your playing style to suit your level of risk and reward. Just make sure always to have fun and play at high-quality sites that offer great live games and generous bonuses to boost your bankroll. See you at the tables.