Blackjack Rules: Learn How to Play Blackjack 2024

If you’re looking to learn how to play blackjack, you’ve come to the right place! Blackjack is one of the most simple card games out there, but playing well takes some strategy.

In our guide, you’ll learn how the game works, blackjack rules, top tips to help you play like a professional & more!

Where to Play Blackjack Online

Here are our favourite Aussie online casino sites where you can play online blackjack right now:

Basic Blackjack Rules

Ace andBlackjack Card Values

Blackjack is played on a standard 52 card deck and every card is given a numeric value. Aces can be worth 1 or 11, face cards are worth 10 and the other cards are worth their number. Each hand requires some basic arithmetic to work out what the value is.

Going bust

The aim in blackjack is to get as close to a hand value of 21 without going over. Going over is known as going bust, and means you’ve lost the game. You play against the dealer and the closest hand wins. Because you play your hand first, there is a chance you’ll go bust before the dealer has even had the chance to draw a card. This is where the house edge comes into play.

Hit or stand

Luck plays an important role in blackjack and determines which cards you are dealt. However, it’s up to you whether you hit, stand, split or double down in each hand. Good strategy can make a difference! Playing with a strategy chart initially is a great way to learn the optimum moves in each and every round. Remember, the casino always has an advantage thanks to the house edge!

How to Play Blackjack

When you join a blackjack game, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a free seat. This is easy when playing online, but can be tricky at a land-based casino since blackjack is so popular!

You’ll then have to place an initial bet. Online bets range from 10¢ up to hundreds of dollars per hand. To place a bet, simply select the amount you’d like to bet and click to drop it in the middle of the table. Then it’s time to receive some cards. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a hand of blackjack:

  • Once the bets have been placed, both the dealer and the player receive two cards each. The player can see both of their own cards but only one of the dealer’s.
  • Having seen the value of the cards in their hand, the player can choose to hit, stand, double down or split. We’ll explain these options and why you’d choose them later.
  • If the player goes bust, they have lost the round. If they choose to stand, the dealer will reveal their second card and then play their hand.
  • Whoever’s hand is closest to 21 without going over wins.

How to Win at Blackjack

In each game of blackjack, you have to make some key decisions. Whether you hit, stand, double down or split can have a big impact on your success as a player:

green icon showing all of the card

When to Hit

Hitting in blackjack means that you’d like to receive another card. You should choose to hit when the cards in your hand are low in value. A basic strategy would be to hit if the cards in your hand total 14 or less.

green icon showing all of the card

When to Stand

Standing in blackjack means that you are satisfied with the cards in your hand and would like to pass the game over to the dealer. You should only stand when you are confident that your hand is competitive enough to beat them. Though this may depend on the value of the visible dealer card, players should usually stand when their hand has a value of 15 or more.

green icon showing all of the card

When to Double Down

Doubling down is to double your initial bet in the game in exchange for exactly one more card from the dealer.

Like splitting, doubling down is risky as you have to bet twice. That means you could win double, or lose double. Nevertheless, it can be a useful tool in certain instances.

Generally speaking, when a players first two cards total 10 or 11 it’s best to double down. Statistically, the odds of receiving a 10 or face card are in the player’s favour. That said, when you should double down depends on what blackjack rules you are playing under especially whether the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17 hand. To hone your strategy, try playing a few hands using a strategy chart.

green icon showing all of the card

When to Split

Splitting in blackjack is only an option when you’ve been dealt a pair. Splitting means to separate the original pair into two different hands. You’d then play each of the hands independently, choosing to hit, stand, double down or split again. Though you’ll have double the chance to win, you’ll also have to double your initial bet in order to split.

Knowing when to split can be tricky as it depends on the value of the cards in question as well as what card the dealer has showing. There are a few golden rules when it comes to splitting:

  • It’s almost always best practice to split 8s and Aces
  • When it comes to high hands like a pair of 9s or 10s, it’s often best to stand.
  • It can be beneficial to split low pairs like 2s and 3s, but it’s rarely the best course of action.

Try using a strategy chart in order to learn when to split pairs. Keep in mind that each time you split, you’ll have to double your initial wager.

Variations of Blackjack Rules

There are a number of blackjack variations which can be found online. Here are a few of the most popular ones available at Australian casino sites. As in all online casino games, be sure that you understand the rules before playing at a casino for real money.

Live Dealer Blackjackplayer checks their blackjack hand to see an ace and a 10

Live dealer casinos use video streaming technology to connect you to a real person dealing cards in a casino.

Perfect Pairs

A game offering a side wager in which players bet on receiving a pair in their initial two-card deal.

Single deck

Single deck blackjack is just that – the traditional version of the game which uses a single 52 card deck.

Multi-Deck Blackjack

To make the game less predictable, many casinos have moved to offer multi-deck blackjack instead of single.

European Blackjack

In European blackjack, the dealer doesn’t receive their hole card until the player has completed their hand.

Spanish blackjack

A player-friendly version which offers late surrenders, re-splitting, doubling after splitting and a unique payout structure.

Blackjack Outcomes

In each hand of blackjack, there are four outcomes:

  1. You win.
  2. You go bust and lose, meaning the total value of the cards in your hand totals more than 21.
  3. The game goes to a push, meaning you and the dealer have the same value. When playing online, a push will usually result in your initial bet being returned to you.
  4. In some games, you can surrender. The dealer will take half of your initial wager and return the other half to you.

To find out which possible outcomes are in play, be sure to read the rules of any game before you start betting real money. Rules vary from version-to-version, so it’s best to know them well in advance.

Tips for Winning at Blackjack

Learn Blackjack Rules

It’s important to know and understand the rules of the game you are playing. In blackjack, small rule changes (like whether the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17) can affect how you’d play with optimum strategy.

Use a Strategy Chart

Blackjack charts can be found online and help players play with optimum strategy. They show which moves are mathematically the most favourable given which cards you have in your hand and which card the dealer is showing. While you might attract some strange looks if using a strategy chart in a land-based casino, there is nothing illegal about it! Plus, when you’ve used a chart for long enough, you’ll start to learn the mathematically optimum moves each hand. Strategy charts can make you a better player, so we’d recommend trying one out.

Avoid Side Bets

Blackjack side bets like insurance and perfect pairs are risky. Though the casinos will try and tempt you with large payouts, it’s rarely (if ever!) good strategy to place them. The house edge is simply too high.

Blackjack Payout Rules

The best online casinos payout standard blackjack wins at a rate of 1:1. For example, if you won a hand with a $25 bet, you’d receive $50 in return (your initial $25, plus an additional $25).

Player blackjacks (when you hit a perfect 21 with your initial two cards) receive a special payout of 3:2. However, in recent years some casinos have been moving towards a less favourable payout of 6:5. Though this seems like a small change, the 6:5 payout ups the house edge by around 2%. We therefore recommend playing games with a 3:2 blackjack payout.

Blackjack Etiquette

The last thing you should know about are the unspoken rules. While blackjack on the web is automated to keep things simple for you, if you’re playing at an in-person casino, you should be aware of these simple etiquette tips:

  • Place your chips on the table. Do not give them to the dealer.
  • It’s polite to tip your dealer.
  • Place bets quickly and carefully – avoid delaying the game.
  • Handle cards with one hand, and do not disturb face-up cards.
  • Signal and verbally communicate your game moves to the table. Keep in mind that casinos attract a wide range of patrons. To avoid confusion in the rowdy atmosphere, it’s best practice to cover all bases by signalling as well as stating.

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How to Play Blackjack FAQs

Does the deck count matter in blackjack?

The deck count in blackjack affects the house edge. The higher the deck count, the higher the house edge. In single deck blackjack, the house edge (with optimum strategy) is around 0.11%. When playing with eight decks, the house edge jumps to 0.63%. Though you may not notice any difference when playing in the short-term, it can certainly add up over time. If you have the option, stick to single blackjack.

How do you win in blackjack online?

To win a game of blackjack on the internet, you simply have to collect a hand of cards with a value of closer to 21 than the dealer’s without going over. Blackjack payouts online are automatic.

What are the best blackjack payouts?

The best payout available for a player blackjack is 3:2 – avoid playing any game which pays out blackjacks at less.

Where do you find blackjack rules online?

The rules of any online blackjack game should be readily available on the casino site. In game, look for a gear or information button which, when clicked, will take you to the rules. If the rules are not clearly stated, steer clear.

Matthew Vanzetti

Pokies and Casino Expert

Matthew has a passion for pokies, from classic one-armed bandits to the latest and greatest hot drop jackpots. Hailing from Melbourne, Matthew followed in his father’s footsteps working at one of the top casinos in Melbourne after he left college. Matthew brought that knowledge to Gamble Online Australia and is our go-to guy for everything pokies-related.
When he’s not spinning the reels, you can find Matthew supporting his hero Daniel Ricciardo every weekend in Formula 1 or cheering his Dees on to victory.

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