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Betting on Blackjack

Along with roulette and poker, blackjack is undoubtedly the most iconic casino game, and every day thousands of people play at online casinos using their Bitcoins. But how do you get started with this exciting and exhilarating game if you’ve never played before?

The Basic Rules of Blackjack

The rules of blackjack really couldn’t be simpler, as it’s essentially a competition between you and the dealer to see who can get closest to 21 – but without ever going over. So, you’ll start with two cards, both face up, and the dealer will also begin with two cards. You’ll only be able to see one of the dealer’s cards though, thus making the game slightly more difficult. You can then choose from a number of options – which are explained later – as you advance your hand towards the magic 21 mark. The dealer will then take their turn, and if you’re closer, you’ll double your money.

Card Values in Blackjack

The card values in blackjack are pretty easy to work out, and when combined they create your overall total. All numbered cards correspond to their specific values, while all face cards hold a value of 10. Aces are slightly more complex, as they can either be counted as 1 or 11. This means that the best hand you can possible get is an Ace plus a 10-value card, which is known as blackjack and pays out a bigger prize – generally 3:2, instead of 1:1.

Your Options During Play

Once the cards have been dealt, you’ll have a few options to choose from, as you look to get to 21. Remember though: if you go over 21, your hand is immediately a losing one, even if the dealer then also goes over 21 as well. The different options open to you are:

  • Hit. This means that you’ll be dealt another card, the value of which will be added to your overall score.
  • Stand. If you’re happy with your hand’s value, you can elect to stand, meaning that your turn ends and you keep the value you have.
  • Double Down. This is where, after seeing your first two cards, you double your bet and then receive just one more card. Useful if you have a good starting hand, but also riskier than normal play.
  • Split. At most blackjack tables, you can split your cards if you receive two identical ones from the dealer. You’ll double your stake, and you’ll then effectively be playing with two different hands.
  • Surrender. This is only available at some tables. It allows you to claw back half your bet if you think that the dealer will win. It can only be used before any additional cards have been dealt.

Some variations of blackjack found at Bitcoin casinos also allow for side bets. The rules for these are explained at the games themselves, however they are best avoided by new players until they fully understand how to play the main game.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

The basic blackjack strategy revolves around not taking too many risks, as well as capitalising on good situations. New players would do well therefore to follow the instructions laid out in the table below…

Starting Hand Dealer’s Hand
Hard* 2 to 6 7 to A
4 to 8 Hit Hit
9 Double Hit
10 to 11 Double Double
12 to 16 Stand Hit
17 to 21 Stand Stand
13 to 15 Hit Hit
16 to 18 Double Hit
19 to 21 Stand Stand

*Hard refers to a hand with no Aces, or an Ace that counts as 1 point.
**Soft refers to a hand containing an Ace, with the Ace counting as 11 points.

When it comes to splitting, you should always split 88 or AA, and only split 22, 33, 66, 77, 99 when the dealer is showing a card less than seven. All other pairs should not be split, regardless of the dealer’s card.

Of course, as you become more knowledgeable of the game, you might decide to implement your own strategies for specific hands and situations though.

Blackjack Tips

Unlike roulette, blackjack does have a large element of skill to it. Therefore, there are some tips that players can use to increase the amount they win. Of course, luck does play its part too though. Some of the best tips are:

  • Don’t forget to look at the dealer’s hand, as this will always help you decide what to do
  • Always check the house rules at a Bitcoin casino, as they can vary wildly
  • Manage your bankroll, meaning that you never play at a table where the maximum bet is more than 5% of your entire stack
  • Always split Aces and eights. Splitting Aces could lead to double blackjack, while two eights add up to 16 – the worst total possible from two cards
  • Never take insurance, as this is quite simply a bad bet when it comes to the math

Explained: Blackjack’s House Edge

The house edge is essentially the term used for how much of a better chance the casino has of winning than you do. Despite looking like blackjack is a completely fair game, the casino does actually have an edge though, and it is for this reason: the player always plays first. This means that the dealer can look at the player’s hand and then decide when to stop. Despite this though, blackjack does have one of the lowest house edges of any casino game, making it a great choice for those looking for the best way to make money.

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