Blackjack 101: The Rules of the Game
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Blackjack 101: The Rules of the Game

Blackjack falls within the genre of gambling card games, and normally ranks only second to Poker in terms of popularity amongst players.

When playing in online casinos, there are big chances that you will need to play a game of Blackjack. Casinos sometimes offer a round of Blackjack for players to meet their wager requirements.

Blackjack is a weapon for players which determines how they progress throughout their gameplay.

It is a casino classic and essential, so it is imperative for players to know the rules on the back of their hand.

Read on for our crash course which will explain the cards used in-game, rules, and possible player actions. Of course, we will also provide a list of recommendations of the best online casinos available in Canada where you can test your newfound skill!

The History of Blackjack

This legendary game has been around since the start of the 1800s, and has obviously evolved and changed over the years. It is probably one of the oldest social type casino games along with Poker, where multiple people can play together.

'Blackjack' is not the original name of the game but in fact, the term used to refer to a winning card combination. TwentyOne was the given name as by the end of the game, the goal is to obtain a combination of cards that add up to 21.

A 'Blackjack' used to be an Ace paired with a Jack of Clubs or Spades. But this combo no longer grants the players payout according to modern rules. Of course, some elements of the game stuck such as the term 'Blackjack' itself, which became the more popular name of the game.

Although the game is still sometimes referred to as TwentyOne. However, remember that when searching for it in an online casino, your should search for Blackjack and not TwentyOne.

Today, one winning 'Blackjack' combo is a 10-value card and an Ace. This is probably the ideal combination which guarantees a win but, there are other possibilities.

The Deck of Cards and Their Value

During Blackjack, you will be dealt with traditional playing cards, and for the most widespread version of the game, a total of six decks will be used. This adds up to 312 cards.

What we mean by 'traditional playing cards' is that these are the same type of cards you may have at home to play casual card games with your family.

However, in Blackjack, the values and meanings of cards will change. After all, this happens in many games which we play using cards.

An explanation of card values in Blackjack:

  • Cards of value 2 to 10: These are worth their face value during the game, i.e. a card value 5, will be worth five.

  • Face cards, i.e. Jack, King and Queen: These cards are worth 10.

  • The Ace: Depending on the progression of the game, an Ace could have the value of 1 or 11.

The Rules: Let's Get to the Nitty-gritty

Several players can play within the same session of Blackjack, but there will always only be one dealer. Your target is to end the game with a combination of cards that adds up to 21, or around 21.

Getting a total of more than 21 is a bust - which normally means you lose the game. When you and the dealer get the same score, of anything between 17 to 20, it's a tie so you will not lose the game, but you will not win it either.

The best possibility to win is to have a total of exactly 21.

The dealer plays the game following its set rules, but as a player, you should play the game depending on the turn out of the cards you've been dealt and their values. Let's go through the game step by step.

Placing Bets and Card Distribution

The dealer will distribute each player a random set of cards. During digital Blackjack sessions, i.e. sessions that are not led by a live dealer, a random number generator, replaces the dealer.

Players are also given a plastic card - a cut card - the card which cuts out the decks. Essentially, the cut card is an indication to the dealer that the deck will need to be reshuffled at the end of the round.

Players place their bets before the cards are dealt, by putting chips in the designated area of the table. The minimum and maximum wagering limits will be specified by the casino and/or table where you are playing.

After placing bets, the dealing begins.

The dealer starts by dealing two cards face up, one for the player and one for themselves. This is followed suit by another deal, but this time the player gets another card face up, while the dealer keeps another card, face down.

Natural Blackjack

If after the first deal you get two face-up cards which are an Ace and a 10-value card, you can calculate as follows: Ace value 11, plus 10 which amounts to 21.

This means you got a Natural Blackjack!

If the dealer's face-up card is neither a ten nor an Ace, you will immediately receive your payout. A Natural Blackjack pays one and half times the bet that you placed and can only happen after the very first dealing of the game.

If the dealers’ face-up card is either a ten or an Ace you will not get your payout until the face down card is revealed.

If the dealer reveals they also have a Blackjack, it's a tie which will result in a push, putting the winnings on hold for the moment. The rest of the players will lose their hands if this happens after the first dealing.

Making Your Move

A player has several decisions to make during each round of Blackjack. What should influence your choice is, your cards of course, but also the dealer's card which is face up.

But what choices should you be making?

Two of the basics are hitting and standing, but there are various other actions.

Let's take a look at them more in depth:

Hit

After you are dealt your two cards, you can choose to hit or stand. Usually at this point it would be ideal to hit, therefore taking a third card - adding to the total value of your hand.

Then you can choose again between hitting or standing. Hitting a second time could be risky because you will go bust if your fourth card changes your total to over 21. Going bust means you will lose all your bets on the spot.

Always consider the total of your cards before hitting. It would be smarter to have a tie with the dealer and have your bets placed on hold, rather than losing everything.

Stand

Choosing to stand means you will not be dealt anymore cards. Your current total value will be your final score for the round. The dealer will move on to the next players.

Split

If you are dealt two cards of the same value (of those ranging between 2 and 10) you can split your cards. Splitting the cards means you will be playing two separate hands.

You will also need to change your bet, having a separate bet for each hand.

If you get a double 5 or 10, it is advisable not to split them. A five could be doubled and splitting a ten will result in two separate hands with a lower value than desired.

Splitting your cards also means you will be playing a round for each of your hands, making separate decisions about hitting or standing.

Theoretically, you could split yet again if you receive two cards which are the same in one of your hands. Each casino will have different rules about this, so make sure to learn about the specific game instructions at your casino.

Double

Only right after you receive your first two cards, you may decide to double your bet.

The cards must amount to 9, 10 or 11 for you to be able to do this. You could match your bet to that of another player's which is of the same amount and you will also receive a new card.

We have to admit it's a risky move. So we recommend choosing a moment when you are certain you have an advantage over the dealer.

The card you receive when you double down is the last one you can claim for the round.

Insurance

If the dealer’s face up card is an Ace they will offer a side bet to all the players.

This would be an insurance, where half the size of the original bet is placed on the table. Accepting an insurance means you bet that the dealer's face-down card is a value 10 card, therefore resulting in a Blackjack for them. You can decline the insurance.

When the dealer checks their face down card, it will be immediately revealed if it is a value 10 card. Subsequently, all players with insurance win their side bet and are paid double the insurance amount. Main bets are collected, Natural Blackjack winners end in a tie and all other hands are lost.

It is not so common for players to accept an insurance. We only recommend taking the insurance when you are certain that a majority of value 10 cards remain in the deck.

Types of side bets in Blackjack

Blackjack online normally offers 3 types of side bets. Insurance is only one of them.

If you have two cards of the same value, you may opt for a perfect pair. Here's a brief run down of the types of perfect pair and their payouts:

  • Mixed pair: two cards of the same value but different color and/or suit. Payout is at 5:1.

  • Colored pair: two cards of the same value and same color. Payout is at 12:1.

  • Perfect pair: two identical cards. Payout is at 25:1.

Despite the payout indication we provided above, each casino may have different payout amounts.

Next you could have a 21+3 side bet. This is perhaps a more exciting way to play your game and place side bets.

21+3 concerns your two face up cards and the one of the dealer. Essentially you will bet that these three cards together will add up to desired 21.

The possible combinations are as follows:

  • Flush: three cards of the same suit. Payout is at 5:1.

  • Straight: This means having three cards of which the value is consecutive, for example 4-5-6. The payout is at: 10:1.

  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same value (not suit). Payout is at 30:1.

  • Straight Flush: Therefore three cards of consecutive value and also from the same suit. Payout is at 40:1.

  • Suited Triple: Three cards of the same value and the same suit. Payout is at 100:1.

Remember that generally, side bets have an incredible house edge and that by playing a side bet you would be really testing your luck. So be conscious and attentive to the information you're getting throughout gameplay and what has already been revealed from the deck of cards.

The Dealer's Turn to Play

Their first step would be for the dealer to reveal their face down card. A Blackjack ends the round and all bets are collected. If not, the game will ensue until the dealer had a value of 17 or over or goes bust.

When the dealer’s hand is finished the round is over. Each player matches up their hand against the dealer and bets are collected. Winnings are distributed according to the outcome of each hand.

After that, a new hand starts.

Play Blackjack at the Best Online Casinos

All the online casinos available in Canada offer Blackjack, but not all of them will give you a satisfactory gameplay experience. Therefore we have narrowed it down to a Top 3 of casinos that in our opinion, are the best for this game.

Your casino choice should be informed. Start by finding a casino that has available live dealers at the time you want to play, or active digital Blackjack sessions.

You should also look out for and compare any available bonuses across casinos, and go for the one which has the most attractive offers.

In terms of security, make sure to do your research before settling on a casino. You can check out our reviews of the best online casinos available in Canada for more guidance and advice.

Make sure to really review the terms and conditions of your casino of choice regarding bonuses and pay outs, and look at various reviews to make sure they are user-tested and trustworthy.

Our top choices for Blackjack are:

  1. LeoVegas

  2. Wild Fortune

  3. Royal Panda

Now all that is left is for you to take the plunge and practice what you've learnt at one of these casinos! When you're feeling confident, take a look at our guide for strategic Blackjack gameplay to improve your skill.

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