Beginner's Blackjack

Getting to 21 is simple enough, but there are a few rules to know before you play for real money. Playing for fun first helps you get used to them. Let's go over a typical game to see how it works:



Join a Table

You’ll join the blackjack table. Once all players are ready, each one is dealt two cards face up. The dealer also receives two cards – one of them face up, the other face down.



Decide whether to Hit or Stand

Calculate your hand’s and the dealer’s values to get as close to 21 as possible. You can either rely on instinct or our blackjack cheat sheets.


Blackjack Step 2

You can request a re-deal. Do this when you’re confident that the next card won’t bankrupt you, or when you’re willing to risk the dealer having a better hand.


Blackjack Step 2

Ask the dealer to deal no more cards to you. You’ll probably do this when your hand value is high (over 17) and you’re not sure the dealer’s hand will beat yours.


Your Hand Value

Your hand value may have changed as a result of your recent action. You’ll stay in the game if your hand is worth less than 21.

Blackjack Step 3

Dealer Reveals Their Cards

After everyone has decided, the dealer will reveal their face-down card.

Blackjack Step 4

See Who is Closer to 21

If your hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, you win. The dealer wins if he or she has 21 or more than any other player.

If you’ve won, the dealer will pay you. Your payout depends on the type of bet you made.


Notes on Blackjack Basic Rules

  • Now that we’ve covered the basics of playing a game, there are a few more rules to keep in mind. It’s always good to know what to expect in different blackjack situations and how to play them. See the additional rules below:
  • Regular wins pay 1:1 when your cards are closer to 21 than the dealer’s.
  • Blackjack pays 3:2 when your cards total 21.
  • Dealer must hit on any hand valued at 16 or less.
  • Hit or Stand – To reach a final hand value of 21, players must either add a card (hit) or not (stand). A double down or split…
  • Split – Divide your two-card hand into two separate hands to beat the dealer. Option for two cards of equal value.
  • Double Down – You can double your bet mid-hand, but you’ll only get one card and can’t take another.
  • While it’s not recommended to double down on anything other than a 10 or 11, some casinos allow it regardless of your hand. Some online casinos do not allow it.
  • Optional Bets
  • Aside from the basic rules, advanced players should note the following advanced rules to improve their blackjack game:
  • Insurance – If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, players can take insurance. This protects you if the dealer has a 10 card.
  • If you don’t like your hand, you can surrender half your bet in some online casinos. The option varies by casino.
  • Soft 17 – A soft hand contains an Ace. The soft hand has two values, 1 or 11, plus the other cards. Casinos that offer blackjack allow the dealer to hit or stand on a soft 17. Check the rules before you play.
  • If you have a blackjack and the dealer has an Ace, you will push (tie). If you don’t want to take a chance, you can take even money. You’ll get paid 1:1 instead of 3:2.