Blackjack is the most popular casino card game in which you play against the house. It is simple, yet exciting and combines skill and luck which makes it a favorite all over the world. In this section on Blackjack Geeks, we explain the rules, main scope and the flow of the game. Usually, there are some variations of the way blackjack is played, but the core remains the same and that’s what we’ll introduce here.
When you are playing in a live casino, there are specific hand signals you could use to show what your next action is. When blackjack is played with one or two decks, the cards are dealt face down and you can hold them in your hands. When the decks are more, the cards are dealt face up. Depending on that, the hand signals are as follows:
if the cards are face up, just tap on the table with a finger. Otherwise, you have to lightly scrape your cards to the felt;
if you’re playing face up, just wave your hand horizontally. If the cards are face down and in your hand, put them on the table and under your bet to indicate that you don’t want more cards;
if you playing face down, leave your cards on the table face up and then put an additional bet behind your initial wager. The second step applies to face up games as well. There is an exception here: if you have a pair, hold up your index finger to show that you don’t want a split, but a double;
in case you want to surrender in a face-down game, put your cards on the table, face up. After that, no matter the game, slide your index finger horizontally behind your wager. The slide should be longer than the one for hit, about 15 cm/ 6 inches or so. It is ok to also just say “surrender”, especially since some dealers might be unfamiliar with the signal.
the signals here are similar to the double. If you are playing a hand-held game, place your cards face up on the table. Then put your second bet next to your first one (and not behind as when you double). If you have a pair of fours or fives, it is appropriate to show a V sign with your fingers to confirm that you are not doubling, but splitting;
As most popular card games, blackjack has lots of possible rule variations. It is important to examine the rules of the online or offline casino you play at, as it will influence your payout ratio. You need to adapt your strategy to the rules. Before we get that far, we want to introduce you to the most common rules variations in online casinos:
These are the most common differences in blackjack rules. However, there are other variations such as Blackjack Switch, Super Fun 21, Pontoon, Ties Win Blackjack, Spanish Blackjack, 21 Duel Blackjack, Double Attack Blackjack and others.
We prepared a table that shows what rules apply in some of the most popular casinos out there as also the house edge in each of them.
Here is a table that will show you the exact impact of most rule variations:
|Early surrender against ten||0.24%|
|Player may double on any number of cards||0.23%|
|Player may draw to split aces||0.19%|
|Player may resplit aces||0.08%|
|Split to only 3 hands||-0.01%|
|Player may double on 9-11 only||-0.09%|
|Split to only 2 hands||-0.10%|
|European no hole card||-0.11%|
|Player may not double after splitting||-0.14%|
|Player may double on 10,11 only||-0.18%|
|Dealer hits on soft 17||-0.22%|
|Blackjack pays 7-5||-0.45%|
|Blackjack pays 6-5||-1.39%|
|Blackjacks pay 1 to 1||-2.27%|
Still have questions about blackjack? Try our Blackjack FAQ.
In the first table (Hand Continues), the dealer column indicates the percentage chance of achieving a given result when the dealer always completes the hand, including when the player busts.
In the second table (Hand Ends), the dealer column indicates the percentage chance of achieving a given result if the game ends when the player busts, with only two cards given to the dealer.
You should know that gambling is dangerous and can lead to addiction. It could ruin your life, so make sure to gamble responsibly. Don’t wager amounts you can’t afford to lose and remember that gambling is a form of entertainment.
If you are worried that you might be addicted, we recommend you this self-assessment test. In case you have a problem with gambling addiction, please, contact one of the following organizations that could help you: