Blackjack Rules - How to Play Blackjack

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With its roots in a game called twenty-one that is thought to have originated in the early 17th century, blackjack is the world’s most popular casino card games and is offered by countless premier land, online and mobile casinos.

A big part of blackjack’s appeal is it’s so easy to play, because the aim of the game is to beat the dealer and/or get 21 or as close to 21 as possible. While blackjack is available in a host of variants, the aim of the game is always the same.

blackjack types include Classic Blackjack, Perfect Pairs Blackjack Progressive Blackjack, European Blackjack, Double Attack Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack, Blackjack Switch and Double Exposure Blackjack.

On this page we’ll take you through the ins and outs of blackjack from its basics and rules to its card values and payouts and everything in between. We’ll also introduce you to the world’s premier online and mobile blackjack casinos.

Blackjack Table Limits

Every blackjack game has specified table limits, i.e. the minimum and maximum amounts you can bet per hand. Variants with the word Low in them are for players with smaller budgets, while those with High are for players with bigger budgets.

Low limit blackjack games typically range from £1 to £50, regular or classic blackjack games range from £10 to £500 and high limit blackjack games range from £100 to £5,000. Note that blackjack table limits tend to fluctuate from casino to casino.

Here is a comparison of five common blackjack games offered by five leading UK online casinos so you can see how their respective table limits compare:

Mansion Casino CasinoPlex InterCasino Hello Casino Casino.com
Blackjack Classic Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Min: 1
Max: 300
Min: 1
Max: 100
Min: 10
Max: 500
Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Blackjack Multihand Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Min: 1
Max: 300
Min: 1
Max: 100
Min: 10
Max: 500
Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Blackjack Surrender Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Min: 1
Max: 300
Min: 1
Max: 100
Min: 10
Max: 500
Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Blackjack Switch Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Min: 1
Max: 300
Min: 1
Max: 100
Min: 10
Max: 500
Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Pontoon Min: 0.50
Max: 50
Min: 1
Max: 300
N/A Min: 10
Max: 500
Min: 0.50
Max: 50

It goes without saying that you should only play online blackjack games with table limits that match your budget. That way you can look forward to lengthy, fun and hopefully worthwhile blackjack sessions.

Blackjack Card Values

In blackjack, every card up to and including 10 is worth its face value, picture cards are worth 10 points each, and Aces are worth either 1 or 11. Cards suits (diamonds, clubs, hearts and spades) play no part in blackjack.

The Aces ‘duel value’ comes in handy because it gives you flexibility when playing your hand. For instance, if you’re dealt an Ace and any card worth 10, you’ll make a natural blackjack (11 points + 10 points = 21 points).

If, however, you’re sitting on 11 points and you’re dealt an Ace, it will count as 1 to give you 12 (if it counted as 11, it would bust your hand), at which point you would ask for another card to hopefully make 21 or close.

This is known as a ‘soft hand’, where at least one of two dealt cards is an Ace. Having a soft hand means it can’t be busted by the next dealt card - regardless of what it is – only improved. Here are some examples of soft hands:

  • A 2 = Soft 13 (or 3)
  • A 3 = Soft 14 (or 4)
  • A 4 = Soft 15 (or 5)
  • A 5 = Soft 16 (or 6)
  • A 6 = Soft 17 (or 7)

A hard hand, meanwhile, is any two card hand that doesn’t include an Ace, and can be busted with the next dealt card. Here are some examples of hard hands:

  • 10 2 = Hard 12
  • 9 4 = Hard 13
  • 7 7 = Hard 14
  • 8 7 = Hard 15
  • 10 6 = Hard 16

Blackjack Player Actions

Although you will encounter blackjack variants with slightly different rules, for the most part the following the player actions can be applied to all blackjack variants. Remember that the aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer through them busting, or by you making 21 or as close to 21 without busting yourself.

Blackjack Dealer Rules

Now that you know the actions available to you in blackjack as a player, it’s equally important to know what rules of play apply to the dealer.

Unlike you, who can make many choices in each hand, the dealer has to follow a set of pre-determined rules, which in most land and casinos are either:

TermDefinition
Dealer hits on 17 or higherThe dealer must keep hitting on hands that have a total value of less than 17 until they reach a point value of 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 or they bust. Here, a dealer’s Ace is only ever counted as 11.
Dealer hits on soft 17The dealer must hit if they get a soft 17 (which is a hand containing an Ace that counts for 11 or 1), as well as stand on a hard 17 (a 17 point hand that doesn’t have an Ace) and a soft 18 or higher.

Knowing the rules a blackjack dealer has to follow can give you a slight advantage over the house, and thus help you increase your chances of winning.

Blackjack Variants and Rules

These are the most common blackjack variants and their respective rule differences:

Play Atlantic City Blackjack at Betway Casino 100% up to £1000
Play Blackjack Switch at Casino.com £100 plus 20 Free Spins
Play Ls Vegas Blackjack at Casino Action 100% up to £1250
Play Multi-hand Blackjack at Betway Casino 100% up to £1000
Play Spanish Blackjack at 32Red Casino £10 No Deposit
Play Caribbean 21 Blackjack at Roxy Palace Casino 100% up to £350
Play Face Up 21 Blackjack at Roxy Palace Casino 100% up to £350
Play Super 21 Blackjack at Roxy Palace Casino 100% up to £350
Play Super Fun 21 Blackjack at 32Red Casino £10 No Deposit