Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Blackjack

The classic casino table game of blackjack is one of the most popular card games played in both offline and online casinos. Despite its simplicity, blackjack can be an intimidating game to try for new players though.

Here are some frequently asked questions that new blackjack players will want answered to help them become more familiar with this iconic casino game.

Is there a simple blackjack strategy I can try?

Blackjack strategy can become a very complicated thing if you want it to. However, a few tips can keep your blackjack strategy basic and fluid.

If the dealer has a low card of 2 or 3 then choose to keep hitting until you reach 13 or above.

If the dealer has a mid-card total of 4 to 6 then stop hitting when you reach 12 or above.

If the dealer has an up-card that is valued at 7 or above then you will need to hit until you reach 17 or higher.

guy holding ace playing card

Other tips such as not buying insurance, avoiding certain types of blackjack, and doubling your bet after a loss but reducing your bet after a win can also be considered.

Blackjack strategy can effectively become as complex as you want or it can be kept as basic as you want.

How does blackjack insurance work?

Insurance comes into play in blackjack when the dealer has an ace as their up card.

Insurance can be purchased for a price of half the original bet and will be deemed a side bet.

This gives you the chance to win a 2:1 payout if the dealer goes on to hit blackjack.

Unfortunately, the statistics are not great for insurance. A dealer will only hit blackjack 30% of the time in these circumstances.

Can you make a living playing blackjack?

Yes, it is possible to make a living playing blackjack.

There are the extreme stories such as Don Johnson who reportedly made $15 million over a matter of months or the tale of the MIT Blackjack Team that inspired the hit Hollywood movie “21”.

man shuffling blackjack playing cards

In more realistic terms, it is more than feasible to earn a living playing blackjack but it might not be as glamorous as these success stories.

The average US salary ranges from $21,840 per year for 16 to 19 year olds to $50,024 per year for 45 to 54 year olds. That level of income is certainly possible by playing blackjack – provided you have enough experience.

Can blackjack dealers cheat?

Firstly, it is one thing for blackjack dealers to be able to cheat but it is a completely different topic for them to actually cheat.

It is a controversial topic within the industry. There have been instances where a dealer has been caught cheating and casino security has been able to uncover the cheating.

However, generally, blackjack dealers are considered reliable and do not cheat. Procedures are in place to monitor their actions at the table so every attempt is made to reduce the risk of cheating taking place.

In blackjack, why split?

The chance to split comes when you are dealt a pair of the same card. If you choose to split then you are dealt two more cards, one for each new hand, and your bet value is doubled.

You then play the new hand as you would normally and now have two chances to beat the dealer.

spread out playing cards

Essentially, when you split in blackjack it increases your number of opportunities to win.

Can blackjack dealers split?

No. The opportunity to split is only offered to the players.

In blackjack can you split aces?

Yes. It is generally considered that you should definitely split a pair of Aces in blackjack.

This is because you then have a higher than average chance with a ten-valued card on one or both of the two new hands created.

What is double down in blackjack?

The option to double down in blackjack is easy to explain. It is when you are allowed to increase your original bet by up to 100% in return for agreeing to stand after being dealt one more card by the dealer.

What is the best blackjack game to play?

Playing blackjack is not just a matter of sitting down and putting the chips on the table. There are over 100 different variants of the game in circulation.

Each variant benefits different types of players. Which of those variants is best to play depends on the individual.

photo showing most popular blackjack game table layout

A number of factors need to be considered when choosing which variant to play. Does the dealer hit soft 17? How many decks are in play? Is the option of surrender played?

Other aspects such as splitting, re-splitting, and doubling can alter with each variant and can affect the house edge.

Do your research and decide what is the best variant of blackjack to play for you.

How does the betting work in blackjack?

The process of betting in blackjack is structured and quite basic.

The game begins with all players placing their bets. These bets must be within the stated minimum and maximum betting ranges of the table.

Once all bets are placed by the players, the dealer will then deal two cards to each player face up (this might change depending on the variant of blackjack being played). The dealer also deals themselves one card face up.

Players are then given the option, one-by-one, to stick with their two cards, be dealt additional cards, or take another option that is available such as split or double down etc.

Once all players have been dealt with by the dealer, the dealer will then deal themselves cards to see if they hit 21 or lower or go bust by totalling over 21.

What is a stiff in blackjack?

The term ‘stiff’ in blackjack refers to a hand that is under the total of 17 but is likely to go bust.

Totals of 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 are commonly deemed to be stiff hands.

Can I play free blackjack?

Blackjack is available to play for free at a number of online casinos.

Play money is used for players that wish to practice their blackjack gameplay before hitting the tables.

woman holding playing cards in front of her face

Land-based casinos can also offer a tutorial game of blackjack by arrangement with casino management in order for new players to gain an understanding of how the game is played.

In blackjack who wins a tie?

If a player and the dealer tie in blackjack then nobody wins. The bet is returned to the players upon a tie being confirmed.