Master the Rules & Odds of Blackjack
Whether playing at an online or offline casino, you need to learn the rules first. In blackjack, it’s you against the dealer – you won’t be playing against other players at the table.
Blackjack has different variants, so you should also learn about their rule differences. We recommend that you practice with a free demo game. With that, you won’t need to risk your bankroll.
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The objective is to win and to do that, you need to have a hand greater than the blackjack dealer’s hand without going over 21.
Card Values in Blackjack
Each blackjack card is worth a value, which is easy to understand. Below is a table showing all the cards and their values.
|Blackjack Card||Card Value|
|Ace (A)||1 or 11|
The Odds in Blackjack
Understanding the odds and probabilities is vital to becoming a successful blackjack player. Regardless of the card you receive, paying attention to the odds of winning and the probabilities of busting can help make better hand choices.
Generally, popular blackjack games use eight decks. However, this rule is flexible as some games may use fewer decks. The table below shows how the number of card decks used can affect the house edge.
|Number of Decks||House Advantage|
Blackjack House Edge
If you take a quick look at the top professional gamblers who made millions, you will realize that many of them played Blackjack.
The reason? Blackjack has a rather favourable house edge. As you can see in the table above, the house edge increases with the number of decks. However, it remains below 1%, and this proves advantageous to the players.
Note that the Blackjack house edge differs from one Blackjack variant to another. To know all the Blackjack variants, check out our detailed guide on Blackjack variants.
From a distance, it’s hard to tell what do Blackjack players even do. Some beginners even think that Blackjack is a game of luck. However, Blackjack needs as much as skill as luck to make a fortune.
Here are some basic Blackjack moves that you need to ace before taking a seat at the table:
- Hit – When a player says ‘hit’, they are asking for an additional card
- Stand – Stand is the opposite of hit. Here, the player decides not to take a card
- Split Pair – If a player gets dealt a pair, they can choose to ‘split’ it and make two hands
- Double Down – If a player ‘doubles down’, they choose to take only one card and double their bet
- Bust – A player or the dealer can go ‘bust’ if the total of a hand is over 21
Blackjack Payout Rules
All that action on the Blackjack table ultimately leads to the final payouts.
Here’s how you will be paid out after a Blackjack game:
- If you have a Blackjack, you’ll be paid 1.5x your bet
- If you have a regular hand, you’ll be paid 1:1
- If you had doubled down and won, you’ll win 2x your accumulated bet
- If you had split hands, you will be paid out 1:1 for each hand
- If you had split hands, and doubled down on them, you win 2x your bet
Understanding All Side Bets in Blackjack
Side bets are an excellent way to add thrill and fun to a blackjack game. Blackjack has several side bets that you can try out; this section will walk you through all the side bets in blackjack.
Insurance is the most common side bet in blackjack. If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, a player can choose to insure their hand if the dealer has blackjack (21). Insurance costs an extra 50% of your initial bet, automatically placed once you opt for insurance.
If the dealer has a Blackjack, the insurance bet pays 2 to 1, and you’ll lose your initial bet. On the other hand, you lose the insurance bet if the dealer does not have a Blackjack. When this happens, the game round continues with your initial bet.
- Perfect Pairs
The Perfect Pairs side bet uses the player’s card only. A perfect pair is two identical cards, which can be of the same rank or suit. The payout depends on the kind of pair as follows:
- Mixed pair: (two of the same value but different suit and colour)
A mixed pair includes two cards of the same value but different colours and suits. It pays out 5 to 1.
- Coloured pair (two of the same value and the same colour)
A coloured pair includes two cards of the same value and colour. It pays out 12 to 1.
- Perfect pair (two of the same card)
This is a pair of the same card. It pays out 25 to one.
Players should remember that the payout for Perfect Pairs side bet can vary depending on the casino.
Unlike the Perfect Pair side bet, the 21+3 side bet uses both player’s two cards and the dealer’s upcard. The payout varies depending on the number of cards. And yes, payouts are much better than perfect pairs.
Flush consists of three cards with the same suit. It pays out 5 to 1
Straight consists of three cards of consecutive value such as 2, 3, and 4. It pays out 10 to 1
- Three of a kind
Three of a kind includes three cards of the same value. It pays out 30 to 1
- Straight flush
A straight flush consists of three cards of consecutive values of the same suits. It pays out 40 to 1
- Suited triple
A suited triple in blackjack consists of three cards with the same value and same suit. It pays out 100 to 1
- Bet Behind
You’ll wager on another player’s hand in this type of side bet. Players should keep in mind that they have no control over the decisions made by another player.
- Royal Match
The Royal Match is a side bet that depends on the player’s first two cards. You win this bet when you receive suited face cards. It even pays more if you get a suited King-Queen combination, usually 25 to 1.
- Over/Under 13
This type of side bet requires you to correctly predict the total sum of a player’s dealt card, which can either be greater or less than 13. The Over/Under 13 side bet pays out even money.
However, players should note that the rules of this bet can vary depending on the casino. For instance, landing exactly 13 won’t count as a win, but some casinos may allow it.
- Super Sevens
As the name suggests, the Super Sevens side bet is won when you receive one or more 7 cards in your hand. A Super Sevens bet can offer big potential wins. While getting one 7 pays out 3 to 1, getting two 7s can payout 50 to 1.
The payout keeps increasing depending on the number of 7s you land. If you receive two 7s of the same suit, it pays out 100 to 1. Additionally, if the third dealt card is also a 7, it pays out 500 to 1 if it’s unsuited and 5000 to 1 if it’s suited.
Some casinos won’t give a third card if the player has a blackjack, which nullifies the chance of landing two 7s.
- Lucky ladies
Lucky ladies is a side bet that pays out if the sum of the player’s card is 20. The payout for this bet varies as follows:
- If the 20 is unsuited, it pays out 4 to 1
- If the 20 is suited, it pays out 10 to 1
- If the 20 has the same rank and suit, it pays out 25 to 1
- Two Queens of heart pays out 200 to 1
- Two Queens of heart when the dealer has a blackjack pays out 1000 to 1
- Honey Bonus
The Honey Bonus side bet is the same as 21+3 as it considers both player’s two cards and the dealer’s upcard. The winning variations and payouts differ as follows:
- Three of a kind pays out 20 to 1
- Straight pays out 10 to 1
- Flush pays out 5 to 1
- Suited blackjack pays out 3 to 1
While the Three of a Kind, Straight and Flush wins must include the dealer upcard, you can only win the suited blackjack with the player’s two cards.
- Lucky 7
The Lucky 7 is a side bet in Blackjack where you wager that the player will receive one, two, or three 7s in a row, starting with the player’s first card. The side bet only considers the player’s hand. The payouts are as follows:
- 7 (only first card) pays out 3 to 1
- Two 7s (mixed suits) pays out 25 to 1
- Two 7s (same suits) pays out 50 to 1
- Three 7s (mixed suits) pays out 100 to 1
- Three 7s (same suits) pays out 500 to 1
- Lucky Lucky
Lucky Lucky side bet considers the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s face-up cards. The bet pays out when a player lands a blackjack or is close to it during the first three cards. Blackjack hands of 19, 20, and 21 are winners.
Additionally, players with right hands or 6-7-8 and three 7s are awarded bonuses. This type of side bet is not common at online casinos, so you should check your casino to confirm.
- Top 3
This is a type of side bet based on a three-card poker hand. It considers the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s upcard. The Top 3 side bet is similar to 21+3, but with a large payout. The winning hands and payouts include:
- Three Of A Kind Suited pays out 270 to 1
- Straight Flush pays out 180 to 1
- Three Of A Kind pays out 90 to 1
- Hot 3
This is a popular side bet available in the famous Infinity Blackjack game from Evolution Gaming. Like the Lucky Lucky side bet, you can win Hot 3 with a hand of 19, 20, and 21. The payouts are as follow:
- Hand 19 pays out 1 to 1
- Hand 20 pays out 2 to 1
- Hand 21 pays out 3 to 1
- Suited hand 21 pays out 20 to 1
- Three 7s pays out 100 to 1
In the buster side bet, players are wagering on the probability of the dealer busting. The payout for this side bet depends on the dealer’s number of cards when they bust. You can win in two ways: r hitting a blackjack and your buster bet against the casino dealer, and you can also win without hitting a blackjack. However, keep in mind that you lose your buster bet if the dealer doesn’t bust.
- Bust it
Bust it is a new side bet but pretty simple to grasp. You win if the dealer busts on their third card. Otherwise, you lose.
How to Play Blackjack – Breakdown of a Round
First, a player sets their wagers, and two face-up cards are dealt to each player. The dealer receives one upcard and the other card face down. You win if your two cards equal 21, but you bust if your cards go over 21. The round results in a tie if the player and dealer’s hand equals 21.
Step 1: Fund your Balance
Like other casino games, you need to get funds in your account before playing. Head to your casino’s cashier area and deposit using your favourite payment options.
Pro Tip: To make the most out of your bankroll, learn how to manage your bankroll!
Step 2: Place your wager
Once the fund is in your account, the next thing is to place your wager. The minimum and maximum bet you can bet depends on the table limits. However, let responsible gaming be your watchword – only wager what you can afford to lose.
Step 3: The Dealer will now deal the cards
The dealer starts dealing with the cards once the bets are in. Each player receives two cards face up, and the dealer receives one card to start the round.
The dealer gave me Blackjack!
Incredible, you’re lucky! You have been dealt the best hand possible in blackjack. Sit back, relax and wait for the dealer to draw his second card to know your payout. You can jump to step 6. However, remember that the game is a tie if the dealer draws a blackjack. Here, you receive your initial wager.
The dealer gave me cards that triggered my side bet(s)!
Great! While this doesn’t mean you have won the game round, it does mean you have won some of your money back. But the game isn’t over yet. Let’s see the next step.
Step 4: Time to make a decision!
This is where your skill and expertise are needed, but you need not worry. After reading this comprehensive guide, you should have understood the rules, bets, odds, and payout. Now it’s time to relax and decide whether you want to stand, hit, split or double down.
Standing implies you don’t want another card; hitting means you want a new card, doubling down bets, receiving another card, and splitting your card offer two chances to win. The decision is yours to make!
Damn, I busted!
If you choose to hit and your hand exceeds 21, you lose the game. It doesn’t matter if the dealer also busts. If you bust, you need to wait for the next round.
Still in the race
That’s a good thing! If you receive another card and your value is getting close to 21, you’re still in the game. Now, you need to decide whether you want another card to make your hand stronger or you want to stand and see if the dealer will bust.
Players should remember that blackjack is a game of skill and chance. While you have no control over luck, you can improve your skill. The best way to improve your winning chances is by applying blackjack strategies.
One of the simplest blackjack strategies is a basic strategy, which teaches you when to hit or stand. Hitting or standing depends on the player’s two cards and the dealer upcard. Other advanced strategies include card counting, betting systems and more.
Step 5: Dealer plays hand
Once all the players around the table have made their final decision, the dealer draws his last card. Here, four outcomes are possible, as follows:
- Everyone wins, and the dealer busts
- You bust if your hand value is lower than the dealer’s
- You draw if you have the same hand value as the dealer
- You win if your hand value is more than the dealer’s
After the cards have been compared, all winning hands are paid. You won’t get anything for busting. Depending on your decision in step 4, the possible payouts differ as follows:
- You win if the value of your hand is higher than the dealer’s hand
- You lose if the value of your hand is lower than the dealer’s hand
- It’s a draw if your hand and the dealer’s hand has equal values
- Everyone wins if the dealer goes bust
Step 6: Collect your winnings, and repeat the process!
Depending on the outcome listed in the step above, you will receive rewards. For details of the payout, check out the section on Blackjack Payouts.
Conclusion – Practice for Free, Before Wagering Real Money
Blackjack is ‘part skill – part luck’ game – you will better rewards and enjoy the game more if you have a good grasp of the basics. Online casinos let you try RNG-based Blackjack games for free without signing up. Practice until you feel confident, and then take a seat at the Blackjack table!