Blackjack Rules

Blackjack rules may differ slightly according to the variant you choose to play online. Despite these small disparities virtually all blackjack games follow similar rules strategies tips and game play. Most of these discrepancies apply to the blackjack dealer rules and are prominently displayed on the gaming interface for ease of reference. Even though the bulk of the casino blackjack rules are aimed at the dealer, it’s vital you understand the ramifications of these rules and how they can impact your online blackjack strategy. One of the best ways to appreciate the complexities of blackjack, its actions and rules is to sign-up at a top rated online casino featured on where you can play online blackjack free!

The Relevance of the Ace

The rules of blackjack are defined by the values attributed to the Ace. In most online blackjack variants the Ace can have a value of either 1 or 11 and is determined by the value that creates the best possible hand. There are variants such as Caribbean 21 where the Ace can only ever count as 1. In classic blackjack any hand that contains an Ace is referred to as a soft hand if the Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11 without going over 21. If for instance the deal contains an Ace and 6, the total is a soft 17 as the Ace can count as both 1 and 11 without going bust.

Blackjack Dealer Rules

Although the player has plenty of room to manoeuvre by making any number of decisions based on the value of the cards in hand together with the dealer’s up card, the dealer isn’t as fortunate. He or she has to play the hand according to pre-determined rules known as blackjack dealer rules. These rules determine exactly when the dealer can hit or stand. There are two major variations to the rules of blackjack that pertain to the dealer:

  • Dealer hits soft 17 – any hand totalling 17 that contains an Ace that can be valued as either a 1 or 11 without going bust has to draw another card. The dealer then stands on hard 17 or soft 18 or higher.
  • Dealer stands on all 17 – any hand valued at 17 or more draws another card. In this case an Ace is always valued as 11.

      You will have to adjust your blackjack tactics according to the dealer’s blackjack rules aimed at the dealer. Check out our blackjack strategy page to help you develop a game plan appropriate to the variation you choose to play online. We suggest you implement your tactical plan to see the results by playing online blackjack free before upgrading to the real money mode!

      Blackjack Actions

      Once you’ve placed your bet and have been dealt your first two cards you have to decide on a course of action according to the combined value of your cards. Although most variants of blackjack online offer exactly the same player choices there are the odd games that offer slightly different variations to the classic blackjack rules or ban some of the actions, such as the surrender option, altogether. The decisions you can make are:

      • Hit – draw another card.
      • Stand – remain with the cards in hand.
      • Split – separate two identical cards into two hands and play them independently. Most casinos will allow you to split up to three hands at a time.
      • Double down – this option is only permitted in the initial two card hand. You double your bet but will only be able to draw one extra card for the duration of the round.
      • Surrender – if your first two cards are poor you have the option to fold and relinquish half the value of your wager prior to making any other decisions.
      • Take insurance – when a dealer’s up card is an Ace you will have the option to take out insurance for a side bet valued at half your original wager. If the dealer’s hole card is a 10 value card he will have achieved blackjack and your insurance bet will paid out 2:1. You will however lose your original wager.

      Online Blackjack Payouts

      Unlike other online casino games where payouts vary from game to game and casino to casino, online blackjack payouts are uniform across the board. Achieve a natural blackjack generated by an Ace and 10 value card and you’ll be paid out at odds of 3:2. Any other winning hand will deliver even money while a successful insurance bet pays out 2:1!

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