How To Play Blackjack  | Blackjack Rules Guide | LeoVegas

How to Play Online Blackjack: A Beginner’s Guide

Revolving entirely around strategy, blackjack is best suited for players who like to take a challenge head on. If you’re just starting out in the world of live blackjack, it may seem overwhelming at first but we’re about to make your experience of learning how to play live blackjack online super easy. And that’s thanks to our detailed and easy-to-follow beginner’s guide to blackjack online below!

Table of Content:


How to Play Blackjack: Step by Step

  • Register and find a live dealer table or try a free Blackjack game
  • Choose your bet amount
  • Place the bet and wait for the card deal
  • Select one of the actions: you can hit (receive more cards), stand (pass your turn to the dealer), split or double down ( in some cases)
  • You win if you get 21 or if your cards' value is greater than the dealer's. If you are over 21, it is called a “bust”, and your bet is lost. You get your bet back if it is a tie (also called “push”).

What Is the Objective in Blackjack?

A very common misconception often held by those still learning how to play blackjack online is that the objective of the game is to beat the other players sitting at the table. It may come as a surprise to you that, on the contrary, your ultimate goal in blackjack should be to beat the dealer.

And there are several ways to achieve that. First of all, you can draw a hand value that’s higher than the dealer’s. The best hand you can get is a natural blackjack which is a hand value of 21. The only way you can’t win with this is that if the dealer also achieves a natural, it’s a tie and you get your original bet back.

You also win in blackjack if the dealer goes bust. In simple terms, this refers to when the dealer’s hand goes above the value of 21 before your own and as a result, the whole table will be paid out their winnings.

Did you know? Although often used interchangeably, blackjack and the game 21 (Pontoon) are two different casino games. Their objectives are similar but the table rules of 21 differ from those of blackjack.

The Role of the Blackjack Live Dealer

Considering they also play their own hand, the dealer can be seen as simply another player at the table. However, unlike the rest of the players, the dealer must follow a set of strict rules imposed by the table. Of course, it is also the dealer’s responsibility to deal the cards to the players at the table. One main difference between online casino blackjack and blackjack in land-based casinos is that online blackjack dealers are not responsible for handling physical chips or settling winning bets.

They may be your rivals at the table, but as soon as you start playing blackjack games in our Live Casino, you’ll realise how incredibly sweet and fun our live dealers actually are! Get to know them better using the Chat feature on our live blackjack tables. After all, this is what the greatest gaming experience is all about! And that also refers to our dealers’ top-class expertise which comes as a result of years of experience in land-based casinos as well as in professional academies.

The Layout of a Blackjack Table

When joining an online blackjack table, you’ll notice the ‘SIT HERE’ button(s) on your screen and these refer to the available seat(s) at the table. When betting time is open, a ‘PLACE YOUR BETS’ screen will appear in front of you displaying the chips and that’s when you start making your moves. Your selected chips will move to the semi-transparent patch at your seat, and on either side of this there will be a space to place two additional blackjack side bets: Perfect Pairs and 21+3.

What’s more, you’ll notice that at the centre of the table, there will be a few basic online blackjack rules. These are:

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2
  • Dealer must stand on 17 and must draw to 16
  • Insurance pays 2 to 1

The standard online blackjack table can seat up to seven players at a time. The great thing about our live blackjack tables is that they offer the Bet Behind feature. Even though the table may be occupied, with this feature you can still participate in the game and that is by betting on a hand dealt to another player instead! This is great for novices as players betting behind do not make any decisions about the hand they’re betting on - the player who occupies the seat is the decision maker! It’s true that this feature is most commonly used by those waiting for a seat at the table but it can also be used when playing your own hand.

In addition, the minimum bet on Bet Behind normally starts from as low as $1, unlike the typical $5 on most tables. Therefore, this is the perfect place to kick off your blackjack adventure if you’re still learning the ropes. Not only will you be betting smaller amounts of money on the game but you’ll also be seeing our most experienced blackjack players in action. You’ll sometimes even find dealers who will inform you on the correct strategy, even though this is, by no means, a guarantee that it will result in a winning bet.

However, Bet Behind isn’t just a beginners’ feature. Rather, it is cherished by professional players alike as by giving them the opportunity to bet on all seven seats at the same time, they are able to occupy a wider spread of the table. Not keen that other players will be able to bet on your hand? Fret not! You can also choose to opt out of this feature before the beginning of each round.

Blackjack Table Layout

How Many Decks of Cards Is Blackjack Played With?

It is believed that in the early days of blackjack, back in the 17th century, the game was played with a single deck i.e. 52 cards. But blackjack has come a long way since then and nowadays plenty of variants have entered the scene, with most using as many as 8 decks of cards. A neater game is naturally to be expected in a single-deck variant but in multiple-deck variants, the possibilities to split your hand will be greater.

At the majority of our live blackjack tables, human shufflers rotate the tables and shuffle the cards, while a small number of tables use a shuffling machine at the start of each game. The cards are then placed in what is known as the shoe. This is where the cards are stored before the next reshuffling is needed.

Did you know? To get to know how many decks of cards a particular blackjack table uses, consult the information menu located in-game. Typically 8 decks are used.

What Are the Blackjack Card Values?

As with many other card games, live blackjack is played with:

  • 13 Clubs
  • 13 Diamonds
  • 13 Hearts
  • 13 Spades

An Ace, a King, a Queen and a Jack are available for each suit, along with cards numbered 2 to 10. How it usually goes is that at the beginning of each round, the dealer deals two cards to every player at the table. Likewise, the dealer also deals two cards to themself. While both your cards are dealt face-up, the dealer keeps one of their cards face down (that is also known as the "hole card") until all the players at the table have played their initial move. Some providers only deal one initial card to the dealer, drawing a second card only after all players at the table have made their decisions. The cards you get are your hand. To calculate the value of a hand, follow the guide below:

  • Ace - 1 or 11 (depending on the other cards in your hand)
  • King, Queen, and Jack - 10
  • 2 - 10 - Face value

For example, if your hand consists of a Ten of Diamonds (10) and an Ace (which in this case would be counted as an 11), you get a natural! But it isn’t always a walk in the park. So in many cases, you’ll need to throw some more moves before you can become the round’s winner.

Did you know? A deck of cards is very similar to a calendar. While a deck of cards has 52 cards, a calendar has 52 weeks in a year. Additionally, the deck’s 4 suits can be seen as representing the year’s 4 seasons!

The Moves You Can Make When Playing Blackjack

So far we’ve mentioned how getting a natural is the ideal when playing blackjack. But what happens if you don’t? And what other moves can you make? Taking into consideration your hand as well as the dealer’s, you must decide whether you will stand, hit, split or double down. Let’s delve deeper into what each of these really means!

  • Stand - To stand in blackjack means that your dealer will not deal you any more cards. This is useful when your hand value is very high and you’re in risk of busting.

  • Hit - To hit in blackjack means that your dealer will draw you another card and this will be added to your current hand value. This is useful if you’ve still got a long way to go to reach 21.

  • Split - To split in blackjack means that you literally divide your hand in two. This can only be done if you have two cards of the same value, and you must place a stake equal to the original stake to create the second hand.. If you’re qualified for a split, your dealer will hand you two additional cards (one for each hand). Then you’ll have two new hands and you can win on both!

  • Double Down - To double down in blackjack means that you double your stake and receive one and only one new card. In other words, it’s a vote of confidence in your hand and is most common on hand values of 9, 10, and 11. If you win, this option pays double your initial bet. Take note! Once you double down, you won’t be allowed to pull a new card for the duration of the game round!

Blackjack Basic Strategy

By now it should be clear that blackjack is not only a game of chance but rather a game of strategy. So it all comes down to making the best decision. And how can you do that? By consulting the blackjack basic strategy before your every move, just like experienced players do!

Designed to guide players to make the most optimal decisions in every situation, the blackjack basic strategy is a statistical model that utilizes theoretical mathematics. It considers not only the player’s hand but also the dealer’s. While a win is not always guaranteed with this basic strategy, it does help you refine your strategy so that over time, your losses will be decreased and your winnings increased. Here’s the blackjack basic strategy we’ve prepared for you!

Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart

This strategy chart applies to when the dealer has two cards in front of them, such as with Evolution tables. For those tables where only one card is dealt to the dealer, there are some very slight differences in blackjack strategy, as strategies change depending on how many decks are used, whether the dealer stands on a soft 17, and of course whether the dealer has one or two cards in front of them.

The Value of the Blackjack Chips

Another thing you must understand before starting to place your bets at a blackjack table is how to use blackjack chips. As previously mentioned, at the start of each round, the chips will appear at the centre of your screen asking you to place your bets. You’ll notice that these chips vary in colour and that’s because each colour has a value attached to it.

It’s worth mentioning that chip values may vary from one provider to another. Now that you know what each chip is worth, when the betting time is open, you can click on the chip value of your choice and place it inside the semi-transparent patch at your seat with ease and confidence. If you wish to accumulate your bet, you may decide to place more than one chip.

Blackjack Rules

Look at you! Already covered the basics of blackjack and now moving onto the rules! Nice work!

Rules are rules and whether you like them or not, you’ll find them practically everywhere. We’ve already introduced them to you briefly under the section describing the layout of a blackjack table but now you’re ready to learn their ins and outs! Vamos!

Dealer Must Stand on 17 and Draw to 16

Also known as the Soft 17 rule, this rule requires the dealer to hit so long as their hand value is less than 17. As soon as their hand exceeds 16, the dealer has to stand until the game round ends. Now you know why earlier we said that the dealer’s moves are highly restricted in a game of live blackjack!

Double on Any 2 Cards

This rule refers to the fact that, at our tables, doubling down is allowed on any two cards dealt to you at the beginning of the game round. The choice is yours but according to the basic strategy, you should only double down on cards which are theoretically more likely to boost your payout. Moreover, don’t forget that once you double down and get your third card, you won’t be able to take any more cards in that hand!

No Re-Split

If you recall, one of the moves you can make at a blackjack table was to split, given that you have two same-value cards. We also mentioned that this lets you create two hands from your original one so that you can play two separate hands within a single game round. Unlike what happens in most land-based casinos, however, in online casinos re-splitting the same hand is not permissible. The reason behind this is that online tables are smaller than average which means players have less room to manage multiple hands simultaneously.

Split Aces

If your hand consists of two Aces, you may wish to split it in the hope of drawing a 10-value card next! After the split has been done, you can draw only one card on each split Ace. What’s more, if your strategy proves successful and the next card draw brings you a K, Q, J or 10, bear in mind that the payout you get will not be equivalent to that of a blackjack. This reasoning is based on the fact that your initial hand wasn’t a natural. Consequently, in this case, you would win even money.

No Double After Split

This one’s another common online blackjack rule and it refers to the fact that after splitting your hand, you cannot take the double down action. In most land-based casinos, this rule doesn’t apply.


This rule is very flexible in that you may find it being applied in different manners across different tables. For instance, at some tables, the dealer may only draw one card for themself at the start of the round and only once the rest of the players at the table have made their first move, will the dealer draw another card. In the case that the dealer’s hand is a natural blackjack, all the players at the table will lose their bet.

On another live blackjack table, you might notice that the dealer draws one card face up while another one face down for themself. If the dealer gets a 10-value card as his face-up card, you’ll be cued to make your move before the second card is unfolded. If the dealer’s face-up card happens to be an Ace, everyone will be offered insurance before checking for a blackjack.

Without the insurance offer, you’ll be in risk of losing your entire stake. This explains why it’s usually not advised to split or double down when the dealer owns a 10-value card or an Ace in hand. What the basic strategy recommends here, instead, is to hit.

Insurance Pays 2:1

So what is this insurance we’re talking about? This rule secures you from losing your entire stake when the dealer has a blackjack. For this reason, when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you will be offered insurance, in case the dealer gets lucky and draws a 10. To be eligible for the insurance, you are required to pay half your initial stake but if the dealer really lands a blackjack, you will win 2:1. If the dealer doesn’t achieve a blackjack, then your insurance bet will be lost.

Blackjack pays 3:2

If you win without landing a blackjack, you will be paid 1:1 or in simpler terms, you get your stake paid back evenly. With a blackjack, though, the payout is 3:2, where with every $2 staked, you win $3. If the dealer also lands a blackjack, you would simply get your stake back but win nothing extra.

Play Blackjack At LeoVegas Live Casino

And just like that, your beginners’ crash course on all things online blackjack is done and dusted. Congratulations! The only thing left to do now is to put your fresh-from-the-oven knowledge to the test at our Live Blackjack tables. You can also have some practice in free blackjack games before playing for real money.


Blackjack Rules FAQ

What are the basic rules of blackjack?

The basic rule of blackjack is, in fact, very basic. It’s you versus the dealer in a game of cards where you’re both attempting to reach 21 but not exceed it. If both the player and the dealer have a blackjack, the result is a tie (also known as push)

Play begins with two cards. Add those up for a card value that you can decide to increase by taking a hit, or stay with. If you choose to hit, you can continue to hit until you’re comfortable you’ve peaked and may go bust (over 21) with any additional draws.

There are a few exceptions to these options depending on your first two cards. If you’re dealt cards of matching value, you may wish to split them into two hands. But these additional plays are best discussed in a quick strategy session.

What is the house edge in blackjack?

The house has around a 2% advantage of winning in blackjack. Want comparables? The house edge for slot machines falls around 5-10%. Even better is that the 2% is based on the house vs an inexperienced player. So, learning more about blackjack and its many strategies can reduce that edge.

Good news, we’ve got all the tips and strategies you’re looking for in our blackjack basic strategy guide.

The number of decks also influences this percentage. In this regard, the house edge increases as more decks of cards are used. For instance, compared to blackjack games with eight decks, single deck blackjack games only boost the house edge by 0.4%.

What are the different ways to improve your blackjack game?

Learning a basic blackjack strategy or card counting system can improve your blackjack skills.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when playing blackjack?

Some typical mistakes are doubling down when close to bust, using insurance and surrender options at the wrong timing and not managing your bankroll.

21+3 is by far the most popular blackjack side bet.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of blackjack?

The biggest advantage of the game of blackjack is the low house edge. On the other hand, blackjack rules are more complicated than roulette or baccarat, and it takes some time and practice to learn how to play the game.

What are the minimum and maximum bets at the blackjack table?

You can play online blackjack games with just a $2 bet - that is the minimum stake in ONE Blackjack Live. The maximum bet can go up to $10000.

What is the strongest blackjack hand?

An ace and a ten value card is the best combination that you can have in blackjack.

What are the variations of blackjack?

Some of the most popular blackjack variations are American Blackjack, Spanish 21 and Atlantic City.

What are the rules for doubling down in blackjack?

You can double your initial bet (and the payout if you win) and receive one new card. Note that you can not draw any additional cards after doubling down.

What are the dealer rules for blackjack?

Dealer must continue to hit (take extra cards) until the total is 17 or more. Then the dealer must stand.

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