Here at LeoVegas, we have an extensive collection of card games within our live casino offerings, and one of the most popular games we have to offer is blackjack. However, before any players take their seat at one of our immersive tables, which provide the experience of being in a land-based casino, we've put together this handing guide on to play blackjack games, which will allow you to know all the rules and potential strategies before you playing blackjack for the first time.
The aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer by closing the game with a hand value close to 21 without exceeding it. If the player's hand value exceeds the total of 21, the player loses. It seems a simple card game, but there are other rules players will need to follow, and there are also some rules which specifically apply to the dealer, all of which we've listed below.
Blackjack is a casino game that is played against the dealer, unlike poker, where you play against other players. When learning how to play blackjack, players will come to see that the game is played with one to eight decks of 52 cards, which ultimately makes it a game of chance and not one to utilise a card counting system.
The rules for players to follow are simple and will be the same in most casinos, and they will be simple to understand.
Each game round starts with players placing their initial bet in their designated betting box. Next, the dealer deals two cards to each player. Players will be dealt their cards to the dealer's left and receive their cards face-up next to each player's betting box.
There can be between two and seven players at the blackjack table. The dealer gets two cards too. However, one card is placed face up and one face down. The face-down card is called the dealer's hole card.
Next, the players announce whether they wish to hit, stand, split, double down or surrender, and the actual blackjack game round begins.
If the player chooses to hit and have a total of more than 21, they will instantly bust and be out of that hand. However, if they beat the dealer or have instant 21 in their hand, players will immediately lose.
Although there are players' rules to follow when playing blackjack, there will also be specific steps the dealers will have to follow, and these rule variations may change depending on the casino and the type of blackjack.
The two rules which players may know are that the dealer acts last. All of the players must have made a decision on their hand before a dealer can choose whether to hit.
However, in some versions of the game, a dealer must hit if they have a card total of 16 or less. But if they have a total between 17 to 21, then they must stand.
Blackjack, as we know it today, is one of the most popular casino games. But there is another variant called British Blackjack or the 7 Card Game. Played as a single-deck game, the aim is to remove cards from your hand by matching them with the rank or suit of the previous card played.
To begin the game, each player is dealt 7 cards, and as the game begins, the top card of the discard pile is turned face up by the dealer. Then if that card is a 6 of hearts, this will need to match the rank or suit of that card to proceed. Players can place as many cards from their hands, which follow a sequence to get a run. The first player to get rid of all their cards then wins the hand.
Within this game, there are other rules to take into account, and we've listed them below.
Bring Backs - players who are out can return to the game
Jacks on Twos - you can play any jacks or twos on each other
Suited Jacks on Twos - Same rule as above, but the suits need to match
Jokers - These cards can be added to the deck and assigned a number
Queens- any card of the same suit can be played on a queen
As with most live casino table games, bets are placed by using casino chips. Most blackjack variants will have a minimum and maximum bet that you can place, although this will change depending on which live casino version you are playing. You will see on your screen where to click to place your bet.
Once all bets have been placed and the dealer has dealt two cards to each player and to his or herself, you will have a few betting options available to you. When you are playing online, your betting moves are carried out with buttons rather than hand gestures.
Once you’ve totalled up your hand, you can elect to add an additional card to your hand if you so wish or stay with what you’ve got. Keep in mind the dealer’s hand. You will only be able to see one face-up card, so you have to predict what their other card may be and make your judgement accordingly.
Hit If your hand is particularly low, or you feel it can be improved, you can choose to ‘hit’. This signals to the dealer that you’d like another card to add to your hand in order to try and strengthen it.
If you’re happy with the initial value of your hand, you can choose to ‘stand’. This signals that you don’t want any further cards from the dealer. If you then have a winning blackjack hand, the winnings will be added to your balance.
There are some slightly more complex player decisions that can be made during a blackjack game of Blackjack, although they’re still pretty straightforward.
If your initial hand contains two matching cards of identical value, for example, a pair of twos, you can choose to ‘split’ your hand. If you choose this course of action, you’ll have to place an equivalent wager to your original bet on the secondary hand you’ve created, but the two hands are played separately. This means you’ll have to complete the round for one hand before you move on to the other. One set of cards which it's advised to do this on is split aces as these with a ten-value card can potentially create two hands of 21.
If you think you are only one card away from an ideal hand and feel your chances of finding it on the next turn are high, you can choose to ‘double down’. This doubles your original bet, but you would win double your stake. You will only be able to turn over one more card to try and complete your ideal hand.
The blackjack table is semicircular in shape, with the players facing the table and the dealer standing behind it with a card dealing shoe on the side. Shoe games are played when four or more decks of cards are used in a game.
Before starting your first game round, as a basic strategy player, you should familiarise yourself with the card values so you can work out the total score of your hand and decide on the most appropriate move.
Here is a summary of card values in a standard deck:
Number cards from 2 to 10 are worth the value printed on them, for example, if your hands consist of a 2 and a 10, the total value is 12.
Jack, Queen and King (also known as face cards) are worth 10 points.
An Ace can be counted as 1 or 11.
Alongside Roulette, blackjack is one of the world’s most-played live casino games, and part of its popularity is the relatively simple rules. A single-deck game of blackjack can be played around the dinner table with family and friends if you have a pack of cards, but there are a variety of blackjack rules that are observed when you enter an actual casino, play at gambling houses, or play blackjack games at an online casino from your living room.
Contrary to common perception, the objective of the game isn’t to get to a hand total of 21. Winning blackjack simply means getting closer to 21 than the dealer without going over. To do so, players will need to beat the dealer and be familiar with such betting terms as ‘hit’, ‘stand’, ‘double’, and ‘split’. We’ll explore these in further depth in a moment, as well as explore how to place bets if you’re playing our very own LeoVegas Live Blackjack.
Blackjack The term from which the game derives its name, a ‘blackjack’, is a hand that is made up of two cards that total 21, i.e. an ace and a card with a value of 10.
If a player or dealer busts, the player's or the dealer's hand exceeds the total value of 21, they are declared ‘bust’, which sees them lose the round.
A ‘hard hand’ is any that either doesn’t include an ace at all, or if it does, then the ace is used as a value of 1 rather than 11.
Any hand that uses the ace as an 11 is referred to as a ‘soft hand’. If you’re dealt a soft hand and elect to draw more cards, it’s likely it will become a hard hand.
The ‘hole cards’ refer to the dealer's face-down card at the start of a round of a Blackjack game.
Face Up Card
The ‘face up card’ is the dealer’s card that faces up, i.e., other players around the blackjack table can see. This helps with a basic strategy.
If the dealer’s up-card is an ace, they will ask blackjack players if they wish to place an ‘insurance’ wager. This is a side bet, where you’ll be betting that the dealer’s other card will be worth a value of ten. Winning insurance bets pay at odds of 2/1.
Choosing to ‘surrender’ would relinquish half of your initial wager and see you forfeit the current round. Players can surrender after the dealer deals the cards and checks if the dealer's hand has a blackjack. Surrendering means that the player's hand has less than 50% chance of winning. Surrender isn’t always a permitted option and is not available on any LeoVegas Live Casino games, so always check your chosen game’s rules before playing.
An early surrender rule applies when the player decides to give up their hand after the initial cards have been dealt but before the dealer checks for a blackjack. This rule is extremely rare these days, and like most casinos LeoVegas casino rules do not allow an early surrender in any of our blackjack variants.
There’s no guaranteed way to win at blackjack, but there are some strategies that will improve your chances. Ultimately, though, you have to get a hand value closer to a total of 21 before the dealer has a blackjack.
Not entirely. There may be a degree of luck in terms of the cards you are dealt, but ultimately once you are aware of your hand and the dealer’s up-card, there is a lot of strategy involved, along with further aspects that rely on chance.
Generally, splitting is using basic strategy in order to potentially maximise your winnings on multiple hands when blackjack occurs.
If both the dealer and the player have blackjack, then the bet is a tie. This means that neither the player nor the casino loses money, and the player’s original bet is returned.