Blackjack Card Values Explained | LeoVegas NZ

Blackjack Card Values Explained

Blackjack has withstood the test of time, having evolved over the centuries from a parlour game played in France (in the 1700s) to a game that is now widely accessible online, with numerous variations. Also known as 21, Pontoon, or even Vingt-et-Un, blackjack is a card-based game played with a traditional 52-card deck.

Unlike other casino games like poker, you are not playing against other players. Within blackjack, you are playing against the house, or the dealer, depending on which casino you are playing from. The player's objective is to reach 21, preferably before the dealer, in order to secure a win.

Of course, blackjack is a game of luck. Even equipped with strategies and a keen eye for numbers, players are entirely at the mercy of chance, and the outcome can never quite be predicted. However, there are ways to read the game proficiently and manage bankrolls to avoid major losses.

A key tip for novices eager to get to grips with the game's rules: learn the values of the cards. Once you have this simple, straightforward set of basic blackjack rules down, you're ready to hit the blackjack tables.

What is the Value of Face Cards in Blackjack?

To get to 21, it is paramount to understand that each card holds a different value. The more familiar you become with these values, the more easily you can hold your own against the dealer. Calculating blackjack hand values is quite easy and central to the game. To start with, players ought to become acquainted with the different cards, suits, and how they are scored.

During the game, all the cards that are numbered are known to hold that particular value. For example, a number four card has a score of four, while a number seven card has a score of seven (the list goes on). This applies to cards from two up to 10. In a traditional 52-card deck, there are four suits, so therefore, in total, there are 36 numbered cards.

See the table below for a comprehensive breakdown of the cards within a deck and their values:

Card nameCard value
Ace1 or 11

What is the Value of King, Jack, and Queen in Blackjack?

However, a traditional card deck contains more than just numbered cards. These are referred to as 'face cards' e.g King, Queen, and Jack. Each one offers a value of ten. Thus, in a deck, there are 12 face cards in total.

There's one more powerhouse card that blackjack players must remember: the Ace. Unlike all other blackjack cards though, the Ace has two possible values: either one or 11. In most cases, the player gets to choose the value of their Ace hard in their hand counts. Aces are significant when playing with the 'Soft Hands' strategy. In a deck, there are a total of four Aces.

The 52-card deck is subsequently divided into four suits. These suits are Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, and Hearts. In simple terms, these are the symbols you see on the face down card cards. The Hearts and the Diamonds are red, whilst the Clubs and the Spades are black.

What is the Value of an Ace in Blackjack?

Just like in poker, the Ace holds a significant value in blackjack. Without an Ace, for instance, it is difficult to hit that magical 21 number. Furthermore, as explained above, it holds two values, which give you more options to win. If you are dealt an Ace at the start of the game, this is advantageous because it is a powerful tool to have at your disposal. You must learn to use it wisely and to your advantage.

Scoring 21 is only possible of course, through the right combination of cards you have at hand. When a player scores 21, this is known as blackjack, and a player can have a blackjack hand with the first two cards they are given at the start of the game.

If you are not so lucky and the first two values of the cards you are given do not amount to 21, then you and the dealer must keep going head-to-head until one of you wins. In this scenario, you can request additional cards. This is generally known as 'hitting'. Keep in mind the values of the cards because you don't want initial bet to go bust.

How to Count Aces in Soft and Hard Blackjack Hands

Soft and hard hands are strategies players can use in blackjack. The Ace plays an important role within these strategies, as here, an Ace can be counted as 1 or 11. Soft hands are incredibly favourable for players because they are flexible and confirm that your next hit will not be the dreaded bust. The following are examples of what can be considered soft hands:

  1. An ace and a nine

  2. An ace, a three, and a four

  3. A four and an ace

    Personal strategy comes into play when you have a soft hand. Conversely, in hard hands, an Ace has only one value. Furthermore, this decided value must act the same throughout and cannot be changed. As an example, the below situations can be considered as hard hands:

  4. A ten and a seven

  5. A ten, a seven, and an ace

  6. An ace, a five, and an eight

    Depending on your scenario, soft hands turn into hard hands when the 10-point threshold has been crossed. Thus, this means that the Ace value remains the same or else you have the risk of going bust.

How to Calculate the Value of a Hand in Blackjack

The value of a hand in blackjack is simply the value of all of the cards you have. The most important thing to keep in mind is that coveted 21 - if you exceed the value of 21, you're out.

The rules behind blackjack are relatively easy to grasp - it's the kind of game that ought to be practised, in order to yield positive results. The more familiar the player is with the numbers, the more confident they can become in their gameplay.

Naturally, there are ways to increase the complexity of the game. Many other technical terms can be utilised, such as 'double down' or 'split'. These methods add an additional risk element to the standard gameplay in that they offer the player the opportunity to either double their wager (and consequently win twice as much as they would have done initially) or to split their cards, should they have two with the same value.

Ideally, a player would have a real command of the game before they dared to try doubling down or splitting. This is simply because, without an understanding of the game's pace, losses are inevitable. There are a few specific situations in which doubling down would be advisable, but to recklessly try and employ this technique in other situations would be to inevitably lose.

For example, a player might double down when they have a hard nine: this is comprised of a hand with 2-7, 3-6 or 4-5. However, if the player were to have a soft nine, which would look more like A-8, then a blackjack aficionado would be sure to recommend that the player stands.

This means that the player should stay put regardless of the dealer's hand.

There are also similar considerations to remember when splitting: these techniques are not to be glibly applied. Of course, it's important to remember that the rules vary among different casinos.

Whether online or brick-and-mortar, countless variations of blackjack will each have their own respective quirks. This is why it's crucial to always research before beginning a game so you're equipped to make the most informed choices, depending on the rules in play.

Whilst blackjack is a game of luck, practising your skills and developing an astute focus can only improve your enjoyment of the game.

What is the Highest Value Card in Blackjack?

If the player decides to use the Ace card with 11 as its value, then that would be the highest-value card on its own. This isn't always possible and might lead to a hard hand. That is why being strategic in blackjack and playing the best possible cards is important. If you have a Queen, for example, the value of that card is a 10, and an Ace would bring your total to 21.

Are Jokers Used in Blackjack?

Generally, jokers are usually avoided in blackjack. The card has no value, unlike the face and numerical cards found in a traditional deck.

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