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Blackjack Rules: How To Play the Game

Blackjack has been played at several casinos in America, Europe and Asia for decades providing hours of entertainment for several gamblers across the globe. Typically, this casino classic which is played at brick and mortar casinos is played on a semi-circular table which usually allows seven players to play. In recent years, many casinos have opted to create multiple digital variants of the game in order to make the casino classic available to gamblers from the comfort of their own homes. Each variant has its own rules, so before you go ahead and play for real money our players turned experts at CasinoTop10 suggest that you definitely read up on the rules that each variant tends to blend with the ones from its original counterpart. 

blackjack rules

Learn The Fundamental Blackjack Rules


Currently, you’ll find that the majority of online casinos offer the game in both its classic form as well as other multiple other new age variants which have all taken their roots from the game’s original version. If you want to play Blackjack Online, you should know that you must learn the rules properly in order to win the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So go ahead and choose your favorite Blackjack variant and start learning the Rules today!

Choose one of Blackjack’s Popular Variants

• Classic Blackjack Online
• Live Blackjack Online
• Blackjack Switch
• Free Bet Blackjack Online
• Blackjack Surrender
• Pontoon
• Spanish 21

Other Blackjack variations:

• Blackjack Double Exposure
• Blackjack 5 Hand
• Blackjack Single Deck
• Multiplayer Blackjack
• Progressive Blackjack Online
• Caribbean 21 Blackjack
• Face up 21 Blackjack
• Super Fun 21 Blackjack
• Match Play 21 Blackjack

Classic Blackjack Online

blackjack rules card symbolsAs the original version of Blackjack, this version of the game probably possesses rules which are probably known the most by gamblers of all ages. This game offers a house edge of about 5% and allows gamblers to win massive amounts of cash provided that they follow the rules to the dot. If you’re interested in playing this game, you’ll find that Blackjack in its classic form is offered both Live as well as on desktop. Interested in learning the rules? Have a look at them below!

How to Play Classic Blackjack Online

• Blackjack Classic is played by using 1-8 decks of 52-cards.

• An ace is usually equivalent to 1 or 11 points, whilst 10s/Jacks/ Queens /Kings count as ten points and cards marked 2 to 9 are valued according to their pip value.

• The value of a hand is equivalent to the sum of the total cards.

• A ‘blackjack’ is considered to be the highest hand, which in essence normally consists of two cards; an ace and a king/ queen/ jack, which would be equivalent to the number 21. The second highest hand would be a ‘21’ which consists of 3 to 5 cards which are of the value of 2-9.

• During the initial phase of the game, the dealer deals two cards to each player as well as himself after each gambler has placed their bets.

• In a typical Blackjack game, the dealer will display one of his cards for the gamblers to see whilst the other one, which is known as the ‘hole card’, will be displayed face down.

• All the players will lose provided that the dealer has a Blackjack (except for insurance). However, if you manage to flip over your cards first and discover that you have managed to acquire, you’d beat the dealer and the winnings would go to you.

• If you as a gambler manage to acquire a ‘21’ and the dealer also has a ‘21’, this would result in a push and you would neither win or lose. In cases where this occurs, the dealer will simply return the amount that the player has bet.

• The dealer will always give out cards to the player on the left first. Have a look at the options you as a player can choose to implement below:

blackjack online stand

Stand: The blackjack player chooses to stick to one’s guns with his/her cards.

blackjack online hitHit: The player requests another card from the blackjack dealer. Note that if your sum of cards exceeds the score of 21, you’ll go bust, so if you happen to be a new blackjack player, you should refer to the Blackjack Strategy chart in our Blackjack Online Guide in order to determine when to hit.

blackjack online double downDouble Down: The player chooses to double his/her bet and gets one more card. If you choose this option, you’ll only be able to acquire one more card.

blackjack online splitSplit: Provided that you as a gambler have a pair, or two 10-point cards, you’ll be able to double your bet and separate your cards into two individual hands. The dealer will then distribute one card for each of the two hands. Thus, the player will end up with four cards in total. The player may then hit, stand, or double normally. Nonetheless, you must bear in mind that if you choose to split aces, each ace will only get one card.

blackjack online surrenderSurrender: The blackjack player relinquishes half of his bet. He keeps the other half and essentially does not play out his hand. Essentially, this option is only available to use when you receive your initial two cards. You should also note that sometimes casinos do not even offer it as an option.

blackjack online insurance

Insurance: You have the option of taking insurance, if the dealer holds a blackjack. Provided that the open card of the dealer is an Ace, he will offer you insurance. Accept the insurance bet again half your original bet. If the dealer actually has a blackjack, you win! The payout ratio is 2: 1, that is. 

• After every player has had his turn, the dealer will then turn over his hole card in order to reveal his total. Provided that the dealer has a total of 16 or less, he will then draw another card.

• If the dealer accumulates a score of over 21 points and you haven’t busted, you will win the game as a result.

• On the other hand, if the dealer does not go bust, the higher point total between the player and the dealer will win.

• Ultimately, a winning bet will lead you to breaking even. This is with the exception of a winning player blackjack, which will pay 3: 2. However, if you’re thinking of playing Blackjack Online, you should be aware of the fact that some online casinos short-pay blackjacks which in substance increases the casino’s house edge.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch’s rules stem from the traditional game of blackjack which has been played for decades at casinos. Hence, if you’d like to play this variant of the game, we suggest that you learn how to play the original first. However, provided that you already know how to play the game you should have a look below in order to learn Blackjack Switch’s unique rules.

How to Play Blackjack Switch

• All the rules involved in playing Blackjack Switch are based on the classic form of this game unless specified below. Please refer to the Classic Blackjack Section in order to learn the rules.

• In this variant, 6 to 8 decks are typically used.

• Each player must wager two equal amounts; one for each hand given by the dealer.

• The Dealer gives out 2 hands instead of one which are dealt face up.

• Provided that the dealer has a natural blackjack, all other players will lose. However, if the player has a natural blackjack, this will result in a push.

• Players are allowed to perform the classic cheating manoeuver known as switching cards between hands if they see fit. Note that this only applies to the second card which has been dealt out to the player.

• A player can double on any 2 cards.

• A player is also allowed to double after a split.

• A player can choose to split again up to four hands.

• If the player obtains a natural blackjack, this will payout even money.

• Supposing that the blackjack dealer manages to acquire 22, this will result in a push against any player with a total of 21 or less. Nonetheless, a player blackjack will result in a win even if the dealer has a 22.

Free Bet Blackjack Online

Free Bet Blackjack offers a fantastic twist to any blackjack player who chooses to play this variant of Blackjack. The twist to this variant is that the player is not required to risk his/her own money when splitting or doubling. If you opt to play this particular variant, you’ll be glad to know that natural blackjacks pay 3 to 2 and that it has a relatively low house edge of 1.02 %.

Hot to Play Free Bet Blackjack

• The game is based on the original version of Blackjack in which 6 decks are used.

• Generally speaking, you are only allowed to double on two cards only and doubling after splits is also allowed.

• You can choose to re-split pairs up to four hands which include aces.

• Similarly to its classic cousin, Free Bet Blackjack does not offer a surrender option.

• In Free Bet Blackjack, you have the option of ‘Free Doubles’ on hard totals of two-cards which have a total score of 9, 10 or 11. With a ‘free double’, your original wager will be matched by using a ‘free bet’ button. You as a player will automatically receive an additional card. Moreover, in this variant of the game, you’re also still allowed to double of regular two-card hands. At the end of the game:

• If the dealer emerges as the winner, the player will only lose his original wager.

• Provided that the hand results in a push, the player will only get his original wager back.

• On the other hand, if the player emerges as the winner, he/she will get his original wager plus winnings which are equal to double his/her original wager.

• Players are allowed to split on all pairs with the exception of a pair which consists of ‘10s’. In regards to a ‘free split’, your cards will be divided into two hands comprising of one card each. During the game, the player’s original wager is placed together with the first and a ‘free bet’ button is then placed on the second hand. You as a player will be allowed to play each of the hands you’ve been dealt out one at a time. Moreover, you will be eligible to a ‘free double’ or ‘free split’ on both of your hands. In cases in which you’ve managed to generate a win, the ‘free bet’ button will be replaced with real chips which are equal to the original wager. On the other hand, in cases in which hands result in a player loss or push, the dealer will take back the ‘free bet’ button.

• Provided that the dealer obtains a total score of 22, this will result in a push. However, if the player had 21 or less in this particular situation, the player’s wager will result in a push.

Pontoon

Pontoon is the British cousin of the classic Blackjack game. Although this variant’s roots stem from the U.K., this game is played on an international level, especially in Australia. Typically, the house edge in Pontoon is about 1/3 less.

How to play Pontoon (Austalian version)

• This variant of the game uses 4 to 8 decks. Each deck consists of 48 cards rather than 52 cards. What’s evident in this game is that there are four tens less. Hence, this game favors the dealer rather than you as a player. In Pontoon, players usually receive great bonuses and far more favorable rules than the classic variant of blackjack, due to the fact that the game has quite unfavourable odds.

• Pontoon players are allowed to perform the moves in the classic variant of the game, such as hit, stand, split and buy. Yet, these manoeuvers are referred to by different terms. These are as follows:

Twist (hit) – You should choose this manoeuver when you want the dealer to give you another card.

Stick (stay)- This move should be used when you don’t want the dealer to give you anymore cards.

Buy (doubling your bet) – You should opt to use this manoeuver when you’d like to double your bet.

Split – If you’ve ended up with 2 cards that are the same, you should divide your pair into two separate hands. Every time you choose to split, you’ll be required to place an additional bet which is equal to your ante.

• The best hand in Pontoon is 21, which consists of 2 cards. These must be an ace and a 10/Jack/Queen/King. The next best hand after Pontoon is a Five Card Trick which is made up of five cards that total to 21 or less. Any hands which consist of 3 to 4 cards which total to a score of 21 beat everything else with the exception of a Pontoon or Five Card Trick. Moreover, whilst hands which total to a score of less than 21 are ranked in order of their total value, ‘busted’ hands with a total score that amounts to over 21 are considered to be worthless.

• After an initial wager has been made, the banker then deals one card face down and the other face up. As a player you’ll be allowed to look at your cards, but the dealer won’t be able to look at his/her hand.

• Throughout this version of the game, you are allowed to double your bet. However, you should note that it is only possible to double on a 9 to 11. Yet, if you choose to double on a soft hand, the ace would be forced to count as a 1. Furthermore, you’re also allowed to ‘buy’ after a split in Pontoon.

• Whilst playing Pontoon, you’ll have the option of taking a ‘late surrender’. Provided that the dealer has a 10 or ace up, a marker indicating ‘surrender’ will be placed on your bet. In the event that the dealer manages to obtain a blackjack, the player will lose his entire bet.

• During Pontoon, you’ll also be able to ‘surrender’ after buying. This is known as ‘double down rescue’. In this case, the player would be required to forfeit his/her original bet. The surrender will then be formally judged immediately, so in this case it’s like an early surrender.

• In regards to payout, a 5-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 would pay 2 to 1, a seven-or-more-card-21 would pay 3 to 1. Nonetheless, bonuses would not be paid if you choose to ‘buy’ and double your bet. In cases in which a 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits is obtained, this will pay 3 to 2. However, if the cards are all suited you’ll receive a payout of 2 to 1, with the exception of suited spade cards which pay 3 to 1.

• 7-7-7 cards which are suited when a dealer has a seven face up pay $1000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5000 for bets of $25 or over. Moreover, all other players will receive a $50 ‘envy bonus’. However, this does not pay after doubling or splitting.

Spanish 21

Since its introduction, the table game Spanish 21 has managed to thrive in the casino world. Essentially, this variant of Blackjack is based on its original counterpart, however, this version of the game encompasses several different rules and captivating twists. Hence, in order to play this variant of Blackjack, which is often found at online casinos, you must be familiar with the rules of Classic Blackjack. Read the Rules below before you attempt to play the game for real money.

How to Play Spanish 21

• Typically, Spanish 21 uses 6 to 8 decks. Each deck consists of 48 cards; the regular 52 cards minus the four 10 cards. One thing you should definitely note is that this game favors the house rather than the player due to the removal of the 10 cards from the deck.

• If you opt to play this version of the game, you’ll discover that late surrender, doubling after a split as well as re-splitting aces is always allowed.

• In Spanish 21 a player’s score of 21 as well as any natural blackjacks acquired during the game always beat the dealer’s hand.

• Whilst playing Spanish 21, you’ll be able to double on any number of cards. Moreover, you can also opt to hit and double down after splitting your hand.

• As a player of Spanish 21, you’ll be able to choose to surrender after doubling. This manoeuver is known as ‘double down rescue’ and the result of move would be the forfeiting of the amount of your initial bet.

• In Spanish 21, a five-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 would pay 2 to 1, a seven or more 21 would pay 3 to 1. Bonuses are not given after doubling or splitting.

• Unsuited hands which include 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 pay 3 to 2, whilst suited hands pay 2 to 1 with the exception of hands which consist of suited spades cards.

• When a dealer has a face up, a suited hand which consists of three 7 cards pays $ 1000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5000 for wagers which are of $25 or over. Moreover, Spanish 21 offers all its other players a $50 ‘envy bonus’. However, this bonus is not paid after doubling or splitting.

Blackjack Surrender

blackjack rules onlineIf you feel like you’re a gambler who’s frequently got lady luck’s evil twin sister on your side but would still like to play Blackjack nonetheless, Blackjack Surrender with its relatively low house edge might just be for you. As the game’s name implies, players are given the option to surrender, which would result in them losing the game. Yet, if you opt to perform this manoeuver, you’ll be allowed to keep half of the amount you’ve wagered as a result of this move. To learn more about this variation of the casino classic have a look at Blackjack Surrender’s Rules below.

How to Play Blackjack Surrender 

• Generally speaking, Blackjack Surrender is played using a typical blackjack table and incorporates the use of 4 – 6 decks of cards at online casinos.

• When the game starts, the dealer first deals two cards to himself as well as two cards to you as a player, just like in the classic version of the game.

• The manoeuvres that can be used throughout this game are pretty much the same as the ones in the original version of blackjack; hit, stand, split and double. The primary difference between Blackjack Surrender and its classic cousin, is the fact that if you’re dealt a very bad hand

• In Blackjack Surrender, the dealer is allowed to peek for a blackjack.

• In this variant of the game, the dealer stands on a soft 17 hand.

• As a player you’ll be allowed to double on the first two cards and after splitting.

• Provided that you’ve managed to acquire a pair of cards, you’ll be able to split the pair. Yet, one thing you should note is that splitting is only allowed once throughout the game. Thus, the player will not be allowed to split again and form 4 hands.

• In Blackjack Surrender, if the player or the dealer goes over 21 as a total score they will both bust.

Combine Blackjack’s Rules with Strategy

In essence, without knowing the rules and strategies involved in playing Blackjack Online, you’d be left despairingly outgunned no matter which variant you choose. If you’ve read up on your preferred blackjack game and would like to learn about the strategies that you can implement whilst playing the game, you should have a look at our Blackjack Strategy page.

Play Your Favorite Blackjack Variant Today!

Ever since its introduction, Blackjack Online has taken the world by storm. Many gamblers consider this classic casino game to be their game of choice, due to the fact that it’s not only based on luck but also based on your overall knowledge of the rules of the game as well as the strategies you choose to use. If you find yourself excited about starting your iGambling journey, you should have a look at our comprehensive Blackjack Guide as well as our Best Blackjack Casinos list in order to find a great casino to play at today!




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