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How to Play Blackjack for Beginners

Among all casino games, blackjack has gained and maintained tremendous popularity for many reasons. It is fairly simple to understand, fun to play, and offers relatively good odds. Even if you don’t gamble or play cards regularly, it’s possible to come out a winner when playing blackjack – even as a beginner.

Here are some basic tips on how to play blackjack for beginners.


The Rules of BlackjackBlackjack

The rules of blackjack are pretty simple.

  • You play with one or more decks of cards, and you’re trying to get your total number of points closer to 21 points than the dealer, without going over.
  • Cards numbered 2 to 10 are worth that same number of points.
  • Face cards are worth 10.
  • Aces can be counted as a 1 or an 11.
  • The best hand to be dealt to you is a blackjack: one card worth 10 points and an ace worth 11.

How to Play Blackjack

  • You start by putting your chips on the betting square in front of you.
  • After all players have placed their bets, every player and the dealer are given two cards.
  • Cards may be played face up or face down, depending on the casino and the game.
  • Once you receive your cards, you can ask for another card, called a “hit,” by pointing to your cards or scratching the felt next to your cards until you get as close to 21 as you feel comfortable, without going over.
  • If your points exceed 21, you have gone “bust” and lost your bet.
  • If you wish to bet based on the cards you have, or “stand,” signal that to the dealer by holding your hand flat over your cards, or sliding your cards under your bet.
  • The dealer then must draw extra cards until they have at least 16, and if they have 17 points, they must stand. If your point total is closer to 21 than the dealer’s point count, you win.

Things to Remember When Playing Blackjack as a Beginner

Aside from the basic rules of game play, there are a few things to remember when playing blackjack as a beginner.

  • Start small. As you’re learning the pace and strategy of the game, take it easy and take small steps before you start breaking into a sprint.
  • Don’t get caught up in a streak. Whether you’re winning or losing, a streak does not guarantee your next hand.
  • Don’t bet too much. Set a cap before you head to the casino so you know how much money you’re willing to lose, and stick to that.

Ignore the Tricks of Blackjack

Don’t fall for any gambler tricks or stories either. It doesn’t matter what other players are doing. You are playing against the dealer and the dealer alone.

Don’t even try to count cards. It’s hard, even for experienced blackjack players, and it’s highly discouraged in any casino. Beginners who try this run an extremely high chance of being detected and being kicked out, or worse. Also, try not to listen to people nearby who claim to be experts. Stick to basic strategy.

Location, Location, Location in Blackjack

Many pro blackjack players recommend that you pay attention to where you sit. Blackjack tables seat five to seven people.Don’t sit in the first seat that opens up.Many casinos have a no-entry policy once a game is in mid-progress, and you’ll need to wait for the shuffle.

You also want to consider which seat is best for you. If you’re a beginner, don’t sit in the first chair where you will have to place a bet first. If you sit further away from the place where the dealer is starting, it will allow you more time to consider your cards and what the dealer has on the table without feeling pressured.

The Single-Deck Game of Blackjack

Look for a single-deck blackjack game. Lots of casinos now use multiple decks, sometimes six or more, to make it hard to count cards; however, the more decks the dealer is using, the harder it is for you to win.  If you can find an old-fashioned single deck game, that’s the hand of blackjack for you to start with.

Play the Minimum in Blackjack

Don’t forget to look at the table’s betting limit before you sit down. Blackjack tables all have a minimum bet and maximum bet clearly marked on a sign near the dealer.

Don’t sit down until you know what they are and confirm you’re comfortable playing in that range. Start by playing the minimum bet. This helps you play safely while you’re learning the ropes of blackjack.

Buying Your Chips in Blackjack

Before you start to play, buy your chips from the dealer.

Proper casino etiquette dictates that you put your cash on the table in front of you, and the dealer will exchange that amount for chips. Warning: Don’t hand your money over directly, or you’ll stand out as a newcomer.

Once you have your chips, start small as you get started. This helps you learn the ropes more gradually.Don’t forget you can always buy more chips if you need to.

House Rules for Blackjack

Finally, it’s important to know the house rules. Usually, they’re printed on a card next to the dealer, but if you need to, you can always ask the dealer to tell you the house rules for blackjack.

You’ll need to know how aces are counted and whether the dealer will hit on a soft 17.  That means the dealer has a 6 and an ace, which counts as an 11.  Generally speaking, dealers count their aces as 11 if they count 17 in their hand or more, but rules do vary from casino to casino.

Some casinos will allow you to double your bet at some points in the game, but others will only let you do it with certain hands.A handful of casinos will allow you to surrender during the game, giving up your hand and half of your bet. If you’re not sure what the rules are, just ask, and you’ll progress from novice blackjack player in no time.

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