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Blackjack is the best known and most popular casino game of all time. Part of the game’s charm lies in the fact that blackjack is not quite a pure game of chance, but the player’s skills are often crucial to the outcome. No blackjack strategy turns a game’s expectation value into a profit for the player, but with careful play, the game’s payback percentage can be as high as 99.84 percent.

In principle, the rules of blackjack are relatively simple, but in estimating the probabilities, it is enough to work with even the most experienced card shark. To make the game easier, various blackjack strategies and tables have been developed that allow you to learn to be an almost perfect blackjack player with little effort.

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Blacjack rules

The rules of Blackjack are as follows: The game begins with placing bets. The game manager then deals two cards to himself and the player. Both cards of the player are dealt face up, while the other of the dealer’s cards is dealt face down.

After the cards are dealt, the player can either take more cards (hit) or stay with the current score (stand). In a few special situations, the player has other options at his disposal. Blackjack aims to get as close as possible to a score of 21. On the other hand, going over this score loses the game, so the player must be able to stop raising cards at the right point. A game situation where the value of the cards is exactly 21 is called ”blackjack”. The player who receives the blackjack wins the hand with a higher odds than usual.

Once a player has finished playing, it is the dealer’s turn to draw cards. The dealer cannot decide the number of cards he draws, it is determined by the casino rules. Normally, the dealer stops raising cards with a score of at least 17. However, in some casinos, the dealer raises another card if he has an ace in his hand. This ”Soft 17” rule increases the house advantage, so it’s a good idea for a player to avoid casinos that use this rule. A player wins the game if the value of his cards is higher than the dealer’s hand or the value of the dealer’s cards goes over twenty-one. The player who wins the score gets double his bet. The player who gets Blackjack wins 3:2, ie gets his bet back 2.5 times.

The game of blackjack can also end in a tie. In this situation, the player’s bet will be refunded.

The values ​​of Blackjack cards are as follows:

  • The values ​​of the number cards always correspond to the cards
  • The value of picture cards is always ten
  • The value of an ace is either 1 or 11.

There are a few special situations in the game during which a player can split, double, take out insurance, surrender or even make money.

If a player receives two cards of equal value in their starting hand, they can be split into two hands. Hands are played one at a time until the player is satisfied with the score for both hands. In some casinos, it is also possible to redistribute the cards in a hand if the first two cards in the new hand have the same score.

Doubling is possible when the player’s starting hand is between nine and eleven. When doubled, the player’s bet is doubled and one additional card is drawn. After this, the player can no longer draw more cards.

If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, the player can confirm his bet. The insurance protects the player’s starting hand against blackjack, but the dealer can of course get blackjack by raising cards. In practice, this is a separate ”bet” in which the player bets half of their stake on the dealer’s blackjack. If the dealer gets a blackjack, this extra bet will be refunded in triplicate. Otherwise, the extra bet is lost and the game round is played through normally.

Some casinos offer the player the option to surrender the hand immediately after the deal is dealt. In this case, the player naturally loses the hand, but gets back half of his bet. Referrals are not part of the basic rules of blackjack, so this option may not be available at all casinos. There may also be restrictions on the hand, for example, a player may not be able to hand against an ace of splitter.

Even money refers to a situation where a player has blackjack in their starting hand and the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. In this case, the player can take the win according to the 1:1 payout ratio. The idea of ​​a draw is for a player to give up their chance of winning a 3:2 payout ratio, but accordingly, he does not have to take the risk of the dealer’s blackjack. In principle, a flat rate is just ordinary insurance.

Blacjack online

Blackjack can be played at any online casino. Playing online is great for learning the game and practicing different strategies. Blackjack is basically quite a simple game, but adopting the perfect style of play requires a lot of practice. When playing against the computer, you can think about each of your moves and use different tables to help you play.

Like many other traditional card games, blackjack too can be played at a live casino. When playing at a live casino, you can play with a real game manager and enjoy the atmosphere of a real casino.

Blackjack strategies

The payback percentage for a perfectly played blackjack is in the range of 98-100 percent, depending on the number of decks of cards and the rules of the game. The advantage of the house is affected by small additional rules, such as the split of several hands in succession, the soft 17 rule and the possibility of surrender. The exact return percentage is therefore per table and the player must also match their style of play to the exact rules of the casino in question. In practice, however, it should be possible to rely on a return rate of less than 100% at all casinos.

Some gaming tables (nightclubs, for example) also use very bad extra rules for the player, which only allows you to pay 6:5 on blackjack or the player loses their bet on a draw. These rules lower the payback percentage by a few percentage points at worst, so it’s a good idea to stay away from those tables.

Complete control of the game of Blackjack is quite challenging, as in principle the player should memorize all the correct solutions in different game situations, take into account the available rule options, and even try to count the cards as the game progresses. When playing at an online casino, you can use a variety of spreadsheets or computer programs to calculate the optimal transfer for each player in each game situation.

Fairly good blackjack can be played by following a few easy memory rules. The blackjack strategy described below gives the player a payback percentage that is about half a percentage point lower than the theoretical maximum payback percentage, but it’s really easy to follow and you don’t need blackjack tables or other leverage to help you play.

Blackjack strategy

This blackjack strategy is by no means perfect, but it is easy to learn and remember:

  • If you have an ace in your hand:
    • If the dealer’s card is 2-6:
      • Take cards until 15
      • Double 16-18
      • Stay 19-21
    • If the dealer’s card is 7-10, or an ace:
      • Take cards until 19
      • Stay 19-21
  • If you don’t have an ace in your hand:
    • If the dealer’s card is 2-6:
      • Take cards up to 8
      • Double 9-11
      • It’s 12-21
    • If the dealer’s card is 7-10, or an ace:
      • Take cards until 16
      • Stay 17-21

In addition, these rules apply in all situations:

  • Take more cards if doubling is not possible
  • Divide all hands except 44, 55, and 1010
  • Never take out insurance or cash

Other tips for Blackjack

Immediately after learning the basic strategy, the most important thing in playing blackjack is choosing the right venue. The seemingly small rule variations really have a significant effect on the game’s return percentage. For example, blackjack at Casino Helsinki allows a player to play an additional game where the player can win extra winnings with good poker hands. The payback percentage for this add-on game is around 93-94%, so it is by no means worth playing.

In particular, you should avoid tables where blackjack gives a payout ratio of less than 3:2, the player loses in a draw, or the casino has a ”Soft 17” rule.

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