The Basics of Blackjack for Beginners

Whether you’re a beginner or just looking to get acquainted with the rules of blackjack, this article will guide you through a typical game and give you key rules to help increase your odds of winning.

The Objective

The aim of blackjack players is to build a hand that is as close to 21 as possible without going over, while also having a higher hand than the dealer. If either the player or dealer goes over 21, they go bust and lose the game.

How to Play Blackjack


Once the table’s full, the game can begin. Players receive two cards placed upright. The dealer also draws two cards, and places them one facing up, one face down.

Hit or Stand

Work out the value of your hand and that of the dealer’s. Now you can choose whether to hit or stand.

Hit – The dealer will give you another card. You should do this if you are certain the next card won’t cause you to go over 21 and bust, and you suspect the dealer has a higher hand than you. The dealer must always hit until their hand is a value of 16 or higher.

Stand – The dealer will move on to the next player, dealing no further cards to you. Do this when you already have a high hand (17 or higher) to avoid going bust.

Count your cards

Work out the new value of your cards. As long as they add up to 21 or less, you’ll remain in the game.

Dealer Reveals

Once all the players have made their choices, the dealer reveals their face-down card.

Win or Bust

If your hand is closer to 21 than that of the dealer, you win the game and the dealer goes bust. If the dealer has a closer hand to 21 than any of the players, the dealer wins.

If you’ve won, the dealer will hand you your lucky winnings, which will depend on your bet and hand.

Additional Rules and Terminology:

  • Regular wins pay 1:1 – When your hand has the value closest to 21.
  • Blackjack wins pay 3:2 – When your hand is equal to 21.
  • Split – When you have two cards of the same value in your hand you can choose to split, creating two separate hands of equal value. This gives you an additional chance to beat the dealer.
  • Double Down – You can choose to double your bet mid play. The dealer will then give you one more card, but you cannot receive any more cards after this play. Best practice is to double down on 10s and 11s.
  • Insurance – If the dealer has an ace, you have the option to take insurance, which protects you in case their other card is a 10.
  • Surrender – In some casinos, you can choose to surrender half your bet if you don’t like your hand.
  • Taking even money – When the dealer shows an ace and your hand is a, you would tie if he also has a blackjack. Rather than risk losing, you can choose to take even money: 1:1 rather than 3:2

So, there you have it, now you’re ready to go test your knowledge with some tried and tested strategies!