How to Play Live Blackjack
Learn here how to play Live Blackjack
How to play live Blackjack is something that requires a section of its own. It is a simple game that can be as complex as you like. Everybody’s favorite contradiction, Blackjack is one of the most straightforward games out there, and learning the rules is easy; becoming an expert, not so much, as learning to be a great player requires a bit of knowledge and experience that go beyond the rules of the game. In a nutshell, your aim is to get a higher value on the face of your cards than the dealer’s, without exceeding 21. The highest value you reach is based on strategy, and it is your decisions which will determine whether or not you profit from playing Blackjack. Your decisions also affect subsequent rounds of play.
Objective of Blackjack
So, the game’s objective is to get a value for each hand that is higher than the dealer’s hand value without exceeding 21 (or going ‘bust’). At the beginning of each round, the player must place his/her bet, which may be as small or large as the table’s betting limits dictate. Both the player and dealer are then dealt two cards, but while the player’s cards are both visible (facing upwards), only one of the dealer’s cards may be seen. This is known as the ‘up card’ while the concealed card is called the ‘hole card’. At this point, the player is free to make a number of decisions – which we will come to shortly – by which to manipulate his/her hand, hand value, risk or wager, but the dealer must follow a strict set of rules to determine his own hand.
Number cards carry their face value and picture cards each have a value of 10. Aces carry a value of 1 or 11, depending on what best suits the player. Card suits have no consequence in Blackjack. A ‘soft hand’ is one in which the player is dealt an Ace which may simultaneously be considered a 1 and an 11. For example, if a player is dealt an A-4 hand, his/her hand value may be 5 or 15. If the third card is a 6, his/her hand value would be 21 as the Ace would be considered an 11. If the third card is a 7 or higher, the Ace must be considered a 1, or the hand would be bust. A ‘hard hand’ is one in which the player holds an Ace card that may only be considered a 1. It is important to keep the meaning of these two hands in mind when examining strategy charts, since they are treated very differently to one another.
The best hand a player may be dealt is an Ace coupled with any card with a value of 10. This is known as a ‘blackjack’ or a ‘natural’ and is where the game’s name is derived. A hand may only be considered a ‘blackjack’ if the 21 hand value is drawn with the first two cards dealt and in most online casinos, ‘blackjack’ hands pay out at 1.5 to 1. If both the player and dealer draw a ‘blackjack’ the result is a ‘push’ or a draw, meaning that your original bet is returned to you with no additional winnings.
Blackjack Player Decisions
Once a player is dealt his/her two-card hand, there are a number of decisions to be made. The player may choose to take a chance at increasing his/her hand value, in which case he/she must opt to ‘hit’ the hand with an additional card. This decision may be made as many times as the player desires.
Once the player is satisfied with his/her hand value, or feels the risk of going ‘bust’ is too high, he/she may opt to ‘stand,’ thereby indicating that no more cards are to be added to the player’s hand and that the dealer should complete his own hand.
Alternatively, the player may opt to ‘double down’ once observing his/her first two cards. This decision signifies to the dealer that the player wishes to double his/her stake on that round and be dealt one additional card that would determine his/her definitive hand value for the round (no more cards may be added to the player’s hand in this circumstance).
A player may also opt to ‘split’ upon receiving his/her first two cards. This decision may only be made when the player receives a matching pair, in which case, he/she is allowed to split the pair and play them as two hands, independent of one another. Whether the player is allowed to ‘double down’ following a ‘split’ is left to individual casinos’ discretion; some do allow this, others don’t. Additionally, while some casinos would allow the player to re-split a split hand should he/she be dealt another pair, others do not.
Customarily, drawing a 21 hand-value on a split is not considered a ‘blackjack’ or ‘natural’ but a regular 21.
Should the dealer’s ‘up card’ be an Ace, the player is allowed to take ‘insurance’. This consists of a side bet amounting to half of the player’s original bet for that round. Should the dealer draw a ‘blackjack,’ the side bet would pay out at 2:1, equaling the original bet, which the player would lose, thereby breaking even for the round.
Some Live Dealer Online Blackjack games offer players the option to ‘surrender’. This allows the player to surrender half of his original bet and bow out for the round. Some games that do allow the player to ‘surrender’ will make an exception in the case of the dealer’s ‘up card’ being an Ace.
As we said previously, a player is allowed to make decisions that will make or break his or her game, but the dealer must stick to a strict set of rules to determine his or her hand. Once all players at the table have called all of their plays and have therefore stood or gone bust, the dealer will uncover his or her hole card. At most Live Dealer Online Casinos, the house will stand at a hand value of 17, but must hit with anything lower. This stand-value may differ slightly from one casino to the next, so check the rules at the casino of your choice before you play. Also while some casinos might not stand on a ‘soft’ 17, others stand on any kind of 17, so make sure you enquire about this particularity too.