How To Play Blackjack: The Ultimate Guide

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Blackjack is a casino table game that’s been around for centuries. And they first played it back in 1700, and it’s a card shoe game using decks of cards. 

Now, even though this is a classic card game, many people are still unaware of the game’s mechanics. That’s a big problem if you’re trying to win big bucks!

The good news is that we’re here to tell you how to play blackjack and become an expert in the game before you go to the blackjack table. Let’s look at what you need to know to win this casino game.

It’s essential to know that blackjack odds differ from table to table and the type of blackjack games you play. There is no regular blackjack game, and the rules vary a lot.

Basic Terminology and Things to Know

Like all card games, blackjack has one primary aim. Here, the aim is that your hand of cards adds up to 21 without exceeding that number. With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of other rules and terminology about the game.

Card Value

They play blackjack with a standard deck of cards, and cards with numbers have that corresponding value. The jack is a 10-value card, as is a king or a queen. 

There is just one card that has a varying value – the ace. The ace can either be a one or an eleven, and the player can decide which it is.


Now let’s talk about your bets. Before starting the game, you make the original wager using the chips in front of the other players. Players set their chips in front of them on the marked spots on the table, establishing the minimum and maximum values of the bet.

Shuffle and Cut

The dealer is in charge of carefully shuffling the cards. With the help of one player, the cards are cut so that the last 60 or 75 cards are not used. This will make it more challenging to count effectively, eliminating the possibility of cheating. 


Naturals are when the two initial cards given to the player form a blackjack. For instance, a player might receive an ace and a card equivalent to 10 (king, queen, jack, or ten). 

Here, if one player has a natural, and the dealer doesn’t, the dealer has to pay the player 1.5 times the total value of his bet. 

If the dealer has the natural and the player doesn’t, the dealer will keep the bets of any player without a natural. 

If both the player and the dealer have naturals, a tie is called. Here, the player gets their chips back, and a new bet is called.

Get It Right vs. Standing Up

The term “get it right” refers to asking for another card. “Standing up” means keeping your total and ending your turn. It’s essential to know these terms so that you can request another card or pass.


After each player has placed their bet, the dealer collects the cards from each player and puts them face down in front of themselves, sometimes in a stack. After dealing with the shoe, the dealer continues to deal until reaching the plastic insert card, showing that it is time to shuffle. After that round of play ends, the dealer shuffles the cards, prepares them to be cut, puts them into the shoe, and the next game begins.

The Rules of the Game

If you want to win blackjack, you first need to understand the game’s rules. In 21st Century Blackjack (or any other type of blackjack), you play against the house (or other players), represented by a dealer. The dealer is in charge of shuffling the cards and positioning them. 

Here are a few other basic rules of the game:

  1. Each game starts with two cards
  2. You win if you have a larger number than the dealer’s hand without exceeding 21.
  3. If the total of your cards exceeds 21, regardless of what the dealer’s cards are, the player the dealer, represents will be the winner.
  4. If you receive a natural blackjack on your first hand, you automatically win the game.
  5. “Bending” is like getting it right; the difference is that you double the offer and only win one card.
  6. Splitting is possible when you have two of the same “even” cards. You can divide the cards into two separate hands to increase your chances of winning. If you split, each hand takes the value of the bet you initially placed, which is an additional wager.

How to Play Blackjack

Now that you know a bit more about the game’s rules and how it works, let’s talk about how to play. 

The game’s primary strategy is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over 21. The dealer starts the game with the player on the left, and that player can decide whether to stand with their given total or ask for another card to get closer to the number 21. 

If the player’s cards exceed 21, they lose the bet. 

The dealer continues dealing cards until all the players have got their cards and request additional cards. 

The hand ends, and they collect the main bets when the dealer has a blackjack. However, if another player has a blackjack, the game would be a draw.

You should know something known as a “soft hand.” This is the combination of an ace with a card that is not equivalent to a 10. If you get this, you can ask for another card or keep the highest value of the ace and your current card.

The primary blackjack strategy most people follow is understanding 

Signaling Intentions

Part of knowing how to play blackjack is to use hand movements to signal the dealer your intentions. 

For example, when you want to ask for an additional card, you can move two fingers on the table towards yourself. This move is like the hand motion for calling someone. 

If you want to withdraw from the game, make a negative movement with the palm of your hand towards the table. This signals to the dealer that you want to get up from the table and leave the game.

Insurance Bet

This is a move that many players consider bad if you’re trying to make big money. However, it’s sometimes worth running the risk. 

An insurance bet means you make a secondary bet (the maximum you can make is half your original bet). This bet is given if the dealer has an ace, betting that the card under it that is face down is an equivalent of 10, forming a blackjack. 

If the card is effectively a 10, players who have made the secondary bet win double this bet.

Doubling Down

If you want to double your bet, you can choose to do so after they dealt the first two cards when you have a total of 9 or 10, or 11. When the player’s hand comes, they place a bet equal to the initial bet, and the dealer then gives the player one card, which is kept hidden from the player until they settle the bets. The dealer can’t double down, only players.

No More Excuses Not to Play Blackjack

With this guide to how to play blackjack, you’re ready to start searching “blackjack near me” and find a game in your area! Our recommendation? Try 24/7 blackjack so that you can play whenever you like!

Speaking of 24/7 blackjack, why not check out the Napa Valley Casino? Call us, get directions, get all the details, and swing by our casino for your favorite card and table games!