Getting Started on Blackjack: A Guide

Written by Chad

March 8, 2023

This is a legitimate guide to the game of blackjack. There are no offers of secret tricks and no bending of the rules to count cards or increase your chances of winning. It is a simple, yet comprehensive guide on how to play and enjoy the game of blackjack, either at home with friends or at the top casinos in the land both the online and land-based versions.

A Brief Background

As with any game or form of entertainment, it is useful to know its backstory, and the game of blackjack sure has a lengthy history. Its exact origin story may be a bit murky, but the game emerged in a similar form in French casinos of the 1700s. It was a card game associated with the royal courts of the time and was likely called by its more common name, twenty-one. Its first claim to fame was its mention in the famous novel Don Quixote, who played ‘vingt et un’ as early as 1615. Since then, there have been few changes, a widespread interest and uptake in the game, and it has spread online.

The Rules of the Game

It follows from such a name that the game is based on the number 21, and all the numerous ways that you can achieve 21 with the cards dealt to you by the dealer/or the house. Each player is dealt 2 cards to begin and then can either fold, rest, or request further cards. The player to get closest to, or reach 21, is the winner.

Places to Play and the Benefits of Each

In the current age, there are many ways and places that one can play blackjack. The proliferation of online apps and games means that you could have a specific blackjack game in mind. Or, you could access it as one of the many games you play at the online casino and platforms like that specialize in the game. Other players start by buying an actual pack of cards and going old school. Invite a few friends around and make an evening of learning and playing the game of blackjack.

Understand the Rules

It may have been explained as an incredibly simple game, just add to 21 and you could be a winner. However, the game is a little more complicated and complex than this. Certain table etiquettes must be followed.

The Complexities and Nuances of Blackjack

The odds: The odds of getting 21 can be computed, based on the number of cards in the pack, how many players there are, and how the dealer cuts the pack. However, this is way too complicated to calculate or think about whilst at the blackjack table. Look to read and understand the return-to-player ratios and any specific odds that a particular casino or online casino may offer to play the different versions of blackjack on offer. If both you and the dealer get a two-card 21, it is regarded as a tie, and the normal course of action is then for the house to return the player’s bets without adjustment.

The dealing direction: The dealer will always deal the cards in the same direction around the table and this direction will also set the playing direction, normally starting with the person to the left of the dealer. Wait for your turn to request more cards or state what you are doing with your current hand of cards.

The choices: As noted, this is a well-loved game because the choices are simple:

  • Stick: Keep the cards you have and wait for the end reveal. You will not receive any more and will simply wait until the other players have finished their hand or the dealer has played.
  • Request an additional card: You can continue to ask for additional cards right up until the point that you are bust. For example., you have a total above 21. The 5-card rule notes that if you have 5 cards with a total under 21, then you have immediately won the hand.
  • Bust: Your total has gone over 21. You return your cards, lose your bet, and wait for the next hand.

The different range of bets: Various blackjack establishments and casinos will allow you to make a range of side bets or bets with the others at the table or playing the game with you. Ensure that you know what these are and understand what each means. This way you may lose the main game, while still beating others at the table.

The split: If you have received two of the same number in the initial cards dealt, then you will be able to split the hand and can improve your odds by then playing the hand as two separate hands, each one carrying the initial stake you placed.

The Table Etiquette

Whether you’re playing in an actual land-based casino, with friends at home or in the online versions, you need to observe the following blackjack table etiquette:

Find out how you need to signal your intentions. Do the house rules expect you to say it or perhaps it is just a click on the screen to say what you want to do with the cards dealt? Each place where you play blackjack may have a different set of expected behaviors, so learn and follow these. They may be as simple as not removing your cards from the table or waiting for the current round or hand to finish before you sit down at a table to play.

Know when it is allowed to stick. Generally, every blackjack table will have a minimum level or total card value at which you can stick. It is normally 17 but ensure that you are aware of the minimum sticking amounts of the table or on the platform that you choose to play at.

Concluding Comments

Blackjack is a great card game and one that has stood the test of time. It is simple and easy to understand, and yet, can provide food for thought for those who want to engage in mathematical calculations. The guide provided here has been aimed at those looking to gain a little more knowledge and insights into the game. The last piece of advice that must be provided as an end to this guide is that each casino or online platform will have its idiosyncrasies and adaptations to the game. Therefore, ensure that you do as much reading as possible and always play for free before you feel the need to play for real money and bets.  Plus, remember to have fun.


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