Blackjack is a classic card game that’s as simple as they come. The objective here is to beat the dealer at the game, that’s it. And to beat the dealer, your goal as a player is to either beat their hand or if the dealer has exceeded the maximum value allowed.

For instance, you may win by drawing a hand value that is higher than the dealer’s hand value. Otherwise, the dealer may have drawn a hand that is over 21 or when you drew a hand value of 21 with your first two cards, while the dealer does not.

Likewise, you’ll lose if your hand value exceeds 21 or when the dealer’s hand is of a greater value than yours at the end of the round.

Simple, yes? 

In blackjack, it’s also important to note that you are playing individually as a player and the other players’ hands do not influence your chance to win as they do in other table games such as poker. For all practical scenarios, blackjack boils down to you versus the dealer and you do not need a “team” to back you up when you play.

What is Blackjack Exactly?

One of the more stripped-down variations of this card game offers a rather straightforward experience though there are opportunities for some exciting plays in the game — card counting, while discouraged, comes to mind. 

In fact, some expert players are usually very gifted mathematically in that they are able to perfectly count the number of cards left in the deck perfectly, all inside their own heads.

However, it’s not an issue if you’re lacklustre in the mathematics department. Casual play is also pretty exciting on its own since the house odds in blackjack is one of the lowest in any casino, offline or online. This would make blackjack one of the most attractive games to play in many online casinos in Malaysia like Play88 or Mega888.

For this piece, we’ll focus mainly on the how-tos when it comes to playing a standard game of blackjack in a casino.

But first, you’ll need to register and create a Play88 account to start playing blackjack. Have you done so? Great! Let’s move on to the following section.

Determining The Hand Values of Cards In Blackjack

In blackjack, all you really need is a standard deck of 52 cards to start playing. That being said, most physical casinos will employ the use of several decks at the same time, with the six-deck format (312 cards) being the most common.

Of course, the above applies to most physical casinos but if you were to transform blackjack into digital form, the same format (52-card deck) would also be applied.

Here are the card values in blackjack:

  • Cards 2 through 10 regardless of the suit are counted at face value.
  • Face cards such as jack, queen, and king are considered 10.
  • The ace can be considered as a 1 or an 11 depending on which value will help you the most.

Before Playing Blackjack In The Casino

Before you even fantasize about your potential windfall, you’ll first need capital to play. And most physical casinos will only accept chips that you can get by converting from cash at the blackjack table or at specific counters.

But if you’re playing in an online casino, you may instead opt for credits and/or using cash to play. Once you’re done setting up your capital, it’s time to play!

A Typical Round of Blackjack

At the start of the round, the first thing that you should do (apart from observing how other players are betting and the state of the deck) isto place a bet. And once all bets have been placed, the dealer will begin to shuffle the deck and start to deal cards clockwise to each player with all cards facing up for every player except themselves. The dealer will have one card face up and another face down in front of them. 

Now comes the exciting part and where your plays will ultimately decide your fate.

The dealer will begin with the leftmost person at the table and wait for the player to play their hand (we’ll get to the various plays involved in blackjack in a short while). To play your hand, add the card values of your initial two cards together and you’ll get a hand total between 4 and 21.

If you’re dealt a ten-value card and an ace, congrats! You’ve got a blackjack and have won the round — so long as the dealer doesn’t also have a blackjack. Getting a blackjack will entitle you to a payout of three to two times more than your initial wager. In the case that both you and the dealer have scored blackjacks, no one wins between both parties. 

If you and the dealer do not have blackjacks, the round will begin as per usual and you will have to wait for your turn to play your hand. 

The Various Plays In Blackjack

When it finally comes to your turn, you’ll have to make your decision based on your strategy and by using specific hand signals (buttons in online casinos). In physical casinos, dealers will not respond to verbal instructions due to policies requiring the cameras to capture your instructions. 

In this case, there are five ways to play your hand:

  • Stand: If you’re satisfied with your first two cards, you may pass and signal the dealer. They will then move on to the next player.
  • Hit: If you require more cards to improve your hand, you may do so one card at a time. The dealer will deal you additional cards face up until you either bust (go over 21) or you choose to stand. There’s no limit on the number of cards you can take other than your hand going over a total of 21.
  • Double Down: If you’re confident in your hand, you may double your bet by getting an additional card from the dealer. They will then only deal you one additional card, no more, no less.
  • Split: If you’ve been dealt a pair (two cards that are the same value) then you have the option of splitting them. You’ll have to put a second wager and the dealer will deal two more cards to you. This means you’ll have two hands to play.
  • Surrender: If you don’t like your initial hand and feel like it has no chance of winning, you may also surrender in exchange for half of your original bet back.

It’s The Dealer’s Turn

If you’re still in the game by the time everyone has played their hands, then it’s time for the dealer’s turn!

At this point, the dealer will flip over their facedown card and add up the two cards they have on their hand. Depending on their hand, the dealer may take a number of actions:

  • If the dealer’s hand totals 17 or more, they will stand.
  • If the dealer’s hand is 16 or lower, they will take additional hits until they either bust or get 17 or more.

Doubling, splitting, or surrendering is not available to the dealer and they do not have much freedom to play their hand compared to the player. The dealer must play their hand the same way every time, for each round. And the only exception is when the dealer has a hand consisting of an ace and a 6. Here, the ace may be considered to be a one, giving the dealer more chances to deal a better hand than 17.

The Resolution of A Round In Blackjack

After all players and the dealer have completed their turn, one of three things may happen between yourself and the dealer:

  • You win: You received a hand that is higher than the dealer’s or achieved a hand total of 21.
  • The dealer wins: You hit one or more times and got a bust or the dealer got a hand that is higher than yours or you surrendered.
  • You and the dealer draw: If you and the dealer achieved the same number, you do not lose your initial wager. 

Following the resolution of a round of blackjack, it’s time for the payout (if you win)!

The Payout In Blackjack

Accordingly, the dealer will resolve all outstanding debts for the round after tallying up every player’s hands. One of three things will happen here:

  • The dealer went bust and they will pay even more money (at least one times the wager) to each hand still in play on the table.
  • If the dealer has a higher hand, you lose your bet.
  • If the dealer has a lower hand, the dealer pays you an amount equal to your initial wager.

Also, in cases where the dealer and you have the same hand, it’s considered a draw or push and you get to keep your initial bet.

Now the round is finally over. That’s really all there is to it. The cards are swept up and the dealer will then start another round following the similar steps as above.

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