Blackjack Rules

Your Ultimate Guide to Blackjack Rules

Blackjack - It's a popular card game widely played in both land-based and online casinos. Played with at least one deck of 52 cards, it's a rewarding game with straightforward rules, strategies and interesting variations.

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Master the Rules and Odds of Blackjack

Looking to learn how to master a special technique to play a good game of blackjack? This section will cover the objective, values, and odds of the game. 

The Objective

With blackjack, each player in the game aims to beat the dealer by scoring a total count of, or close to, 21. 

Card Values

Blackjack card values go as follows:

  • Ace: it’s up to the player to decide if it should value 1 or 11 
  • Jack, King, Queen:  10 
  • All other cards: the pip (number) value.

The Odds

If there’s one thing you should note, it’s the odds. What you are dealt with as a player should matter because understanding the odds means you’re well aware of what chances you have to win or go bust within an instant. 

To excel in this regard, you have to take the time to understand the concept of probability and odds, as well as the house edge. Here’s the likelihood of you hitting blackjack (21) according to the number of decks in play: 

Number of decksProbability of hitting 21
14.827%
24.780%
34.764%
44.757%
54.752%
64.749%
74.747%
84.745%

House edge is the advantage casinos have over players during games. Even with the right strategies and decisions, casinos always have an edge to win during games in the long run. 

On average, most blackjack variations have a house edge of less than 1%. However, variations like Hi-Lo Bet, Perfect Pairs, 21+3, Poolside Blackjack, Super Fun 21, Royal Match Bet, Blackjack Bonus Pairs, High Streak Blackjack, Over/Under 13, Super Sevens Bet, and Lucky Ladies Bet have house edge values of 2.08%, 5.79%, 4.14%, over 2%, 1.16%, 3.78% to 6.67%, 4.10%, 16.74%, 6.55% to 10.07%, 11.4%, 17.6%, respectively. 

Understand All Side Bets

During a blackjack game, you have the main bets that you can make, and then there are also additional side bets that you can also place. Here, you will get the chance to predict the card that you or the dealer will get.

The side bet options you have, include:

Insurance

Insurance is a common side bet in blackjack that allows you the chance to cover or “insure” yourself should the dealer have an Ace. In this case, the side bet will include only half of the stake you placed and will payout on a ratio of 2:1 if the dealer has blackjack. By placing a side insurance bet, you reduce the general casino house edge. 

Perfect Pairs

By placing a side bet of perfect pairs, it only affects your cards. You will receive a payout if the dealer hands you two of a kind of the following:

A Mixed Pair 

The cards will hold the same value but have different suits and colours. The ratio payout here is 5:1.

A Coloured Pair

The cards will hold the same value and colour. The ratio payout here is 12:1. 

A Perfect Pair

The cards are exactly the same. The ratio payout here is 25:1.

21+3

With 21+3, the side bet will involve two cards belonging to the player against an upturned card from the dealer. In this way, the following combinations will appear:

Flush

With a flush, all the cards will be suited, offering a payout ratio of 5:1.

Straight

With a straight, all the cards will be consecutive, offering a payout ratio of 10:1. 

Three of a Kind

With three of a kind, the cards don’t have to be the same suit. This bet offers a payout ratio of 30:1.

Straight Flush

With a straight flush, the consecutive cards will appear to be of the same suit offering a payout ratio of 40:1.

Suited Triple

With a suited triple, all three cards will be the same, offering a payout ratio of 100:1. 

How to play Blackjack online

Bet Behind

With the bet behind side bet, you place your wager on the hand of another player. It can be done while the other player is waiting for their seat at the table or when the other player is playing at the table. 

Royal Match

Should the player receive any suited cards, the payout will be at a ratio of 5:2. Should the player get a suit of a king and queen, the payout ratio will be 25:1.

Over or Under 13 

With over or under 13, this side bet pays an even amount of money to the player for correctly guessing the sum of the total player’s cards as a value less than or greater than 13. In blackjack, if the player gets 13 they will lose; however, many casinos still allow side bets to be placed on the exact card value of 13.

Super Sevens 

This side bet offers players the chance to get paid out should they get one or more sevens. A single seven will give you a payout of 3:1. Two sevens that are unsuited will payout 50:1. Two sevens that are suited will payout 100:1. Should the third card also be a seven, the payout will be 500:1 if it’s unsuited and 5000:1 if it’s suited

Lucky Ladies 

Should all the cards the player has, add up to 20, the unsuited combination will payout 4:1, and a suited combination will payout 10:1. If you find a matched combination of 20 with the same rank and suit, the payout will be 25:1. If you have two queens that happen to be hearts, the ratio will be 200:1, and if you get a blackjack from the dealer, then the payout ratio will be 1000:1.

Honey Bonus 

This kind of bet depends on the player’s two initial cards and what face-up card the dealer has. If the outcome is: 

  • Three of a kind, the payout is 20: 
  • Straight, the payout is 10:1 
  • Flush, the payout is 5:1
  • A suited blackjack, the payout is 3:1

Lucky 7 

This side wager requires the player to have as many 7 cards as possible, based on their starting hand. The more 7s you have, the better the payout, as follows:  

  • One 7: 3-1
  • Two unsuited 7s: 50-1
  • Two suited 7s: 100-1
  • Three unsuited 7s: 500-1
  • Three suited 7s: 5000-1

Lucky Lucky

Lucky Lucky looks into the first two cards of the player together with the upcard belonging to the dealer to create a hand consisting of three cards. To score a win, you’d need to get 6-7-8, 7-7-7, or have your cards have a total value of 19, 20, or 21. 

Top 3 

Just like the Lucky Lucky side bet, Top 3 also looks into the first two cards of the player together with the upcard belonging to the dealer to create a hand consisting of three cards. Should the winning hands be made up of a suited three of a kind, non-suited three of a kind, or straight flush, then the player will score a win. 

Hot 3 

Also, with hot 3, it looks into the first two cards of the player together with the upcard belonging to the dealer to create a hand consisting of three cards. You win when you score a total value of 19, 20, or 21. 

Buster 

The buster side bet relies on the dealer going bust, with payouts increasing depending on how many cards are used. For example, if the dealer goes bust after five cards, the payout is typically 4:1, whereas if they go bust after eight or more cards, the payout can be 250:1.

Bust it 

Here, the dealer will go bust with an exact number of three cards. Should one or more players at the table make this kind of side bet, the dealer will have to draw a third card and give it to any hand that has a total card value ranging between 12 to 16. 

Live Casinos With the Best Blackjack Side Bets

CasinoBet Behind21+3Perfect PairHot 3Top 3Bust ItBusterLucky LuckyHoney BonusLucky 7
LeoVegasEvolution4/5
Jetbull casinoLucky Streak4/5
CODETAEzugi3/5
BGOPlaytech4/5
Casino EstellaVIG4/5

How to Play Blackjack – Breakdown of a Round

Blackjack is easy to play but hard to master. Luckily, we’ve broken down a typical game structure for you to follow. 

  1. Fund Your Balance

The first step involves you funding your account. Login to your account and select the payment option that’s ideal for you. If you happen to be a new player, you can also sign up for an available welcome bonus.  

  1. Place Your Wager

Choosing an amount to bet with can be slightly challenging, but your range depends heavily on the Blackjack table you’re betting. Typically, this can range between C$10 to C$1,000

  1. The Dealer Will Now Deal With Cards

You’ve placed your wager and are now ready to play. The dealer will deal two cards to you and have one card dealt to themselves at the start of the game. The next sub-sections will explain two instances that you’ll encounter once the dealer has dealt the cards. 

The Dealer Gave Me a Blackjack! 

If you get a Blackjack (21), this is good news for you as everything will be pretty straightforward from here. Depending on what the dealer’s last card is, this will determine what you’ve won. 

The Dealer Gave Me Cards That Triggered My Side Bet(s)! 

If we’re talking about side bet options, then this means you’ve made won some of your money back but need to make another move. This will be explained in the next step. 

  1. Time to Make a Decision!

This step involves making the next move now that your side bets have been triggered. Depending on the odds, and card values, you have the following options to try: 

  • Stay by ending your turn or holding your total 
  • Hit by requesting another card 
  • Double by doubling your bet  
  • Split by getting the cards split into two hands and getting another card for each hand 

When you’ve made a decision, based on the above, this will either continue or end the game. 

Damn, I Busted! 

In the instance that you hit and your card value is over 21, this means an automatic loss. This will be regardless of what card the dealer has with them. 

Still in the Race

If you asked to stay and your card value happens to be anywhere close to 21, then you’re still in the game. 

By reading about blackjack strategies and taking time out to find out more, a player can increase their knowledge on the game, and ultimately, increase their chances of winning. 

  1. Dealer Plays Hand

Now you and the other players have made your decisions based on the steps above and it’s now time for the dealer to reveal his/her last card. There are four outcomes to expect:

  • The dealer busts meaning all players would have won
  • You lose because your card value is lower than that of the dealer’s
  • Your draw because your card value and the dealer’s card value are equal
  • You won because your card value is higher than that of the dealer

    6. Payouts

Based on the outcome of the game from the steps above, these are the payouts you can expect:

  • An instant blackjack (first option in step three) will have you receive a payout of 1.5X your wager
  • A normal hand will award you on a 1:1 ration to your wager
  • Choosing to double your bet means you’d win 2X the wager you’ve accumulated
  • If you happen to win after splitting, your payout ratio will be 1:1 per hand and if you doubled a hand after having requested a split, your win will pay you 2X your wager. 

Frequently asked questions

Unfortunately not. Live blackjack requires real money wagers. Some sites do allow a demo version for their virtual online blackjack, though.
There are three main blackjack side bets: insurance, perfect pairs, and 21+3.
Yes, blackjack does offer its own variations that you can choose from depending on your preferences. Popular variations include European Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack, and Blackjack Switch.