Blackjack Rules and Strategy

Online Blackjack has grown to become one of the most popular casino card games that are played worldwide.

Originating from the French casino game vingt-et-un (21) around 1700, blackjack has hit the online gambling industry running. Other names for blackjack include 21 and Pontoon.

As far as gambling goes, black jack offers something that many casino games do not-the gambler's ability to use strategy to control certain aspects of the game. Blackjack strategy enables a player to combine luck with ability, to help equalize the gambling playing field. This may be one of the reasons black jack is such a favorite on many online gambling sites.

Blackjack Rules and Scoring

The rules for blackjack are pretty simple. You use your cards to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.
The cards are assigned the following values:

Value: Face Value
Jack, Queen, King
Value: 10
Ace Card
Value: 11 or 1

To start, each player and the dealer (the "house") are dealt two cards. Each gambler plays against the dealer. The player may draw cards from the deck ("hit"), adding up all of their cards to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. A player "stands" when they do not want to draw any more cards. The dealer must continue to hit until he or she has at least 17.

Blackjack scoring

A player wins blackjack by scoring higher than the dealer without going over 21. Players place their bet before each hand is dealt:

If the player scores higher than the dealer, the player wins his bet.

If the dealer scores higher than the player, the player loses his bet.

If the player and dealer tie, the hand is a "push" and the player keeps his bet.

If both the player and the dealer bust (go over 21), the dealer wins the player's bet.

If a player is dealt 21 with an ace and a face card, he is said to have a "blackjack," or a "natural 21." This wins the player his bet at 3:2 odds. This means that if the player bet $10, he would win $15.

Blackjack Strategy

Many blackjack players do not use blackjack strategy correctly.

Whether you're gambling in a casino or playing black jack online, it is crucial to follow the strategy exactly. Even a small deviation from blackjack strategy could greatly decrease your odds of winning. Therefore, we will concentrate on basic blackjack strategy first, then discuss the more complicated aspects of blackjack such as card counting.

You may not be able to control which cards come out in online blackjack, but you can certainly control what you do with them. Many blackjack players hit when they should stand, and stop when they should continue to hit. They treat blackjack like a guessing game, and make decisions on what "feels" right. This is a losing blackjack strategy.

Basic Strategy

In every online gambling site, or any casino for that matter, the odds in black jack are stacked against the gambler. However, it is possible to drastically minimize the house's edge. There are only so many cards in the deck, and thus only so many combinations. In addition, the dealer must play the exact same way, regardless of what the blackjack player does. The rest is just math.

A player's blackjack strategy should be based on both their blackjack hand, as well as the dealer's face-up card. By calculating the odds of each situation, you can greatly decrease the casino's edge by easily figuring out how to play and bet each hand of blackjack. Luckily, we have done the math for you.

Below is a blackjack strategy table that shows what you should do in every possible hand of blackjack.

Blackjack Strategy Table

Many online gambling sites offer free blackjack. Try printing this table and practice online blackjack for free!

We have covered what it means to hit and stand in blackjack, but there are some other blackjack terms you may not be as familiar with. Here is a quick definition of each blackjack term listed above:


Player takes another card.


Player does not take any more cards, or "stays."

Double Down

Player increases his bet to a maximum of double the original bet (for example, a bet of $10 may be increased to a total of $20) and takes exactly one more card. The idea is that the one extra card will leave you with a winning hand, and you can now double your blackjack winnings.


The player splits the two cards up. Each card is treated as a separate hand, with the amount of the original wager bet on both. (For example, if the player is dealt two 9's, and initially bet $10, the 9's are split and $10 is bet on each one.) Splitting your blackjack hand can potentially double your blackjack winnings. This option is only available when the blackjack player is dealt two of the same-value cards.

Card Counting

There have been various books and movies based on the concept of card counting. If done correctly, not only can card counting decrease the casino's edge in blackjack to nearly zero, but it can actually give the blackjack player the advantage. Card counting can give a gambling advantage of 0%-2% to the blackjack player.

For a detailed description on card counting, check out our card counting page.

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