In general, blackjack is played with varying quantities of deck of cards. It used to be just one deck, but since genius gamblers like Edward O. Thorp created systems that would surely beat the dealer (i.e., card counting), casinos have upped the stakes. Now, blackjack is played with two, four, sometimes even up to eight decks!
But don’t let this fact hinder you from playing. The number of decks used would only affect your strategy if you’re counting cards. Otherwise, you would be fine with following the basic blackjack strategy.
Before we go into the nitty-gritty of blackjack strategy, you should familiarize yourself with the rules of online blackjack.
Blackjack Card Values
Suits have no value in blackjack, and do not affect the game in any way. Cards 2 to 10 are taken at face value. All face cards are considered to have a value of 10. The Ace could be considered as having a value of 11 or 1, depending on the situation.
So, for example, a Jack and a 4 would equal 14. An Ace and a 4 would be equivalent to either 5 or 15. If the cards are Ace, 4, and 7, the value of Ace would be 1 by default, because if it were to be 11, the hand would bust (11+4+7=22). If the Ace were paired up with any card that has a value of 10, it would automatically be valued 11, giving the player a blackjack.
Blackjack Game Procedure
The game procedure in blackjack is identical in both its online and offline versions. Players first place their bet before being dealt anything. Players are dealt two cards face-up. The dealer is given one face up card and one face down card (called the ‘hole’ card). After all the cards are dealt, the players then act in turn. In games where there are multiple players, the one to the left of the dealer acts first.
Blackjack Actions and Terms
Hit: To hit means you want to be dealt another card. To execute the hit action in online blackjack, you’ll usually simply click the ‘hit’ button.
Stand: If you are satisfied with your first two cards or your cards after you’ve hit, you can click on the ‘stand’ button. This will signify that you don’t want to be dealt any more cards.
Double Down: When a player doubles down, they are allowed to double their bet after being dealt their initial two cards. The player would then be dealt a last additional card. The conditions for doubling down vary according to which online casino you are playing in. For example, some casinos only allow doubling down to cards that total eleven.
Split: When a player is dealt two cards of the same rank (e.g. two Jacks), they can choose to split the cards into two different hands. After which, the player must make a bet equivalent to their initial bet. A second card would then be dealt to your first split hand. You can now act on your hand. Once you choose to stand, the dealer would then repeat the process on your second split card.
Insurance: The dealer would offer insurance if their upcard is an Ace. An insurance bet is a side bet — you are betting that the dealer’s hole card is a 10. To make this wager, you put in half of your total bet on the side. If the dealer’s hole card is a 10, you are paid 2:1. If you win the insurance bet, you’ll just be receiving your lost bet.
Surrender: A few online casinos would offer you the option of surrendering your hand, with the effect of retaining half your initial bet when the dealer checks for a blackjack.