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Aka’ 21’, ‘Pontoon,’ and ‘vingt-et-un,’ blackjack is one of the select few casino table games that has endured – and been enjoyed – for centuries. While other games involve complex gameplay, blackjack stands alone as having quite possibly the simplest rules to grasp of any casino card or table game. Meanwhile, its notably high return-to-player (RTP) rate ensures its ongoing popularity with experienced and new casino players alike.
Here at Wildz, our online casino is packed with exciting blackjack formats to try, from Classic to Lightning Blackjack and even Live Casino Blackjack. Read on to discover how to get started playing.
A quick overview of the Blackjack rules
The blackjack games you can play here at Wildz work just the same way as their land-based counterparts. Even our more challenging advanced variants follow the same rules when it comes to blackjack hands and the structure of gameplay.
The aim of blackjack is to get a hand of cards as close to 21 as possible to beat the dealer. Blackjack is a game that you play with the dealer; the Player and Dealer alike receive two cards apiece to open the round. Both player cards are dealt face-up to the table, but the dealer only has one face-up card throughout.
The gameplay then continues as follows:
- Hit – players can continue drawing cards to improve their hands. If a player gains a superior hand, they’ll receive an even money payout (1:1).
- Stand – this ends betting on the hand and forces the dealer to reveal their second card and play their hand.
- Bust – if a player’s hand exceeds 21, they go ‘bust.’ Their stake is collected by the dealer, and the round is over.
- Push – in the event of a tie between player and dealer, the bet stays in place.
- Soft 17 – some variants require the dealer to ‘stand’ if they have a 17-21 hand. If they go over 21, the dealer’s hand is declared dead.
- Blackjack – the ultimate hand for this game. A ‘blackjack’ is comprised of an Ace and any card to the value of 10. If a player holds a blackjack hand, they’ll receive a payout of 1.5x their original bet (3:2)
- Insurance – a side-bet that’s available in the event of the dealer holding a face-up Ace. Players can ‘purchase’ insurance for half the value of their original bet, which returns a payout of 2:1 if the dealer holds a blackjack hand.
It’s worth remembering that Aces can affect blackjack odds as they can be worth 1 or 11 during the game. However, all Jacks, Queens and Kings in the deck are worth 10.
If the dealer’s face-up card is anything but an Ace, there are two additional options offered to players:
- ‘Splitting’ a hand with two cards of the same value to create two separate hands, e.g. Jack/King, 7-7.
- ‘Doubling down on an initial wager with a hand of two cards equal to a value between 9 and 11.
Some Basic Blackjack Strategy for beginners
Since blackjack has been in play for centuries, mathematicians and gamblers alike have tried to create the ultimate blackjack strategy for years. While some systems produce better results than others, there’s sadly no such thing as a single winning strategy. When you play blackjack, you can improve your chances of winning by following our basic pointers:
- Stick with games that offer 3:2 blackjack payouts. Some games only pay out 6:5 for a winning hand of blackjack, which gives you a lower RTP.
- Utilise basic blackjack strategy charts to develop your understanding of what moves to make.
- Split your Aces and 8s but leave any other cards as a single hand. Splitting your aces will give you two chances to score a blackjack, while splitting your 8s will provide you with two chances to win a hand over 16.
- Steer clear of insurance bets. While they may seem to stack the odds in your favour, insurance bets could result in losing more money than you make. The payout of insurance bets is 2:1, implying a 1 in 3 chance of the dealer hitting a blackjack. However, given there are only four cards from the thirteen available that could make that hand, the odds are closer to 9:4 or 30.8%.
The casino house edge depends on how well you play blackjack
One of the unique aspects of blackjack is that it features an irregular house edge. This house edge then fluctuates further depending on which of the several blackjack variants you happen to be playing, the rules governing the game and even your playing style. While being fixated on a specific blackjack strategy won’t benefit you, nevertheless, you should aim to play the game strategically – especially if you want to shave some extra numbers off that house edge.
Generally speaking, you can expect the blackjack games here at Wildz – including our live casino variants – to have a house edge ranging from 1% to 4%. Your odds of winning, meanwhile, could reach up to 42.22% if you’re splitting the right cards while you play and taking advantage of strategy charts.
As you progress in the game, you may even be able to get your RTP up to 99.5%, lowering the house edge to a minuscule 0.5%.