Blackjack, often hailed as the quintessential casino game, holds a revered place in the gambling culture across the globe. This game, rooted in a rich history that dates back to the 17th century, has evolved over the years into the version we know today. 

Renowned for its perfect blend of skill and luck, Blackjack attracts both novice and experienced players with its simple yet engaging gameplay. Its popularity transcends the floors of traditional casinos, extending into the digital realm where it continues to thrive in online platforms. 

The popularity of Blackjack lies not only in the excitement of the play but also in its accessibility, offering a straightforward entry point for beginners while providing depth and complexity for the seasoned strategist.

Overview of Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of comparison between the player and the dealer, played with one or more decks of 52 cards. 

The game’s objective remains consistent across its various versions: to beat the dealer’s hand without exceeding a total of 21 points. This objective underscores the game’s alternate name, “21.”

The game begins with each player being dealt two cards, as does the dealer, with one of the dealer’s cards typically facedown. Players then decide how to proceed with their hand based on its value and the dealer’s visible card, making strategic choices that affect the game’s outcome.

Basics of Blackjack

The ultimate goal in Blackjack is straightforward – to achieve a hand total that is closer to 21 than that of the dealer’s, without going over 21. Exceeding this total results in a bust, leading to an automatic loss, regardless of the dealer’s subsequent hand outcome. 

This delicate balance between risk and reward forms the crux of Blackjack strategy, where each decision can pivot the game in favour of the player or the dealer.

Card Values in Blackjack

In Blackjack, cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, making the calculation of most hands relatively simple. 

However, the face cards – Jacks, Queens, and Kings – are each valued at 10 points, contributing to the strategic depth of the game. These higher-value cards elevate the chances of achieving a 21 with the addition of an Ace, which can be valued at either 1 or 11 points, depending on the player’s hand.

Comparison of Blackjack Versus Other Variations


Classic Blackjack

Other Variations


Get closer to 21 than the dealer without busting.

Same objective but with added twists and rules.

Card Dealing

Two cards to each player, one up and one down for the dealer.

May vary, like both dealer’s cards face up in Double Exposure Blackjack.

Doubling Down

Usually allowed on any two cards.

Restrictions in some variants, like only on 9, 10, 11 in European Blackjack


Allowed on any pair.

Variations may have different rules for splitting, like no re-splitting aces.

Dealer’s Play

Must hit until 17 or higher.

Some variations require hitting on a soft 17.


Not always available.

Some variations offer early or late surrender options.

Deck Number

Can be played with one or more decks.

Spanish 21 uses 48-card decks (removes 10s), affecting probabilities and strategies.

Side Bets

Limited or not available.

Variants often introduce side bets, adding extra betting opportunities.

House Edge

Relatively low, especially with basic strategy.

Can be higher or lower based on specific rules and player actions.

Strategy Complexity

Basic strategy is more straightforward.

Variations often require adjustments to basic strategy, increasing complexity.

How to Play Blackjack

How to Play Blackjack

  • Set up the game: To play blackjack online, the game starts by selecting a blackjack table, either physically or virtually. Players place their bets within the table’s minimum and maximum limits.
  • Bet and deal: Once bets are placed, the dealer shuffles the cards (in online versions, this is done automatically) and deals two cards to each player and themselves. 
  • Take action: 
    • Hit: Taking an extra card from the dealer. Advisable when your hand total is far from 21, and the dealer’s upcard is strong.
    • Stand: Keeping your current hand, expecting it’s strong enough or hoping the dealer will bust.
    • Double Down: Doubling your initial bet for one extra card; best used when your initial hand totals to a promising 9, 10, or 11.
    • Split: If you’re dealt two cards of the same value, you can split them into two separate bets, effectively playing two hands. This is often strategic with pairs like aces and eights.
  • Remember the rules: The dealer must hit until their cards total 17 or higher. Some variations require the dealer to hit on a “soft 17” (a hand containing an ace valued as 11).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Blackjack

Like any other game, blackjack has its own set of pros and cons to consider:


✅Low House Edge: With proper strategy, blackjack has one of the lowest house edges among casino games, offering better odds for players.

✅Strategy Can Reduce Risk: Unlike purely luck-based games, skill and strategy in blackjack can influence the game’s outcome.

✅Playable with a Single Deck: Blackjack can be played with just one deck of cards, making it easier to predict the odds and making card counting a possibility.

✅Widely Available: Blackjack is a staple at casinos worldwide and is available in numerous online platforms, making it easily accessible.


❌Requires Learning Strategy: To effectively reduce the house edge, players need to learn and apply complex strategies.

❌Risk of Losing Quickly: Poor decisions or bad luck can lead to rapid losses, especially when playing multiple hands or at tables with high minimum bets.

❌Variations Can Confuse: Numerous blackjack variations can confuse new players, affecting their strategy and odds understanding.

Strategies When Playing Blackjack

The basic Blackjack strategy involves making the optimal decision (hit, stand, double down, or split) based on your hand’s total value and the dealer’s upcard. 

Utilising a basic strategy chart, which outlines these decisions for every possible hand combination, can significantly lower the house edge. This strategy is derived from a mathematical analysis of the game, ensuring that players make choices that maximise their chances of winning over the long term.

When to Hit

  • If your hand’s total is 11 or less: You cannot bust, so hitting is generally safe and potentially beneficial.
  • Dealer’s upcard is 7 or higher, and your hand totals 12 to 16: These are the hands that players often hesitate on, but if the dealer is showing a strong card, taking another card could improve your chances of winning.
  • Soft hands (hands with an Ace counted as 11) totaling 17 or less: Because the Ace can revert to a value of 1 if the next card causes the hand’s total to exceed 21, hitting is a less risky move that could improve your hand.

Managing Multiple Hands

  • Balance your risk: If you’re playing multiple hands, consider taking more risks on some hands (like hitting on a 16) while playing it safe on others (standing on a 17), depending on the dealer’s upcard.
  • Use different strategies for each hand: Treat each hand on its merit, based on basic strategy, rather than hoping for the dealer to bust.
  • Manage your bankroll carefully: Playing multiple hands can deplete your bankroll quickly if you’re not careful. Adjust your bet sizes according to your total bankroll to ensure longevity in the game.

Where to Play Blackjack

Look for online casinos that are well-reviewed and have a reputation for fairness and reliability. Casinos and online blackjack sites  like BP9 are known for their extensive selection of Blackjack games, including live dealer and traditional formats.

What to Look for in an Online Casino

  • Security: Ensure the casino uses SSL encryption to protect your personal and financial information.
  • Game Variety: A good selection of Blackjack variations indicates a quality casino.
  • Bonuses: Look for welcome bonuses, loyalty programs, and promotions that are favourable for Blackjack players.
  • Customer Support: Reliable customer service is crucial for resolving any issues promptly.


The number of decks used in Blackjack can vary significantly, from single-deck blackjack games, which are rare and have the lowest house edge, to multi-deck games that use up to 8 decks. Casinos often use multiple decks to make card counting more difficult.

While there’s no limit to how many cards you can draw in Blackjack, the goal is to have the best hand total without exceeding 21. The minimum number of cards you can have is 2, and there’s practically no maximum, though going beyond 5 cards without busting is uncommon.

Card counting involves tracking the ratio of high to low cards that have been dealt to predict the likelihood of the next card being advantageous. It’s a technique used to gain a slight edge over the casino. Basic methods include the Hi-Lo system, where you assign a value of +1, 0, or -1 to each card seen and adjust your bets based on the count.