Playing blackjack for money has become a favorite pastime of millions across the world. Blackjack is a popular gambling game that combines great odds with fast-paced action. A game of skill and strategy, it has the potential to earn you a ton of cash, provided you play smartly. Here is a look at how to play real money blackjack, and some useful strategies you can employ to make the most of the game.
Basics of real money blackjack
The objective of a real money blackjack player is to make a hand worth close to 21 points without exceeding this number. The numbered cards have a value equal to the number printed on them, i.e., a five is valued at five points, while aces are worth 11 or one, and face cards are valued at ten. You start off with cards dealt face up – the highest hand would be an ace and a ten-point card, referred to as blackjack.
After you make a bet, two face up cards are dealt to you, while the dealer has a two-card hand, one of which is face down. In case the dealer has an ace or a ten, he will see if the players have a blackjack. His blackjack can beat all player hands, unless there is a player blackjack, in which case there will be ‘standoff’ or ‘push’. In other scenarios, the player blackjack wins instantly at 3-2 odds.
Whilst playing at an online casino for real money, if both players and the dealer do not have a blackjack, then the players can take additional cards for improving their hands, in a technique known as ‘hitting’. But in the process, if the player gets a hand exceeding 22 points and above, he will be ‘busted’, which means he will lose the bets associated with the particular hand. The player can also choose not to take any more cards (‘stand’) and keep his currently held hand as it is.
There are two more options available to players. They can double down on their first 2 cards after the initial 2-card deal. In this case, they double their bets and take no more than one additional card, and then stand. If the player received two similar ranked cards, he can also split them into two different hands and play each separately for a full bet amount. In a strong situation, a double down can work well.
After players at the table are done playing their cards, the dealer shows the second card. To play their hand, players need to follow the rules outlined by the dealer. Most commonly, the rule is that the dealer can hit with 16 or lesser, while stand with 17 or more. In the event that the dealer is busted, players who remain in the hand win even amounts on their placed bets. If he stands, players should beat his hand to register a win. On the other hand, players lose bets on the particular hand if the dealer beats them. The bets will ‘push’ for equal strength hands.
A few real money blackjack strategies
A soft hand is one that has an ace with a value of 11; hard hands are all other hands. For soft hands:
- Always stand when playing a soft 19 or more
- With a soft 16-18, hit when the dealer has a 7 or higher, or see if you can double down
- Always hit when playing a soft 15 or less
For hard hands:
- Always stand when playing a hard 17 or more
- With a hard 12-16, hit when the dealer has a 7 or higher; or else, stand
- Always hit if you have a 9 or less
Some things to keep in mind
- Avoid using insurance unless you have near-perfect skills in the art of counting cards, or else you just end up throwing away your money. Insurance is an option where you bet that the dealer has a blackjack. In this case an ace is the dealer’s showing card; you can place a side bet amounting to upto half your original bet. If the dealer has a blackjack, you get paid 2:1 and your original bet will also be taken. If not, you end up forfeiting your side bet, and even your initial bet should the dealer’s hand be better than your hand.
- Use the surrender option if your total is 15 or 16, and you hold a 9 or 10, while the dealer has a 9 or 10.
- Don’t play at a blackjack table if you are not completely familiar with the rules