Blackjack Rules

Did you know there are a few blackjack rules you must follow to win? What’s more, did you know their even more blackjack rules or table etiquette to follow to avoid getting slapped (literally) by the dealer if you break them? By default, people think that there’s only one thing that matters if you sit at a blackjack table. And it’s to make 21 with a combination of 2 or more cards without going bust. But they’re a lot more blackjack rules to follow. We’ve highlighted the most important ones below. This way, by reading this article, you’ll not only be up to speed with the dos and the don’ts at a blackjack table. We’ll also refresh your memories on some blackjack theory. This way, even if you play online, you’ll know the latest Blackjack rules.

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Refreshing your memories

If you’re visiting because you’re planning to play casino online or even host a home game with some friends, here’s a quick recap of some Blackjack rules you’ll need to follow. If you wanted to, you could also visit our How to play blackjack page to get a breakdown of how a game unfolds because, on this page, we’ll primarily focus on Blackjack rules instead of telling you how a game is played.

The card values

Blackjack is only made with 2 cards. And to hear “winner winner chicken dinner,” you’ll need an Ace and a picture card or a 10. So you could indeed get a count of 21 with more than 2 cards, but it wouldn’t be called a blackjack, and all books about blackjack rules would tell you that.blackjack card values

The table mat tells you all the blackjack rules to follow

You may already know that the table mat holds a lot of information, such as when the dealer needs to hit or stand. How much the insurance will reward you and, of course, how much you’ll win if you hit blackjack. Typically, online you’ll mostly find tables where blackjack pays 3:2. This means that if you hit A-J and bet $200, you’d win $300 at this table. There are, however, other tables that pay 2:1. This means a winning bet of $100 will give you $200. So clearly, the 2:1 payout is a lot more in favor of players. But these tables are hard to find online. Equally hard to find are those who’ll pay 6:5 or 7:5. Most experts would agree with us that a critical fundament of blackjack is to never sit at a table that gives you this kind of payout ratio on your bets.

The unspoken blackjack rules you must know about

It’s typically a rule that you’ll mostly find in brick and mortar casinos and affects only the “no-action” hand. But first, let’s clarify what a no-action hand is. In essence, “no action” hands happen when the dealer shows an Ace or a 10 card value, and you hold a score of 21. Usually, if both the house and the player hit 21, the player will get his bet back after the dealer reveals a blackjack. So, even with no insurance bet. However, in some casinos, the blackjack rules house book may declare the house the winner. So it’s worth asking about that before sitting at a table.
Another thing worth pointing out is that not all casinos will let you split aces. So, you should ask the dealer before you place your first wager.

What are the blackjack rules around surrendering hands?

It’s again one of the blackjack rules that varies from one casino to another. And if you play online, it’ll depend on the variation of blackjack you’re playing because some tables allow early or late surrender when a dealer shows a strong hand, like an ace or a face card. When a table accepts surrender, this means losing ½ of what you’ve put on the line right after the initial deal or after checking the cards and before the dealer shows its cards. So remember to ask the dealer if early or late surrender is accepted because using this practice could save you money down the line.

The blackjack rules around splitting and re-splitting hands

As you know by now, not all casinos will allow you to split aces. But if the table you play on allows it. You may only be able to get 1 hit on your split hand. So you should ask the dealer before splitting your aces because it could not be advantageous, although the blackjack strategy recommends it. The same blackjack rules or theories go for re-splitting hands. In fact, some houses will allow doubling down after a split while others forbid it. So make sure you ask the dealer what the house thinks on re-splitting a hand before you put an extra wager to separate your 8+ pairs, for example.



Double Down

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Break these blackjack rules, and the dealer could slap you

Ok, you might not get the beating of a lifetime or one that you’ll remember forever. Nonetheless, breaking these blackjack rules could get you a gentle slap on the hand.
Now it goes without saying that this is only applicable in brick and mortar casinos. In online ones, the actions are straightforward. So you stand no chances of breaking these blackjack rules as such and, of course, get the look that kills from the dealer.

Blackjack rules or good table manners?

Don’t worry when sitting at a blackjack table. It’s allowed to put your elbows on it. What’s more, there are a couple of things that you wouldn’t think are acceptable and you can do like asking for the dealer’s opinion. So what’s not allowed and what’s not when you play blackjack?

The things you should never do at a blackjack table in a brick and mortar casinos

  • 1) If you sit at a blackjack table for the first time, don’t rush to hand over your money. Instead, place it on the table after a hand is complete. This way, the venue’s camera can see how much you’re exchanging for chips.
  • 2) You should not count cards.
  • 3) Don’t hold or touch your cards unless you’re playing single or double deck blackjack. Remember to always pick them up with 1 hand if you play single or double deck blackjack. Also, remember to keep your cards on the table at all times.
  • 4) Don’t touch your chips when a hand is in progress.
  • 5) Keep your chip stack in order of chip denomination or color.
  • 6) When splitting cards or doubling down, never put your extra wagers on top of the chips on the table. Instead, gently place them next to your first bet.

The things you should never do at a blackjack table if you play online

  • 1) Chatting with players is fun. However, commenting on how they play is not acceptable.
  • 2) Even if card counting could be tempting to try online. It is still very much frowned upon to attempt it; it could also get you in trouble with some operators.
  • 3) Avoid emotional decisions. Sure it’s not one of those firm blackjack rules. But in the long run, they’ll only get you in trouble and might even get you to play irresponsibly. So, to be sure this does not happen, enable the responsible gambling filters in your account.blackjack rules

Actions speak louder than words – these are not Blackjack rules just recommendations

Without a doubt, if you’re playing offline, you’d win by learning the simple hand signal to hit, stand, split or double down. Using the hand signals might not be one of those firm blackjack rules, but it may keep you out of trouble.

The hand signals are handy because they always prove your intention. So, if the dealer makes a mistake and hits you by accident when you didn’t want a card, if you used the hand signal, the pit boss can go back to the cameras to see what your intentions were. Alternatively, if you play blackjack online, these types of mistakes can’t happen. However, you could accidentally click. And if this happens to you, you’d be wise to tell the dealer if you’re sitting at a live casino table. Or you can contact the customer care department if it’s RNG blackjack you’re playing.

Let’s recap the hand signal

Sure there are no blackjack rules as such but suppose you want more cards. What should you do? In this case, scratch the table with 1 or more fingers. To stand, wave your hand over your cards. Suppose your next action is doubling down. Then pinch a chip between your index and thumb. To split, show your index and middle finger to the dealer and make sure you separate them as if you’d hand signaling the number 2.

On a final note, it could be tempting to split a pair of kings, queens, jacks, or 10. However, remember that according to the blackjack strategy, this is not optimal play. So now, if you wonder what you should do, consider reading our blackjack strategy page. It contains valuable information that even the savviest players enjoy. After reading it, most players feel they have a leg up on the house.