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Have you ever visited a casino before? If so (and even if not), chances are, you’ve come across a game called blackjack. Indeed, although most historians believe blackjack originated in the 1700s, it remains one of the most popular games on Earth. And if you want to learn how to play online blackjack, or need to brush up on your knowledge of it, you’ve come to the right place!

Blackjack Basics

Blackjack is played with standard playing cards (52 cards) and every card in the deck possesses  its own value. The number cards (2 to 10) are all worth face value, while all the picture cards (kings, queens and jacks) command a value of 10. Aces count as either 1 or 11 (it’s your call, really) and if you receive one of these and a king, queen or jack as your first two cards, you get a blackjack (a score of 21) – the best hand in the game. However, the goal of the game is not to get a blackjack; rather, the objective is to defeat the dealer. And you can do this in the following ways:

1. The dealer goes bust (his or her score exceeds 21) and you don’t.

2. You outscore the dealer (e.g., 21 to 20).

Budgeting

Before you start playing a game of blackjack, work out how much money you can afford to spend and then convert all of this into chips. This should be the one and only time you buy chips; otherwise, you could get yourself into financial difficulties. Furthermore, set a ceiling for your winnings (e.g., triple your initial deposit) because most people without one end up losing all their gains. Then, find a free table (within your financial means).

The Deal

Once you’ve found a suitable table, place a bet down and the dealer will deal you two cards. Then, you must decide how to play your hand. If you’re happy with your cards, stand (opt not to receive anymore cards). But if you aren’t satisfied, hit (ask for another card). And you can ask for more cards to bring yourself up to your desired total. However, if your score rises above 21, you go bust.

Other options you may wish to consider after the initial deal include splitting your cards (split), doubling your betting stake (double down) and taking out insurance to protect yourself from a dealer’s blackjack.

Useful Tips

1. Always stand when your total’s between 12 and 16 points, and the dealer’s is 2-6.

2. Hit when your hand is worth between 12 and 16 and the dealer’s got 7-Ace.

3. Double down if your cards add up to 11 and the dealer has any card between 2 and 10.

4. Split pairs of 8s and Aces.

5. Never split 5s and 10s.

Final Thoughts

You’re almost set, but have another quick glance through this guide just to make sure. Then, play a few free games online to get a feeling for the game!

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