Blackjack Rules Uk

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There are a few rules in blackjack that can vary slightly from casino to casino. Dealer Hits Soft 17 Generally, the dealer in blackjack must hit if he has a total of 16 or less, and stand if he has 17 or more. But at some games there is an exception when the dealer has a hand of ‘soft’ 17. The strategy tables for Vegas and A.C. Are displayed below. To find strategy tables for a particular casino, you can visit BlackJack Info, a site that can generate customized tables. Basic Blackjack Rules: The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. Face cards are worth 10.

Introduction

Blackjack is a casino banked game, meaning that players compete against the house rather than each other. The objective is to get a hand total of closer to 21 than the dealer without going over 21 (busting).

At the start of a Blackjack game, the players and the dealer receive two cards each. The players’ cards are normally dealt face up, while the dealer has one face down (called the hole card) and one face up. The best possible Blackjack hand is an opening deal of an ace with any ten-point card.

The house advantage of this game is derived from several rules that favour the dealer. The most significant of these is that the player must act before the dealer, allowing the player to bust and lose their bet before the dealer plays.

Players should be aware that there is another card game called Black Jack in the UK which is an entirely different card game, effectively the same as Crazy Eights.

Note. Gambling can be dangerously addictive. You can find information and advice on our Responsible Gambling page.

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Dedicated to providing accurate information about online gambling and the legal aspects involved since 2015, John Isaac’s team at online-gambling.com have produced a plethora of online blackjack resources for players.

Equipment

Aside from the cards, the game requires a table, chips, a discard tray, cut card and a shoe.

After the dealer has shuffled a player will be selected at random and asked to take the cut card — a coloured plastic card matching the playing cards in size — and place it at a random position within stack of cards. The dealer will then move the cards above the cut card to the back of the stack. This technique is intended to demonstrate to the players that the dealer cannot have rigged the deck. The cut card is then reinserted into the stack of cards by the dealer at a pre-defined position and when this card is reached this indicates the final deal of the game before the cards are shuffled.

Where multiple decks are used, after the shuffle the cards will be placed into a dispenser called a shoe. This piece of equipment has two purposes: to hold large stacks of cards in multi-deck games and make the practice of hole carding (cheating by catching a glimpse of the dealer’s hole card) more difficult. In fact hole carding is not illegal in the vast majority of jurisdictions. If the dealer is poorly trained or sloppy enough to fail to protect their down card from being seen by a player at the table this is not the player’s fault and the player is not obliged to look away to prevent themselves seeing the down card. If however the player uses any form of device, for instance a metal lighter to observe the reflection in, or an accomplice off table signals the information to them, this is cheating. Hole carding is only legal where the player can see the card naturally from one of the player positions at the table.

Card Values

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When playing Blackjack the numeral cards 2 to 10 have their face values, Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued at 10, and Aces can have a value of either 1 or 11. The Ace is always valued at 11 unless that would result in the hand going over 21, in which case it is valued as 1.

Any hand with an Ace valued as 11 is called a ‘soft’ hand. All other hands are ‘hard’ hands.

A starting hand of a 10 valued card and an Ace is called a Blackjack or natural and beats all hands other than another Blackjack. If both the player and dealer have Blackjack, the result is a push (tie): neither the player nor the bank wins and the bet is returned to the player.

Order of Play and Playing Options

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In many places the dealer’s first card is initially dealt face down. The dealer’s second card is used to flip the first card face up and then slid underneath the first card. The exact dealing protocol varies from place to place as determined by the casino management.

If the dealer has a 10 or an Ace face up players are offered the option to place an Insurance bet. Insurance is a side bet on whether or not the dealer has a Blackjack, unrelated to the final outcome of the round. If a player chooses to take insurance they place an additional bet equal to half of their original bet. This insurance bet wins if the dealer has Blackjack.

The dealer now checks their down card to see if they have Blackjack. If they have Blackjack they expose their down card. The round is concluded and all players lose their original bet unless they also have Blackjack. If a player and the dealer each have Blackjack the result is a push and the player’s bet is returned. Any insurance bets are paid out at 2:1.

If the dealer does not have Blackjack any insurance bets are lost and any players who have Blackjack are paid. It is then the turn of the remaining players to take their actions. Starting with the player sitting furthest to dealer’s left they have the following options:

Stand — If the player is happy with the total they’ve been dealt they can stand, taking no further action and passing to the next player. The player can take this action after any of the other player actions as long as their hand total is not more than 21. The hand signal to Stand is waving a flat hand over the cards.

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Hit — If the player wishes to take another card they signal to the dealer to by scratching the felt beside their hand or pointing to their hand. A single card is then played face up onto their hand. If the hand total is less than 21 the player can choose to Hit again or Stand. If the total is 21 the hand automatically stands. If the total is over 21 the hand is bust, the player’s bet is taken by the house and the turn to act passes to the next player.

Double Down — If the player considers they have a favourable hand, generally a total of 9, 10 or 11, they can choose to ‘Double Down’. To do this they place a second wager equal to their first beside their first wager. A player who doubles down receives exactly one more card face up and is then forced to stand regardless of the total. This option is only available on the player’s two-card starting hand. Some casinos will restrict which starting hand totals can be doubled.

Split — If the player’s first two cards are of matching rank they can choose to place an additional bet equal to their original bet and split the cards into two hands. Where the player chooses to do this the cards are separated and an additional card is dealt to complete each hand. If either hand receives a second card of matching rank the player may be offered the option to split again, though this depends on the rules in the casino. Generally the player is allowed a maximum of 4 hands after which no further splits are allowed. The split hands are played one at a time in the order in which they were dealt, from the dealer’s left to the dealer’s right. The player has all the usual options: stand, hit or double down. Some casinos restrict the card ranks that can be split and may also restrict the option to Double after splitting a pair.

A player who splits Aces is usually only allowed to receive a single additional card on each hand. Normally players are allowed to split two non-matching 10-value cards, for example a King and a Jack. However, some casinos restrict the splitting of ten value cards to pairs of the same rank (two Jacks for instance). It should be noted in any case that splitting 10’s is almost always a poor play for the player. If Aces are split and the player draws a Ten or if Tens are split and the player draws an Ace, the resulting hand does not count as a Blackjack but only as an ordinary 21. In this case the player’s two-card 21 will push (tie with) dealer’s 21 in three or more cards.

Surrender — Some casinos allow a player to surrender, taking back half their bet and giving up their hand. Surrender must be the player’s first and only action on the hand. In the most usual version, known as Late Surrender, it is after the dealer has checked the hole card and does not have a Blackjack. It has become increasingly rare for casinos to offer the surrender option.

After all players have completed their actions the dealer plays their hand according to fixed rules. First they will reveal their down card. The dealer will then continue to take cards until they have a total of 17 or higher. The rules regarding Soft 17 (a total of 17 with an Ace counted as 11 such as A+6) vary from casino to casino. Some require the dealer to stand while others require additional cards to be taken until a total of hard 17 or 18+ is reached. This rule will be clearly printed on the felt of the table.
If the dealer busts all non-busted player hands are automatically winners.

Payouts

If a player wins a hand they are paid out at 1:1 on the total bet wagered on that hand. For example if the player wagered $10 and then doubled down placing a further bet of $10 on the hand and won, they would be paid a total of $40, their $20 bet back and $20 winnings.

If the player has Blackjack they are paid at 3:2, so that a wager of $10 the player would be paid a total of $25, their $10 bet back plus $15 winnings.

If the player has placed the Insurance bet and the dealer has Blackjack, the player’s hand loses but the Insurance bet is paid out at 2:1. So if the player had bet $10 on the hand and $5 on the Insurance bet, they would lose the $10 and be paid a total of $15 — their $5 Insurance bet returned and $10 winnings. This effectively results in a push overall for the hand.

Variants

Deal

In European style games only the dealer’s face up card is dealt the start of the round. Dealer’s second card is dealt after all players have acted, and the dealer checks for Blackjack at this point. Player Blackjacks are paid at the end of the round if the dealer does not have Blackjack. If the dealer has Blackjack the rules regarding Doubled and Split hands vary from casino to casino. Some casinos will take both bets while others will only take the initial bet and return the other.

Blackjack payout

Splits

When splitting 10 value cards, not all casinos will allow players to split non-matching 10 cards. For instance, in some casinos you could split two Jacks but could not split a King and a Jack. Also, some casinos will limit which card ranks can be split.

House rules will dictate whether the player is allowed to Double after splitting, and whether a player who splits Aces is allowed to receive more than one additional card on a hand.

Surrender

A few casinos may offer Early Surrender in which the player can take back half of their bet and give up their hand before the dealer checks for Blackjack. This is very rare nowadays

In European style games there is normally no Surrender option. If Surrender were offered it would of course have to be Early Surrender.

Five Card Charlie

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Swedish Pub Blackjack

Although pub stakes may vary, they are often much lower than in casinos with a minimum stake of 20 or 40 Krona and a maximum of 60 Krona (about US$7) for each hand.

Optimal Strategy

Basic Strategy table for one of the more commonly available rule combinations (6 decks, Resplit to 4 hands, Dealer Stands on Soft 17, Late Surrender, Double After Split).

Next, it should be understood that every possible combination of player hands and dealer up card has a mathematically correct play. These can be summarized in what is known as a Basic Strategy table. However, certain plays in the table need to be modified according to the specific combination of rules in force. To be sure of playing correctly, it is necessary to generate a Basic Strategy table for the specific rules of the game being played. Various tools are available online to do this. We would recommend this Blackjack Basic Strategy Calculator.

It should be noted that even playing perfect Basic Strategy for the rule set in play, the player will still usually be at a disadvantage.

Card Counting

The basic premise of Card Counting is that mathematically speaking, low cards on average are beneficial to the dealer while high cards favour the player. There are many subtle reasons for this but the most significant are:

  • A player who receives a Blackjack (a ten value card and an Ace — two high cards) is paid one and a half times their bet. The dealer however only receives the player’s bet when dealt a Blackjack.
  • While the player can stop taking additional cards at any time, rules require the dealer to continue drawing cards until they reach a total of 17. The player can choose whether or not to take an additional card on a total of 16 whereas the dealer has to take one. In this situation small cards are less likely to cause the dealer to bust are thus favour the dealer, while big cards cause the dealer to bust more often and favour the player.
  • The majority of situations where it is correct of the player to double are starting hands that would be made very strong by the addition of a ten value card or an Ace. Therefore, doubling becomes more favourable when there are more ten value cards and Aces left in the deck.

So the Card Counter looks for times when there are more high cards left to be played than a regular deck would have. Rather than trying to remember each card that has been played, the Card Counter will usually use a ratio system that offsets cards that are good for the player against cards that are good for the dealer.

The most commonly used Card Counting system is the HiLo count, which values cards as follows:

High cards: 10, J, Q, K, A: -1Medium cards: 7, 8, 9:0Low cards: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6:+1

To keep track the player starts at zero, adds one to the total every time a low card is played and subtracts one from the total when a high card is played. This is called the ‘Running Count’. It may seem counter-intuitive to subtract one for high value cards that are good for the player, but a high card that has been played is one less high card that is left to be played. Where the Running Count is positive the player knows that there are more player favourable cards remaining to be played.

When kept correctly the Running Count will start at 0 and, if all the cards were to be played out, would end at 0. This is because there are an equal number of high cards and low cards. The HiLo count is therefore referred to as a ‘Balanced Counting System’.

Card Counting systems are generally not impeded by the addition of multiple decks to the game. At any rate multiple decks do not make it significantly more difficult for the Card Counter to keep track of the Running Count, since the Card Counter only needs to keep track of a single number, the Running Count. However many decks are used, the count begins at zero and would end at zero if there were no cards left, so no changes need to be made to the counting process.

Where multiple decks do make a difference is in how much impact a positive Running Count has to the player advantage. If the Running Count is +10 and there are two decks remaining to play, this means there are an extra 5 player favourable cards in each deck. If there are 5 decks remaining to be played there are only 2 extra player favourable cards in each deck. The higher the concentration of extra player favourable cards the stronger the player’s advantage. To estimate the strength of the player advantage the Running count therefore needs to be divided by the number of decks remaining to be played. This figure is called the True Count.

With the True Count the player has a consistent measure of how many extra player favourable cards are contained within the cards remaining to be dealt. The player can use this information to vary their bet and playing strategy. Deviations from Basic Strategy are far less important than placing big bets when the True Count is high and low bets (or preferably nothing) when the True count is low or negative.

It is important to note that sizing your bet correctly is critical to your long term success as a card counter. This requires substantial additional knowledge that is beyond the scope of this article. Instead we refer interested readers to the books listed below for an insight into this complex aspect of card counting.

While Card Counting is legal in most jurisdictions, for obvious reasons casinos do not like players that can consistently beat them. They therefore employ counter measures and any players they identify as Card Counters will be asked to leave the casino. The most common method used to identify Card Counters is to watch for a large bet spread (difference between the minimum and maximum bet a player uses) and to see whether large bets correlate with player favourable counts. Card Counters have developed several methods to help them avoid detection. The two most common are:

  • Wonging / Back Counting. Named after Blackjack author Stanford Wong, this is the practice of watching the cards being played and only sitting down to play when there is a player favourable count. This practice reduces the bet spread the player uses as they only place bets in player favourable situations but casinos are now well aware of this strategy and watch out for players hanging around a table and not playing. The method is still useful, but not without its problems.
  • Team Play. This involves several trained Card Counters working together. Most commonly there would be several ‘Spotters’ sitting at different tables keeping track of the count and either back counting or playing minimum bets. When a table reaches a positive count the Spotter would signal to the ‘Big Player’ who would come over and bet big during the player favourable count. This allows both players to make very little variation in their bets. Casinos are aware of this strategy and watch for groups of players working together.

There are several variations on team play designed to be employed in different situations and to different effects. These are covered more fully in the reading resources detailed below.

Successful Card Counting is generally only profitable in land based casinos, not in online games. The strategy relies on the game having a ‘memory’ in that cards are dealt from the cards remaining after previous rounds have been played. Online Blackjack games are dealt by computer and normally use a random number generator to shuffle the whole deck after every round of play. Games of this sort are not countable.

There are some Live Blackjack games online, which are played over a video feed with a human dealer. These could technically be counted but there are several significant disadvantages that make this difficult or not worth the player’s time:

  1. Games of this type are very slow to play. A slow game means less money made.
  2. The games generally offer poor ‘penetration’. This means that the decks are shuffled early, not allowing enough cards to be dealt out for many player favourable situations to develop. (The most favourable situations for the player tend to occur further into the shoe.)
  3. The casino’s software records every player bet and all the cards dealt. This makes it relatively easy for a casino to employ software to track the count and watch for players raising their bet or only playing when the count is favourable.

For the above reasons Card Counting has not become commonplace online.

Recommended Books

Donald Schlesinger: Blackjack Attack — One of the foremost mathematicians in the Blackjack field, Schlesinger successfully compares the strength of various counting systems in different conditions.

Arnold Snyder: Blackbelt in Blackjack — One of the most easily accessible authors on the subject of Blackjack, Snyder still provides everything you need to know to start on your journey.

Rick Blaine: Blackjack Blueprint — A good book covering everything from Basic Strategy, through several counting systems and on to advanced techniques and team play.

Bryce Carlson: Blackjack for Blood — Discussion of various card counting systems and strategies to avoid being detected. Includes discussion of some strategies that unlike card counting, may not be legal. As such we would strongly advise user caution and research before engaging some of the strategies discussed.

Ian Andersen: Burning the Tables in Las Vegas — One of the best discussions of how to play successfully long term without being detected.

Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs: Knockout Blackjack — Credited as being the first published unbalanced counting system (system that did not require a True Count conversion).

Ken Uston: Million Dollar Blackjack — An old book now but written by a man famous for popularising the concepts of team play. This book covers several counting systems alongside some advanced techniques.

Kevin Blackwood: Play Blackjack Like the Pros — This book covers Basic Strategy, a variety of counting systems, money management and team play.

Stanford Wong: Professional Blackjack — One of the definitive books on the topic, the act of waiting for a favourable deck before sitting down to play is to this day referred to as ‘Wonging’.

Nathaniel Tilton: The Blackjack Life — A autobiographical account of a small number of players implementing modernised team play strategies. Very useful insight into how team play can still be effective.

Eliot Jacobson: The Blackjack Zone — A lot of space is devoted to how to become a better player and debunking myths surrounding gambling, but this book also has a good treatment of the basics of card counting.

Peter Griffin: The Theory of Blackjack — Peter Griffin was one of the most widely respected gambling mathematicians of all time. This book is maths heavy but very informative.

There are other good books on this subject but the above are the ones we feel any player should ensure they are familiar with before considering trying to win money by Card Counting.

Sites for blackjack rules, information and analysis

ThePogg.com provides a Blackjack Guide with rules, advice and casino reviews. The Basic Strategy section includes a comprehensive calculator that can generate the optimal basic strategy for almost any rule combination alongside a fairness calculator to check your results.

BlackjackInfo.com was formerly run by Kenneth R Smith but has now been acquired by an affiliate advertisement network. The forums on this site still contain a wealth of information and discussion on the various aspects of card counting.

Blackjack in Color is an unusual free Web-based Blackjack book providing an analysis of Blackjack and Card Counting illustrated by 139 charts. The author Norm Wattenberger also publishes the Blackjack Scams site, which points out some short-cuts that will more likely cost you money than make a profit, runs Blackjack The Forum and publishes Casino Verite Blackjack Card Counting training software.

Wizard of Odds has a large Blackjack section with information on the game, its variants and strategy. They provide a trainer with which you can practice card counting.

James Yates has written a page Blackjack Solved, which explains Harvey Dubner’s Blackjack card counting system.

The Wikipedia Blackjack page needs little explanation. A well detailed and referenced information source on Blackjack.

Blackjack is a casino game with the most favorable odds and lowest house edge. It is also the most popular table game. A typical house edge in a blackjack game is around 1% more or less, with some variations going little over one percent and some going as low as 0.4% edge edge. This is if you play in a disciplined manner and sticking to the basics. On the other hand, if you learn some more advanced strategy, you will be able to eliminate that house edge and make some nice cash. It’s as easy as that.

It’s amazing that there are players that are apparently too lazy to spend a minute or two and go the extra mile to learn a proper blackjack strategy, one that can bring them steady profit on the long run. It’s like throwing money away, when you can do the opposite.

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In blackjack the rules are very easy to follow. There are a couple of logical options that you can take advantage of in order to beat the dealer’s hand, and you can read about them further in this article. We are certain that you will have no problems in learning this fast-paced and exciting casino game.

Blackjack Rules

  • Blackjack games are usually played with multiple decks up to 8, although there are single deck blackjack variations. All use 52 card decks.
  • To win you need to have a higher ranking hand than the dealer as closest to 21 without exceeding 21. If the dealer busts, all remaining players at the table win.
  • At most blackjack variations the dealer hits on soft 17s.
  • The standard payout for hitting a blackjack is 3 to 2.
  • Cards are valued according to their face values. King, Queen and Jack and Ten are valued ten.
  • Aces are valued either 1 or 11, whatever benefits the player presently.
  • Winning hands are paid 1 to 1 (wager $5, win $5).
  • Splitting is allowed only with up to 3 hands.
  • If you or the dealer goes over 21 it’s a bust.
  • The suits of the cards have no meaning in blackjack, only their values.
  • If you and the dealer both have a two card blackjack, it’s a tie.
  • If you have a two card natural blackjack, while the dealer has a blackjack with more than 2 cards, you win with a 3 to 2 payoff.

The Basics of Blackjack

Objective of the Game

If there are other players at the table like in playing at live online casinos, you don’t have to compete against them. Your only opponent is the dealer, and the dealer plays against all players at the same time. The great thing with the different variations is that they include an additional twist to the game regarding the blackjack or some other added feature.

Card Values

Rules

All cards in blackjack are valued according to their face value. So, cards from 2 to 9 are valued accordingly, while 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued 10. Aces have two values, 1 or 11, and you can use whichever you like according to your hand.

Blackjack Dealer Rules Uk

When to Split

When to Stand

Surrender

Blackjack Rules Uk

Double Down

Blackjack Variations

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what blackjack variation you find since all of them are exciting. The most important thing is for the game to have low house edge and for you to find the appropriate strategy for that variation.

A Simple Strategy to Use

If you have a hand of 17 or higher, than you should stand, because there is extremely little chance to hit 1, 2 or 3. This is called a pat hand. The dealers pat hand is consisted of Ace and a seven. So, the strategy is to stand if you and the dealer have stiff hands, and to hit if you have a stiff hand and the dealer has a pat.

This one is only to get you started. There are many other strategies that you will need to use if you would like to advance in your blackjack skills. Blackjack has the lowest house edge and it would be a shame not to try and bust it with strategic playing. There are strategies intended for single deck blackjack games and games with more decks, but mostly for variations played with 4 to 8 decks.

Summary

Blackjack rules uk

Blackjack is a game that has remained unchanged for 4 centuries since it was invented in France and Spain. The reason behind this longevity of blackjack is precisely the format of the game. It can be learned in just five minutes but it can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

You can browse through the different online casinos here and check out their available blackjack games. Find if some variation suits you best, maybe Playtech’s Blackjack Switch where you can play with two hands at one time and switch the top facing cards between them in order to get a better hand. Or try Microgaming’s Gold blackjack series variations with high payouts. There are both single and multi-hand games.

Also, we would like to give you a quick tip that you should always first read about the particular blackjack game that you want to play, and that is done by reading reviews or players’ opinions. Then learn its rules and apply some strategy by practicing it in free play mode. This will be valuable for your rate of success, because practice makes it perfect.

Useful Blackjack Glossary

Blackjack Rules Uk

Insurance: Insurance is a wager placed when the dealer is dealt his hand, one card is showing and the other is upside down. If the showing card is an Ace, the player is presented with the opportunity to put insurance wager that will help him profit if the dealer has a two card blackjack. In such case the insurance wager pays 2 to 1 and the wager amount is half of the original bet. If the player has a blackjack too, the bet is pushed.

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Surrender: This an option available in Blackjack Surrender, and some other variants, and is used if the player thinks he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the round by surrendering half of the wager in order to receive the other half back.

Visit our Blackjack Glossary page for more more terms and phrases here.

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