How to Play Blackjack

Last Updated: 06/10/2020

How to Play Blackjack


A common belief amongst new Blackjack players is that they have to get as close to 21 as possible. They’re wrong, the aim of Blackjack is to beat the dealer, it certainly helps to be as close to 21 as possible but players should not base their entire strategy around this. Here is a basic how-to guide which we hope can turn even an amateur into a master before they play at the Slot Boss online slots site. So let’s start off with the basics of the basics.

Blackjack Basics

Card Decks

For the most part, the cards you get in a deck are self-explanatory, our players have the numbers 2-10, an ace and three face cards (jack, queen, and king). The three face cards all equal 10 and the ace card can be used as either a 1 or 11. A player does not have to choose straight away what the value is, it will vary depending on the players total. If, for example, players are dealt an 8 and an Ace, they have a hard 19. However, if players have a ten and a nine, this would be a soft hand. This will be important later when strategies come into play.

How do you Play Blackjack?

Blackjack Chips

If you’re playing at a land casino, you’ll transfer your cash for chips to play Blackjack with. This is also the case online, although you’re not manually grabbing the chips and putting them on the table. If you aren’t sure how much a chip is worth, they often have their value printed on them. However, most casinos follow this set-up:

Blackjack chips

White & Blue Chips - Usually signifies £1.

Red Chips - Usually signifies £5, referred to as “nickels” in American Casinos.

Green Chips - Usually signifies £25, referred to as “quarters” in American Casinos.

Black Chips - Usually signifies £100, referred to as “blacks” in American Casinos.

Blue & White Chips - Usually signifies £500

Yellow Chips - Usually signifies £1000

So as an example, if one of our players wished to bet £630 at an American Casino, they would place down a blue & white chip, a black, a quarter and a nickel. In the modern-day as a safer gambling precaution, a lot of online and land casinos have set table limits.

Blackjack Cards

Once everyone at the table has set their bets, the dealer will typically deal cards from a dealing shoe which can contain between 200-1000 cards apiece. Each player will receive 2 cards, meanwhile, the dealer will place one of his cards down facing the table and another (known as the dealer’s ‘up-card’), facing up for all players to see. This is a vital card for the strategy behind the game as all of our players should play with the dealer's hand in mind, not just their own.

Bankroll in Blackjack

Bankroll In Blackjack

Setting an appropriate bankroll in Blackjack is arguably more important than knowing how to play the game. If you look into the careers of Bryce Carlson, Russ Hamilton or Edward O. Thorp, every single one of them takes the patient approach and sets a bankroll that will last the length that they wish to play. Patience is key to all Live Casino Games but especially in Blackjack which is why we have the full section above dedicated to helping you pick your ideal bankroll based on three criteria: expectations, time available and reality.

Check out our tips to setting your bankroll in the image above

Dos and Donts of Blackjack

Blackjack Dos and Donts

Blackjack Games and How to Play

Once you find yourself in a situation with two cards, up against the dealer, who things should go through your mind. How does the dealer’s hand look, and how does my hand look? These are just as important as each other as dealers must always have a hand of 17 or higher.

Hit, Stand & Split

‘Hit’ and ‘stand’ are the common-sense options here. Hitting gives you another card and standing means that the player is content with their total. Simple, right? Good start but choosing to ‘split’ might be a different challenge.


If players have two cards of the same number or letter, they have the option to split. To do this, players must double down on their stake and another one card will be placed next to each split card to provide their final values. A warning here is that players can only draw one card for each, so while it is worth splitting when you have two 10s, it definitely is not worth splitting if you have two 2’s.

To find out more on when you should Split in Blackjack, check out our blog

How to Split in Blackjack

Dealer Up-card Strategies

Before you make any decisions, look at the dealer’s card and then think what they’re likely to achieve with their other card. If the up-card in the dealer's hand is five or lower then they will have to pull another card from the shoe.

Doubling Down In Blackjack

Doubling Down in Blackjack

In the modern-day, doubling down sounds much worse than the Blackjack reality. Outside of Blackjack, it is associated with risks much greater and more devastating that the Blackjack strategy. The Blackjack strategy is the only doubling down that we recommend but it is important that players understand how to use the feature strategically to ensure that Doubling down is the calculated risk it is supposed to be rather than a shot in the dark effort. Click the image above for our in-depth guide to Doubling Down in Blackjack.

Blackjack Soft Hands

Whether it's in our Live Blackjack or in single-player games, the aspect of the game that seems to confuse players is Soft Hands, we have seen a tonne of different situations where players have lost rounds simply because they've misplayed their soft hand. Which has led to our expert providing an in-depth description on how to play certain soft hands as well as the facts and figures of different hands, if you're not quite sure on how you would play a soft 14 or a soft 18, then take a moment to check out our guide. Here are just some of the figures you will see in this section:

Chances of Landing

Total Chances /169 Percentage
Soft Hands 17/169 10.1%
Blackjack 8/169 4.7%
20 16/169 9.5%
19 8/169 4.7%
18 9/169 5.3%
17 10/169 6%
16 11/169 6.5%
10-16 80/169 40.8%
4-9 21/169 12.4%

To find out more about Blackjack Soft Hands, check out our blog below

Blackjack Soft Hands

Blackjack Quiz

Just to make sure you’re keeping track, here are a few quick questions to ensure you’re up to date on the information above.

1. Cards are dealt, you have a total of 16. The dealer’s up-card is a six. Should you hit or stick?

2. You have been dealt two cards, they match. You have a total of 8 from two fours, should you split?

3. How many chips would I need to put down to bet £535?


1. On the basis of statistics, it’s a bad idea to hit. The player has 16 so the dealer needs two cards with a total value between 10 and 15. Meanwhile, the player would have to draw a 5 or lower just to ensure they stay in the game.

2. Definitely not. In most casinos when you split, you receive one card to pair with each of yours, so even on your greatest day you would only finish on 15.

3. Four chips. A barney, a quarter and two nickels.

If you got those right, fair play. They were fairly standard but you need to know the basics before you play at our online live casino.

Differences Between Playing Online and on Land

There are a lot of rules that apply to land casinos that you won’t find when you play our live casino or any of our online slots. They are:

- No handing money directly to the dealer.

- Do NOT touch your cards if they’re laid upwards.

- If your cards are laid facing down, use ONE hand to touch them.

- Cards must remain on the table at all times.

- Use hand signals instead of speaking to the dealer.

Blackjack Alternatives

If you’ve read this and decided Blackjack isn’t for you, then that’s fine. Our casino games are not for everyone. We would, therefore, suggest you try out some of our online slots or even some of our fantastic live casino alternatives such as online Roulette.

Slot Boss Casino Slots

If you’re looking for something more in the variety of the online slots, then we suggest taking a look at some of our top slots such as Rainbow Riches, Starburst slot and Cop slots. However, if you’re looking for slots of a different theme, be sure to head to our latest Slot Boss Analysis to find the most popular themed slots. These include some absolute classics such as Book of Dead and the highly acclaimed Narcos slot. If you're not interested in slots why not try out Slingo slots? Which expertly mixes some of the greatest aspects of slots and bingo in order to create one of the most popular casino games on Slot Boss.

How to Play Blackjack Online

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