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Blackjack is the most played casino table in the world and a staple of most every major gambling venue on the planet. It's also a hugely popular draw at real money online casinos. Also known as '21', blackjack is a game played with a regulation pack of 52 playing cards, where the object is to beat the dealer by achieving a hand totaling closer to 21 than they can manage.

Many people first learn blackjack as children with their family at home, playing for matchsticks and improving their math along the way, as they add up the value of their cards and try to get as close to 21 as possible. It's a great entry point to table games, but it's far harder to master than it is to learn.

Aim of the game

The primary aim in blackjack is to get your hand as close to 21 as possible, without going bust along the way (any hand totaling over 21 is considered 'bust'). All numbered cards count as their face value, with jacks, queens and kings worth 10, and aces worth either one or 11 (you get to decide).

'Blackjack' is considered the perfect two-card hand, and consists of an ace (counting 11), plus a second card to the value of 10 (10, jack, queen or king). A two-card blackjack hand of 21 beats everything else.

Blackjack basics

Here's how cards are dealt in a game of blackjack:

Here are the options a player has when it's his or her turn to play their hand:

How betting works in blackjack

Each hand of blackjack betting starts with an initial stake. There will be a minimum amount and a maximum amount to adhere to. The initial player's stake can change during the hand if they 'double down', or 'split'.

Once all hands are played out the dealer reveals his or her cards to the table. The dealer must then play our their hand until it reaches a minimum value of 17 – hitting as many times as required to get to 17 or above. The following rules then apply:

Why do so many people love blackjack?

Blackjack's enduring popularity is owed to a game that is both simple, yet hard to master, and devilishly addictive. There are relatively few rules to learn and the betting process is straightforward when you compare blackjack to a table game such as Texas Hold'em poker.

The thrill of Blackjack has been adapted superbly for online casinos and is hugely enjoyable to play via your desktop, Mac or mobile device. We would recommend you visit a credible blackjack portal to help you choose the best site to play at.

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