Blackjack is one of the best known games you’ll find in a casino. It’s a popular game and relatively easy to learn.
Most of the rules are very straightforward, and it doesn’t take long at all to understand them all. Despite its simplicity, however, new or inexperienced players often have a lot of questions about blackjack.
Below you will see a list of some of the common questions with corresponding answers. You can find more detailed answers to many of these questions, and more, throughout our blackjack guide.
However, we’ve compiled this list of the most frequently-asked as a useful tool for those with specific concerns.
- Why is blackjack so popular?
- What is the house edge in blackjack?
- Is blackjack all luck?
- What is basic blackjack strategy?
- Why is blackjack considered a beatable game?
- Is card counting illegal?
- Should I always stand if there’s a risk of going bust?
- Should I surrender if I have bad cards?
- When should I take insurance?
- Is single deck blackjack better than multiple deck blackjack?
- Is online blackjack the same as live blackjack?
- Can the actions of other players affect my chances of winning?
- Do I have to tip the dealer?
Why is blackjack so popular?
There are several reasons why blackjack is so popular. It is a lot of fun for one thing, and as we’ve already mentioned it is an easy game to learn. Perhaps the biggest reason is the fact that it has one of the lowest house edges of all casino games.
A small mathematical advantage for the casino means you have a good chance of winning some money whenever you sit down to play. You are still expected to lose in the long run, but at a slower rate.
What is the house edge in blackjack?
Many casino games have a fixed house edge, but that is not the case with blackjack. There are several variants, all with slightly different rules, and the house edge varies depending on which you are playing.
With the right set of rules, and optimal play, it can be lower than 1%. It can also be a lot higher than that.
Is blackjack all luck?
The simple answer to this is no. There is definitely a significant amount of luck involved, as the results will always depend on the cards dealt to some extent. This is something that no one can influence, at least not without cheating.
However, the results in blackjack are also directly related to how you play. You can reduce the overall effect of luck by making the correct decisions in every hand. Luck will still play a part, but your actions will have a big impact on your expected returns.
What is basic blackjack strategy?
Basic blackjack strategy is essentially about making correct mathematical decisions. There is no need to actually do any math yourself, though, as the correct decisions have all been worked out and turned into a set of rules. These rules effectively tell you what to do based on the information available to you – which is the cards in your hand and the dealer’s up card.
The rules work because there are a fixed number of cards in the deck, and therefore a finite number of possible combinations that can be dealt. It is possible to mathematically determine which decision gives you the best chance of winning a hand in any given situation.
The odds are still against you in the long run, because of the house edge, but if you apply basic strategy, you will keep the casino’s advantage to a minimum.
Why is blackjack considered a beatable game?
Blackjack is considered a beatable game because it is possible to put the odds in your favor and give yourself a positive expected return. However, this is not easy to do.
It requires the use of a skill called card counting, which involves keeping track of the cards dealt in order to determine when the remaining cards create a situation that is favorable to the player.
Anyone can learn how to card count, but putting this skill into practice is difficult. This is partly due to the fact that it requires a great deal of concentration and an effective memory, and partly because casinos take a number of measures to stop card counters.
Is card counting illegal?
The casinos don’t like it for obvious reasons, and they are quite within their rights to ban you from their tables if they suspect you are counting cards. They cannot, however, have you arrested.
Should I always stand if there’s a risk of going bust?
No. The “never bust” strategy might seem like a safe approach, but it is actually damaging to your expected returns. The only correct strategy to use at blackjack is basic strategy, which tells you what to do and when.
There are times when it is right to stand, of course, but there are many other times when you should take a card even if you risk going bust.
Should I surrender if I have bad cards?
In some circumstances, surrendering is the right action to take. However, you shouldn’t surrender every time you have a bad starting hand. You are forfeiting half your stake, and this will cost you more money over time than playing some of those hands.
Basic strategy rules tell you when surrendering is the right option, and when it is not.
When should I take insurance?
It is a tempting option sometimes, but it is never the right mathematical decision. The only exception to this is if you are counting cards and see that there are some circumstances where taking insurance is the optimal play.
Is single deck blackjack better than multiple deck blackjack?
With all other rules being equal, a single deck game of blackjack will have a lower house edge than a multiple deck game. However, casinos generally adjust other rules in their favor for single deck games.
For example, they might reduce the payout for blackjack. These rule changes are made to negate the benefits of playing with a single deck and ensure that the house edge is not too low.
You can work out the exact house edge of any blackjack game if you know all the exact rules. However, this is not something most players need to worry about. It is far more important, and easier, to learn basic strategy than it is to try and find a game having the most favorable conditions.
Is online blackjack the same as live blackjack?
The basic rules of blackjack are the same regardless of whether you are playing on the Internet or in a live casino.
There are obviously no physical cards involved when playing at an online casino, which means a random number generator determines which cards are dealt, but this doesn’t have any real impact on the way the game is played.
Most online casinos offer live blackjack now, which brings the online experience closer to that of a real casino. With live online blackjack, you play against a real dealer, using real cards, and the action is displayed on your computer via a live video feed.
Can the actions of other players affect my chances of winning?
The accurate answer here is no, but it’s easy to understand why some people believe that other players can affect their chances of winning. On any given hand, the actions of one player may affect the result of another hand.
The cards they take, or don’t take, can change the outcome.
However, the actions of other players never actually impact the mathematical expectation of the game. The simple fact is that they are equally likely to help you win as lose.
Do I have to tip the dealers?
You don’t have to, no. You are in no way obligated to tip the dealer at any time. It is considered good practice, though, particularly if you’ve had a very good winning session.