Blackjack Games

Each year, millions of people around the world gamble billions of dollars playing Blackjack – it’s one of the most popular and iconic games in the casino world, and after reading this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about blackjack, how to play it, and gambling strategies.

This guide is especially important for UAE players, as, on average, they are not as familiar with blackjack as other groups. This is partly due to the history of the country, partly due to the culture, and partly due to UAE media. Nevertheless, a lot of UAE have started gambling and getting into blackjack recently, and it is important for these players to start on the right foot.

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    Because, right now, if you look up blackjack games online either in Arabic or English, most of the results will be untrustworthy websites trying to beguile you into signing up for some shady thing or badly written guides telling you how to win. This is mainly because the gambling scene is still in its infancy, and there aren’t many high-quality gambling-related websites out there. But, our site aims to change that, and you’ll find a high-quality and well-written blackjack guide here!

    A Small History Lesson on Blackjack

    Although you don’t need to be familiar with the history of the game to gamble and win while playing blackjack, it doesn’t hurt to be familiar with the history of the game. This could help you put it in context, and if nothing else, it will act like a decent bit of trivia you can impress your friends and family with.

    You might have heard of Don Quixote? A classic novel written by the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. You might be really shocked to find out the first-ever mention of a game resembling blackjack is found in his work. He really enjoyed gambling, and he mentions various types of gambling games in his novellas. If you’re interested in the history of gambling and unorthodox games, his novellas are definitely worth a read. The game was originally called twenty-one, in reference to the number of points you have to have in your hands to decisively win.

    How Did It Start Being Called Blackjack?

    It actually didn’t start being called blackjack until much later on. When the game was introduced to America, a lot of casinos wanted to capitalize on it, so they started offering a lot of different bonuses. One of the bonuses was a TEN to ONE payout if you manage to get a 10 and one of the two blackjacks. Although the offer made casinos lose a lot of money and was discounted quickly, the name stuck, and more than a century later, it is still being called blackjack after the bonus. This aside from being an interesting historical tidbit should teach you the importance of taking advantage of bonuses and offers from casinos.

    Blackjack Games Now

    Blackjack, from those humble beginnings, has become one of the most popular casino games in the world. You can probably find blackjack tables in almost every brick-and-mortar casino. The situation isn’t much different online, either – blackjack is insanely popular online, and millions of players (including thousands from UAE) play blackjack each day.

    Where Should I Play Blackjack?

    Now that you’re familiar with the history of the game, you’re probably excited to try it out yourself. So, where should you try it out? Because playing in brick-and-mortar casinos isn’t an option for many UAE out there. You probably need to play online blackjack . So how should you choose the best place to play online blackjack games?

    • Choose a casino that lets you try out the games: when playing online, it is important to ensure the website is responsive and the game is fun to play. In a lot of instances, the website ends up being buggy and unplayable, due to the number of bad casino websites out there. Trying out the casino games, therefore, is essential to making sure you’re choosing the right place to play.
    • Choose one with great bonuses and membership programs: online casinos offer a lot of amazing bonuses and membership perks that you need to start making use of. It can range from doubling your initial deposit up to a few hundred dollars (yes, you heard that right – you can potentially get hundreds of dollars for free to gamble with) to free spins and other bonuses while gambling. It is important to choose online casinos with attractive bonus schemes to maximize your gains.

    The internet is vast and finding the right online casino can be really difficult. But, you don’t have to do it all alone. We’ve looked over hundreds of online casinos and handpicked a few specifically for UAE players. If you don’t have time to look into it, you should definitely check out our recommendations. You’ll find great online blackjack games.

    The Definitive Guide to Everything Blackjack

    In this section, we’ll go over everything related to the game from A to Z. If you are a beginner who isn’t really familiar with the game, you should be able to start playing and winning by the end of this section. And even if you’re a gambling pro, you can still brush up on your skills and learn a few new tips and tricks.

    Commonly Used Terminology in Online Blackjack Games

    One of the major reasons new people have a hard time learning about and getting into gambling is due to all the specialized words used. When you start reading an online blackjack guide, you’ll see words like “splitting”, “doubling”, and “dealer advantage” being thrown around without any explanation. This makes it really difficult for newbies to follow the conversation. That’s why we decided to do something – before we go into the rules of the game, we’ll define and explain all the common terms associated with gambling, casinos, and especially online blackjack games. This will not only make it easier for you to follow our guide, but it will help you understand other guides and websites better and communicate easier with other gamblers.

    The dealer: the person you’re playing against. In a brick-and-mortar casino, it is a casino employee that is responsible for a table. In an online casino, the dealer might be a computer program or it might be an actual person depending on the type of the casino. Casinos with live dealers are called live casinos.

    Hit: after the initial phase of the dealer giving you two cards, hitting means asking for an additional card. You usually need to hit if your hand’s value is too low.

    Stand: this is where you stop asking for more cards. The dealer gets to take his turn after you stand and then the winner is decided.

    Soft ace: the ace can be counted as either 11 or 1 in blackjack. When it is counted as 11, it is called a soft ace.

    Hard hand: If you have a chance of busting when you hit, your hand is referred to as a hard hand. This is usually when the total of your hand is more than 11 and doesn’t contain a soft ace.

    Soft hand: this definition should be self-evident. It is a hand that contains a soft ace.

    Blackjack: aside from the name of the game, blackjack also refers to the best possible hand you can get in the game. This is 21, which you can get if you draw an Ace and one of the cards that are valued at 10 (10, Jack, Queen, King).

    Splitting: when the first two cards you are handed are a pair, you have the opportunity to split those two cards into two hands. Then you proceed to play them as two separate games concurrently. Depending on the pair you first receive, it might be a great idea to split or it might be a horrible idea.

    Doubling: after you receive your first two cards, most casinos will give you the opportunity to double your initial bet – this is called doubling. You need to learn how to make use of doubling effectively if you want to win at online blackjack long term.

    Insurance: if the first card the dealer draws turns out to be an ace, you can insure yourself by betting half your original bet on the dealer’s hand being blackjack. This means if the dealer’s hand is indeed blackjack, you’ll be paid 2:1 for your side bet, and you’ll receive the original amount you bet back. This is why it is insurance, it insures you against any losses you might suffer if the dealer’s hand is indeed a blackjack.

    The basics of Blackjack

    Although our glossary of definitions isn’t complete, you now should be familiar with the most common terms used in the game and easily understand everything when people talk about blackjack. Now, then, it is time to learn the basics of the game and how to get started.

    Blackjack - How Does the Game Start?

    The game starts when you sit down at a blackjack table or go to the online blackjack games section on an online casino website. Usually, there’s a lower limit on the amount you can bet on particular tables and websites.

    Now, once you’ve placed a bet, the dealer will hand you two cards and draws two cards himself. You’ll turn both of your cards face up, and the dealer turns one of the cards face up while looking at the other without revealing it. It is time to count your hand.

    How Do I Count My Hand in Blackjack?

    Your goal in online blackjack is to get as close to 21 without going over it, and learning how to count your hand is a crucial step in learning how to win the game. Thankfully, counting your hand is rather easy:

    • Cards from 2 to 10 are counted normally. If you draw a 6 and a 9, you have 15. This is simple enough.
    • Jacks, queens, and kings are all counted as 10. If you have a jack and a 6, your hand is 16.
    • Now comes the slightly tricky part. Learning how to count the ace. As long as it doesn’t go over 21, the ace is counted as eleven, but if you decide to hit, and the score is above 21, your ace will be counted as one. For example, if you have an ace and a 5 in your hand, you’ll have 16. If you decide to hit and draw a 6, because the total score is over 21, the ace will be counted as 1 and your hand’s total will be 12. On the other hand, if you manage to draw a 3, the total of the ace, the 5, and the 3 will be 19.

    What are the Winning Conditions in Blackjack Games?

    There are multiple winning conditions in the game.

    • A natural or blackjack: if you have an ace and a card that’s counted as 10, then it is called a blackjack and you immediately get a payout, unless the dealer also has a natural.
    • The dealer busting: once you finish hitting and stand, it is the dealer’s turn to draw. They usually can only draw twice. If they decide to hit, and their hand went over 21, they bust and you automatically win.
    • Having a hand closer to 21 than the dealer: if, after drawing two cards, they don’t bust but they still have a smaller hand than yours, you win.

    When Should I Hit in Online Blackjack and When Should I Stand?

    Now that you’ve learned how to count your hand and the winning conditions, it is time to learn what actions can you take to maximize your chances of achieving one of the above winning conditions.

    You can’t really influence the first two winning conditions. Whether you draw a natural or not is completely beyond your power, and you certainly can’t influence which cards the dealer draws. This leaves out the third winning condition. Hitting to maximize your chances of getting as close to 21 without going past it.

    This is really tricky because it is hard to determine what maximizes your chances of winning. Should you hit when you hold a hard 15? Should you hit when you have a soft 18 and the dealer’s revealed card is ace? The calculations that go into this are complicated, and you need experience and training to get them right.

    Maximizing Your Odds When Playing Online Blackjack

    To maximize your odds, you need to follow what is called a basic strategy. As the game has a finite amount of variation, barring any extremely unique rulesets, the following strategy will be able to maximize your returns.

    • Always hit when your hand is 11 or less. There’s literally no reason not to hit when you have such a low score. You never risk going over 21, so it is optimal to always ask for an additional card, and if you are still below 11, an additional card again.

    Now depending on whether you have a soft or a hard hand, the strategy you need to follow past this point will be different:

    Soft Hands in Blackjack Games

    With soft hands, you don’t risk busting, so you can take more risk. But, you already have a good hand like a 19, even if it is soft, you don’t want to risk going over it and potentially reducing your hand’s value significantly. So here’s the strategy you should be using:

    • If you have an ace and a 2 or a 3 your total score is either 12 or 13, and this is really low. So you obviously need to hit regardless of the dealer’s card. But, if the dealer’s faceup card is a 5 or a 6, you should double your bet and hit, because your odds of winning are really good here.
    • If you have an ace and a 4 or a 5, your hand is marginally better, but you still should hit instead of stand. So, follow the same strategy as the point above, but instead of only doubling your bet when the dealer has a 5 or a 6, you should double and hit your hand when the dealer has a four too.
    • If you have an ace and a 6, your total hand count is 17, which means there’s still room for hitting, especially when you have a soft hand. Follow the same strategy, but this time double and hit when the dealer’s card is 3-6.
    • Now, this is where things get interesting. If you have an ace and a 7, this means your hand total is 18, which is very good. But to decide whether you should hit or stand, you must look at the dealer’s card. If it is between 2 and 6, you can be pretty confident that you’ll win, so you should double your bet and stand. If the dealer’s hand is either a 7 or an 8, you should just stand, because doubling your bet is a risk not worth taking. If the dealer’s card is above 9 in value, you should definitely hit.
    • If you have an ace and an 8 or a 9, your hand is already really good. It is very unlikely you can improve upon it by taking the risk of hitting and drawing a new card. So, in all instances, no matter the dealer’s card, you should stand if you have this hand.

    Okay, and that should cover it. Remember these points, and you should be good to go. One last thing you need to keep in mind, when you go over 21 with a soft hand, your hand will become a hard hand, and you need to start following our hand hard guide and drop this one.

    Hard Hands in Blackjack Games

    There’s much less room for error when you have a hard hand – If you go over 21, it’s over. You’ll lose the bet. It might be better to take your chances with a relatively low hand and have a 20% chance of winning instead of hitting if the risk of busting and going over 21 is higher than 80%. And concluding this primer, here’s how you should play to maximize your chances:

    • As we mentioned, you always hit when your hand is smaller than 12, but in certain instances, when you have a favorable number you can build on easily, you should double and then hit. Namely, if the dealer’s face-up card is 2-6, you should double and then hit if your hand is 9, and, otherwise, you should just hit. If your hand’s total is 10, you should only hit if the dealer’s card is valued at 10 or an ace, otherwise, you definitely should double and then hit. And if your hand’s total is 11, you should always double and then hit – no exceptions.
    • If your hand is a hard 12, you are still within the safe range of hitting – the likelihood of you drawing a card worth 10 isn’t too high, but this doesn’t mean you should always hit. If the dealer’s revealed card is 4, 5, or 6, you should stand.
    • The way you play a 13 and 14 hard hand are identical. If the dealer’s card is an Ace or anything above 6, you need to take the risk and hit. Otherwise, you should stand.
    • Some casinos allow you to surrender. When you know you have a really low chance of winning, you can surrender and retrieve back only half of your initial bet. So, when losing seems too likely, it is a good idea to limit your losses to half your initial bet and take the loss. We are mentioning this because when you have a hard 15 or 16, you’re in a really precarious position, and the likelihood of winning is abysmal. Your hand is too low to be acceptable against a dealer’s 10 or ace, and it is too high to take the risk of hitting. If you have 16, you’ll bust if you draw ANY card above 5. That’s why if the dealer’s card is 9, 10, or ace, it is better for you to surrender and suffer smaller losses than take the risk. Otherwise, if the dealer’s card is between two to six, you should stand. If it is 7 or 8, you should hit, and if surrendering is not allowed, you should also hit when the dealer’s card is above 8 too.
    • Any hard hand that’s 17 and above is high enough that you don’t really need to take a chance and hit, so you should always stay.

    Following these guidelines should help you excel in blackjack and surpass expectations.

    Playing a Hypothetical Blackjack Game

    The ruleset is long, and it can be quite confusing to understand and hard to remember while you’re playing. That’s why it is important to go through a hypothetical game so you can see the rules clearly at play.

    You place a bet and start playing – the dealer shuffles the deck of cards and hands you two and draws two himself. You look over your two cards and see that you have an ace and a seven, so you have a soft hand of 18, which isn’t too bad. To realize what you should do you need to check the deal’s revealed card, and when you do, you notice it is a 9. Remembering the rules governing play with a soft hand, you realize that a 9 is really good for the dealer, and you decide to hit. The new card you draw is a 5, and your hand becomes a hard hand of 1,7 and 5. So, now you have a hard hand of 13 against the dealer’s 9. You remind yourself of the rules again and realize you need to hit again if you want to maximize your chances. This time when you hit, you draw a 6, and the count of your hand becomes 19. If you’re following our guide, you realize that it isn’t worth risking hitting when you have such a big hand, so you decide to stand.

    Now it is time for the dealer to reveal his second hand. As luck would have it, his second card is an 8, and the tally of his hand is 17. He doesn’t have any choice but to hit, and you get lucky and he draws a 6 driving him over 21. He busts and you double your initial bet.

    And we are just done with our hypothetical round of blackjack. This should tell you how you should be thinking about blackjack rounds, and how you should behave. If you want to win, you can’t rely on any superstition or gut feeling. If you have a 6 and a 7, you can’t just double your bet because “you’re feeling lucky.” This is the recipe for losing. You need to always stay calm, rational, and keep the odds in mind.

    Card Splitting: Should I Do It or Not When Playing Blackjack?

    The last major game mechanism we need to cover is card splitting. When you draw a pair, you have the option of splitting your hand and playing two hands. The deciding whether you should split or not will influence your likelihood of winning, so you need to think it over.

    • A pair of aces: usually, getting an ace is a huge blessing in blackjack, but what should you do when you get TWO ACES? You obviously can’t count them both as 11, because that’s 22 and over the limit. If you count one as 11 the other ace as one, you’ve got a soft hand of 12, which is very mediocre. The best strategy in this instance is splitting. So, you’ll be drawing two new cards. This will almost certainly improve your odds of winning.
    • A pair of 10s, jacks, queens or kings: the choice here is easy, you absolutely shouldn’t split the pair. You have a hand that totals 20, and this is a very strong hand and your likelihood of winning is very high. If you decide to split, you risk ruining your hand and decreasing your chances.
    • Two fives: a pair of fives results in a total of 10, and this makes it a really flexible hand. If you get an ace or any of the cards valued at 10, this hand can be very strong. And hitting when your hand is 10 carries no risk of busting. If you decide to split, you’ll likely be decreasing your odds again, so you should always hit when you have a pair of fives. If the dealer’s card isn’t a 10 or an Ace, you should be doubling your bet and hitting, in fact!
    • Two cards of eights: a hard 16 is one of the worst hands you can get in blackjack – it is too low to be a winning hand and hitting carries a significant risk of busting and making you lose your bet. This is why it is a no brainer when it comes to this. ALWAYS split the pair if it is two eights. The new cards you’ll draw will likely result in better hands.
    • Two cards of nines: a pair of nines adds up to 18, which is by no means a bad hand but it isn’t an amazing hand either. A lot of people are confused by the math and probability behind this, but in most cases, it is actually a good idea to split your 9s instead of trying your luck. The only instance when you shouldn’t be splitting your hand is if the dealer has a card valued at 10 or an ace. It is too risky to split and double down in these cases.
    • Pairs of twos, threes, fours, sixes, and sevens: getting these pairs isn’t either good or bad. Your odds of winning at blackjack won’t change much whichever you get. The only thing you can do to maximize your chances of winning your bet here is making sure you’re splitting when the dealer has a bad card (2 to 7) and otherwise hitting.

    And this is all you need to know. If you follow this guide, you should have a really good chance of winning big. Just remember, you need to make sure you keep your cool, and if you start losing, you shouldn’t double down on your losses.

    Conclusion

    In this page, we went over the history of blackjack, mentioned the best ways of finding an online casino for blackjack, went over the most common terms used in blackjack, and, finally, concluded with a comprehensive, detailed, and effective blackjack strategy that will probably maximize your odds. You should be fully equipped to go out there and start gambling.