How to Play Blackjack for the First Time, Step by Step

By Team on August 10, 2022

Blackjack is one of the most played table games in casinos all over the globe, and it has drawn some of the brightest minds in analytical pursuit of its secrets.

E.O. Thorpe invented the technique of card counting in the 1950s, which revolutionized the game and led to a type of cold war between users of the various card counting systems and the casinos, which see card counting as a form of cheating.

The following, however, is written for novice blackjack players who don't need to worry about such complex ideas just yet. For the time being, it is better to concentrate on making the most of your trip to the casino and the money you will be spending on fun.

1. Maintain ethical gambling practices

A key component of effective planning is safeguarding your finances, including learning how to maximize the use of your bankroll and avoid confusing it with your savings accounts.

Blackjack preparation should be no different from preparation for any other game of chance, whether it be played at a casino, online, or in a secret location.

These pointers will serve as a foundation for responsible gaming entertainment:

  • Determine in advance how much money you have available. This enables you to use additional ideas, such as hands per hour. It at least informs you when it's time to head home.

  • While visiting a casino, keep a watch on you at all times. Casinos are made to lull you to sleep and keep you playing games that cost money.

  • Bank and credit cards should be left at home or in the hotel room safe. Casinos conveniently have a ton of ATMs, and those ATMs are linked to your life savings.

  • Don't drink and bet. Even when the casino is giving them away for free, drinking should never come before putting a wager.

  • If you go gaming with friends, ensure sure their gaming personalities are compatible with adhering to the aforementioned rules.

2. Recognize the fundamentals of blackjack.

The fundamentals of blackjack are not that complicated. The face value of each card determines how much it is worth. The value of face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) is 10. 1 or 11 are the values of aces.

Without exceeding 21, the winning hand's total card value surpasses that of the dealer's.

No matter how the dealer plays, going over 21 is referred to as "busting," and doing so results in a loss for the player. Although a dealer bust does not ensure a player will win, it is possible that the dealer to lose.

Each participant first lays a wager. After the opening round of betting, each participant is given two face-up cards. The dealer hands himself two cards during the same opening round, one face up and the other face down.

A "natural" or "blackjack" is a hand that includes an Ace and a 10-point card (face card or 10 card), which is where the game got its name. A blackjack always wins the pot and often pays out more, paying 3:2.

The payout ratio for a natural blackjack was changed by some Las Vegas casinos from 3:2 to 6:5. Given that a natural blackjack can happen up to 1 out of every 20 hands, the house edge has increased dramatically as a result of the decrease in payout %.

If the dealer also has a blackjack, the player's blackjack does not always win. In that situation, the outcome is referred to as a "push," and the blackjack-holding players get their wagers returned.

When he has a blackjack, the dealer takes all bets from the players who don't have blackjacks. The dealer will check the face down card to see if he has a natural blackjack if the face up card is an Ace or a 10-point card. The only other time the dealer may examine the face-down card before it is his turn to play is in this circumstance.

Check out our comprehensive guide to blackjack if you want to learn more detailed strategy for the game, including advice on how to play well.

3. Adhere to a Successful Etiquette

This section makes the assumption that you'll be playing at a real, physical casino. Even if you have been playing blackjack online, the experience of playing in a casino is completely different. It will be easier for you to enjoy your time at the casino if you have the appropriate social graces.

Playing a Game

The first rule of blackjack etiquette is to get your money ready before you even enter the room. Use only cash. Use crisp currency. Before cutting you in, the dealer must assess the cash you have presented. It's polite to use crisp currency.

Choose a table where there are seats available. Otherwise, you'll have to wait until a spot opens up at a table. Check to see if a game is already in progress if there is an open seat at a table. If so, wait until the game is over before settling down at the table. When all cards have been collected and the table is free, the game is over. Then you can take a seat.

If for any reason you feel you must join a table in the middle of play, try to be as discrete as you can. Make no attempt to alert the dealer or the other players to your presence. It's a good idea to stay and observe the play till there is some downtime.

Take the initiative to let the dealer know that you want to join the next round of play and how much you will buy in when the previous game has ended and you are seated at the table. Never wait to be questioned.

Once seated, say "I'd want to play for $100" or "I'd like to join the table, please change $200" while reaching into the table with cash in hand. This expresses your intention plainly. After the dealer takes your money and distributes your chips, you'll be prepared to play the following round.

The dealer will not ask you what you prefer for chip values. He will be able to oversee the distribution of a variety of chips that will satisfy your needs for betting and tipping.

"Place your bets," the dealer will say to begin the round of play. You should now put a wager. You accomplish this by setting the chip(s) on the table in the close-by little circle.

Please take note that unless it is to signal to the dealer your intention to hit or stand, this should be the last time your hand should touch the table throughout play. Never attempt to touch or get your wager back. The cards dealt to you should never be touched.

The sole exception to this rule is reclaiming your chips if you lose or draw at the end of the game.

It's time to take turns speaking now that you have introduced yourself to the group in a graceful and assured manner.

4. Now it's Your Turn

Without a blackjack event, the initial cards are handed to each player and the dealer, and then play can start. The first player to play comes from the left, and so on. The game continues until one person wins or loses. The next player then takes over the game.

Since there are other players at the table, each one is competing solely against the dealer's hand.

You will have to decide whether to draw another card or not when it is your turn to play. Simply pressing your finger on the table next to your card will let the dealer know you want another card.

You can also tell the dealer you don't want another card by "standing" by sharply swiping your hand over your cards from side to side while holding it palm down.

It's crucial to remember that you should never assume that the dealer knows what you're going to do. For instance, it is evident that you should stand if the cards you are holding add up to 20. You must still express your purpose to the dealer in full using the approach indicated above.

While there are other indications that are employed at blackjack tables, such as verbal cues like "hit," "hit me," or "hold," I strongly advise sticking with the two straightforward hand motions described above. No casino or Blackjack dealer in the entire world won't be familiar with them.

The player keeps playing until he decides to stand or loses all of his money. The player is never obligated to draw more cards and is always free to choose to stand. So, as the player, you have the option of not drawing any cards.

Your play is done if you choose to stand, and the dealer moves on to the following player. In the event that you "bust," the dealer takes your wager, discards your cards, and deals to the next player.

The dealer then plays after everyone else at the table has finished. The first move in the dealer's play is to reveal the face-down card. The dealer must follow specific regulations while deciding whether to stand or hit, unlike the players who are free to do so:

  • If the dealer's cards add up to 16 or less, he must hit.

  • If the dealer's cards add up to 17 or more, he must stand.

  • If the Ace raises the dealer's total to 17 or above, he must count it as 11.

The dealer's hand is compared to the hands of the players who didn't bust after the game is over. The wagers of players who have a better hand than the dealer are paid out. Bets are collected from those who have lower hands than the dealer.

The amount of each player's bet that didn't bust is paid out if the dealer goes bankrupt. The payout ratio is typically 1:1.

In the event when the dealer's total and a player's total are equal, the situation is referred to as a draw or "stand-off." In this situation, the player merely gets his wager back. When the dealer bursts, this is an exception. With a player bust, a dealer bust is not a draw. If the dealer busts as well, the busted player cannot collect.

5. Simple Playing Techniques for Newcomers

Blackjack offers some betting flexibility in addition to the fundamental strategy described above. The possibilities will be briefly discussed after that, along with some fundamental strategic advice for each.

Splitting Pairs

When a player draws two identical cards, such as two "9s" or any two 10-point cards (such as a 10 and a Queen), he has the option of splitting those cards into two separate hands.

Keep in mind that after play has started, the player shouldn't touch the cards. The player only needs to make a new wager next to his old wager in the circle on the table to signal that he wants to split the wager. The cards will then be placed next to one another by the dealer.

The game then continues as usual, except that you are now playing two hands.

The optimum situation to employ this tactic is typically when you own a pair that is smaller than a pair of tens.

Note that if a player's desire to split a pair is unclear to the dealer for whatever reason following the placement of his second wager for a split pair, the player may signal the dealer by placing his index and middle fingers on the table in the shape of an upside-down "V."

Doubling Down

Your first two cards, regardless of their face value and without having to be a pair, are eligible for doubling down.

Simply add a new wager in the circle directly adjacent to the first one to signal your want to double down. Keep in mind that the second wager should match or exceed the first.

The dealer will deal just one additional card after the second bet is placed. After then, there are no further alternatives to hit. To represent the double down stake, the dealer will lay the last card perpendicular to the first two cards.

Double down wagers are typically employed when the dealer's face-up card is powerful and when the first two cards have little to no possibility of busting with the third card.


When the dealer's face-up card is an Ace, the player has the option of purchasing insurance. You have the option to wager half of your initial wager on the dealer not getting a Blackjack. In that case, you get paid 2:1.

Notably, everyone except the casino views this wager as a waste. Your mentality should be that you are there to gamble rather than to hedge your bets. Therefore, politely decline the dealer's offer of insurance.

There are numerous variants and home rules, just like with all other games of chance. The fundamental blackjack game and its variations are described here. You can find these games at any casino in the world.

6. Make the most of your blackjack entertainment budget

Use your resources carefully to have the greatest experience possible. There is no need to sit down at a table with a $100 bankroll only to be forced to leave after ten minutes because of a shortage of money. Here are some tips to help you have the most enjoyment possible from playing blackjack.

Hands Per Hour

After paying for a seat at a blackjack table, you can anticipate playing fifty to one hundred games over the course of the following hour.

Of course, a number of variables play a role in this. In contrast, if you sit down at a table with a few other players, you can anticipate playing in at least 100 hands over the course of the following hour.

As people join and leave the table, that number will change. Around half as many hands can be played at a table with seven players.

Finding a table with lots of activity and people at it is something I strongly advise for novice players to do. When you play at a slower tempo, it will allow you more time to become used to the game and find your groove. A crowded table may initially look more scary when playing. But this book will teach you everything you need to know to avoid embarrassment.

You can determine the size of your bets each hand by having a broad sense of how many hands you can expect to play in an hour. Once you grasp this, even a small bankroll may support a lot of fun and pleasure.

House Edge

According to estimates, depending on the house rules and assuming faultless execution, the house edge for blackjack ranges from 0.26% to 0.43%. The house edge, however, increases when a player strays from perfection and can increase significantly.

You would be best served as a novice player to disregard the 0.26% figure and think it will be greater. This is an additional element to consider when calculating the return on your entertainment investment at the blackjack table.


Blackjack can take many different forms. Some of the more popular variations included different deck counts (usually six to eight), where the dealer must stand, whether or not a player can double after a split, where a player can double, the aforementioned odds variations on natural blackjacks, and so forth.

Also take note that the aforementioned advice presupposes that house rules call for dealing player cards face up. Not all casinos adhere to this format and deal cards to players face down, necessitating card manipulation on the part of the player. In these games, the player and dealer can communicate purpose in a few slightly different ways.

A good and seasoned player has many options on the aforementioned ideas when playing the blackjack variant known as Spanish 21.

But as a novice blackjack player, you'll have a lot more fun if you go into the casino knowing not only what to play but also how to interact with the dealer and other players.

Even if you can't play like a pro straight away, you will at least appear to be one.