Blackjack – How to Play

6 January 2021 |

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games ever designed. It is a game widely enjoyed by people around the globe, both in land based and online casinos.

With the arrival of Live Blackjack by Evolution and other providers on South African betting sites you can now participate in blackjack live games in a legal way. While these games have been limited to casinos in the past, the licensing of live games opened the door for bookmakers to add them into their portfolio. Therefore, going after the terrific total of 21 is now more fun than ever before!

To make it easier for you to get started we have put together a blackjack beginner’s guide. We hope this helps you, to get familiar with how the game is played and to understand some popular blackjack strategies.

How to play Blackjack – basic rules

Blackjack is mostly referred to as the twenty-one number game as the main aim of the game is to reach close to 21, without going over it. Since you will be playing against the dealer, you need to get a card score higher than the dealer to win. The scores are determined by the cards that you get.

The best way to play blackjack is to first understand the basic rules. Blackjack is played with at least one standard 52-card decks. Each denomination is assigned a point value:

  • Cards 2 to 10 – worth their face value
  • King, Queen and Jack – worth 10
  • Ace – can be used as either 1 or 11

Depending on the game you choose to play, the blackjack table can usually up to seven players at the same time. On some tables you might be permitted to occupy up to three seats at the same time. While a 7 Seat Blackjack table is the standard some live games work differently. For example, Evolution’s Infinite Blackjack can be played by an unrestricted number of players.

To start a game each player will place their bets. The dealer then deals two cards to each participating player, including himself/herself. Among the 2 cards dealt to the dealer, one will be face-up and the other face-down.

Blackjack rules

There is no tossing the coin to know who plays first in blackjack! The right-most player on the table has the first turn, then the other players follow in a clockwise direction.

Key moves

Once it is your turn, you must make use of the following 4 key moves:

  • Stand – If you choose to stand, it means that you are good with the cards that you have in hand and want to end your turn.
  • Hit – You choose to take a card.
  • Split – If you have 2 similar cards, for example, two 8s, you can split your hand into two. You then place a bet for the other and take a card. You can either hit or stand on each of the hands. This changes in case you split Aces. Then only one card will be dealt to each hand to preferably make a Blackjack.
  • Double Down – This option enables you to double your bet and take one card. You then end your turn.

Another blackjack rule you might come across is ‘surrender’. This is when the player forfeits half his/her bet to keep the other half and does not play out his hand. This option available only on the two initial cards, depending on table rules.

Keep in mind that you can hit as much as you want during your turn. Once all players at the table had their turns, the dealer will reveal his/her face-down card.

The dealer must hit their hand until they have 17 or higher. One special situation is when the dealer has an ace and any number of cards totaling 6 points. This is known as a “soft 17”. In some casino blackjack dealer rules the dealer will also hit a soft 17. Another rule you will come across is that if the dealer goes over 21 points, then any player who did not already bust will win.

Blackjack Strategy

In general, the winners are the ones who have higher scores than the dealer. The proper way to play blackjack is not to exceed 21!

Now that you know the general moves the next questions is when to do which one.

Some of the basic strategy strategy questions in blackjack are:

Should you Surrender?

If you are playing at a table that offers to surrender, then this move could be for you if you prefer to fold your hand and lose only half the bet rather than the total amount. Some of the surrender rules are that the dealer always stands on 17s, you can split any pair but cannot resplit after, you can only take one card after splitting aces before you must stand, insurance is available if the dealer shows an ace, dealer peeks for a blackjack, doubling down is allowed and player blackjack pays 3:2.

Tips: 16 surrenders against dealer 9 through Ace and 15 surrenders against dealer 10.

Should you split?

This move will only be an option when your first two cards are a pair or if you have 2 ten-valued cards. Do not forget that splitting also means doubling your blackjack bet. Statistically you have a good chance of hitting at least one 21 when splitting aces. Also, two separate hands of 8 are much easier to play with than one hand of 16.

Tips: always split aces and eights but certainly never split tens. Split a pair of 2’s, 3’s or 7’s against dealer 2 through 7, or else hit. A pair of 6’s should be split against dealer 2 through 6, if not hit.

Should you double?

You can double your bet in the middle of hand and then will only receive one additional card. It is recommended to place the blackjack double down bet when your cards total 11 and the dealer has a low card (6 or lower). When the dealer is showing a low card and you have a hard 9 or 10, go for double down.

If you are a newbie the best way to learn about Blackjack is to find a demo play version and practice as much as you can. After all practice makes perfect, right? Alternatively you can also access the Live Blackjack games via your chosen betting sites. Follow the live streamed games as long and as much as you want and review the play tables before getting into the Blackjack 21 action yourself.

Blackjack Games Online

Evolution Gaming features one of the most impressive Live Blackjack Games selection online. These are as good as you will come to the land-based casino action as possible. Some online games are even better than the real deal as the games are often faster and in addition Evolution has spiced up the games with fun innovations and special betting options.

Most Live Blackjack variants based are on the standard seven seat table but feature additional betting options such as Bet Behind. Infinite Blackjack allows an unlimited amount of players to participate per game. In Speed Blackjack the standard turn order is overruled. Therefore, the player who makes the fastest decision will be dealt first.

The following live game version are commonly available across South African betting sites:

  • Live Blackjack
  • Free Bet Blackjack
  • Infinite Blackjack
  • Speed Blackjack
  • Power Blackjack
  • Blackjack Party
  • VIP
  • Salon Privé

For detailed reviews of these and many other games visit our games section.


Why is Blackjack also called Twenty-One?

The main goal in a Blackjack game is to get as close to 21, without going over it.

What are the basic strategies in Blackjack?

The basic moves in Blackjack are Hit, Stand, Splitting Pairs and Doubling Down. Depending on your hand and the dealers hand one strategy might be more suitable than another.

Where can I play Live Blackjack online in South Africa?

Blackjack is available as various Live Blackjack versions across a variety of licensed bookmakers. For the best sites to play have a look at our best betting sites.

Where to play online?

Different live blackjack versions are available on the following South African betting site:

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