The object of the game of Blackjack is to beat the dealer with each hand. There are several ways to do this:

  • By having a better hand than the dealer,
  • By drawing 21 when the dealer doesn’t,
  • When the dealer’s hand exceeds 21.

Knowing the rules of the game is crucial, but experience also has an important role. Aside from a couple of details, the rules of Blackjack apply to all its variations. Keep reading to find out how to play!

At the heart of the action

Our Blackjack guide takes you through the basics of the game as well as some tips. Blackjack is often referred to as 21 as making 21 is the best possible hand in the game. You hit Blackjack 21 in two cards, in this case, it pays 3:2, and that’s Blackjack!

Play Blackjack online

Practice online

Signing up to an online casino with a demo mode is a great way to practice and improve your skills. What’s more, our guide is full of sites that offer this. Once registered, you can start practising demo versions in Instant Play.

Card values

Each card has a unique value except for the Ace. The Ace is either worth 1 or 11 points depending on the hand. When the Ace allows for two different values, the hand is soft. As soon as that is no longer the case, the hand is hard. Face cards are all worth 10 points; the Jack, Queen and King. Cards numbered 2 through 10 are worth their points, e.g. a 2 card equals two points.
From 2 to 9The number on the card
10, Jack, Queen, King10 points
AceDepending on the player’s choice: 1 or 11
If the dealer has an Ace, the card will have the value of 11 as soon as their hand reaches 17 points.

Dealing shoe

The croupier has a shoe for dealing the cards. There are six decks of 52 cards. Before inserting the cards into the shoe, the dealer shuffles them, then burns a sixth. Burning cards means removing them from the game. By doing so, the gambling house defeats any card counters.

Blackjack table

You can have 1 to 7 players around the gaming table. Whether playing live or online, you can play several hands simultaneously. However, it’s not usually possible to play more than three hands at a time.
The dealer is placed behind the table, facing the players. On the players’ side, there are spots for the cards and the betting chips. Once the bets are down, only the croupier can touch the chips:

  • When the players lose bets, the dealer picks up the chips,
  • When winning, the croupier adds the won chips to the player’s box.
Blackjack table at the casino

Blackjack betting limits

The lowest bet amount is NZ$1, and the maximum is NZ$1000. These limits vary from one Blackjack table to another. Depending on your budget, you can choose the table that suits you best. You can find the bet limits on a small panel at each table. There are VIP tables on casino sites with limits beyond NZ$5000 per hand. This is the case for one of New Zealand’s largest online casinos; Jackpot City.

Blackjack variants

Atlantic City and Classic Blackjack are the most played versions of Blackjack. You can find these two games in most large casinos. But with online casinos, the choice is wider with around five variations of the game.
Which is the most profitable Blackjack variation? The answer; the Vegas Single Deck. However, the payout rate for each variant is almost the same. So, whichever Blackjack you choose, the impact is minimal.

Soft and hard hands with the Ace

A hand with an Ace (1 or 11) is soft as long as it can have two values. If, for example, you have an Ace and a 6, the hand could be worth either 7 or 17 points. The dealer is subject to the same principle as long as their soft hand isn’t worth 17 or more.
There’s one exception with the Vegas Single Deck. If the dealer has a soft hand of 17 or more and the player has a better game, the dealer will draw a new card to beat the player.

Card distribution

To receive cards, you have to place a bet on the chip box. If you are playing alone, the game starts immediately. If playing in a group, you must wait until each player has received two cards. The dealer hands each participant one card at a time then takes a card for themself, face-up on the table. Once that’s done, the player to the left facing the dealer is the first to speak. The player can request a new card, stand, double, split or give up depending on their cards and preferences. Then, it’s up to the next player to speak, and so on. The last player to speak is the one to the dealer’s right; once they’ve made a decision, the round’s over. At this point, the dealer returns to the player on the left for a new round.

The rounds

There can be as many rounds as needed. As soon as all players have finished speaking, the dealer draws his second card.

The dealer draws at 16 and remains at 17

As long as the dealer doesn’t have 16 points, they must continue to draw. As soon as their hand reaches 17 points or more, you know who has won. At this point, the dealer removes the lost bets off the table, and the winning players paid.
Straight after, a new game begins.

Blackjack commands

There are six words to call in Blackjack. In a live casino, the player can speak out loud or with a hand or head gesture. If the dealer has any doubts about a player’s action, they’ll ask for oral confirmation. In an online casino, instead of words, you click buttons. In the following paragraphs, each command is explained with extra advice to increase your chances of winning.


Keep in mind that if your hand goes over 21, you’ll lose your bet. Even if the dealer subsequently jumps, you’ll go bust.
You should hit if:

  • The dealer has a 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace and your hand totals 8 points or 12 to 16 points,
  • The dealer has an Ace and your hand totals 15 points or less,
  • The dealer has a 10 and your hand totals 14 points or less,
  • The dealer has a 7, 8 or 9 and your hand totals 9.


Standing is a common and important choice, and you must stick to it in specific cases. Standing is profitable in the following three cases:

  • If you have 16 points or more, you mustn’t draw a new card,
  • If the dealer’s card is 6 or less and your hand is 13 or more,
  • If you have a pair of 10’s or face cards.

Double Down

You can double when your first two cards total 9, 10 or 11 points.

  • Double a total of 10 unless the dealer has a 10-point card or an Ace,
  • Double an 11 unless the dealer has an Ace,
  • Double a total of 9 if the dealer has 3, 4, 5 or 6.


Splitting two cards of the same value involves placing a new bet. It’s like doubling! There are five cases to remember:

  • Don’t split 2 and 3 if the dealer has a 4-7,
  • A pair of 5’s don’t split if the dealer has a 10 or an Ace,
  • Don’t split 6’s and 7’s if the dealer has a 2-6 card,
  • Divide a pair of 8’s,
  • Divide a pair of Aces.


Insurance is possible if the dealer has an Ace. The object is to bet that the dealer will make BLACKJACK. You have to bet half of the value of the initial bet to begin this move.
Is buying insurance a good decision? No, not at all, this bet doesn’t have good odds. When the dealer has an Ace, they have a 30% chance of making “Blackjack 21”. A winning bet on insurance pays 2:1, while the odds are 3 to 1. The casino’s advantage is too high on this type of bet, so it’s not worth it.


You can choose to surrender your hand at the start of the game, but it means you lose half the stake. Giving up shows skill. The most common cause of surrendering is when a hand is worth 15, and the dealer has a 10 point card. In this case, the casino almost always wins, so giving up is the best decision.
You should surrender if:

Your handThe croupiers card
1510, J, Q, K
169, 10 or Ace

If you have an Ace you should never give up as it’s a major asset.

Counting cards in Blackjack

In theory, it’s possible to win at Blackjack by counting cards. In reality, it’s extremely complicated. Moreover, you need an incredible memory to do this. Not to mention, Blackjack games go fast, which only makes it more tricky. Blackjack counting techniques focus on high card values (8, 9, 10 and Ace). A well-trained player can memorise the ratio of high cards played, then, according to their hand and the dealer’s card, influence the game’s course. The theory confirms that if you master card counting in Blackjack, you beat the casino. However, in the experts’ opinion, trying to win by counting cards at Blackjack tables is an impossible mission.