Blackjack can be a dangerous game of high stakes, calculating risks and adventure. Blackjack is the game that exciting gambling films movies are about. Blackjack players are those elusive characters with mathematical problem-solving skills, think of the film ‘Rain-man’, ‘The Last Casino’, 21 or ‘Breaking Vegas’.
The real selling point of Blackjack is the high stakes and movies have done a great job of building up suspense around what is quintessentially an easy casino game.
Very popular with New Zealanders, Blackjack is a combination of luck, strategy and smart decision making. There is a lot of action and a good deal of opportunity, so whether you are betting a few dollars or thousands, you can still be ‘in the game.’
Below is a list of online casinos where blackjack is readily available to play for New Zealanders which CasinosOnline.nz recommends. Please browse through the list of places to play and take on the dealers!
The Rules of Blackjack
The swift and easy rules of Blackjack don’t take long to master, even for the slower Kiwis. Blackjack uses a standard 52 card playing deck. The game will use anywhere from 2 to 8 decks which get loaded into the ‘shoe’.
The dealer draws individual playing cards from the shoe as he deals them to players sitting around a semi-circular table. In online Blackjack, cards are released from an automatic shoe.
The value of cards:
- The cards 2 through 10 are simply worth the number on the card
- Ace cards are 1 or 11
- Picture cards (kings, queens and jacks) are 10
The objective in Blackjack is to get to 21 (but not above), or closer than the dealer. If your hand exceeds 21 this is known as a bust, meaning you lose. If you draw with the dealer, dealer wins.
To start, you place bets. These bets are usually defined at the table or in the games rules online. Once the bets are in, the dealer deals out 2 cards to every player.
Players cards are face up but the dealers are one face up, one face down.
How to handle the cards you have been dealt!
Your options here are either to get another card, stick with what you have or double up. This is otherwise known as Hit, Stand or Split.
Hit – You ask for another
Stand – You keep your current value of the two cards hoping that the dealer will go over 21 (go bust)
Split – If you receive two of the same card values, you divide them into separate bets.
After the players decision, the dealer has to draw cards until his total card value reaches 17 or more. The dealer must stick on any total of 17 or higher.
Odds in Blackjack
The odds in Blackjack are pretty good, when compared against slots and other casino games. The house has less than 1% edge against Blackjack players with a certain level of knowledge. Using different Blackjack strategies can push the odds even more in your favor.
The House Edge. Firstly, it’s always worth checking out the Wizard of Odds and punching in your Blackjack strategy to work out the specific odds. However, in general because the player has to complete play before the dealer does there is always a higher chance that the player will bust, before the dealer. So, the dealer has an advantage and will win more often.
Strategy for Blackjack
To beat the dealer advantage, players use strategies from the very basic to the extremely advanced.
In basic Blackjack strategy, the fact that the dealer shows you a card gives you choices. If you were to always assume that the dealers face down card was of a value of 10 (10, king, queen, jack), then the face up card value when added together will give you an idea of whether you stand or draw and what the dealer might do.
Let’s say the dealers card is 7 and we will then just ‘assume’ the total is 17. We can predict the dealer will stand, because he has to. If the face up card is a 5, then chances are his total is 15 (dealer must take another card – if its below 17.) If the car is low, the chances of the dealer going bust are also higher. If your hand is 17 or more, you have a higher chance of winning.
- total card value is 16 or less, then Hit.
- total card value is 17 or more - Stand.
What to avoid:
There are two strategies that just don’t work – the first is mimicking the dealer – don’t bother, it always fails. The second is to carry on until you bust or “never bust’ - the odds in Blackjack are basically over/under odds – this is what you have to work with.
For a more detailed explanation on advanced strategy, please check out our advanced strategy page for the best in advanced tips.
Top 5 Blackjack Tips:
- Stand on 17 or more
- Don’t split 10’s because 20 is a great hand.
- Split 8’s because it’s the weakest hand you can get.
- Play online, it’s a lot more cost effective
- Play online, because you’ll get Blackjack bonuses even if you are new to the casino.
Blackjack variations include:
- Blackjack Switch – created by a card counter, Blackjack Switch is a game where two hands are dealt (instead of one) and the player can switch the top two across hands.
- Double Exposure Blackjack – Both the dealers’ cards are exposed (and a whole host of other rules)
- Single-hand Blackjack – When you play with one deck
- Multi-hand Blackjack – More than one deck
- Spanish Blackjack – Played with 48 cards and the 10’s are removed
Bottom line on Blackjack
Blackjack is risky, exciting and high stakes – it continues to be one of the top games, played both online and offline around the globe. Your chances of beating the dealer are higher than pretty much any other casino game and by using real mathematical strategy, you push this edge even higher.
Go to our list of recommended Blackjack casinos for New Zealanders and take full advantage of bonuses, free games and anything else the casino gives to improve your edge.
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