Blackjack Rules - How to Play Using Our Winning Online Casino Guide

Val Gillette by Val Gillette Reading time: 20min

If you want to learn how to play blackjack correctly and maximize your chances of winning, then the first place to start is by learning all of the blackjack rules in general. From there, you can also branch out to learn how things work for the variations that Canadian casino players love the most because sometimes you'll find small changes and differences. Along these lines, having an understanding of how all of these rules and procedures come together is the basis of getting the best chances of coming out ahead in real money play in 2024.

rules of blackjack

How To Play Blackjack - The Basic Game Rules

The exact rules of blackjack can actually vary a bit from title to title, but the basics are almost always the same. This is why we strongly suggest starting with those basics and then building out from there. In what follows, we'll walk you through each of the main phases of your play and show you what you need to know about each. This will make it easy to get started playing no matter which particular style or variant that you're interested in.

  • 1. Choose the Blackjack Variant You Want to Play

    The blackjack casino game rules for each individual type of table is different. Sometimes these differences can be small, but sometimes they can be big. In either case, they will affect what the correct blackjack strategy options are, so if you're focused on being as good at this genre as you can be, game selection is a critical part of the process. Along similar lines, some titles simply have a higher maximum RTP (with correct play) than others, and that's something that's important regardless of what you're trying to get out of your play.

    Something else to consider when picking out which variation you want to focus on is the difficulty of play styles. There exists a sort of spectrum of difficulty and complication within the genre, and each particular title lands somewhere on that spectrum. For practical purposes, what this means is that some options are simply more complicated to learn than others. If you want a more complicated experience, that can be great news, but for players who aren't interested in getting in over their heads, it's something to pay attention to.

  • 2. Place Your Bet

    Bet sizing is a big deal in this genre to say the least. Each set of black jack rules for each particular table will have their own minimum and maximum that you need to stay within. However, you need to keep in mind that some table actions involve increasing (ie: doubling or quadrupling) the amount that you have wagered on a particular hand. That's something to keep in mind when choosing your bet size in a session because you don't want to get into a situation where the right strategic decision means a wager larger than you'd prefer to make.

    Selecting a bet size is actually something that should ideally be done in advance. This isn't a decision that you want to think about for the first time after a table is already open in front of you. While it's also a part of bankroll management overall, it's easier to think about it as simply having a range that you're comfortable with based on what you're trying to achieve with your sessions and what your budget looks like. For example, staying at the lower end of that range while you learn to play is a good idea.

  • 3. Take the Necessary Action

    While game selection and bet sizing are important topics, Canadian players tend to be more interested in what happens once you're dealt the cards and have to make decisions about how to play your hand. You have a handful of different strategic options that can be available, but the exact ones you can choose from will depend on which title and which casino you're playing with. Standing and hitting are always available, but the other strategic options require specific scenarios and allowances.

    For example, most blackjack splitting rules require that both cards have the exact same rank. Likewise, some tables let you double with any two starting cards while others require you to have particular totals. Even still, you may see some games that allow you to surrender with any number of cards, but most won't have surrendering as an option at all. Knowing how each of these options work and which titles they're available in are critical elements of the rules for blackjack that players should work to learn.

  • 4. Dealer Takes Action

    In most styles, the blackjack dealer rules are the same except for two places where they can differ. In general, if a ten-point card or an ace is showing, the dealer will check right away to see if they have 21 while also offering the option for the insurance side bet. If their hand totals 21 to start with in this scenario, then you'll lose right away and start into the next hand. However, at tables like the European style that use the "no peek" standard, you don't get this check, and play continues without it.

    The other place where the way the dealer plays can change is in how the dealer plays a soft total of 17. The standard is that the dealer will hit repeatedly until a total of 17 or higher is reached. With that said, some games handle a soft 17 with a hit while others stand in that particular scenario. While it doesn't affect gameplay very much from a practical level, some minor strategic changes can result from the dealer playing this situation one way or the other.

  • 5. Outcome is Revealed

    After your turn is finished, and the dealer finishes up with his or her own decision to hit or stand, you get the overall outcome of the hand. If you run over 21 points, you lose the hand before you even see what the dealer does. However, if you don't, and the dealer busts out, then you win right away. In the case that neither you nor the dealer go over 21, then the one with the highest total wins.

    A tie, also known as a push under basic blackjack rules, typically occurs if you both have the same total. With that said, there are some variations and styles where the player loses in the case of a push. That's a critical piece of information to have before you get started, so it's something to clarify if you're playing at non-standard tables.

Understanding Card and Hand Values is Important

The point values of cards 2 through 10 are self-explanatory since they're just the pip values shown on the cards themselves. Likewise, jacks, queens, and kings are all always worth 10 points. The aces, however, are worth either 11 points or a single point, and that can change during the hand. Overall, the general rule is that it's always worth 11 unless doing so would put you over a total of 21 and cause you to bust out. If it would put you over 21, then it drops down to be worth just one point.

This way that aces can count as two different amounts creating two classes of hands. If you have an ace that counts as 11, then that's known as a soft hand. All other hands are called hard hands. Some game rules at the best real money blackjack casinos allow you to perform certain actions with soft hands that you can't with hard ones, so it's an important distinction to keep in mind while you play. Additionally, soft hands can be played much more aggressively from a strategic perspective.

blackjack varaint rules

Blackjack Betting Rules You Need to Know

No matter which blackjack casino rule set you use, you'll always have some betting options while others are not available. While the options that are available will depend on which variations you're playing to a degree, you really need to know how all of them work in case you run into them. Some of these are very basic and straightforward while others are a little more advanced from a strategic perspective. However, they're still simple enough that you can easily learn how they all work in just a few moments. If you want to learn everything about the game and how to increase your chances of winning, we highly recommend taking a look at our blackjack strategy guide.

Rules for Hitting

Hitting is perhaps the most fundamental action that you can take, and it's incredibly straightforward. When you hit, you receive one additional card added to your hand from the dealer. Your bet size doesn't change, and your turn doesn't end. This option is mostly used when you want another card but can't (or don't want to) double down. Overall, it's probably the choice that you'll use the most in your play. With that said, be careful not to get too aggressive with it because it's easy to bust out in a situation where you would have won otherwise.

When to Stand in Blackjack

Standing is an option that's always available to you, much like hitting. In fact, these two are the only betting options that will always be available. With that said, standing is sort of the opposite of hitting. When you stand, you receive no new cards, and you do not change your bet size. Instead, it simply brings your turn to a close.

This option is usually chosen when you think your hand is high enough or if you want to give the dealer a chance to bust out, and sometimes it's chosen to do both of these at the same time. Many new players underestimate the value of standing to let the dealer bust, so that's something to look for, especially if the dealer is showing a 5 or 6, which is when they're the most likely to bust.

Double Down Rules

Perhaps the most exciting option is doubling down. When you pick this option, you will see three things happen simultaneously. First, you'll have one additional card added to your hand. Second, you'll need to add more chips to your hand to double the size of your wager, which is where the name comes from. Finally, your turn comes to an end. Because of the finality of this option combined with a drastic increase in the size of your wager, it has to be reserved for situations where you think you have a serious advantage.

Blackjack Splitting Rules

Some starting hands have two cards of the exact same rank. In these situations, you're given access to a different betting option that you don't always have, and this option is splitting. When players elect to split, their cards are broken up to start two new hands. Additionally, you'll add an additional wager for the second hand that equals the size of the first. Sometimes you'll want to split, and sometimes you will not and will just play your hand normally.

Learning when to split in blackjack can be complicated from a strategic standpoint and can vary from title to title. However, in almost all situations, you should never split fives or ten-point cards, and you should always split aces and eights. For the other numbers, it's more situation dependent.

Blackjack Dealer Rules

To keep the games uniform and fair, dealers need to follow specific procedures when playing their own cards. For the most part, blackjack casino rules are pretty consistent on this, so you don't have to worry about big changes when switching from site to site. Overall, they will always hit with a total of less than 17 and will always stand with 17 or more. The one exception to this is that some titles have the dealer hit with a soft 17 and stand with hard 17 hands. Outside of this exception, you won't see other changes to the dealer's approach.

When to Surrender

The surrender option can be available in a regular or late form. Typically, you can only surrender with two cards, but the late surrender option allows you to surrender no matter how many cards you have in your hand. Overall, the idea of giving up half of your wager to get half of it back is really only correct in a few types of situations where you have a serious disadvantage. Hard totals of 15 or 16 against a dealer showing a ten or ace are good examples, and correct surrendering outside of those parameters is rare.

Rule Variations for Different Blackjack Games

With so many styles and variations available, you'll run into plenty of different sets of blackjack game rules. These differences are what create the variety that players love about the genre, and they keep all of the tables from being more or less the same. With that said, you will need to adjust your strategies accordingly to adjust when needed even though the basics will remain mostly the same. In what follows, we'll show you some key rule differences in some of the most popular titles available.

Rules American Blackjack European Blackjack Vegas Strip Number of Decks 6 2 4-8 House Edge 0.31-0.35% 0.40% 0.35% Blackjack Payout 3 to 2 3 to 2 3 to 2 Dealer Stands Any 17 Soft 17 Soft 17 Late Surrender Y/N Yes No No Hole Card Game Y/N Yes No Yes Double Down Y/N Yes 10 point cards and Aces Yes Double Down on Splits Y/N Yes No Yes

Basic Strategy - Using a Chart Cheat Sheet

Something really interesting about this genre is that each individual title has actually been solved for correct play by computers. This means that we can actually determine the mathematically correct strategic option to choose in any possible situation that comes up at any type of table. While this could be a lot of information to memorize, and while some players do enjoy doing just that, it's a lot easier to simply use a blackjack chart. These charts list out all of the possible situations and show you how to play them for a quick reference.

As you could see on our blackjack strategy page, we strongly recommend that players use these types of charts. However, it's critical that you use the right one. Using a chart for one style at a table for another style won't give you the best possible results. Since the goal is to maximize your chances of winning, you want to have the right information in front of you so that you don't make a mistake that you thought was the correct play based on the chart.

blackjack tips

6 Top Blackjack Winning Tips for 2024

For players who want to get in on the action for real money, we have six important tips that we think everyone should be aware of. While you may know some of these, we here at want to make sure that you have a complete picture of what all should go into your overall approach. This goes beyond knowing the blackjack casino game rules for the variations that you prefer and will give you the foundation of a solid overall strategy to help you have the best experience possible.

  1. Choose a Legitimate Casino: If you play with a site that isn't really legit, then you can have a really terrible experience overall. You can run into things like titles not paying out what they're supposed to, limited game selections and serious delays in getting your winnings paid out. Instead, we strongly suggest sticking with sites like those that we have rated and reviewed before giving our recommendation.
  2. Pick the Right Variation: The right style for you really comes down to a balance between two things. On the one hand, you want the highest RTP available. On the other hand, you want a variation that you personally enjoy. Sometimes you'll need to strike a balance between the two, which can mean not taking the absolute highest RTP out there and instead going for something slightly lower just because you enjoy it more.
  3. Learn the Value of the Best Starting Hands: While strategy in this genre can get deep and complicated, everyone should know what the best starting hands are. This includes knowing what the most favorable dealer cards are in terms of which make it more likely for the dealer to bust. Hard totals of 10 or 11 are very strong to start with, and when the dealer shows a 5 or 6, that's when he or she is most likely to bust out.
  4. Utilize Strategies to Lower the House Edge: This is where learning how to actually play your hands comes into play. Charts for the right strategies for your particular variation are a good way to make this happen, but some players like to play based on learning these strategies instead. Either way is a fine approach, but you'll want to pick one or the other so that your strategic play lowers the house advantage as much as you can.
  5. Choose a Budget and Stick With It: One of the most important blackjack rules for having a great time has to do with bankroll management. The best approach is to simply choose a budget, use that budget to pick a maximum amount that you'll wager on any individual hand, and to stick with those limits. This will help you to stay in the game instead of being wiped out with a streak of bad luck.
  6. Practice Your Strategies With Free Play Tables: The free play or demo tables are an awesome place to practice your strategies. They're also good for simply warming up or learning a new style of play that you aren't familiar with. We strongly recommend putting these to use to help familiarize yourself with what you're going to play before you jump in and get started playing for real money. This is even more important if you're using a strategy chart because you'll want to get familiar with how it's organized ahead of time.

Blackjack Payout Rules for Real Money Players

With the exception of proprietary side bets, most of the payouts found in this genre are pretty standardized with only a few possible changes or deviations. Having a good idea of what these payouts are can be really important for Canadian players so that you don't have mismatched expectations about what your winnings will look like in different types of situations. Here in what follows, we'll give you an overview of the most common cases.

  • Regular Wins Pay 1:1 - All of your regular wins in this game pay out at even money, which includes virtually every single time you and the dealer compare totals or when the dealer goes bust (except when you have a natural 21).
  • Blackjack Often Pays 3:2 - At most online tables, starting with two cards that gives you a total of 21 will pay out at 3:2. For example, a wager of $10 would win $15 in this situation. However, some pay at 2:1 or 6:5 instead in some cases.
  • Insurance Wins at 2:1 - If you take the insurance side bet and are correct (ie: the dealer has 21), then you will pick up a win worth twice the size of your wager. While this isn't typically a profitable wager, some players enjoy it from time to time anyway.
  • Dealer Hitting on 16 - A common case is when the dealer has a total of 16 and has to hit, resulting in a bust. This situation is so common because most of the cards there will lead to you winning via the dealer busting out, and it's good to know that this pays at 1:1.
  • Dealer Hitting a Soft 17 - On the other hand, the dealer hitting on a soft 17 often leads to the player losing because it's such a strong starting hand. However, if you happen to have a stronger total that lucks out for a win, you'll also pick up an even money payout.

Play with Professional Dealers at Live Online Casinos

The live dealer tables are incredibly popular among Canadian fans because they put you in a more realistic playing environment. While they're typically only available for real money players, they allow you to see actual cards being dealt in real time that you can wager on using the typical betting interface on your computer or using a mobile device. While the play is a bit slower in terms of hands per hour, you get to chat up other people at the tables as well as your dealer.

Something interesting about this format is that you get opportunities to play variants that you can't play at the typical RNG tables. Game selection variety is one of the advantages of playing this way, and that includes options like Lightning Blackjack that can give bonus payouts based on specific cards being dealt as a part of hands. Other interesting styles of play can be found in this format along with plenty of more traditional variations, all of which are served up using high-definition audio and video feeds.

Table Etiquette Rules

When you're playing by yourself at an RNG table, you can pretty much do whatever you want within the parameters of the game. However, at the live dealer blackjack tables, there are certain live dealer casino rules of etiquette that you should follow. A failure to follow these guidelines can lead to your account not being able to participate in these tables at all in some cases, so that's something that we obviously want to help you to avoid.

In general, you shouldn't insult any other players or the dealer, even if you're joking or playing around. Additionally, it's advised to avoid controversial topics like politics, religion, and other sensitive subjects. With that said, talking about strategy at the table is typically fine and is generally considered to be completely acceptable. As long as you keep things friendly and respectful, you'll have no problem with the chat moderators, and you'll be on course to have an excellent time.

Best Online Casinos in Canada for Real Money Wins in 2024

Canadian players who want to shoot for real money wins are in luck because we have reviewed and fully rated all of the top places to play. With our proprietary scoring system, we're able to make it quick and easy to figure out the best places for you to jump in and get started. In what follows, we'll give you an overview of all of the highest-rated sites along with options to find out more details about exactly what makes these casinos so great.

  1. 1 Sign-Up Offer 100% Match Bonus Up To $1600
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Best Blackjack Bonuses at Real Money Online Casinos

A great thing about playing in Canada is that you have access to sites that offer incredible blackjack bonuses. They cover several different types and ways of rewarding you with value, and being familiar with all of the major options makes it a lot easier to pick out what will fit you and your playing style the best. In what follows, we'll give you an overview of the most popular types of bonuses for this genre and what you can expect from each of them.

No Deposit Free Chip Bonuses

The easiest way to get started without having to add any funds to your account is by using no deposit blackjack bonuses as a newly registered customer. This is basically free money to start off playing on your account, and you have a chance to land real money wins if you adhere to the terms and conditions. Some titles contribute to the wagering requirements at different rates than others, and this includes blackjack. You can also be subject to other terms and conditions like a maximum cash out that you should keep in mind as you play.

Free spins versions of these deals are also available, but they're not a good pick for this genre. That's because they force you to play slots more often than not. If you enjoy those titles as well, that can be fine, but they're not great for players who want to focus on playing cards instead.

  • 888 Casino

    Get $88 in Free Chips at 888 Casino

    Our recommended free chip option for Canadian players is available at 888 Casino. This is a free $88 chip added to your account just for signing up. They have dozens of titles with different types of blackjack rules so that you can pick out what you will enjoy the most while taking advantage of this deal. It's a great offer that has straightforward wagering requirements and allows you to play for real money prizes without having to wager anything of your own in the process.

Minimum Deposit Bonus

If you want to put in the smallest deposit possible and still get a great value in this genre, then several minimum deposit casino options are available. They're the perfect fit for players who want to get in on the action while on a budget, and you can still claim some pretty good offers at the same time. While casinos that allow minimums at the $1 and $5 minimum deposit level typically focus on slots, you can enjoy blackjack games at those that have $10 minimums instead. For this reason, that's the level that we recommend players focus on.

  • Blackjack Ballroom

    Play with $10 at Blackjack Ballroom

    Of all of the offers out there available to Canadian players, our recommended pick is the $10 minimum offer available at Blackjack Ballroom. This casino, as you can tell by the name, focuses on this genre with several styles of play available. You can pick up a three-part promotion when you play here for as little as $10 per deposit with a total value of up to $500. This includes a 100% first deposit match worth up to $150 with a simple 30x play-through requirement to start things off on the right foot.

Best iOS and Android Apps for Mobile Users

In the modern online casino world, mobile play is more popular than ever. You can jump straight into real money action using your smartphone or tablet no matter where you are as long as you have an Internet connection. This includes devices that run on both iOS and Android operating systems, and some other systems can be available as well on a case-by-case basis.

Mobile blackjack is incredibly popular for a few different reasons. First, the game fits on even small screens from the "mini" style of mobile phones really well. There's no crowding of the screen or need to zoom in most cases. You can also play a wide range of titles, and that includes the live dealer tables, straight from your mobile device. When you add to that the fact that individual hands only take a few moments, it's the perfect opportunity to hop in, play a few quick rounds and hop out when you have the time.

Practice Blackjack Rules and Play Free Games for Fun with No Download

For players who are ready to get started, the free play blackjack tables are a great place to practice and learn all of the different rule sets. Practicing in this way is the best place to start off for most players because it's low pressure and can help you to get a feel for the right strategies before playing for real money. Once you're ready, however, you can then go straight into picking up a value-packed bonus to add more value to your play and maximize your chances of coming out ahead.


We're asked a lot of questions about the different blackjack casino rule sets, and that's understandable since it can be a complex and in-depth topic. In what follows, we have compiled all of the questions that we have seen the most often. Our goal here is to help you get answers to questions that you may not have even known you had before you get started so that you have the best chances possible to have a great time at the tables.

  • Are black jack rules easy to learn?

    Yes, the fundamentals of how these titles run are easy to learn.
  • What's the best online casino bonus for blackjack?

    We like the Blackjack Ballroom offer for up to $500 in value across three deposits.
  • What are blackjack dealer rules and are they important to know?

    These are the guidelines dealers have to follow on playing their hand, and they are both easy to learn and important to know.
  • How hard is it to win real money on this game?

    With correct strategy, you can expect many of your sessions to have you come out ahead.
  • Is it better to play games with 1 deck or 6/8 decks of cards?

    This depends on the specific variation, but the single deck options often have a high RTP.
  • Who wins a tie?

    A tie in blackjack is a push in most cases, but in some variants, the dealer wins ties.
  • Are free blackjack games the best way to learn the rules?

    Yes, free tables are a quick and easy way to get familiar with how these titles work.
  • Is there a specific instance to use the insurance bet in blackjack?

    Generally speaking, the insurance side bet is never profitable for the player.
  • Does card counting work when playing at Canadian online casinos?

    Card counting is not viable at RNG tables because the cards are shuffled between hands.
  • How do I know when to split in blackjack?

    Simple strategy charts can show you exactly when to split and when not to.
About the Author
 Val Gillette
Val Gillette - Editor in Chief

Val Gillette is a talented Editor in Chief for the online gaming industry. With years of industry experience, she is an expert in the field and is fluent in 2 languages. Val is passionate about online gambling and is well versed in the latest news surrounding the industry. Her attention to detail makes her an invaluable asset to