How to Play Blackjack in Vegas

Casino games are a common thing to participate in while in Vegas. Statistically, more than 50% of travelers in Vegas participate in gaming in the city’s exquisite gambling destinations. Most play for fun, as they are in Vegas to have a good time.

But no one turns away a win. Everyone who plays craves it. The adrenaline is unimaginably satisfying, and you will have more to spend on your vocation.

Blackjack is one of the most common games played in Vegas casinos. The game is so intense and witty. People lose a lot of money trying to beat the casino. In the process of chasing their losses, they accrue the amount they graciously fill into the dealer’s table.

Hope is good, but sometimes it can be your ruin. Like any other game, when you throw strategy out of the window, you make it so easy for the dealer to ground your bet early in the game!

However, if you play it right, you stand to walk away with quite a lot of loot. Yes, if you have never thought of a million dollars, Vegas Blackjack has it for you!

So you want to win, is it not? But maybe you are a novice at gaming, more so inside a casino where they are doing it professionally. Do not shiver, for Blackjack is not as hard as you may think.

With a few strategies and knowledge of the basics, you will be a pro in no time. But good things take time, so don’t watch a YouTube tutorial and think you will be staring at Mandalay Bay.

What is Blackjack?

This is a table game common in casinos in Vegas. It is a bank card game which, unlike most games in a casino, you don’t play against another player.

In Blackjack, a player(s) plays against a dealer who is a professional blackjack player employed by the casino to help you play at the Blackjack table. They are responsible for card shuffling, counting chips and the money on bets, dealing cards, and ensuring all game regulations are in line.

To win, you have to be the closest to attaining a face value of 21. The goal in a Blackjack game is to beat the dealer. A win is declared to the person with the upper hand not exceeding 21.

Terminologies Used in Blackjack Game

Like any other game, Blackjack has particular vocabulary references that participants (players and dealers) use during the game. If you are throwing your hat into the game, you need to learn them. They are going to be your language as a Blackjack player here on through.

Not knowing terminologies such as these as a Blackjack player is like teaching a deaf child, and you have no idea what sign language is. Impossible and impractical, right?

So what are these terms? Prepare your photographic memory for upload now.

  1. Blackjack-a two-card hand of an Ace (A) and a ten-value card
  2. Box-this is the area in front of a player where the bets in the play are placed
  3. Bust-a hand total that has a total card value which is more than 21
  4. Count-an attempt to keep tabs on the dealt cards to predict outcomes of the cards to be dealt in a blackjack game
  5. Chip down-reducing the bet amount on the current hand from the previous amount in the preceding bet
  6. Chip up-increasing the current bet amount from a previous bet
  7. Double down-betting an equal amount on the current hand with the player getting one card
  8. Even money-an option to take a 1-1 payout on your bet if you have a blackjack and the dealer has an ace
  9. Hard hand-a hand with no ace or a hand with the ace value of 1
  10. Hit-take another card
  11. Hole card-the dealer’s face-down card
  12. Insurance-bet offered when the dealer has an ace. Offers payout odds of 2-1 if the dealer has a blackjack
  13. Monkey-a card with the value of 10
  14. Pair-a hand with two equal value cards, which you can split to get two separate bets
  15. Shoe-the box holding the dealing cards
  16. Soft hand-a hand with an ace with a value of 11, and you can add a hit
  17. Split-betting an original bet amount again with an equal value card. Done when a hand is a pair
  18. Stand-take no more cards
  19. Stand off-player has the same hand as the dealer
  20. Surrender-forfeiting half of the bet amount if the player thinks the dealer has a better hand which  he is unable to beat

These terms are the basics, but not all that is heard or used during a blackjack game. The list is massive and differs at times from player to player, from one area to another. However, they are not complicated and can be learned along the way. The above terms are like the alphabet of Blackjack from which you can make any vocabulary in the game.

How to Play Blackjack in Vegas

To beat the dealer who represents the casino in the case of Vegas, you need to employ more than just luck. It is about the way you carry out yourself and your discipline in the game. You have to put more than just turning up with cash at the blackjack table if you want to smile towards the cashier at the end of the day.

It’s obvious by now that you are past the recreational point of playing for the sake of thrill or because you have the cash for it. Here, you want to bake as much pie as possible with sure bets at the table. How? By “reading” the environment and making sure that you have the upper hand.

Can You Win Big by Playing Blackjack?

Don Johnson is a professional gambler who hit it big in Vegas-he managed to garner $15 million from Tropicana Las Vegas Casino in a single night! In his words, blackjack is about mathematics and logic.

According to him, counting cards is not enough to win big in Blackjack. It involves having more than a basic strategy. You have to have an approach that ensures you take advantage of the higher hand.

If the dealer has more, bet less; and when the opportunity kicks, go big. Too bad Caesar’s management won’t allow him to play anymore at the casino-understandably if you were the casino management, you wouldn’t want a person like that near your premise.

If you invest enough and have a good play, you can rake thousands of dollars in Vegas.

How to beat the dealer

In blackjack, three ways may make you rich while playing against the dealer.

  • If you draw a hand of 21 on your first two cards and the dealer does not
  • If you draw a hand that is higher than the dealer’s but not over 21
  • If the dealer has a hand that exceeds 21

The dealer beats you if you draw a hand that is more than 21 or when he has a higher total hand value than you, which is below 21.

Calculating the Total Hand: Card Values

The total number of cards in a Blackjack card deck is 52. A Blackjack shoe has 6-8 decks of cards. Many casinos in Vegas will play the 6 deck shoe, but more is not uncommon. You can find single shoe blackjack in smaller casinos off the Vegas Strip if that is what you are looking to play.

  • Cards from number two (2) to ten (10) are taken for their face value, i.e., two of hearts represent a two-value, 10 of spades represent a ten-value, etc.
  • Face cards (J, Q, K) have a value of 10
  • The Ace (A) can either have a value of 1 or 11. The value depends on what option helps the hand on the play. If you draw an Ace and your total hand was 17, then your ace makes sense as a 1 value option since an 11 value will make your total hand exceed 21.

Playing Blackjack

You can play blackjack by following the outlined steps below:

  • Choose a table with a suiting blackjack variation
  • Place your bet
  • Select the option to DEAL
  • Use basic strategy or your strategy to make your next move
  • Choose the option STAND if you are happy with your current hand. If not, choose HIT for another card
  • The dealer plays their hand
  • The outcome: the hand which is higher than the other but 21 and lower wins.
  • Repeat the process

Check out this video to learn how to play blackjack directly from a Las Vegas dealer:

Basic Rules of Playing Blackjack in Vegas

1. Placing Bets

The game starts when all players place their initial bets.

2. Chip Value

If you want to play Blackjack in a casino, you have to buy chips representing your bet amount. You can buy chips from as low as $0.25 to as much as you want. Most high-end casinos can forward chips worth millions.

Blackjack Chip Value

3. Dealing

The dealer deals two face-up cards per player and two to themselves, with one as a hole card (face-down card). Cards from 2-10 are taken for their face value, while face cards J, Q, K have a value of 10. Aces can either have a value of 1 or 11.

4. Bust

When a hand total exceeds 21, the hand is said to bust, and the other hand wins.

5. Player decisions

A player can STAND if they are satisfied with their hand, HIT if they want more cards, or SURRENDER if they see the hand is a loser. You can also DOUBLE DOWN to place another wager on your bet equal to the original. If you have a pair, you can SPLIT to place two equal bets.

If the dealer has an ace, you cannot surrender. Re-splitting (if your split has a pair, you can re-split) and hitting on aces are not allowed. If a player has a hand of 21 after ace splitting, that is not considered as blackjack but a win of 21.

You cannot double down if you split your hand.

6. Dealer decisions

The dealer acts last and must hit 16 points and stand on 17+ points. He must stand if he has a soft 17 hand.

Blackjack Table Rules

  1. All initial bets are placed before the game starts.
  2. A hand with an ace that can have points as 1 or 11 is a soft hand. A hard hand has no aces, or the ace can only have a value of 1.
  3. Blackjack payout is 150% of the waged amount, i.e., 3:2 ratio. If you bet $100 and hit a blackjack, you keep your $100, and the house gives you $150-in total, you have $250.
  4. Wins payout are on even money at a 100% or 1:1 ratio. If you bet $100, you get a total of $200 if you win.

Blackjack Player Rules

  1. Do not touch the face cards-rotating, fiddling, or flipping is not allowed
  2. Do not take too long to decide your play
  3. Handle your cards with one hand without moving them from the table
  4. Signal to communicate your decision:
  • Tap the table for HIT
  • Wave over the cards for STAND
  • Make a peace sign for SPLIT
  • Place an equal amount of bet for DOUBLE DOWN

Blackjack Dealer Rules

  1. The dealer does not handle bets-place your money and chips on the table
  2. The dealer stands when they hit 17+, but they can hit when they have a soft 17.

What is “Basic Strategy”?

This is a proven method of playing Blackjack developed by scientists after running thousands of probabilities on a computer. They came up with a chart to guide players on which decisions to take when certain variations are in play.

If followed, it can bear fruits and give you a better fighting chance while playing blackjack. The recommendation is that you memorize this chart to make quick and correct decisions when playing.

Basic strategy Charts:

Basic Blackjack Strategy Charts 1

Basic strategy Charts 2

Also Read: Gambling Age in Vegas: Can You Gamble at 18?

Final Words

Playing Blackjack in Vegas is not as hard as folks, and the internet can make you think. Do not be intimidated by the massive builds of Vegas casinos. Follow the basic strategy and employ your brain-you won’t regret it. Practice healthy betting as it will save you dollars that otherwise, you will lose. Happy jacking!