Blackjack Rules

In South Africa, the blackjack rules closely mirror those found in casinos around the world. The objective remains consistent: obtain a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, without surpassing that magic number. Players are dealt two initial cards and have the option to draw additional cards to improve their hand’s value. However, there’s a catch – going over 21 results in an automatic loss, commonly known as a “bust.” Understanding the rules of blackjack is paramount to success, and in this article, we will delve into the intricacies of this thrilling game within the unique context of South Africa. Whether you’re a seasoned blackjack enthusiast or a novice looking to sharpen your skills, mastering the rules and strategies of blackjack will undoubtedly enhance your overall gaming experience and potentially boost your chances of walking away a winner.

Best Blackjack Casinos

Purpose of the Blackjack Game

Why play this game or even master the many black jack rules? For starters, this game has one of the lowest house edges of all casino games. Players get more value for their money while getting entertained. Secondly, all games of skills have a challenging aspect that most players appreciate, especially when they want to get away from the usual easy gambling options.

The goal is always to hit 21 before the dealer, and any number above this is called a Bust. For this reason, players need to know blackjack card values to tell the kind of hand they have been dealt. The game starts with two cards on the table – face up – and the player can stand, hit, split, or double down depending on said hand. Card values in blackjack are Ace: 1 or 11: King, Queen, and Jack – 10 points: all other cards carry their face values.

How to Play Blackjack

If you want to choose your preferred online blackjack South Africa casino, then check their rules. Most sites do not require registering an account these days, so you can simply choose your preferred game variant, place your bets, and start playing.

These simple steps will get you started:

Player Buys Chips

Go online and choose your preferred game variety, as there are many. Pay for your chips if you are playing blackjack online for real money. The dealer lets you know the value of your bet, such as a 3:2 return if you win. Casinos differ in house edge and RTP.

Player Places a Bet

Place a bet, then settle at the virtual table to play with the rest of the players in a multiplayer setting. You can choose a single-player set-up, too, for the same experience. You won’t have to place a bet if you choose a free game. Casinos have set minimum and maximum limits to guide you when placing your bets.

Dealing Blackjack

Now on how to play blackjack with a dealer: The dealer shuffles the cards and starts dealing with them clockwise. They will give each player two face-up cards and deal themselves two as well, but with one face-down. The game starts with the first person to the dealer’s left opening up the action, then others following in a clockwise direction until the game ends.

Player Decision

Here’s where players will apply blackjack rules. The player to the dealer’s left is known as “first base,” and they set the game off by making their move. You first want to check your black jack card values to make an informed decision. You want the total of your two cards to be between 4 and 21, so if you have an Ace and a 10, you hit Blackjack and are immediately announced as a winner. If both your cards have the same value – say, 8 and 8- you can split them to play two hands of the same value.

After the first player makes their move, the next moves – clockwise – and this goes on until one wins. If you are not satisfied with your card values – you have a bad hand – you can hit, which ideally means taking a card from the shuffled lot placed on the table. You want to check the total of your new cards to ensure you remain as close to 21 as possible. If the dealer has blackjack, it cancels your win, but you wouldn’t lose your original bet.

Simple Black Jack Rules:

  • Hit: Ask for another card by tapping the table. This usually happens when you feel you have a bad hand.
  • Stand: Signal the dealer you are satisfied with your hand by waving your hand over your cards. The dealer moves on to the next player.
  • Double Down: If after receiving your cards, you are confident you could beat the dealer, you can place another bet, in most cases, to double your original wager.
  • Split: You can place another bet of the same value as the first if both your cards are of the same value rank and play the hands separately.
  • Insurance: If the dealer has Ace as their up-card and you think they could have a 10 in the hole, you may want to take out insurance to protect you from losing your entire bet. You will get 2:1 if you win but lose the original bet. Insurance is not usually the best move, as the dealer only has a 10 to make up blackjack a third of the time.
  • Surrender: If, after getting your cards, you feel the odds are against you, you can choose to surrender to recover half of your original bet if the dealer has blackjack. This is early surrender. If the dealer checks out their hole card and reports they have a card that gives them an advantage over the players, you may be allowed to surrender and, again, get half the value of your original bet. This is a late surrender. Smart move? Only when and if you feel you have a terrible hand and the dealer’s cards will outshine yours.
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The Blackjack Deck

A typical deck has 52 cards, and casinos play the 4, 8, and 8 versions regularly. 6 decks are the most popular, meaning you could use up to 312 cards in one game. The dealer has a blank card at the end of each deck to signify its end so they can pop open a new one. The decks are placed in a shoe (box), and the dealer opens them one at a time to shuffle without looking at the black jack card values as they are all face-down.

Value of Cards in Blackjack

The cards have different values.

  • The Ace is 1 or 11, depending on the value of your second card. If the total of Ace and the other hand is over 21, Ace will be worth 1.
  • (J, K, Q) Jack, King, and Queen are 10 each. The rest of the cards have face values from 2 to 9.

Chip Value

Most casinos have the value of each chip imprinted on the back, but they also colour-code them.

Yellow, Burgundy (also used for $2)$1,000
Light Blue$2,000

Blackjack Tables Layout

Different game variations have unique settings, but the rules are quite similar. A typical blackjack table is semicircular and designed to accommodate up to 12 players depending on the game or casino. Most popularly, you have seven players on the table.

Blackjack: Hard vs. Soft Hand

Ace determines whether a hand is considered hard or soft. When Ace is counted as 11, the total is considered soft, and it is hard when it counts as 1, or none of the cards is Ace. This card counts as 1 when the total (combined with the other card) goes above 21. So, if you have Ace-7, this is a soft 17. Ace-4-8 is hard. 10-8 and 8-8-2 are hard hands because they do not contain Ace, and this is one of the primary rules of blackjack that a player cannot ignore.

Now, for the strategies to apply with a soft and hard hand. If the dealer has 4, 5, or 6 as their up cards, a player can double down since even in the best-case scenario where the dealer has an Ace in the hole, they would be mandated to Stand at soft 17. A soft hand gives a player more flexibility and better chances of beating the dealer than its hard counterpart. In a hard-hand scenario where the dealer’s up-card is 10, you may want to assume they have another 10 in the hole and proceed cautiously. You can Hit if your cards add up to 14, 15, 0r 16 and hope for the best.

Blackjack Rule Variations

Part of knowing how to play blackjack in casino is knowing the rules for the different variations.

Number of Decks in Play

When learning how play black jack, you will find out that the usual number of decks is between 2 and 6. Some casinos have 8-deck cards, but 6 is the sweet spot. Each deck has 52 cards. A few casinos use a single deck per game, which allows card counting and effectively lowers house edge. More decks equal a higher house edge.

Dealer’s Soft 17

When a variation requires the dealer to stand at soft 17, it is labelled S17. This means the dealer has to stand at this number if one of their cards is Ace or 6. This lowers house edge because the dealer can do nothing if the player has a chance to get to 17 or closer to 21.


Some variations restrict when a player can double down, which increases the house edge since the house has a say in this particular move. Doubling allows players to bet more on their hands if they are confident they are headed for a win.

Doubling After Split

One black jack rule any player should know is knowing when to split a hand. Splitting happens when you are dealt cards of the same value, and doubling after this action allows you to play with double your original bets for both hands.


Some blackjack variations allow a player to split a hand after the initial split, which reduces the house edge by about 0.1%. A resplit allows you to play three hands at the same time.


Most variations allow players to surrender after being dealt their cards, much to the house’s advantage. Only a few scenarios necessitate this move, such as if the dealer’s up-card is Ace or a 10 and your cards total 15. You lose half your stake when you surrender.

Dealer Peek

The dealer’s hole card is face-down, but they peek at the beginning of the game to see whether they have blackjack or not. If they do, any other player with blackjack says so, and they get a Push. Those without blackjack lose. Some variations do not allow peeking, which can increase the house edge.

Payout for Blackjack

Blackjack has one of the best theoretical RTPs – 99.54% at most casinos, but the final win depends on how best a player applies classic blackjack rules and strategies. The game still gives you a 50/50 chance of a win, and applying all the known strategies will inch you closer to the money. A win pays out 3:1 or 1.5 times your wager. If a player and the dealer both get natural blackjacks – Ace and 10 – the scores even out, and none is paid out. A bust is an automatic loss.

Blackjack Terminology

Having covered blackjack casino rules, here are terminologies on how to play blackjack for beginners.

  • 3:2 Blackjack: This is a player’s payout when they win a natural blackjack. If you bet $50, your win will be 3:2 the odds, which totals $75.
  • 6:5 Blackjack: The winner is paid 6:5 for hitting a natural blackjack – Ace-10. This player gets $60 for a $50 wager.
  • Basic Strategy Chart: A strategy chart that shows a player how they should move.
  • Busting: This means going over 21. If you have a 6-6, then hit and get a 10, you will total 22, which is a bust or loss.
  • Counting Cards: This means looking at the cards already dealt to each player and making out the nature of the cards still in the deck. You would need to know the number of cards in a deck, and how many of each are yet to be dealt. Cards valued at 10 and above are good, while 6 and lower are not.
  • Double Down: When a player chooses to double their existing bet instead of receiving only one other card.
  • Face Down: The dealer’s card whose value is hidden. Also called the hole card.
  • Face Up: The cards whose value is visible to players and the dealer.
  • Hole Card: A dealer’s face-down card.
  • Insurance: A side bet if the dealer has 21.
  • Shoe: The box that holds a deck of cards.
  • Surrender: It’s when a player has a bad hand and gives up half their stake. It is a good move if you are certain of losing.
  • Third Base: This is the player to the dealer’s far left, and they make the last move.

Blackjack History

Blackjack may have originated from Vingt-Un, which was made famous by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. In his book, he wrote about two notorious cheats in a game called veintiuna (21 in Spanish), whose main objective was for players to get to 21 without going over it to win. The details make it clear that veintiuna was played before the book was written, in the 17th century, perhaps.

The current version of online blackjack is similar to what was played in Spanish, but a few tweaks were observed as Europe, and the US adopted their versions. It was likely first played in France in 1888 and in Britain between the 1770s and 1780s. Those teaching gamblers blackjack how to play documented some material that shows the game was played at the community level.

FAQ: Black Jack Rules

The aim is to hit 21 or as close to it as possible before the dealer or other players. A dealer deals two cards per player with their faces up.
They shuffle them first, then place a face-up card in front of each player in a clockwise move. The dealer does that twice to ensure each player gets two face-up cards while retaining the same number but with one face-down.
Two to eight, depending on the variation.
It means doubling your bet mid-game.
Ace is worth 1 or 11. It is typically 11 but can be worth 1 if the totals from the other card go over 21.
Placing another bet equal to the first when dealt two cards of the same value rank.
When you have been dealt cards of the same value – like two 8s.
When the sum of your cards is less than 50% of what you need to beat the dealer, give the value of their face-up card.
Best if you have 10 to 16. You may want to stand on 17, whether hard or soft.