Beginners Guide to Blackjack - galacasino

Beginners Guide to Blackjack

Beginners Guide to Blackjack at Gala Casino

Understanding the Basics of Blackjack

Film Blackjack - galacasino

For those that have never played the game before, some Blackjack rules might be confusing at first. Not to worry though, here at Gala Casino, we have prepared this comprehensive Blackjack guide, touching on all things related to the popular casino game!

1. Objective of the game

The aim of Blackjack is to get closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over. Should a player exceed 21, their hand will be labelled as a 'bust', meaning that the bet is lost, regardless of what cards the dealer has.  

2. Card values

In order to evaluate a hand, players need to know the value of each card in the deck. Number cards, running from 2 to 10, are worth their corresponding face value, while Jacks, Queens, and Kings all have a value of 10. Aces, on the other hand, can be worth 1 or 11 points.  

3. The Blackjack table

As for the table itself, it is often topped with a green fabric and provides enough room for 5 to 9 different players. Usually, various information about the game will be displayed on the cloth too, including when a dealer must stand on their hand, and the payout for a Blackjack. 

When sitting down at a Blackjack table, players will be opposite the dealer. Any other players will be to their left or right, with the person furthest right acting first on each hand. The action is then passed around clockwise until all players have made their decisions.

How to Play Blackjack?

When playing Blackjack, there are a few different phases that occur every round. Below is a quick overview of each, alongside the different options available to players! 

1. Placing a bet in blackjack

Before any cards are dealt, players will have an allocated time slot to place their bets. This can be done by placing chips in the corresponding rectangle on the Blackjack table. Standard chip denominations for Blackjack are 1.00, 5.00, 25.00, 100.00, and 500.00, shown as the colours white, red, green, black, and purple. 

Of course, players must only place bets that match the limit of the table. These limits are clearly labelled at both online and physical casinos, with the minimum for Blackjack typically sitting at 1.00. Here at Gala Casino, however, we do offer a selection of tables with lower limits! 

2. Card Distribution

Once the betting period is over, the dealer will begin to distribute the cards from the shoe. Each player will receive two cards, face up, while the dealer will receive an up card and a hole card. The up card, as the name suggests, is visible to everyone at the table, while the hole card remains face down until it's the dealer's turn to act. 

3. Player decisions

So, what options do players have when sitting at the Blackjack table? Here is a quick Blackjack betting guide, featuring all of the potential actions and what they mean:

  • Hitting - Receive an additional card from the dealer. 
  • Standing - Declare that the hand is finalised for the round. 
  • Doubling Down - Place double the bet in order to receive one additional card. 
  • Splitting - Split the two cards to form two separate hands. This can only be done when the player is dealt a pair. 
  • Surrendering - This involves throwing away the cards rather than playing on, with only half the stake being lost as a result. It's worth noting that this is only available on specific types of Blackjack.

4. Dealer's turn

Once all players have acted, it's the dealer's turn. The hole card will be flipped up and the total value of their hand will be added up. If this is over 16, the dealer will have to stand. Likewise, if it's 16 or lower, the dealer must hit.  

Now, if the player has a hand closer to 21 than the dealer, or the dealer busts and they do not, they will be victorious. If the dealer and player have the same value in their hand, the round will be marked as a 'push', meaning that the bet is returned. Players will be awarded at the rate of 1:1 unless they have a Blackjack (10+A), which typically awards at 3 to 2. 

5. Blackjack Side bets

In addition to the main bet, there are other wagers that players can make at the table. These are referred to as 'Side Bets', with the three most popular being: 

  • Insurance - If a dealer is showing an Ace, players can lay chips on the 'Insurance' bet. If the dealer has a Blackjack, this bet is awarded at the rate of 2 to 1, however, players can only bet half their initial stake size. 

  • 21 + 3 - When placing a wager on this side bet, players use their 2 cards and combine them with the dealer's face-up card. Should a combination such as three of a kind, a straight, or a flush form, players will be awarded at the corresponding rate. 

  • Perfect Pairs - This bet focuses on whether or not the player will be dealt a pair. There are different types, too, such as a mixed pair, a coloured pair, and a perfect pair. All of these are awarded at different rates; however, perfect pairs can be awarded at 30 to 1.  

 To place a side bet, players must move chips into the corresponding area. This can be found near the main bet, with all available options having their own box. 

Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack 3 - galacasino

For those who haven't heard of basic Blackjack strategy before, it's a predetermined set of actions that can help to increase a player's chances of a successful hand. It's often displayed on a chart that can be taken into casinos; however, many players will memorise the different outcomes. Let's take a look at basic strategy and the optimal decision in different scenarios! 

1. Importance of following a basic strategy

Before we look at what Blackjack basic strategy suggests for a variety of hands, it's important to know the associated advantages. When using this strategy, the house edge can be reduced to as little as 0.62%, with this figure sitting at roughly 2% or higher for regular players. Of course, basic strategy can also help with decision making, allowing players to know immediately what the optimal decision is. 

2. Hard hands

Hard Hands - galacasino

In Blackjack, a hard hand is a combination of cards that does not involve an Ace. According to a basic Blackjack strategy guide, players with a hard hand of 17 or more should always stand, regardless of what card the dealer is showing. Doubling on 11 is recommended, unless the dealer has an ace, in which case, hitting is the optimal decision. 

3. Soft hands

Soft Hands - galacasino

As many would expect, a soft hand is the opposite and involves players having an Ace. Due to this, their hand will have two different values, depending on whether the Ace is being used as a 1 or 11. If the player has a combination of A,8 or A,9, Blackjack basic strategy indicates that standing is the correct option in every instance.  

4. Splitting pairs

Splitting Pairs - galacasino

When it comes to pairs, basic strategy is rather easy to remember. When following the chart, players will stand on a pair of 10s, while always opting to split 8s and As. Basic strategy also states that a pair of fives should be doubled unless the dealer is showing a 10 or A. 

Blackjack Tips for Beginners at Gala Casino

Now that we've discussed how to play Blackjack, it's time to take a look at a few tips for keeping players safe at the table! 

1. Bankroll management

Before playing Blackjack, it's important to set a budget for the session. This should always be an amount of money that players are happy to lose and once this budget has been set, sticking to it is crucial. 

2. Taking advantage of promotions and bonuses

Welcome bonuses and other promotions can offer additional funds to play with. As most of these bonuses will come with wagering requirements, punters may be able to enjoy playing Blackjack without using any of their raw balance. At Gala Casino, we regularly update our promotions, so checking back often may be beneficial to bonus hunters! 

3. Practising for free

Another useful feature offered here at Gala Casino is demo variations of different games, with Blackjack being included. This allows punters to test their skills and practise their strategy without making a deposit. Although Blackjack may seem easy, especially with a basic strategy chart, making decisions in a short period of time can prove tricky, which is why practising is never a bad idea. 

4. Knowing when to quit

While setting a budget is important, players can take this to the next level by implementing win and loss limits, allowing them to stay fully in control. Doing so can help to avoid chasing losses, or wagering more than was initially planned. 

5. Joining the Gala Casino community

Our final tip in this section is to join the Gala Casino community, where players can interact while they game. Not only can this add to the level of entertainment, but it also allows punters to learn live Blackjack tips and tricks from experienced players!  


That wraps up our beginners guide on how to play Blackjack. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve is by learning basic strategy, while also ensuring that sufficient practise has been done. For those that want to try a demo version of blackjack, or perhaps play with a bonus, Gala Casino has a lot to offer. 

One thing that players should always remember about Blackjack, is that winning is never guaranteed, even when following basic strategy. Regardless of how skilled a blackjack player is, there is always an element of luck to consider. Last but not least, responsible gambling should always be a priority, with a range of tools available at Gala Casino to keep players in control. 

1. What is the objective of blackjack?

The objective of Blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible, without going over. Players can also be victorious if the dealer busts but they don't.

2. What is the value of each card in blackjack?

In Blackjack, cards from 2 to 10 are worth their face value. Aces are worth 1 or 11, and all face cards have a value of 10.

3. Should I always try to get as close to 21 as possible in blackjack?

While getting as close to 21 as possible is the main objective in blackjack, it can be risky to hit a hand, as the player can bust as a result. There are some instances in which standing could be the best option, so thinking carefully before each decision is crucial.

4. Can I count cards in online blackjack games?

No, counting cards does not work in live blackjack games. This is because most dealers will constantly shuffle the deck or have a machine do it for them, in order to randomise the order of play.

5. What is the basic strategy for playing blackjack?

Basic strategy is a recommended set of decisions, based on the players' cards and the dealers' face-up card. By following this strategy, players can increase their chances of a successful hand, as basic strategy will always recommend the optimal action.

6. What is the house edge in blackjack?

The regular house edge in Blackjack is approximately 2%. For those that follow basic strategy, this can be reduced to less than 1%.

7. What happens if the dealer and the player both have blackjack?

If both the dealer and the player have Blackjack, the round will be marked as a 'push'. This means that the player gets their stake returned to them, but will not receive any additional winnings for the Blackjack.

8. Can I play blackjack for free at Gala Casino?

Yes, here at Gala Casino, we have demo versions of Blackjack that can be played without the need to make a deposit. With that being said, users must be registered and logged in to their account before playing.