Blackjack is one of the most popular card games in the world, and the best casino game for players. With practice and skill, it’s possible to significantly increase your chances of winning and even turn the odds in your favour.
You can find the best mobile blackjack casinos here. But first of all, you need to learn the basics and rules of the game.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to play blackjack on your mobile or tablet. We’ll start with the rules of blackjack and how to beat the dealer.
Blackjack Rules & Aim of the Game
Blackjack is the only casino game in which your decisions can reduce the house edge, or even (using simple card counting) get an edge yourself. So it’s well worth learning the rules and mastering basic strategy.
Thankfully, Blackjack is incredibly easy to play. You don’t need to worry about knowing any maths, or even adding up the score of your hand. The dealer (or, when playing online, the computer) handles all of this for you.
There can be several players at the blackjack table at the same time. However, it is important to note that all players are playing against the dealer, never against each other. In that respect, you’re all on the same side!
Once the game begins you will be dealt two cards. The aim of the game is to make a hand as close to 21 as possible – without going over 21.
How the Player Wins
- Get a hand that is higher than the dealer’s hand.
- Make the dealer get a hand value of more than 21 (known as going bust)
- Get a Blackjack (a hand value of 21 in your first two cards dealt).
How the Dealer Wins
- Player gets a hand that is lower than the dealer’s hand.
- Player goes bust (gets a hand value of over 21).
Winning a hand pays even money unless you get a blackjack, which pays 3/2 (or sometimes 5/6 at certain tables). Losing a hand means you lose your stake.
It’s also possible to have a tie, which is known as a push. This is when the player and the dealer end up with the same hand value. When this happens, your stake is returned and you can start a new game.
So that’s an overview of the basic idea of the game, but how exactly does it work?
How Blackjack is Played – Step by Step
The variation of Blackjack you’re playing can change slightly how the game’s played – below, I’m going to be talking about standard European Blackjack rules.
Place Your Bets
To get started, simply open up whichever Blackjack game you’d like to play and select your bet size.
To do this, simply place the chips you’d like to bet on the table, within the circle. When playing online, you have as long as you like to do this, and you can add or remove chips until you’re happy.
Note that most casinos have a minimum and maximum stake size on each table. Online and mobile casinos usually have a much smaller table minimum than a brick-and-mortar casino, so it’s a much better environment to learn in.
When you’re happy with your bet size, simply click or tap the button to deal.
The dealer will deal cards one at a time, clockwise around the table. Two cards are dealt to each player (both face up) and two cards to him/herself. The dealer gets one card face up, and the other face down (this is called the hole card)
Dealer Offers Insurance
If the dealer has an ace showing, you will be offered the chance to make an Insurance bet. This is a side bet. You stake a further amount of half your original bet, which pays out if the dealer has blackjack. So you’re effectively betting that the dealer’s hole card will be a ten or one of the face cards.
Insurance is not offered if the dealer’s face-up card is anything other than an ace.
Basic strategy advises players to always say no to insurance because the house edge on this side bet is too high. However, some players like to do it anyway, so it’s really a matter of whether you’re feeling lucky or not.
The dealer will then check whether they have a blackjack. If not, the game continues with your original bet.
How To Work Out The Value Of Your Hand
You can work out your hand value simply by adding the numbers on your cards together.
The suit doesn’t matter. Number card values are simply their own number, i.e. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10.
Face cards (J, Q, K) all count as 10. Aces can count as 1 or 11, whichever is most beneficial.
For example, if you are dealt two picture cards, each one is worth 10, so your hand value is 20.
When you play online blackjack, or on any mobile device, the casino site will automatically work out your hand value for you, and display it clearly on the screen. So you don’t have to worry about it.
Soft / Hard Hands
The casino software might sometimes show your hand value as a “soft” number.
This might be depicted in words e.g. “Soft 13” or in numbers e.g. “3 / 13”.
A soft hand means that one of your first two cards is an Ace. Because aces can be worth 1 or 11, it means that there are two possible hand values. So “soft 13” can be worth either 3 or 13, “soft 17” can be worth either 7 or 17, etc.
You don’t have to do anything to tell the game which value you want to use. It will automatically use whichever is most beneficial to you, the player.
What To Do Next
Now, if you’re dealt an ace and a picture card or a 10, you have what’s known a “Blackjack.” This pays out immediately, and returns a 3/2 profit.
Assuming you don’t have Blackjack you now have to decide what to do next. You’ll have between two and four options, depending on the cards you were dealt.
- Hit – You can ask the dealer to give you another card. This is known as hitting. You can hit as many times as you like, provided your hand total doesn’t go over 21.
- Stand – If you feel as though you have a strong hand, or you think that another card might make you go bust, you can also opt to “stand”. This means you don’t want to take any more cards.
- Double – If you hold a 9, 10 or 11, you can also choose to “double down”. This is when you double the size of your original bet in return for one more card. It’s particularly useful when the dealer has a weak card showing (like a 4, 5 or 6). This means you’re in a strong position, so doubling your stake may be advantageous. But it does cost you twice your original stake if you lose the hand.
- Split – There’s also an option to “split” your hand if you so choose. This is available when you’re dealt a pair – for example, a pair of 3s. You could then match your initial stake and “split” these cards – you would then be playing two hands, and each split gives you an additional card, so it’s essentially a way to play two cards from one.
Your decision will mainly depend on the dealer’s face up card. When you’ve finished reading this article, check out our basic strategy guide to learn more.
Dealer Plays Hand
Once you’ve made all your actions, the dealer will then draw his or her cards. There are specific rules that a dealer has to follow, no matter what cards the player has.
So unlike the player, the dealer doesn’t get to decide on any strategy.
Usually the dealer has to hit if the value of his/her hand is lower than 17, and must stand if it is 17 or more. If there is any exception to this rule, it should be written on the table. If the table states “Dealer must stand on soft 17” then that is a good thing for you as a player.
Once the dealer has dealt their own cards the winner is decided, and any winnings are paid out accordingly.
If you won the hand (see the section about beating the dealer above) then your winnings will be paid out.
If you were lucky enough to get a Blackjack, this will be paid out at odds of 3/2. So for example, if you staked $10 you will win $15. Your stake is also returned, meaning a total return of $25.
Other winning hands will be paid out at even money. So a $10 stake would make a $10 profit, plus the stake is returned, meaning a total return of $20.
When the hand is pushed (a tie) then you get your stake back with no profit.
If you lost, then the house keeps your stake.
How to Play Blackjack on Mobile
With more of us now gambling from our mobile devices than our desktop computers or laptops it should be no surprise to learn that game developers are building mobile-specific games.
This is a hugely popular niche right now, and there are many Blackjack mobile games available to you should you want to play them.
There are many good reasons to play blackjack on your mobile.
Advantages Of Mobile Blackjack
By far the biggest advantage of playing Blackjack on your mobile devices is that you can play from anywhere you want; no longer do you need to worry about lugging yourself up to your computer. There are plenty of other advantages as well:
- Fast, responsive games you can play from anywhere, any time.
- Low table minimums, practice with smaller stakes.
- Try different blackjack variations, such as European, Las Vegas, Blackjack Switch, Single Deck, Perfect Pairs and more.
- Get bonuses, VIP loyalty points, free chips and more.
- Play with real live dealers, direct through your mobile device.
Once you’ve signed up with an online casino, just whip out your phone or tablet, load up the game – and you’re all set!
List of the Best Mobile Blackjack Sites
Personally, I actually prefer playing mobile Blackjack too. It’s much more interactive – as you can actually “press” the actions you want to take – and it’s a fantastic way of getting a bit closer to the game, in my opinion.
How To Play Mobile Blackjack
It couldn’t be easier to play mobile Blackjack in all honesty. The only problem will be deciding which game to play, as many of the best online casinos have several blackjack variations to choose from.
If you’re struggling to decide, I’d recommend you try Classic Blackjack or European Blackjack, as these will be exactly the same as the steps I described earlier.
So once you’ve loaded up the game you want to play, just tap the screen to select the chips you want to use to place your bet. When you’re happy, go ahead and press the “Deal” button.
You’ll then be prompted to make your decisions, as I described earlier. You’ll see buttons appear for hit, stand, double down and split, so just tap on the one you want. The game will deal the cards and calculate yours and the dealer’s hand value for you too.
Of course, any winnings are automatically credited to your account when you’ve won.
Note: You may want to tilt your device into landscape mode. This will enable the game to run to its full graphical capabilities and will make everything seem a bit less “crammed”.
- How to Play Blackjack: a Beginners Guide - June 16, 2020
Last Updated on September 29, 2022