The first time you play blackjack, it’s incredibly cool...and incredibly intimidating. The lights, the sounds, the strangers with faces that tell stories of victories and defeats and experiences. You put on that brave face, maybe giving a wry smile and a squinted nod to anyone making eye contact, hoping you’ll look like you belong while your insides churn because your money is on the line. You don’t quite know what you’re doing and a bad choice could be disastrous for you — and for the strangers, too. If it is, they’ll let you know and they’ll never, ever forgive you.
Welcome to DraftKings Casino, the online home for Blackjack, and a better experience.
You know the basics: Blackjack is a fun game. It’s exciting to have the turn of a card decide how full your pockets are. On DraftKings Casino, you get to tailor your experience and have a chance to win some money. These are all good things, and if that excites you? Great. Feeling intimidated? That’s why this article is here. Either way, we’ll answer your questions, make sure it’s fun, and help you make this the best experience you can have playing blackjack online.
If you’re truly new to the game, there’s no shame in that. If you want to learn more, check out our guide on How to Play Blackjack, which includes a video. If you know how to play, you can keep reading. Either way, keep reading.
The Most Popular Game in the Casino
Easy to learn. Quick to play. Immediate excitement. Those are the three reasons Blackjack is the most popular game in just about every casino in the world.
Whether you’re playing live dealer or not, a hand will take less than a minute. Even then, it’s only that long because you’re taking time to hold your breath, check your logic, and let the tension build. You’re generally only making one or two decisions per hand, and you’ll find out whether they pay off immediately.
A Solved Game
The reason those strangers we mentioned at the top get upset about “wrong” plays is that blackjack is what we call a solved game. That is, according to the math of it, we know there’s always a clear choice that offers the best mathematical chances of paying off. That brings us to...the chart.
Again, this looks intimidating, but it’s actually a simple way to ensure you can make the best mathematical choice available to you. See the numbers down the left side? Those are possible totals you can have when adding your first two cards. The numbers across the top? The dealer only shows one card to start, so those are the cards the dealer could be showing. Once you’ve added your first two cards and seen the dealer’s up card, if you want to play by the math, find the symbol where the two intersect:
- H stands for “hit,” or, take another card.
- S means “stand,”or stay with what you have.
- D means “double down.” That means you’re doubling your bet and agreeing to take just one card, a wager you only want to make when you have a strong mathematical edge.
For more specialized situations, here are two more tables:
- The “Soft” table is for when you’re dealt an ace. It is only used when you still have the option of treating the ace worth either one or eleven. Once your other cards reach a total of eleven or higher--since making the ace eleven would cause you to bust—it’s assumed the ace is worth one. That’s a “hard” hand, for which you can go back up to the first table.
- With the “Pair” table, when you start with two cards of the same value (like two 3s, two 8s, or two jacks), you have the option to split them into two starting hands. The P means “split.” When you choose to, you need to equal the bet on your initial hand. After that decision, you’ll get another card for each hand and you can go back up to the first table.
Now, here’s the thing, it doesn’t always work out the way you expect. Yes, people who are really good with numbers have figured out that if you do these things consistently, you’ll do better over the long haul, but it still stings if you double down and lose. That uncertainty is a big part of what keeps the game exciting.
Your Money, Your Choice
Those grizzled veterans at the casino forget that it’s your money. That means how you play is your choice. Peer pressure is a legit thing in a live casino, but not here. Playing by the math lowers the house edge, but you don’t absolutely have to do that if you don’t want to. If you want to play on gut or take an uncalculated risk? Hey, you can do that. We don’t advise it, but the choice is yours. No one’s going to shame you here for doing what you want with your wager.
Ultimately, what DraftKings Casino wants is to provide you with a good time you’ll fully enjoy. This tailor-made experience—from the comfort of your home—will help you have a great time, fully understand the game you’re playing, and hopefully come away with extra cash in your account. Welcome to blackjack, and welcome to DraftKings Casino.
Authored By: Gary Wise