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Online Casino Tips: How to Play Blackjack Card Game in the UK

Blackjack is a staple casino game with a long and exciting history. Still loved to this day, the modern blackjack UK card game is enjoyed by players in various forms such as online or live at online casino sites, and in-person in brick-and-mortar venues.

One of the reasons why Blackjack is so popular is because its gameplay is simple, easy to follow, quick, and overall highly entertaining. Both new and experienced players can pick up Blackjack quickly, and thanks to the huge array of variants and types of Blackjack available; particularly at online casinos, the Blackjack experience has been tailored to suit almost every player type.

In today's article, we'll be taking a closer look at this iconic casino game so you can learn how to play the Blackjack card game as a UK player. Keep on reading to learn more.


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Article Summary

In this article we’ll be covering everything you need to know to get started playing Blackjack, plus handy information for those seeking to refresh their Blackjack knowledge. Click on any of the links below to skip through to sections that pertain to you:

Introduction to Blackjack in UK

Blackjack is a casino card game that is played all around the world and is also known as "pontoon" and "twenty-one." In blackjack, the goal is to achieve a hand that's more than the dealer's, who the participant is playing against, without going over 21, known as going 'bust'.

It is the general consensus that blackjack, also known as Vingt-et-Un, (which is French for twenty-one), most likely originated in French salons and betting halls circa 1700 as a spinoff of the well-liked games Chemin de Fer and French Ferme.  Some scholars, however, believe that Blackjack's origins date to the Romans, which is fascinating to consider; but for the sake of brevity, let's return to more recent history.

Blackjack as UK players know and love comes from the USA, where it was first played by French immigrants in the various casinos that had become all the rage in the 1800s. With stiff competition, casinos started to offer a unique side bet with a 10:1 payout for hands that included the Jack of Spades or Clubs, plus the Ace of Spades. This bet was known as 'Black Jack' and though no longer included in gameplay, lent its name to the game.

Globalisation and colonisation, alongside the World Wars, brought Blackjack back to Europe and UK shores. With such easy gameplay, Blackjack caught on like wildfire, and for many a casino that doesn't offer a blackjack table or two simply isn't a casino at all.

blackjack card dealing


Blackjack Rules in the UK

In the UK, unless otherwise specified, European Blackjack is played at most casinos and online sites. The general rules for European Blackjack are as follows:

  • While achieving a Blackjack (commonly referred to as a ‘natural’) pays 3:2, regular wins pay 1:1.
  • Going "bust" ( a hand total of more than 21) results in an automatic loss.
  • The "face" cards of the Royals (J, Q, K). Have a value of ten.
  • Unless they would raise your total above 21, in which case they are worth one, aces are also worth ten.
  • Blackjack hands with an ace acting as a 1 or without an ace at all are considered hard hands. A soft hand is one that has an ace worth of ten, which can thereafter be reduced to one if necessary to keep you from losing.
  • The dealer will always hit on a 16 or lower, or stand on a 17 or above unless otherwise instructed.
  • Usually, players are offered the insurance side bet at a 2:1 ratio if the dealer has an ace showing.
  • A push happens when the dealer and the player both score 21. If you placed an insurance wager, this will be reimbursed; otherwise, your initial wager is added to the pot for the following hand.

While American Blackjack shares many of these rules, there are also key differences which could trip up new players who aren’t aware of these distinct variants. The most important differences between American and European Blackjack are enumerated below:

  • European Blackjack is typically played with two decks, while American Blackjack is played with 6-to 8 decks. 
  • The dealer deals two cards on an American Blackjack table, one face up and one face down. The term "hole card" or "face down card" refers to this second card, which is not a feature of European Blackjack.
  • Unlike European Blackjack, where the player can only double down on hands worth 9, 10, or 11, American Blackjack allows the player to do so on any hand value. 
  • While European Blackjack only permits splitting cards once per round and on similar cards, American Blackjack permits splitting a hand up to three times and into any pair. 
  • Unlike European Blackjack, American Blackjack allows the player to "surrender" after the first two cards are dealt.
  • In American Blackjack, the dealer will look at the hole card if the player chooses insurance. In European Blackjack, there is no hole card, therefore the player must finish their hand before determining whether the dealer has a blackjack.
blackjack game with female dealer


How to Play Blackjack in the UK

Beating the dealer is the basic goal of blackjack. Players need to construct the highest-value hand as possible, up to a value of 21. Going "bust" refers to the automatic loss from hands valued at 22 or more.

The numerical value of the cards in your hand determines the value of your hand. Points are allocated to numbered cards according to their number; for example, a 7 is worth 7 points. High cards from 10 to K are all worth 10 points.  

Aces have a value of either 1 or 11, depending on the value of your hand at any given moment. Known as soft or hard hands, when the ace is worth 11 the player has a soft hand, but if the ace has to reduce its value to 1 to prevent the player from going bust, they will have a hard hand.  An Ace and any other 10-point value card make up a natural blackjack, which is the best-starting hand available.

Depending on their hand, players can choose to draw another card, 'hit', or stick with what they have 'stand'. Rules like hitting on 16 or below and standing on 17 or above must be adhered to by the dealer.

Although you can keep hitting until you have a strong hand, the skill of blackjack is in knowing when to behave in any given situation during the game—hit, stand, double down, or split.

Blackjack Gameplay Explained

As mentioned, the rules of Blackjack can be subject to change depending on the variant and type of game played. In general, however, a round of UK Blackjack will play out in the following way:

  • The participant places their bet.
  • Along with themself, the dealer deals a card to each player who is currently in play. Except for the dealer, who is dealt face down, all players' cards are dealt face up.
  • The dealer then deals themselves and each active player a second card. All second cards, including the dealers, will be dealt face-up.
  • When playing blackjack in person, the player on the left of the dealer always initiates play, and it moves clockwise around the table.
  • You will have to choose whether to hit, stand, double down, or split (if applicable) when it is your turn to play. The player always takes their turn first. You can use blackjack help tables or strategy guides to guide your decision if playing online.
  • Play will go on to the next person once your turn has concluded (having either chosen to 'stand' or gone bust). After all players have taken their turn, the dealer takes their turn.
  • The dealer will turn over their face-down card. The dealer will automatically hit if the total is 16 or less, and they will automatically stand if it is 17 or more.
  • All players with active hands will win if the dealer busts. Every player loses if the dealer hits a blackjack. Any player whose hand is worth more than the dealer's will receive a prize payout if the dealer stands.
  • After all rewards have been distributed, the following blackjack round can start.

How Blackjack Differs from British Blackjack

Despite sharing the same name as Blackjack, British Blackjack is a completely distinct game even though it has the same name as a traditional casino game. Switch, Jack Changes, English Blackjack, Peanuckle, Take Two, Irish Switch, Two Four Jacks, Black Jack Pick Up 7, and Last Card game are some of the names for which British Blackjack is commonly known.

Depending on how many participants there are one or more decks of cards are used when playing British blackjack. Each player is dealt a hand of 7 cards with the undealt cards becoming the discard pile. By trying to match the rank or suit of the previous card played, players aim to be the first to clear their hands.

As you can see, British Blackjack is a very different game from Casino Blackjack, with the game playing out in a similar fashion to the family game Uno.

Online and Live Blackjack

A common mistake that new players make is to think that the terms ‘online blackjack’ and ‘live blackjack’ interchangeably. Online Blackjack is part of a selection of online table games which can be enjoyed at online casino sites like Genting. In these games, the player is pitted against a virtual RNG dealer. This means the player is in control of how long the rounds take, and when the next round commences.

Live blackjack games are found within the live casino section of online casino sites. In these games, blackjack rounds are streamed in HD quality and played in real-time. The live dealer is in charge of controlling the pace of play, and players will be taking part in rounds alongside other players and can communicate with them and the dealer via a live chat feature.

Play The Most Premium Blackjack Games in the UK 

At Genting Casino, you’ll find the best selection of premium blackjack games including a large selection of online blackjack games, plus a range of live variants found in our live casino games category. Our site is fully optimised for play on all devices including smartphones and tablets, and we feature titles from some of the top developers. Sign up and play your first blackjack hand today at Genting Casino.






Genting Casino is a leading global casino brand. We provide a premium online casino experience with our huge selection of online slots and live casino games. Genting has been recognized many times for its work in creating fun, safe gaming experiences winning multiple industry awards during its 50 years in business.

V: 1.38.0 All rights reserved. August 2021