Blackjack has been the world’s favourite game for quite some time now. Starting off with humble origins in (probably) the French casinos during the 1600’s, blackjack is the most widely played casino game across the world.
As a game of Faces, Aces, and the number 21, you need to know the blackjack card values if you’re going to be any good at the game. Whether you’re playing at an online casino in your bedroom, at a physical casino on the Vegas Strip, or checking out the largest casinos in the world over in Macau, the basic rules of blackjack, including the basic card values are all the same. If you’re looking to learn more about these blackjack card values, read on.
Unlike most casino card games, blackjack is a game which is played against the dealer, not the other players at the table. It’s also a game played with one or more 52 card decks (without the Jokers), which can make the maths behind the game a little tricky. Fortunately, unlike poker where Aces can be either high or low, Aces are either high or low depending on what you, the player, want them to be.
Each card holds the value of the number printed on the card – a 2 is worth two, and a 10 is worth ten. Jacks, Queens and Kings – your Face cards – are also worth 10. These cards are simply, and unsurprisingly called Face cards because they have a face on them. The Ace, our final card, is worth either one or eleven, depending on whether or not it helps you win. If you have a Face and an Ace, your Ace is worth eleven, bringing your hand total up to twenty-one. If you have a Face, a 2 and an Ace, your Ace won’t make you bust out – it defaults to the lower value of one, bringing your hand total up to thirteen, and giving you the chance to take another card.
Your hand totals are the basis for your decisions whether to hit, stick, split or double down on each hand. Given that your hand total can change based on the blackjack card values, the right call on a given hand changes whether you have a ‘soft’ or a ‘hard’ hand total. A soft hand is a hand where your Ace can count as either a 1 or an 11, meaning that a ‘soft 20’ is an Ace and a 9. If you were to hit on this hand and draw a 6, you’d be holding a hard 16.
Whether you hit or stick on a 16 depends on a number of different things, such as whether you have a hard or a soft hand and the value of the dealer’s up card (the face-up card that you can see). Hitting on a soft 16 is a lot less risky than hitting on a hard 16, as there is literally nothing in the deck that can make you bust out – on the other hand, a hard 16 will bust if you hit anything larger than a 5, which accounts for 62% of a normal, unopened 52-card deck.
As you can see, the chances of going bust vary wildly depending on whether you have a hard or soft hand. Once you understand how blackjack card values work, you can begin to calculate the odds of going bust on the next card, helping you win more games more often. The easiest way of doing this is simply keeping track of the number of 10-value cards you see. There is a rule of threes in blackjack where, given that 31% of the deck has a value of 10, every third card you see (on average) will take you half-way to 21. If you’ve not seen any 10’s or Faces in a while, maybe slow down on the hitting and let someone else bust out!
When you’re ready to put your knowledge of blackjack card values to the test, head on over to our blackjack reviews page, and check out the top 10 online casinos offering blackjack in the UK. We’ve reviewed each and every one of these casinos in great depth, and can help you pick the best casino offering the best deals today!