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How To Play Blackjack Against Friends

If you’ve never tried playing blackjack against your friends, why not give it a chance? It’s a great way to have fun, and if you’re lucky or good enough, split the winnings with your buddies (or keep them all for yourself.)

If you think that it’s too easy to beat your friends at this game – just because they don’t know all the rules/strategies – think again! It’s much more complicated than you think to beat a person who knows what they’re doing, and I’m going to show you how.

The objective of blackjack against friends is simply to get more points in your hand than each of your opponents do.

Points and rules of blackjack

You may ask, what are these points?

The number of points in a blackjack hand is just the total of all the cards you hold. So if you get dealt two 10’s and an Ace, your point count would be 13 points. (A 10-point card + a 1-point card + a 4-point card = 13).

Blackjack is a game where your opponents’ goal is to get as close to 21 points as possible without going over. In other words, they can’t get any cards that have a value of over 10 (the Ace has a value of one or 11). If they’re dealt anything with a total point value that goes over 21 points – BINGO, they bust!

You will win the game if you make your 21 points exactly. Or there are many other possible outcomes – if you get to 20 points or less, that is considered a “soft” victory, meaning it’s not as good as getting the exact amount of 21 but still better than getting busted. On the opposite side, if you get over 21 points, that is a “hard” loss – meaning you lose no matter what else happens in the game.

Should you need more information about how to play blackjack, feel free to check out our guide.

Blackjack - how many decks do you need to play

One of the most commonly asked questions is: “How many decks should we use to play Blackjack against friends?”. The answer to that question depends on the number of players in your game, some strategic considerations, and (of course) how familiar everyone is with basic blackjack strategy.

The first thing you need to know is that playing more than four hands per round will usually result in both of the players getting way over 21 points in their hand, which should be your minimum goal when playing.

Consider this: If you’re dealt with two hands of 10 points each and have the dealer’s upcard as an Ace, that is a total of 30 points for yourself – what are you going to do with them?

Depending on how many decks you’re using, your two 10-point hands will be worth about 14 points each. That leaves the Ace for a single point of over 21. Now, if you consider one more factor – that in many cases, you are playing with people who don’t know blackjack strategy and therefore have no idea what to do when they get an Ace, well – you see where this is going.

If you play more than one or two hands per round, the number of decks will not affect the outcome in any significant way – as long as there are enough cards for both players to get their hands down. If you use fewer than four decks, on the other hand, playing blackjack against friends may be pretty tricky.

Many blackjack strategy books recommend using about four decks to ensure a proper balance between the dealer’s advantage and the players’ favorability. I suggest that you start out with using 4 decks (or even 5 or 6 if most players seem familiar with basic strategy) – and then adjust accordingly.

How to be a better blackjack player?

Practice, practice, practice! It’s a great idea to make as much use of your blackjack software as you can before playing any real money. Here are some ideas that might help you do just that:

  • Play against friends who know how to play but don’t know very many basic strategies. This is good for learning new skills like when to double, split, and stand your ground.
  • Play against the computer. Use different amounts of decks (up to 6 if you want), modify the rules (like doubling after splits allowed) or try out some other blackjack variations like Pontoon, European Blackjack or Super Fun 21.
  • Read AllGambling’s guides and blog – on our website, you will play your first blackjack game step by step. We have also prepared extensive guides on casino strategies – most of them can also be used while playing blackjack.

Playing blackjack with friends - the checklist

By now, you’re probably itching to know how to play blackjack against friends – right? Let’s start with the basics then:

  1. You should make sure of is that you’re all aware of basic strategy. It may sound silly but if everyone in your game doesn’t know basic strategy, it will be very difficult to figure out who won at the end!
  2. Next, you should have the cards shuffled by a human being that no one knows. Or, if possible, ask for them to be shuffled with some sort of machine (like Casino Shuffle Master or Bicycle Shuffling Machine ).
  3. Play with all players sitting at a table (don’t take turns) and ensure everyone knows their exact hands. Having two or more people see and discuss each other’s cards can be quite a distraction.
  4. If you use multiple decks, make sure that the amount of cards per hand is the same for everyone – don’t let someone else see more cards than you do! Likewise, if one player has to take a hit (or two), you should too.

When playing blackjack against friends, the most important thing is to have fun and remain social – don’t take it seriously enough that you get disappointed when you lose. That way, you will be able to enjoy blackjack for what it’s worth: an entertaining pastime.

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