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Blackjack Rules

So you want to know how to play blackjack? The basic rules are very simple. Just remember the magic number ’21’ and you will be OK. The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over – actually you want to get closer than the dealer to 21, that’s when you win. How is this done?

First of all, the number cards (2-10) are counted at face value. Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth 10, and Aces can be worth 1 or 11, it’s up to you. After you bet, you and the dealer each get dealt two cards, with one of the dealer’s card face-up to help you out. Once you add up your total, you can either ‘Hit’, which means you get another card to try to get closer to 21, or you ‘Stand’, which means you are happy with your total and think you can beat the dealer. Your hands are then compared, and the winner gets paid!

There is more to the game than this, but it’s a start. You can find out everything you need to know on this blackjack guide, including some advanced playing tactics that can give you an edge against the house. Blackjack is a fun and extremely popular game, so keep reading and find out the best ways to win!

The Rules of Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games on the planet thanks to its deceptively simple rules, and the fact that it is statistically one of the most beatable casino games out there. The rules of blackjack give players ability to use statistics, mathematics, and certain advanced blackjack strategies to beat the dealer and walk away with cash. A good blackjack player will, in the long run, gain an advantage over the house, making blackjack a game worth mastering.

This is intended as a basic overview of the essential black jack rules without detailed descriptions of various types of rules or game variations. Once you understand the basics provided in this simple tutorial you are well on your way to getting started with more advanced tips and tricks.

Blackjack is played with one or more decks of playing cards, each containing 52 cards. Decks used in a single game range from 1 to 8 with 4, 6 and 8 deck games being the most common. The number of players (besides the dealer) ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 to 4 being the average. Single or double card decks may be dealt by hand, however large decks and in more upscale casinos most cards are shuffled using a shoe.

Face Up or Face Down?

There are two ways of playing blackjack. The first is face up. This means that as the cards are dealt out they are face up. Players may not touch the cards in this style of play and this is the rational behind the famous blackjack hand signals used to indicate the players next move. All games played using a shoe are played face up.

Face down is an older style of play and while you are allowed to touch the cards, it can only be with one hand. This is often confusing for players who are used to handling cards with both hands like in poker.

In both variations the dealer’s cards are dealt the same – one is face up, and the other is face down.

The moves

Okay, you’ve made your bet, looked at your cards and now what do you do? Well you have a few options.

Hit (Draw)
To get closer to the number 21, a player may decide to take another card. In land casinos, this is usually done using hand signals rather than by talking, since overhead cameras can’t catch players’ voices. Online, it just takes a single click to hit. Be careful hitting when you have a high hand already, if you go over 21 then you immediately lose.

Stand (Stay)
A player may chose not to accept any more cards if their hand is high, or if they have reason to believe the dealer will go bust. If a player chooses to stand, play moves to the dealer.

Double Down
This is the most complex move in blackjack due to the large number of blackjack rule variations surrounding it. Basically, a double down happens when a player doubles their original bet by placing an equal pile of chips alongside the original bet, then taking one more card (just one) to complete their hand.

Because of the advantage that this gives to players, some casinos have rules that restrict doubling down to hands that have a value of 10 or 11. Be sure to check the Double Down rules of every new blackjack variation you play to be sure.

Split
If the first two cards a player receives are the same (a pair), the player can elect to split the pair into two separate hands. To do so, place a second bet equal to the original to the side according to betting blackjack rules. The game continues as usual, with the player focusing on one hand, and then the other.

Insurance
An insurance can sometimes be placed when the player suspects that the dealer has a blackjack, and wishes to minimize the loss to his or her original bet. Insurance is tricky – it can pay off well, but if abused it can lead to big losses. Unless you are an experienced card counter and know with great certainty the dealer has blackjack, try to avoid insurance bets.

Surrender
Surrender is forfeiting 50% of the original wagered to end the game at the current hand. Many casinos have specific rules forbidding surrender, or allowing it only at certain times, such as late in the game (e.g. no early surrender).