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How to Play BlackJack

Updated on January 4, 2012

Blackjack has been a competitive and popular game for at least the last 200 years. It is one of the timeless games that have been around as long as poker. It is a game of numbers and guts on weather a simple card will allow you to reach your total goal of 21.

The main object of blackjack or as some call it “21” is to reach a face card value as close to 21 as possible without going over. If you go over the amount of 21 players or the dealer then it is considered a bust.

Card values are pretty straight forward with 1-9 being the total face values. Then ten jack, queen and king are all worth a total of 10 points each.

One exception to the card values is the ACE card. Which can be used as either a “1” or “11” so you can call another card to be laid down with much less risk of busting.

The basic game of blackjack starts out by making a bet and the dealer will place two card faces up in front of you. The face value of the cards is the number you start with at which point you can decide if you want another card when the dealer finishes dealing the initial cards.

If you get an automatic deal o an ACE and a 10 card then it is already 21 one in which case you will receive 1.5 times your bet back if the dealer busts or if the dealer hits 21 you lose nothing. On the flip side of that if the dealer’s card that comes up is a ACE card then you will be offered insurance. This is a 2 to 1 bet that the dealer has a 10 underneath his face down card. Most people choose to skip this particular bet but if you are feeling lucky go for it.

As well as the initial ACE the dealer also checks to see if blackjack is showing. But, insurance is not typically offered in this situation like when the dealer offers it when they have an ACE facing up. So, in this outcome if you both have blackjack then you both tie or “push” and no one wins anything.

When playing blackjack the first decision if the casino has this rule which is not available in everyone. Is to decide if you are going to “surrender” This choice allows you to escape the hand by forfeiting half the initial bet that you have placed. It is a good idea to surrender to save a little bit of your cash if you know the cards are not stacked in your favor of at least a quarter of the time.

If you have been dealt a specific pair then you have the option of “splitting” Basically this is a strategy in which you can match your original bet and then it creates an additional hand. Each hand then has one card of the original pair that was dealt. This is a way of trying to escape the complex totals of cards that total 16, and 14 card values. This also increases your chances of getting more money on the table with each bet. But, it generally only works if you are on a table against a unfavorable dealer that has cards like the number 6.

If you choose not to split then you have the option to double down on the cards at play. This allows you to double the original bet and only allow you to take one more card which is a must.

Of course not all blackjack players like to play odds with these cards so it is a good idea to just play t save and stick with basic hit or stand strategy.

If you want to “hit” on the blackjack table then you will be getting another card. Many people refer to it as “hit me” if you get another card and it goes over 21 then you go “bust” and lose your bet. The term “standing” means that the cards the dealer has dealt are cards that you are currently happy with and you wish not to allow more cards to be dealt to you.

So, now that you have been dealt and the cards are in front of you it is time to see what the dealer gets. The house rules for dealers vary from casino to casino and they are usually a standard stand on 16 or 17 in the hand dealt. Basically a dealer will give himself a card on 16 or less and not give himself anymore cards on 17 or more.

This guide has used the term “basic strategy” a few times. Basic strategy is a set of rules designed so you can make the best possible play on every decision you make. It has been perfected over dozens of years, and minimizes the house advantage.


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  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

    This is an excellent page for those wanting to learn the game. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • pajamazzon profile image

    pajamazzon 6 years ago

    I used to play blackjack and pontoon in the Casino. This is one cool page.