How To Play Blackjack
You have two cards face up in front of your bet. To play your hand, first you add the card values together and get a hand total anywhere from 4 to 21. If you're dealt a ten-value card and an Ace as your first two cards that means you got a Blackjack!
Millions of players have heard the message that of all the casino table games, blackjack is the one that it is possible to beat. A practical system for counting cards in blackjack to gain an edge over the casino was made available to the public in the early 1960s. As it happened, few players ever really learned to beat the dealer. Furthermore, playing conditions have changed since then. Some tables use more than one deck at a time or cut a percentage of the cards out of play so that a card counter never sees them.
Even though most players don't have the skill to win consistently, the belief that blackjack can be beaten was enough to spark a boom in the game. Blackjack is by far the most popular casino table game in the United States, with more players than craps, roulette, and baccarat combined.
A lot of people don't have either the patience, persistence, and concentration necessary for card counting or the bankroll to make it effective. But they can still narrow the house advantage to less than 1 percent in blackjack. The secret is to learn basic strategy for hitting, standing, doubling down, and splitting pairs. A little time spent learning to play well can make your money go a lot farther in the casino. In this article, you will learn the fundamentals of blackjack, as well as some strategies to increase your odds of winning. Let's get started by learning how to play the game:
Blackjack is played with one or more standard 52-card decks, with each denomination assigned a point value. The cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value. Kings, queens, and jacks are each worth 10, and aces may be used as either 1 or 11. The object for the player is to draw cards totaling closer to 21, without going over, than the dealer's cards.
The best total of all is a two-card 21, or a blackjack. Blackjack pays 3-2--that is, a two-card 21 on a $5 bet will win $7.50 instead of the usual $5 even-money payoff on other winning hands. However, if the dealer also has a two-card 21, the hand pushes, or ties, and you just get your original bet back. But if the dealer goes on to draw 21 in three or more cards, your blackjack is still a winner with its 3-2 payoff.
The game is usually played at an arc-shaped table with places for up to seven players on the outside and for the dealer on the inside. At one corner of the table is a rectangular placard that tells the minimum and maximum bets at that table, as well as giving variations in common rules. For example, the sign might say, "BLACKJACK. $5 to $2,000. Split any pair three times. Double on any two cards." That means the minimum bet at this table is $5 and the maximum is $2,000. Pairs may be split according to the rules described below, and if more matching cards are dealt, the pairs may be split up to three times for a total of four hands. The player may double the original bet (double down) and receive just one more card on any two-card total.
Most games today use four, six, or eight decks. After being shuffled, the cards are placed in a receptacle called a shoe, from which the dealer can slide out one card at a time. Single- or double-deck games, most common in Nevada, but also popular in Mississippi and some other markets, may be dealt from the dealer's hand.
Play begins when you place a bet by stacking a chip or chips in the betting square on the table directly in front of you. After all bets have been placed, each player and the dealer are given two cards. In a shoe game, all player cards are dealt faceup, and the players are not permitted to touch their cards. In a single- or double-deck game dealt from the hand, cards are dealt facedown and players may pick them up with one hand. Either way, one of the dealer's cards is turned faceup so the players can see it.
Once the cards have been dealt, players decide in turn how to play out their hands. After all players have finished, the dealer plays according to set rules: The dealer must draw more cards to any total of 16 or less and must stand on any total of 17 or more. In some casinos, the dealer will also draw to "soft" 17 -- a 17 including an ace or aces that could also be counted as a 7. The most common soft 17 is ace-6, but several other totals, such as ace-3-3 or ace-4-2, on up to ace-ace-ace-ace-ace-ace-ace in a multiple deck game, are soft 17s.
Basic Blackjack Rules:
?The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand without going over 21.
?Face cards are worth 10. Aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever makes a better hand.
?Each player starts with two cards, one of the dealer's cards is hidden until the end.
?To 'Hit' is to ask for another card. To 'Stand' is to hold your total and end your turn.
?If you go over 21 you bust, and the dealer wins regardless of the dealer's hand.
?If you are dealt 21 from the start (Ace & 10), you got a blackjack.
?Blackjack usually means you win 1.5 the amount of your bet. Depends on the casino.
?Dealer will hit until his/her cards total 17 or higher.
?Doubling is like a hit, only the bet is doubled and you only get one more card.
?Split can be done when you have two of the same card - the pair is split into two hands.
?Splitting also doubles the bet, because each new hand is worth the original bet.
?You can only double/split on the first move, or first move of a hand created by a split.
?You cannot play on two aces after they are split.
?You can double on a hand resulting from a split, tripling or quadrupling you bet.