Blackjack is one of the most popular games at a casino, and has one simple rule – you have to beat the dealer. Here is a full explanation of the rules of Blackjack and by the end you’ll know exactly what it takes to win at Blackjack.
Winning at Blackjack
There are three ways to beat the dealer at Blackjack.
The first is to actually get 21 points on your first two cards without the dealer doing the same. Aces are counted as either one or eleven in blackjack and all picture cards are counted as ten (alongside of course a ten). To score 21, you’ll need an Ace and a ten/picture card and this is actually called “Blackjack”.
The second way is to gain a higher score than the dealer without going over the total of 21.
The final way to win is if the dealer busts by drawing cards until the value of his or her hand exceeds 21, not having busted yourself.
Blackjack can be played with differing numbers of packs, normally between the ranges of one to eight packs. The player (or players) at the table will be dealt two cards, and will add the value of the two cards together. The player then makes one of the following decisions based upon the hand:
Hit – By hitting you’ll be taking another card from the dealer, which you will add to the total of your hand. If your hand total now exceeds 21 you have busted and the dealer wins.
Stand – When you decide to stand, you’ll take no more cards and stay with the total you have. You’ll win if your total is higher than the dealers or if the dealer busts.
Double Down – The player is allowed to double his initial bet on the basis that they will stand after receiving exactly one more card.
Split – If the first two cards have the same value you’ll be able to split them into two hands, costing an additional bet. The two hands will now be played separately. Some casinos will allow splits on all ten-valued hands (such as a King and a Queen) whilst others will only allow a split on identical ten valued hands (such as a pair of Jacks). Doubling of split hands might be restricted, as well as further splitting.
Surrender – When a player surrenders the house will take half the players bet and return the other half to the player. The hand is now over. The surrender option is only available after the initial hands have been dealt. The surrender option is not a feature at all blackjack games.
Having completed your action, the dealer will now proceed to play. The dealer only has two options, and these are to hit or stand – however they do not have a choice, the decision made by the rules of the game. A dealer is only allowed to stand with a total of 17 or more, so will always hit if the total is 16 or less. If both the dealer and a player bust, the dealer wins the hand. If the dealer and the player have the same total, the bet is considered a push, so neither the dealer nor the players wins or loses.
Insurance – This is a feature at some games when the dealer has an up card that is an Ace. This is effectively a side bet which pays at odds of 2:1, and will payout if the dealer has Blackjack.
Split Aces – In the majority of games, splitting Aces will mean that only one more card will dealt to each hand, and further hits will not be allowed. You’ll also find further splits and doubles are also not allowed.
Double on 9/10/11 – Doubling will only be allowed when you have a hard total of 9, 10 or 11 (a hard total being a hand that doesn’t feature an Ace). In some variations you’ll only be able to double on hard totals of 10 or 11.
Resplitting – Some games will allow unlimited resplitting, whilst others will have a limit on the number of times it can occur.
Winning Amounts at Blackjack
When placing a bet at Blackjack, you’ll either lose that chip amount if you lose, or win that chip amount if you win. However there can be exceptions when you hit Blackjack itself. Usually you’ll win at odds of 3:2 when hitting Blackjack, meaning that if you place a $20 bet, you’ll win $30 instead of the usual $20. Some casinos will pay out Blackjack at odds of 6:5 or even 1:1, which increases the house edge enormously.