Blackjack Rules: How to play Blackjack

Blackjack RulesThe game of blackjack, also known as 21, is one of the most (if not the most) popular games offered in casinos. If you don’t have an idea about the rules of blackjack or just need some information on the finer details, you are in safe hands. We will tell you all the details you need know to play this game, and also explain different rules that will make you a better player.


The aim of the 21 game is to collect cards with points that sum up closer to twenty-one without exceeding the 21 goal. Face cards (Kings, queens, and jacks) are worth ten points. Aces are counted as a one or eleven, whichever is perfect. Other cards are as represented by their digit.
If the House and player tie, it’s a push and it becomes a draw (no winner). Ten and ace (blackjack) on the initial two cards picked is an automatic player win at 1 ½ to 1 unless the house picks the same (ties). A player can stand at any moment.

The Basics

A player can only win if he/she beat the dealer without getting over twenty-one (busting). You will automatically lose if you burst. The winner is the person who is near a sum of twenty-one. You reach twenty-one by summing up the values of your cards.
The blackjack table holds (seats) about six players. Either 6 or 8 decks of cards are used – they are shuffled by the dealer and kept in a “shoe” (a card dispensing box).

You must place a bet before you receive a card. Then, all the players are dealt 2 cards face up and the dealer is dealt one card face up and another one face down. Every player (one at a time) either takes more cards to get near to twenty-one or stays to avoid busting.
Players who don’t bust stay for the dealer’s turn. The dealer reveals the down card when all the players have played. By casino rule, on counts of seventeen and above the dealer must wait; on counts of sixteen and below the dealer must pick more cards.

If your total adds up to twenty-one with your first 2 cards (an ace and a face or a 10), you become the winner. This is the “blackjack”. You win 1 ½ times your gamble unless the dealer gets a twenty-one too in which case it’s a tie or a push or a stand-off and you receive your wager back.
The other players with a greater count than the dealers one wins at 1 to 1 ( an amount equal to their wager). The other players (below the dealers count) lose their wager. The remaining players win if the dealer busts.

Other Betting Options

There are other wagging options namely surrender, insurance, even money, split, and double down.
•    Surrender – this is losing only ½ of your bet because of giving up your hand.
•    Early surrender – surrender accepted before the dealer looks for blackjack.
•    Late surrender – the dealer looks for a blackjack, if he does, surrender isn’t allowed.
•    Insurance – side wager up to ½ the initial wager against the dealer having an ordinary twenty-one (only accepted when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace). If the face down card is a ten and makes a twenty-one, insurance pays at 2 to 1 odds, but loses if the dealer doesn’t.
•    Even money – cashing in your wager immediately at a 1 to 1 payment ratio when you’re dealt a blackjack and the dealer’s face-up card is an ace.
•    Split hand – split the first 2-card hand into 2 and play them individually (accepted only when the 2 cards are of the same value). Each card is then used at the start of another hand and another bet similar to the first one is placed.
•    Hard hand – a hand with an ace valued at one or without an ace.
•    Soft hand – a hand with an ace valued as eleven.
•    Double down – you double your original wager following the first 2-card deal, but you only hit a single card. It is perfect if you are in a strong position. The majority of the casinos allow players to double down on any 2 cards. Some will allow you to double down after splitting while others will limit your doubling to hands that sum 10 or 11. But there is a condition: you must deal one extra card and you can’t get more than one when you double down.

House Advantage

Note: This will depend on the rules given (different rules, different advantages).
•    7 percent average – without a basic strategy
•    ½ percentage or less – with a basic strategy
Note: Card counting may reserve the advantage up to 1 percent to the player.

Waging and Winning

Every player at the table has a box or circle to place wagers in. There is always a floor bet as well as a ceiling bet for the table. The ceiling wager is usually 10 to 20 times the floor wager, meaning that a $10 minimum table would have a $100 to $200 ceiling. Every player makes a decision on how much to bet before the deal.
Each hand or bet may result in one of the following outcomes for a player:
•    Win – wins as much as the bet (1:1). If you bet $15, you win $15 from the dealer and keep your bet.
•    Lose – the dealer takes the bet. The dealer takes your money.
•    Push – it is a draw. You keep your wager but you won’t receive the dealer’s money.
•    Natural blackjack – your win at 1 ½ to 1. If you bet $15, you win $22.5 and keep your bet.

Bad Strategies

Three common bad strategies witnessed at the table are: always assume the dealer has a 10 in the hole, mimic the dealer, and never bust. All these strategies are quite bad.
•    Assume a 10 in the hole – here, if a dealer has an ace up, then the player reverts to the right basic strategy because the dealer might have peeked for blackjack, making a ten impossible. This strategy results in a house edge of 10.03 percent.
•    Mimic the dealer – in different analyses of the mimic a dealer strategy, a person assume that a player will always hit a sixteen or less and stand on seventeen or more, including a soft seventeen. The player never split or doubled because the dealer isn’t allowed to split or double. This strategy often results in a house edge of 5.48 percent.
•    Never bust – in most analysis of the never bust strategy, a person assumes that a player can never hit a hard twelve and above. The other decisions are according to the correct basic strategy. This strategy often results in a house edge of 3.91 percent.