Blackjack Rules: How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games available, if not the most popular game. Blackjack is also not that difficult to learn, even though there are other casino games, like baccarat or roulette, which are easier to learn. Below, we explain to you the basic rules of Blackjack. Should you already know these rules, read our blackjack strategy article for more information on how to minimize the edge of the casino when playing blackjack.

When playing Blackjack, the player has to try to get closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over 21. This means that you are only playing against the dealer, not against other players on the table. To calculate the hand values, cards will have the following values in Blackjack: Aces count either 11 or 1; King, Queen, Jack and 10 all count 10 and the other cards all count at face value (9 as 9, 3 as 3, etc).

At the beginning of each hand, the players place their bets, after which the dealer gives everybody 2 cards. While the players show both cards face up, the dealer only shows 1 card face up. Then, the dealer will play with each player on the table, starting with the player on the right side, from your players point of view. Each player now should try to get as close to 21 as possible, without going over 21.

When drawing their hand, players can make the following choices:

Hitting / Standing: This is the most common choice you have to make, as you have to decide if you want another card to get closer to 21 than the dealer, in which case, you would hit, or if you think that your hand is good enough to beat the dealer, in which case you will stand.

Splitting Pairs: When your first 2 cards are a pair, you will be able to split that hand, which means that you will use each card to start a new hand, but which also means that you will have to add the same amount you bet on the first hand also to the second hand. For example, if you bet $10 on the hand and get 8 and 8. If you want to split this hand, you have to add an additional $10 to your bet (your total bet will then be $20, $10 for each hand) and will then split the hand and get an additional card to each 8. Then, you will be able to continue to play your hands the regular way.
Should you now get an additional pair, you might be able to split your hand again, but it depends on the casino rules. So, please check with the casino before playing.

Doubling Down: This allows you to double your bet when you think that you have a better than normal chance to win the hand. When doubling your bet, you will receive 1 more card from the dealer and then, your hands stands. You can only double down when having 2 cards on your hand, not after you already drew a third card. While some casinos only allow you to double down when you have a hand value of 9, 10 or 11, some casinos also let you double down on any 2. For more information, please check with the casino before playing.

Surrender: The surrender feature is only available at a few casinos because it’s not used very often. Basically, when you surrender, you will give up your hand and will get half your bet back. For example, if you bet $10 on the hand and you surrender, you will get $5 back. Remember that you need to win only 1 of 4 hands to make not surrendering as profitable as surrendering.

Insurance: When the dealer shows an Ace, you have the option of buying insurance. You can bet up to half the amount of your original bet on Insurance, to protect yourself from the dealer having a blackjack. Should you take insurance and the dealer has blackjack, you will lose your original bet, but win the insurance bet, which pays 2 to 1. This basically means that if you bet half the amount of your original bet on your insurance bet, you will get all the money back that you bet, without any loses or gains, should the dealer have blackjack.

Once every player finished their hand, the dealer will play their own hand, which will be played according to the casino rules, with no decision making involved for the dealer. Most casino rules state that dealer stands on all 17, which means that the dealer has to take an additional card when only having 16, but can’t draw another card when having 17. Some casinos also tell the dealer to stand on all hard 17, but hit on soft 17, which means that if the dealer has 17 using an ace valued at 11, the dealer needs to take another card. Should he have 17 with an ace valued at 1, the dealer will stand.

After the dealer finished his hand, the players who are closer to 21 than the dealer without going over 21 will get paid at a rate of 1 to 1. Should the dealer bust (go over 21), each player who did not bust before will get paid at 1 to 1. Should a player hit a blackjack (21 with only 2 cards), the player will usually get paid at 2 to 1, meaning for each $1, the player will get $2 in winnings and the original $1 back.

Now, you know the basic rules of blackjack 🙂

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