Blackjack tips, strategy, odds & more
Now for the basics, starting with the rules. There are many varieties
of blackjack out there. Wherever you play you’ll encounter the same
basic blackjack rules. Always make sure you know all the rules of a given
table as rules can vary from table to table.
The object of the game is to get a hand of cards that totals no more than
21. If you go over you “bust” and lose.
Number cards are worth their face value and face cards (Jack, Queen and
King) are worth 10. An ace can be worth 1 or 11 which ever the player
chooses. When the ace is a 1 it is referred to as a “hard ace”
and when the ace is an eleven it is a “soft ace”. Hands using
aces are, as a result, referred to as “soft” or “hard”
hands. For example a 3 and an ace is a soft 14 or a hard 4.
Once bets are placed on the table play begins. If the dealer deals your
cards face up, it is a variation of blackjack called London Deal. When
the cards are face down it is a Nevada Deal game. Obviously, those counting
cards will want to stick with London Deal blackjack games.
The dealer will deal cards to each player one at a time around the table
and will deal him or her self one card face down and one card face up.
In turn, each player decides if they are close enough to 21 to beat the
dealers hand and will either “stand” and take no more cards
or will “hit” and receive another card. Each player will continue
until they bust or stand.
After all players have had their turn the dealer will reveal his or her
face down card. If the dealer has 17 or higher they must stand. If they
have 16 or less they must hit. If the dealer busts, everyone at the table
who didn’t bust wins. If the dealer doesn’t bust, the dealer’s
hand is compared to each player’s. The higher hand wins paying 1
to 1. A tie is called a “push” and the player gets his bet
back and wins nothing.
If the dealer gets blackjack (an ace and a 10) then everyone at the table
loses. If both the dealer and player get blackjack, it’s a push.
If the player wins with blackjack, they are paid 3 to 2 or one and a half
times the original bet.
During a round, players have a number of other options. After the initial
deal, a player may “double down” and double their bet. They
may receive only one more card and if they win are paid 2 to 1 on the
If the dealer deals a player two cards of the same value, the player my
“split pairs” and play each card as a separate hand. An additional
bet must be place for the second hand. If another pair is dealt on one
of the hands, that hand may be split as well. Some casinos place limits
on how many times a hand may be split. Blackjacks do not count on split
If the dealer has an ace showing, they may offer players an “insurance”
bet. This is betting that the dealer has blackjack. If the dealer has
blackjack, the player is paid 2 to 1 on the insurance bet. Many blackjack
experts believe that this is a bad bet.
Some casinos will allow “Five Card Charlie”. If a player receives
5 cards without going over 21 you win and are paid 2 to 1. This does not
count if the dealer had blackjack or the player has spit a pair.
Some casinos will allow a player to “surrender”. After the
dealer has checked for blackjack the player may give up their hand and
get half of their bet back. The option to surrender before the dealer
has check for blackjack is know as “early surrender”.
Now that you know the rules of blackjack, check out our blackjack strategies
section to find out how to use these rules to your advantage.