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Blackjack Rules

The Object of blackjack

As soon as the bets are placed, the s dealer deals 2 cards from a shoe that usually has at least 4 decks. The dealer deals to every player including himself, beginning at the seat on his left, called first base. He keeps one card face-up and the other card face-down (the hole card). Every player tells the dealer how he wants to play his hand. Once all of the players have completed their hands, the dealer pays or collects accordingly. In Blackjack, each player competes against the dealer rather than other players. You can win against the dealer by possessing the hand that is closest to 21 without busting it. A total that exceeds 21 is called a bust. Once you bust, you lose.

How to Play Blackjack

Card Value
  • Cards 2-10 = face value
  • Face Cards = 10
  • Ace = 11 (or 1 if it will result in a bust)

A soft hand is when an ace is an 11. It is called a soft hand since due to the flexible value of the ace (11 or 1), it may not be busted when the player pulls an additional card.

Each player has the following options:
  • Stand – play the hand as is and pass on additional cards
  • Hit – choose to take another card
  • Split pairs – when dealt with 2 cards of equal value, choose to split the pair and play each as an individual hand
  • Double down – doubles the bet, but limits the player to just one more card
  • Surrender – giving up half of your bet when the dealer reveals an ace
  • The Dealer's Role

    Once the player busts, chooses to stand or doubles down and takes a card, his turn is over. When all the players are done, the dealer shows his hole card and plays his hand. According to Blackjack rules, the dealer hits until he reaches the total of 17, no matter what the players hold. Usually it is required that the dealer hit a soft 17.

    In the case that a dealer busts, all the rest of the players are victorious. The regular payoff for such bets is 1:1 (even money).

    Blackjack or Natural

    A Blackjack or a natural is when a player wins by reaching a total of 21 by using only 2 cards, with one card valued as 10 and the other an ace. Most often, a natural hand gains a 3:2 payoff, but there are gambling casinos that have a 6:5 payoff on a natural.

    When a pair of aces are split, followed by the draw of a card valued at 10, that player has a sum of 21, not a Blackjack. It is crucial to recognize this difference since a Blackjack entails a 3:2 payoff. A player's Blackjack ranks above a dealer's 21 or any other dealer total, besides a dealer's Blackjack.

    Most often, the dealer pays your winning Blackjack promptly when your turn arrives. Meaning that in face-down games, it is best to reveal your Blackjack to the dealer at the aforementioned time. There are casinos that pay the Blackjack when the hand is done in the case that the dealer has a card valued at 10 face-up and hasn't looked to see if he has a Blackjack, while other gambling casinos look under ace and 10 up-cards and pay the Blackjack right away.

    Shoe Games

    At shoe games, the cards are dealt face-up and the players are not permitted to touch them. Thus, as a Blackjack novice, it is better to stick to shoe games since you won't need to handle the cards.

    Hand-held Games

    At hand-held games, the cards are dealt face-down and the players take them into their hands.

    The following are some things you should keep in mind during a hand-held game:

    • The cards must be kept on the table at all times.
    • You can touch the cards, but only with one hand.
    • Whatever cards are dealt to you later in the game can not be added to the cards you hold in your hand, but rather, these cards must remain on the table.

    Basic Principles

    • You lose when you do not have Blackjack, but the dealer does.
    • You win when you have Blackjack and the dealer does not.
    • When you and the dealer both have an equal value of points, it's called a push, meaning that neither of you win. Since the dealer actually plays a game with each respective player, even if one player beats him, the dealer can still win against the remaining players in the very same round.
    • When nobody has Blackjack, every player plays his hand in turn.
    • The dealer's hand is played only after every one of the players has completed his hand.
    • Variations on common Blackjack rules:

      • Late surrender: you can surrender after the dealer looks to see if there is Blackjack
      • Early surrender: you can surrender prior to the dealer's look to see if there is Blackjack
      • One card split aces: each ace gets one new card added to it and the turn ends, meaning that the value of the ace in this instance is 11 points
      • Double down limits: double down is an option only when you have specific card combinations
      • European No Hole Card Rule: There are casinos, mainly in Europe where the dealer gets to have just one card face-up, up to the point where every one of the players has completed their hands. Afterwards, the dealer deals his 2nd card and completes his hand. The only effect that this has on a player's strategy is that in the case of a dealer Blackjack, the dealer gathers all of the players' bets. There are casinos that give the dealer just one card at the beginning of the game, these casinos repay the total purchase price of any split bets or double-down bets, if the dealer has a Blackjack. Since this kind of No Hole Card Rule has no influence on a player's strategy, it ought not be labeled a European No Hole Card rule.

      Since there are many variations of the game, it is important to be aware of the Blackjack rules that are particular to the kind of variation that you are playing.

      Article Submitted by:
      Josh Gabbins, Gambling Editor.

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