Blackjack is without doubt one of the more popular traditional casino games that can be played both online or offline. It offers up a challenge to every player as they look to not only beat the dealer but also win some healthy profit on their original bankroll.
However, not everybody knows how to play this exciting table game and will have to start somewhere with regards to learning the rules. This is where we come in as we help you to understand the rules of Blackjack.
The Rules of Blackjack
Before we get started on the rules of Blackjack, we just wanted to clear up the main misconception about the game regarding the ultimate objective. When you have asked friends, family, or even the guy sat next to you at the casino about the object of Blackjack, you will mostly be told that it is to get as close to ‘21’ without going above that number.
That is not correct –the true objective of Blackjack is to beat the dealer and nothing else! To do this a player must first avoid going bust and then try to get a better score than the dealer does or force the dealer to go bust themselves.
Now that we have that out of the way, we can show you the rules of Blackjack laid out in as simple a form as possible.
- A game of Blackjack can be played with between one and eight decks that have 52 cards each.
- Aces can be used as either 1 point or 11 points. Tens and face cards are all valued as ten points while all remaining cards are given face value (i.e a nine is worth nine points and a three is worth three points).
- The players hand value is that of all of the points of each card within it totaled up. The most valuable hand is ‘Blackjack’, a hand that uses an ace (with a value of 11) and any 10 point card. The Blackjack hand is more valuable than any other hand that totals 21 using other cards of different values.
- Once all players involved have placed their bets, the dealer deals two cards to each player and two cards to himself. One card the dealer deals to himself is face up in view of the other players while the second is face down.
- If the card laying face up is an ace, the dealer has to offer a side bet called ‘insurance’. This allows players to place a bet on odds of 2 to 1 that will payout in the event that the dealer’s second card is revealed to have a value of ten. This insurance bet is optional for players to use but they cannot bet wage more than 50% of their original wager on the hand.
- In the case that a dealer has either an ace or a ten card as his ‘showing’ card and after he has already offered the insurance bet in the case of an ace, he is then permitted to take a look at his second card. If he does indeed have blackjack, he will flip over the card immediately.
- A dealer that does have Blackjack in this situation will collect all bets (except insurance bets) unless another player also has a Blackjack in the following action. In the case of the latter, the result of the game is known as a ‘push’.
- If the dealer does not have Blackjack, play resumes as normally with the player to the left of the dealer going first. That player has a number of choices with regards to his actions:
- Player Stands Pat – Is happy to take no further action with his cards
- Player Hit’s – Player asks to be dealt another card (and further cards if the player requests). If the players hand ever exceeds a value of 21, he goes bust and loses his bets.
- Player Doubles – Player takes the option to double his bet in return for just one more card only.
- Player Splits – If the player has two cards that are identical in value then he has the option to split his cards into separate hands and double his bet. This action results in the dealer giving each new hand an additional card apiece. The player is then able to hit or stand on each of the hands. After the player has split his cards, a hand that has a ten and ace no longer counts as Blackjack and can be beaten by the dealers Blackjack.
- Player Surrenders – The players gives up half of his original wager but keeps the other half. This action can only be made on the original two cards and not later. This rule depends on the casino as some casinos do not allow this action at all.
- Play then goes to the next player to the left of the previous and continues in this fashion in a clockwise direction until all players have either decided to stand pat hit 21, or have busted.
- The dealer then takes his turn by first revealing his face down card. If the dealer has a total valued hand of 16 or less, he is forced to draw another card. Any value above that amount he is allowed to stand pat.
- If the dealer busts out of the hand with a score of more than 21, all players that are still in the hand and not busted will win their bets.
- If the dealer stands pat with a score below 21 but above 16, then players that have a higher value hand win their bets while those with a lower valued hand lose their bets.
- Wagers won in Blackjack are paid as evens, which mean that a player wins back the original wager and money to the same value on top. The exception to this is a player that wins through getting Blackjack, in which case they are awarded odds of 3 to 2.
As you can see, the rules really are not that difficult at all and while it might take a little while to feel completely comfortable with them, once you do they will become second nature. You will then be in a position to learn about the many Blackjack strategies that many players use to try and get an advantage at the tables.