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The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack, or simply 21, is easily one of the most popular card games you will find at any casino, both online or off line.  The goal of this game is to get as close as 21 as possible without going over.  Unlike many card games where you play against other players, this one calls for you to battle it out with the dealer.

Before receiving their cards, the player is required to bet.  From there, both the player and dealer receive two cards.  If your cards add up to a number that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, then you win the amount wagered.  You also win if you hit 21 on the nose or if the dealer goes over.  However, if you go over 21, then you lose the amount wagered.  Blackjack is very simple to play, but knowing all the rules can make it even easier.

Card Value

In the game of blackjack, card suits have no prevalence.  All cards 2 through 10 are equal to their original face value, while face cards have a value of 10.  The ace can either have a value of 1 or 11, whichever is more beneficial to the player or dealer.

Blackjack Terminology and Rules

If you want to be a successful blackjack player, then you need to comprehend all the terminology and rules the come along with the game.  Below we have listed some terms you want to become familiar with:

  • Hit – A hit is what you take when you want to add another card to your original two.  As the player, you may receive a hit at any time before choosing to stand.

  • Stand – Stand means you want to stay with your current hand and receive no additional cards.  This becomes automatic once the player either doubles down or hits 21.

  • Split – To split means to take your first two cards of the same value, such 5/5 or jack/queen, and divide them into two separate hands by putting up a second bet of equal value.   In most variations of blackjack, players are allowed to have up to three hands once.  From there, you receive cards in normal fashion, with the following exceptions:

–       If you split two aces, you only receive one additional card for each hand.

–       Any hand that totals 21 after an ace split is only considered 21, not blackjack.

  • Double – After receiving their two cards, if the player believes the drawing of a third card will put them in a position to be the dealer, they can perform what is called a “double down.”  A double down doubles your bet and gives you one additional card.  After doubling down, you must automatically stand.  The dealer then completes their hand and compares it with the player’s total.

  • Blackjack – You obtain blackjack when your initial two cards equal 21.  Though it equals the same total, this beats any hand of 21 that is assembled from three or more cards.

  • Bust – If either the player or dealer goes over 21, they bust and lose.  If the dealer busts, then the player automatically wins the bet.  If the player busts, then they lose the original wager.

  • Push – A push occurs when total of the dealer’s and the player’s cards are equal.  Their hands must be equal from 17 to 21.  When a push occurs, there is no winner, but you receive your original wager.

  • Surrender – If a player surrenders, they receive 50% of the original bet while the other half goes to the house.  This rule only applies to the first two cards you receive.

  • Insurance – As the name insinuates, insurance is a rule that protects the player if they feel the dealer might have blackjack.  For example, if you see the dealer’s first card is an ace and believe their face down card is a 10, you can purchase insurance at half the price of the original bet.  Should the dealer hit blackjack, insurance pays out 2 to 1 in correspondence to the original bet.  If the dealer does hit blackjack, you lose your insurance.  In this case, the original wager is settled by comparing the player’s cards with the dealer’s.

While there are many types of blackjack, all the basic rules apply for the most part. If you can master one, you can master them all.