It is debatable whether Blackjack is a game of pure chance, or it combines an element of skill. Whatever is the case, being familiar with the rules and possible outcomes can definitely help you minimize you losses and continue playing longer. In Blackjack, you play against the dealer. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer in every round. You win if you get a score that is higher than the dealer’s without exceeding 21, or if the dealer gets over 21. You lose if the dealer gets the higher hand without exceeding 21, or if you go over 21.
The game begins with all players placing their bets. To place a bet, you place your betting chips on the table in a betting circle or square in front of you. After the players have placed their bets, the dealer will deal each players and himself two cards. You first want to determine the value of your initial hand. The value of your hand is the total sum of the point of then individual cards. In Blackjack, face cards (Kings, Queens, Jacks) count as 10 point; aces can count as either 1 or 11, both the player and dealer can decide that based on the hand they each have; all other cards count according to their numeric value. “Blackjack” is the hand with the highest value. It is composed of an ace and any 10 point card, and it beats any other 21 point hands.
One of the dealer’s cards will lay on the table face up, and the other face down. The facedown card is called the “Hold card”. If the dealer’s face-up card is an ace or a 10, he will look at his Hold card right after away (after offering players an Insurance bet, see below), and if he has a Blackjack, all bets are lost, except Insurance bets and bets of players who also had a Blackjack(also known as “Push, see below), and the round is over.
Otherwise, the player to the dealer’s left plays first. Based on the value of your initial hand, and the dealer’s face-up card, you have a few choices:
Stand – you keep your initial hand.
Hit – you ask the dealer for another card. You can hit more than once. If any additional card causes you to go over 21 points, you lose (also known as “bust”).
Double – you double your bet, and you get only one more card.
Split – if initial hand is a pair or any two 10-point cards, you can choose to double your original bet, and separate it into two individual hands. The dealer will give each hand a second card, and you continue playing normally with both hands (some casinos impose certain limitation on split hands).
Surrender – in some casinos you can forfeit half your bet and quite the game at this point.
After all players had their turn, the dealer turns over his Hold card. The dealer has to take hits until his cards total 17 or more points (in some casinos, the dealer also hits on a “soft” 17, e.g. initial ace and any combination totaling six points).
If the dealer goes over 21 points, then all remaining bets win.
If the dealer doesn’t go over 21, than he will compare his hand with that of each player, and in each case the hand with the higher point value will win. So, if the dealer hand has 17 points and you have 18 points, you win. Most wining bets pay even money. For example, if you win on a bet of $5, you keep you bet and the dealer pays you $5. The exception is a Blackjack, which in most cases is paid 3:2, so if you got a Blackjack hand with a $10 bet, your payout will be $15.
If you and the dealer both have 17, the situation is a Push (or tie). In this case, your bet is returned to you, and you win nothing and lose nothing.
What is an Insurance Bet
An insurance bet is an optional side bet. If at the beginning of the game the dealer has an Ace facing up, he will offer players to make a side bet, called an “Insurance” bet. If you take Insurance, you will be paid 2:1 if the dealer’s Hold card is a 10 point card (in which case the dealer has a Blackjack and all bets except Insurance loose). The insurance bet is optional, and you may only bet up to half the value of your original bet as Insurance.