Rules for Playing Blackjack
Blackjack is a favourite among gamblers around the
world, partly because it is mathematically beatable
and players feel the odds are less random than the
spin of a roulette wheel, or the pull of a slot
machine handle. Some claim Blackjack was invented in
French casinos in the early 1700s where it was
called "vingt-et-un" ("twenty-one"). It has been
played in the U.S. since the 1800's. Blackjack is
so-called because if a player held a Jack of Spades
and an Ace of Spades as the first two cards, the
player was paid out extra. The black suit 'spades'
plus the winning Jack brought about the name
'Blackjack'. Blackjack actually has very simple
rules and can be learnt easily, however there are a
number of strategies you can learn to increase your
winning odds. Blackjack uses a standard set of 52
playing cards and players compete against the
dealer, not each other.
Values of cards
King, Queen, Jack, 10 = 10
2-9 = Face value
Aces = 11 or 1
The player wins when the total value of cards in his
hand is closer to 21 than those held by the dealer,
without exceeding 21. A hand with a value over 21 is
called a "bust," and is an automatic loser. If you
and the dealer have the same card total (17 and up)
neither of you wins and your bet is returned to you
in a "push".
The player wins one and a half times his bet if his
first two cards total 21 - a natural Blackjack. The
only way two cards can have a value of 21 is if one
of them is an Ace, and the other is a 10-value card.
(e.g. An ace and a king, and an ace and a queen are
both blackjacks.) A blackjack beats all other hands
except for another blackjack. If you have a
blackjack, and the dealer has 3 cards that add up to
21, you still win the hand even though you both have
hands valued at 21.
The Value of Winning payouts
Winning Hand 1 to 1
Insurance 2 to 1
Blackjack 3 to 2
If you lose a hand, you lose the amount you
originally bet - no more, no less.
The steps of the game follow the same formula each
1. Between one and seven players can take part in
any hand of Blackjack. The players put an initial
wager forward and two cards are dealt to each player
(one at a time) with the dealer dealing him/herself
last with one card face down.
2. You assess your cards total value and decide
whether you need to take another card (hit) to
increase your total or keep the tally you already
have and hope others will 'bust'. There is no limit
on the number of hits a player can take (however, a
practiced player has a sense of when to stop).
3. When you draw an ace, you can decide whether it
counts as 1 or 11.
4. When all the players 'stand' (choose not to take
any more cards), the dealer reveals his hand by
flipping over the face down card. The dealer must
'hit' (add another card) until the total is 17 or
above. If the dealer's hand is between 17 and 21,
the dealer is NOT allowed to take additional hits.
He MUST stand. On the other hand, if the dealer's
hand is 16 or under, the dealer MUST take additional
hits until the dealer's hand has a value of 17 or
higher. If the dealer goes over 21 while taking
additional cards, he "busts," and automatically
loses. If the dealer busts, all players that are
still in the game win. Between the players and the
dealer, whoever is closer to 21 without going over
5. Winnings are calculated on the amount of the bet
for a winning hand (see the 'winning payouts' table
above). The only way you can lose with a blackjack
hand is if the dealer has one too.
If your first two cards have the same point value,
you may split them into two separate hands by
placing a second bet equal to the original bet. You
then proceed to draw cards. You are able to draw as
many cards as you like on each split hand, but if
you split two aces, you receive only one additional
card for each ace. If you split two aces and one of
your hands totals 21, it is counted as 21 and not
blackjack. Any two ten value cards can be split, for
instance a 10 and queen, however we virtually never
recommend splitting ten value cards. Two aces can,
and should be, split. Normally the casino will also
allow you to re-split after the original split. For
example, you split two eight's and now are dealt
again an eight as the second card of one of those
two hands. You can split this hand again and now
play three hands. Some casinos have limits on
re-splitting aces and if the player is unsure of the
casino house rules he should ask the dealer. We
recommend to always split Aces and 8s.
After you are dealt two cards, and think that
another card will allow you to beat the dealer's
hand, you can increase your bet by an amount up to
your original bet or double your bet. This is also
known as 'doubling down'. Once you decide to 'double
down' you are allowed to receive just one more card.
You cannot stand on your original hand or take more
than 1 additional card. For example, you may be
dealt a 5 and a 6 for a total of 11. You can now
double down, hoping to get a 10 value card (the most
frequent value card in an unplayed deck). The casino
house rules vary for doubling down. For example some
allow only doubling down on 10 and 11 totals while
others allow on any two card total. Some casinos
allow it only on original hands and not split hands,
while others allow doubling down after splitting. Be
sure to know the rules of your casino before
starting to play.
Insurance is designed to protect you when you think
that the dealer may have blackjack. When buying
insurance, you place ½ of your initial bet by
pressing the 'Insurance' Button. If the dealer does
have blackjack, you are paid 2 to 1 on your
insurance bet. If the dealer doesn't have blackjack,
you lose your insurance bet.