How to Play BlackJack
BlackJack rules are simple, what makes this game accessible to anyone. The objective of this game is to hit 21.
The player with the highest hand value wins at BlackJack, as long as this value does not exceed 21. Cards from 2 to 10 worth their value as stated on the card (2 for 2, 5 for 5 etc). Cards like J, Q, K have the value of 10. Any card of Ace have two values, usually it takes the value of 11 at beginning, but it also counts as 1 if 11 busts the player’s hand getting him to a value over 21.
The objective is for each player to beat the dealer. Players are not playing one against the other, but always against the dealer; that is way it is possible in some cases the dealer to lose in front of some players but win against others from the same table in the same round. To beat the dealer the player simply has to have a better hand than the dealer, but over 21. If the player’s hand is over 21 in value, he loses.
In European BlackJack, the dealer’s face-down card (also known as hole card) is not dealt until the players play their hands.
In American BlackJack if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace or a 10 value card, he checks the whole hand to see if he has blackjack. This check occurs before any player enters the game, but only after the players have been offered insurance (if the face-up card is an Ace). In the case the dealer has blackjack, all players that entered the game lose their stakes, exception are the players that also have blackjack and pushed on the game.
The blackjack hand has some variations: the 21 hand formed from an Ace and a 10 value card is called “blackjack” or “natural blackjack”.
During the game, players are faced with decision they have to make. The common decisions are as follows:
- Hit – this way the player gets dealt another card
- Stand – the player will take no more cards. This is also know as “Stay” or “Stick”
- Double down – this will double the player’s original stake and can get exactly one more card
- Double down for less – it is the same as Double down, but is for the cases the player increases the bet with less than the original stake. This bet is not always permitted.
- Split – this move doubles the stake and player’s card are splited, each one forming a new hand. The player therefore plays two hands in this situation (he can ask for Hit or Stand at each hand individually). Split option is available when the two cards have the same rank (value).
- Surrender – this option let’s the player to give up the hand and lose half of the stake. This option is not always available.
Some other rules and variations
- Dealer Soft/Hard 17 – this varies from a casino to another, but basically for the Soft 17 rule, the dealer stands when he hits 17 or more. For Hard 17, the dealer must hit on Soft 17, but must stand on hard 17s.
- Late surrender – this option is offered to players that have a bad hand and wouldn’t like to continue the game. This way, by late surrender the player gets half of his stake back. Late surrender is favorable to the player in cases like 15 vs 10, 16 vs 9, 16 vs Ace, when he stands a high risk of losing the bet.
- Resplit to nn – this is the basic split rule applied after a first splitting occurred. This again is done when players receive the same card value.
- Double after split – The player can double the bet for each hand after split. That means that if the player got to split his first hand he can play the 2 new hands based on the same rules as one
- European no-hole-card rule – In this case the dealer does not receive the hole-card. If later he is found to have blackjack, the player loses only the original stake, not the other bets that could occur from double split.
- Dealer wins ties – this rule is not in the favor of the player at all. Luckily this rule is not very used, and it is sometimes seen in blackjack-like games.
- Five card charlie – with this rule in place the player always wins if he got drawn 5 cards and he didn’t bust.
- Insurance – if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, the player is offered insurance before the dealer checks his hole card. The player that wants to take insurance places a new bet (up to the half value of the original bet). This Insurance bet is placed separate on a special side of the table. This bet is paid at 2 to 1 odds. This means that if the player also takes Insurance, and the dealer hits the natural blackjack, the original bet is lost, but the Insurance bet is won (in the case the Insurance bet was exactly half value of original bet, the player will get his stake back). If both the dealer and the player hit blackjack, the player get back the original stake (push), and wins the Insurance bet. On the other hand, if the dealer ends up not having blackjack, the player can still win or lose, but in this case the Insurance bet is forfeit. Also, in the situation the dealer shows an Ace as his face-up card, and the player has a natural blackjack as well, the insurance can be played a little different: “even money” (if player accepts) – in this case the dealer doesn’t check his hole-card and pays the player at 1 to 1.