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Blackjack Rules - Learn the rules of blackjack

Blackjack is a game that is played all around the world and you will find that the rules may vary slightly depending on the casino you are playing in .  However, in general, Blackjack is pretty standard and this section will explain the common and basic rules of the game. 

In Blackjack, no matter how many players are at the table, you are playing a game against the dealer, not the other players.  Your goal is to end up with a hand this is of higher value than the dealers, but never to exceed a total of 21. 

The Ace is a very important card to the game and can be valued at either 1 or 11 (whichever value assists your hand best).  The face cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings are all valued at ten and all other cards (2 through 10) are simply worth their face value.

To begin a round of Blackjack each player must make their bets.  In most cases the house sets a minimum bet that must be met in order for the player to participate in the hand. Next, the dealer will deal each player at the table two cards (typically face up) and two cards to himself (the first face down and the second face up).  House rules usually do not permit the players to pick up or handle their cards. 

Now it’s time for the players to put their Blackjack skills to the test.  The action starts with the player in the first position (the player to the immediate left of the dealer).  This player has a choice to hit, stand, surrender, double down or in some cases split their hand.  However, if this player, or any other, is dealt a combination of an Ace and any other card with a value of 10 for a total of 21 it is considered a Blackjack and will automatically be paid out at 3 to 2.

Before we explain your different options, remember that it is the dealer that you are competing with, not the other players at the table and that the dealer is only showing one card, the other is hidden and won’t be revealed until all bets and player action is completed.

To hit means that you would like the dealer to give you another card to add to your total and get you closer to 21.  You may hit as many times as you like but beware, if your hands total exceeds 21 then you “bust” and automatically lose (even if the dealer busts too).  Some Blackjack games have a rule that if you hit at least 5 times and don’t bust you automatically win are paid at 2 to 1.

If you decide to stand, it means that you are satisfied with your hand total and have faith that you will beat the dealers’ hand or that if you hit, there is a good chance that you will bust.  Your strategy tells you that you do not want anymore cards. 

At this point, when only the first two cards have been dealt to you, you can choose to surrender.  To surrender means that you believe that no matter what you do, you will not beat the dealer and that your best option at this point is to throw in your cards and not continue with the round.  If you chose this option half of your original bet will be given back to you (the other half goes to the house, no matter what the dealers’ outcome is).

Also at this point, every player has the option to double down.  This option allows the player to double their original bet.  If you double down you are opting for the dealer to deal you one more card to add to your total.  You can not hit again, this one card determines your hands total.  This option is most often taken when the player is showing a total of 10 or 11 on their original cards.

And finally, on certain hands, you have the option to split your hand.  This is possible only if the two cards dealt to you are the same rank (two 7’s, two Queens or two Aces for example).  So if you choose to split your hand you now have two separate hands that are to be played as any other hand would be.  However, you must match your original bet should you choose to split.

So once each player at the table has acted on his/her hand, it is time for the dealer to play out his.  Firstly, if the dealer has Blackjack, he will reveal it right away and everyone at the table loses.  The dealer doesn’t have the options of surrendering, splitting or doubling down.  He will only hit or stand, and typically has a method he must follow.  The method he/she uses will be posted at the table.  However it is very common that he must hit on 16 and stand at 17.  This means that if his two cards total 16 or less he must take another card.  He will continue to take another card until his hands total is at least 17 or if he busts. 

If the dealer busts then the players still in the round win and are paid out at 2 to 1.  If the dealers hand totals 17 to 21, any player with a higher total wins (2 to 1).  The players with a lower total lose and if you tie the dealer it is considered a push.  If you push you will get your original bet returned to you but nothing on top of it.

So now that you basically know how the game works, check out some of our other sections (such as Blackjack Strategy and Tips) to help make you a stronger and more confident blackjack player. 

 
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