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Blackjack Basics

Blackjack, known as Vingt-Et-Un or 21 (Twenty-one), is widely regarded as the most popular card game there is. Players must use a combination of skill and strategy to succeed, rather than relying on pure luck. No matter whether you want to play in real casino or your choice is blackjack online the rules of the game stay the same and are as follows.

Blackjack Basic Rules and Strategies

Blackjack Objectives

The goal in blackjack is to beat the dealer. Some players can be distracted by other gamblers, and it’s important to be focused on the cards you are dealt – the hands of other players won’t affect yours, or affect the chance of getting a winning hand.

Once a player’s hand total reaches 21, and the player gets there before the dealer, he has won the hand. If the score exceeds 21, the player loses and is out of the hand. The goal is to outscore the dealer and not exceed a score of 21.

Card Value

In blackjack suits do not affect the scoring; the only thing that matters is card value. In blackjack, the card values are as follows:

  • 2-10 –points are at face value
  • Jack, Queen & King – each gives 10 points
  • Ace –scores either 11 or 1 (player’s choice)

When a player is dealt an Ace, the hand is known as a “soft” hand because the Ace gives the player a choice of points, depending on the other cards dealt. It might be of more benefit to take the 11 points for the Ace, and at other time taking the 1 would be better.

What is a Blackjack?

Just like any other game, blackjack has its own glossary. A blackjack is not just any combination of cards that score a total of 21 points. The hand must consist of a 10 point card – 10, Jack, Queen or King - plus an Ace which scores 11. This is called a Natural or Blackjack; any other combination is simply given a score of 21.

How the Game Is Played

Before the cards are dealt, players make their bets. Once all bets are made, the dealer then deals two cards to each player, the first card face down, the second card face up. When the players and the dealer have seen their hands, they then have the following options:

Hit: Players choose to be hit if they have a good hand and feel they have a chance of winning with one more card. The dealer gives the player another card, and this is dealt face up. This is the most common option.

Stand: A stand means you will take no more cards for now. If you feel you might go bust with one more card, it can be better to sit the round out and see what happens to the dealer’s hand.

Split: If the player receives two first cards with the same value, she/he has the right to split the hand. This enables the player to play two hands at the same time, and the dealer deals new cards for each hand. The player then continues to play each hand in the normal way and with the same bet size.

Double Down: When a player is confident his/her hand will be a winning one, the player can ask to double the bet. The player receives a new card, but does not have the right for more cards after that. If you have the advantage over the dealer, for example if you have 11 points and the dealer doesn’t have an Ace, consider doubling your bet.

Surrender: If a player feels the hand he/she has been dealt has no chance of winning, the player can surrender the hand. This rules the players out of the hand and they receive back half their bet.

Insurance: To protect from a loss, players can take out insurance by betting that the dealer has a Natural or not. This situation occurs if the dealer’s up card is an Ace and the player feels a loss is probable. The bet is the same as the player’s initial bet and protects the player from losing the initial stake. This is clearly not a strategy to win, but to stay in the game by effectively not betting on losing propositions.

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