Blackjack rules and how to play:
The object of the blackjack game
is to accumulate cards with point totals as close to 21
without going over 21. Face cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings)
are worth 10 points. Aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever is
preferable. Other cards are represented by their number.
If player and the House tie, it is
a push and no one wins. Ace and 10 (Blackjack) on the first
two cards dealt is an automatic player win at 1.5 to 1,
unless the house ties. A player may stand at any time.
To win you need to beat the dealer
without busting. You bust when your cards total to more
than 21 and you lose automatically. The winner is whoever
has closest to a total of 21. You reach 21 by adding up
the values of the cards.
The blackjack table seats about 6
players. Either six or eight decks of cards are used and
are shuffled together by the dealer and placed in a card
dispensing box called 'Shoe'.
Before receiving any cards players
must place a wager. Then the players are dealt two cards
face up. The dealer gets one face up, one face down. Each
player in turn either stays or takes more cards to try and
get closer to 21 without busting. Players who do not bust
wait for the dealer's turn. When all the players are done,
the dealer turns up the down card. By rule, on counts of
17 or higher the dealer must stay; on counts of 16 or lower
the dealer must draw.
If you make a total of 21 with the
first two cards (a 10 or a face and an Ace), you win automatically.
This is called 'Blackjack'. If you have Blackjack, you will
win one and one-half times your bet unless the dealer also
has Blackjack, in which case it is a Push or a Tie (or a
Stand-off) and you get your bet back.
The remaining players with a higher
count than the dealer win an amount equal to their bet.
Players with a lower count than the dealer lose their bet.
If the dealer busts, all the remaining players win. There
are other betting options namely Insurance, Surrender, Double
Down, Even Money and Split.
Insurance: side bet up to
half the initial bet against the dealer having a natural
21 - allowed only when the dealer's showing card is an Ace.
If the dealer has a 10 face down and makes a blackjack,
insurance pays at 2-1 odds, but loses if the dealer does
Surrender: giving up your
hand and lose only half the bet.
Early Surrender: surrender
allowed before the dealer checks for blackjack.
Late Surrender: the dealer
first checks to see if he has blackjack. If he does, surrender
is not permitted.
Double Down: double your initial
bet following the initial two-card deal, but you can hit
one card only. A good bet if the player is in a strong situation.
Even Money: cashing in your
bet immediately at a 1:1 payout ratio when you are dealt
a natural blackjack and the dealer's showing card is an
Split Hand: split the initial
two-card hand into two and play them separately - allowed
only when the two first cards are of equal value. Use each
card as the start to a separate hand and place a second
bet equal to the first.
Hard Hand: A hand without
an Ace, or with an Ace valued at 1 is said to be Hard in
that it can only be given one value, unlike a Soft Hand.
(You can value an Ace 1 or 11 to suit you).
Soft Hand: A hand that contains
an Ace counted as 11 is called a Soft Hand.
House advantage (approximate, may
vary with different rules)
Without basic strategy 7% average.
With basic strategy 0.5% or less.
Card counting can reverse the advantage up to 1% to the
Some blackjack variations
Using different number of decks:
all other conditions being the same, as a general rule the
fewer the decks, the better for the player.
Allowing the dealer to hit a soft
17: a disadvantage to the player. It gives the dealer a
chance to improve.
Allowing a double down after splitting
pairs: can be advantageous to the player if used wisely.
Allowing re-splitting of Aces: a
clear advantage to the player.
No dealer hole card: common on cruise
ships, this variation is a disadvantage to the player. The
dealer does not deal himself a second card until the players
have played and they can lose the doubles and splits.
Las Vegas and Atlantic City variants
Las Vegas blackjack:
Las Vegas games are played with two decks and the House
must hit on hands less than soft 17 (17 involving an Ace)
and must stand on hands of 17 or greater.
Atlantic City blackjack:
Atlantic City games are played with four decks and the House
must hit on 16 and stand all 17's.
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