Blackjack is a casino bank game. The most widely played casino game in the world, it is played with a deck of 52 cards and is derived from the global family of casino bank games known as Twenty-One. Blackjack players do not compete with each other. The game is a comparative card game in which each player takes turns competing against the dealer, but not against each other. The goal of Blackjack is to beat the dealer without exceeding 21 points. In the casino version, the house is the dealer (permanent bank). During the casino game, the dealer remains standing and the players are seated. The dealer is responsible for running all aspects of the game, from shuffling and licensing the cards to handling all bets.

The Basic Rules

Blackjack is usually played on a table of 2-7 players and uses one to eight decks of 52 cards. All number cards (2-10) are scored according to the values indicated on them. Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) score 10 points and Aces can be treated as 1 or 11.

At the beginning of each round, all players place their bets in their betting positions – also known as the “box”. After a bet is placed, all players are dealt two cards, face up, in front of their respective betting positions. The dealer receives two cards, one face up and the other face down.

Starting from the dealer’s left side, each player has the opportunity to draw more cards. Players may “hit” or “stand”. If a player calls out “HIT”, they get an extra card. Then they can call hit again, or “STAND” if they don’t want to draw any more cards. Players can hit as many times as they want, but they must aim not to “bust”. If a player busts, they will immediately lose the bet.

After each player has finished playing and either stood or busted, the dealer takes their turn. They can hit or stand again. If the dealer’s hand exceeds 21, all players who have not busted immediately win, and their bets are returned from the dealer’s bank with the corresponding amount.

If the dealer has a valid hand, the cards are added together and each player’s hand is compared to the dealer’s hand. If a player scores more than the dealer, they win. If a player ties with the dealer, the original bet is returned to the player.

A perfect hand combining an Ace with a 10, Jack, Queen or King is known as ” blackjack”.

Other Options

In addition to the basic rules, most casinos offer a number of other options that are available to players in certain situations. It is always wise to check the house rules to see the details of any allowed options.

  • Split

It is an option given to a player when their initial two cards form a pair. When this happens, the player can split the cards into two separate hands and then receive an additional card for each hand from the dealer. The total amount of the original bet goes on one of the cards and an equal amount of bet must be placed on the other card when the player decides to split. Splitting in blackjack therefore costs twice as much.

  • Double Down

The player increases their initial bet size to twice the original bet amount. A condition is that the player has to stand after taking one more card from the dealer. This strategy is typically used when the player is confident that any additional card will help them get the winning hand. It is considered one of the best blackjack moves because it lends the player the potential to increase the value of the initial bet by up to 100%.

  • Insurance

It’s a side bet offered to the player when the dealer’s up-card is an ace. This side bet is insurance against the dealer’s hand being a blackjack. Blackjack insurance odds typically payout at 2/1 while the maximum bet that is allowed is half of the player’s main bet.

  • Surrender

Surrender implies giving up the hand after the initial deal. This strategy is done when the player believes they have a low chance of winning the round based on their first two cards and the dealer’s card. He will keep half of his original bet instead of potentially losing the entire bet.

  • Bet Behind

Live casinos sometimes offer an option to take side bets, otherwise known as ‘bet behind’. This is where a limitless number of people take a bet behind the main seven seated players, wagering that they will win the hand.