How to play Black Jack

This is a little guide to the game Black Jack that are played at casinos all over the world and on the Internet. If you are one of my swedish reader you might prefer to read the information in swedish, then I can recommend this casino guide.

In Blackjack the objective is to get a hand that totals closer to (but is less than) 21 than the hand that dealer has. Don’t lose games by trying to get as close to 21 as possible, play to get a better hand than the dealer.

The value of the cards from 2 to 9 is equal to what is shown on the card. The cards 10, Jack, Queen and King all have a value of ten. The Ace is the most valuable card as it can have a value of either one or eleven depending on how the player uses it. You automatically win with a blackjack an ace and another card worth ten.

How to Play

Blackjack is not a group game. The table may have several players at it all playing but they are not playing against each other. Each player plays alone against the dealer, what any other player does when it’s his/her turn has no effect on you when it’s your turn.

Casinos use multiple decks of cards, deal the player cards face up and don’t allow the players to touch the cards. The game starts with the dealer dealing one card to every player at the table and finally one to his/herself. Play continues with the dealer dealing a second card to everyone but hides his/her second card by dealing it face down.

In Blackjack the players play before the dealer plays. The player has two options:

1. drawing another card or
2. standing.

If a player draws another card and his/her total goes over 21 they bust (a loss) and the dealer automatically wins. After every player has finished the dealer will play their hand. The dealer plays their hand according to (posted) house rules. The rules usually call for the dealer to draw another card on hands totaling 16 or less and to stand on hands totaling 17 or more.

After the dealer has played out his hand he/she collects from players with hands totaling less than his/hers, pays off players with hands totaling more than his/hers and pushes (neither pays off nor collects) with hands that result in a tie.

Blackjack Betting

The bets are all made before the cards are dealt. Players with winning hands are paid even money. Players with a blackjack are paid 3 to 2 (a $2 bet would bay $3).

Blackjack Options

Splitting Pairs – When your first two cards are of equal value (10, Jack, Queen and King are all worth 10 and can be split) you have the option playing each card as a separate hand. When splitting aces many casinos allow only one more card to be played on each ace. Further if your second card has a value of 10 it is counted as 21 (not blackjack) and will lose in the event the dealer draws a blackjack.

Doubling Down – If you decide that your hand will beat the dealer hand with the drawing of one, and only one, card you can double your bet before drawing your last card.

Insurance – The insurance bet can be made when the dealers face up card is an ace. The players have the option of betting that the face down card has a value of 10. If it is the dealer has a blackjack and the side bet pays 2 to 1. The original bets remain and since the dealer has a blackjack will lose unless you tie the dealer by having a blackjack yourself.

Surrender – Some casinos offer a surrender option. The player has the option of surrendering if he/she decides they have no chance of beating the dealer after looking at the first two cards dealt. By announcing surrender the dealer stops play and collects half of the players bet.

There are different types of Blackjack games in which the rules differ a bit. But this is the general rules for Blackjack. On the casinoguide Casinocenter I saw an informative chart for the basic strategy in Blackjack that can be useful.