The Basics of Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of skill where the player’s goal is to get a hand total closer to 21 than the dealer. A player may “hit” (ask for an additional card) until he or she has reached this goal, or the player may decide to stand (stop taking cards). In some varieties of blackjack, aces count as 1 or 11, and face cards are worth 10. There are many variations in rules, but all games involve one or more decks of cards.

Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards at the beginning of a round. The dealer has a second card face down that he or she cannot see, and the players may choose to “take insurance.” This side wager is typically made before the dealer begins playing his or her hand. The insurance is paid 2 to 1 if the dealer has a blackjack.

Once all the players have taken their turns, the dealer draws a card for his or her hand and then plays their hands. If a player has a hand total closer to 21 than the dealers, the player wins. If the dealer’s hand is a blackjack, the players push and their bets are returned to them.

In some casinos, the dealer will not hit a soft 17 when holding an ace. This is because the dealer must draw a card in this situation to avoid busting. The dealer will always hit if his or her hand has a value of 17 or more, unless an ace is the card being drawn.

Some casinos offer the option of splitting pairs. A player may split any pair of cards, receiving an additional card for each. The player may also choose to double the original stake on any two-card combination, except for a pair of aces. Generally, a player should not split 10’s, 5’s or 4’s and never split against an up card of 2 to 7.

Casino blackjack rules vary by location. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to make side bets. In others, side bets are permitted if they do not exceed the amount of the player’s blackjack wager. Regardless of the rules, players must be of legal age to play.

Some casinos reduce the payout for blackjacks from 3 to 2 to 6 to 1. This increases the house edge and makes the game unprofitable for players who use basic strategy. It is best to avoid tables offering this rule if you’re not a professional card counter. Some tables will post the payouts on the felt so you can be aware of what to expect. You can also check out the Sycuan Casino website for more information about blackjack. They have a great section on their site that has all of the rules for their blackjack tables. They also have a section that has some tips on how to win at blackjack. They have a video that explains the basics of the game, including basic strategy.