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Rules for Playing Blackjack
Blackjack is a favorite among gamblers around the world, partly
because it is mathematically beatable and players feel the odds
are less random than the spin of a roulette wheel, or the pull
of a slot machine handle. Some claim Blackjack was invented in
French casinos in the early 1700s where it was called "vingt-et-un"
("twenty-one"). It has been played in the U.S. since the 1800's.
Blackjack is so-called because if a player held a Jack of Spades
and an Ace of Spades as the first two cards, the player was paid
out extra. The black suit 'spades' plus the winning Jack brought
about the name 'Blackjack'. Blackjack actually has very simple
rules and can be learnt easily, however there are a number of
strategies you can learn to increase your winning odds.
Blackjack uses a standard set of 52 playing cards and players
compete against the dealer, not each other.
Values of cards
King, Queen, Jack, 10 = 10
2-9 = Face value
Aces = 11 or 1
The player wins when the total value of cards in his hand is
closer to 21 than those held by the dealer, without exceeding
21. A hand with a value over 21 is called a "bust," and is an
automatic loser. If you and the dealer have the same card total
(17 and up) neither of you wins and your bet is returned to you
in a "push".
The player wins one and a half times his bet if his first two
cards total 21 - a natural Blackjack. The only way two cards can
have a value of 21 is if one of them is an Ace, and the other is
a 10-value card. (e.g. An ace and a king, and an ace and a queen
are both blackjacks.) A blackjack beats all other hands except
for another blackjack. If you have a blackjack, and the dealer
has 3 cards that add up to 21, you still win the hand even
though you both have hands valued at 21.
The Value of Winning payouts
Winning Hand 1 to 1
Insurance 2 to 1
Blackjack 3 to 2
If you lose a hand, you lose the amount you originally bet - no
more, no less.
The steps of the game follow the same formula each time:
1. Between one and seven players can take part in any hand of
Blackjack. The players put an initial wager forward and two
cards are dealt to each player (one at a time) with the dealer
dealing him/herself last with one card face down.
2. You assess your cards total value and decide whether you need
to take another card (hit) to increase your total or keep the
tally you already have and hope others will 'bust'. There is no
limit on the number of hits a player can take (however, a
practiced player has a sense of when to stop).
3. When you draw an ace, you can decide whether it counts as 1
4. When all the players 'stand' (choose not to take any more
cards), the dealer reveals his hand by flipping over the face
down card. The dealer must 'hit' (add another card) until the
total is 17 or above. If the dealer's hand is between 17 and 21,
the dealer is NOT allowed to take additional hits. He MUST
stand. On the other hand, if the dealer's hand is 16 or under,
the dealer MUST take additional hits until the dealer's hand has
a value of 17 or higher. If the dealer goes over 21 while taking
additional cards, he "busts," and automatically loses. If the
dealer busts, all players that are still in the game win.
Between the players and the dealer, whoever is closer to 21
without going over wins.
5. Winnings are calculated on the amount of the bet for a
winning hand (see the 'winning payouts' table above). The only
way you can lose with a blackjack hand is if the dealer has one
If your first two cards have the same point value, you may split
them into two separate hands by placing a second bet equal to
the original bet. You then proceed to draw cards. You are able
to draw as many cards as you like on each split hand, but if you
split two aces, you receive only one additional card for each
ace. If you split two aces and one of your hands totals 21, it
is counted as 21 and not blackjack. Any two ten value cards can
be split, for instance a 10 and queen, however we virtually
never recommend splitting ten value cards. Two aces can, and
should be, split. Normally the casino will also allow you to
re-split after the original split. For example, you split two
eight's and now are dealt again an eight as the second card of
one of those two hands. You can split this hand again and now
play three hands. Some casinos have limits on re-splitting aces
and if the player is unsure of the casino house rules he should
ask the dealer. We recommend to always split Aces and 8s.
After you are dealt two cards, and think that another card will
allow you to beat the dealer's hand, you can increase your bet
by an amount up to your original bet or double your bet. This is
also known as 'doubling down'. Once you decide to 'double down'
you are allowed to receive just one more card. You cannot stand
on your original hand or take more than 1 additional card. For
example, you may be dealt a 5 and a 6 for a total of 11. You can
now double down, hoping to get a 10 value card (the most
frequent value card in an unplayed deck). The casino house rules
vary for doubling down. For example some allow only doubling
down on 10 and 11 totals while others allow on any two card
total. Some casinos allow it only on original hands and not
split hands, while others allow doubling down after splitting.
Be sure to know the rules of your casino before starting to
Insurance is designed to protect you when you think that the
dealer may have blackjack. When buying insurance, you place ½ of
your initial bet by pressing the 'Insurance' Button. If the
dealer does have blackjack, you are paid 2 to 1 on your
insurance bet. If the dealer doesn't have blackjack, you lose
your insurance bet.
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