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How To Play BlackJack

Learning How to Play BlackJack? Here’s a Guide

Without a doubt, blackjack is the most popular game in the casino, and it’s for good reason. Blackjack is fast-paced and exciting, it is easy to learn, and it has some of the best odds in the house. 

However, just like every game on the casino floor, it can be a bit intimidating approaching a blackjack table for the first time. Not to worry as we fully explain how to play blackjack right here, short and sweet. 

Follow this blackjack guide, and you’ll be playing like an old pro in no time.

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Beat the Dealer to Win 

Simply put, to win a hand in blackjack, you have to beat the dealer. No one else, just the dealer. There are three ways for this to happen.

  • Making a hand equal to 21 on your first two cards while the dealer does not.
  • Make a hand of higher value than the dealer.
  • The dealer makes a hand of over 21. This is called busting.

However, there are also two ways to lose to the dealer. 

  • Make a hand over 21. (Busting)
  • The dealer makes a hand of higher value once all the cards are dealt.

 The Quick Math

To do the math of your hand, you’ll have to memorize these simple numbers.

  • Any card 2 – 10 is face value.
  • Face cards (King, Queen, or Jack) equal 10.
  • An Ace can equal 1 or 11, depending on which helps the hand the most or whichever the player decides. 

 BlackJack Game Play 

As mentioned, blackjack is a simple game to learn. Here, we will take you through one hand, step by step.

Wager: In front of every seat, you’ll see a circle on the felt of the table. Simply place the number of chips you are wagering there and wait for your cards.

The Deal: First of all, you are never allowed to touch the cards. So, when the two cards that make up your hand are on the felt, keep your hands off of them. Every player will get two cards, as will the dealer. However, only one of the dealer’s cards will be showing. 

Blackjack: First, if your two cards add up to 21, you have blackjack and have won the hand as long as the dealer doesn’t also have 21. If the dealer has 21, it is a push, and you do not lose your wager. 

If the dealer doesn’t have 21, you’ll be paid immediately and won’t have to play out the hand. If you do not have 21, you have two options: Stay or Hit. 

Stay: Choose to Stay if you feel you have a strong enough hand that can not be improved by hitting. 

Hit: Choose a Hit to receive another card to add to your total and improve your hand. Players may hit as many times as they like but, remember, going over 21 is a loss. 

Dealer Play: Once every player at the table has played out their hand, it is finally the dealer’s turn. They will flip over their second card. Then the dealer will hit until they are at 17 or over. 

Anything over 21 is a bust, and the players win. If the dealer makes a hand between 17 – 21, whoever has the better hand wins. For instance, if the dealer has 18 and you have 20. You have won. However, if another player has 17, that player loses.

Pays Out: The dealer now pays out all of the winning players, and the game starts again. 

Special BlackJack Hands 

Often in blackjack, several situations can arise where players have the option to expand their original wager. 

Insurance: This is a side bet offered when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. Basically, this is a side bet on whether or not the dealer has 21. Before anyone plays you can take insurance for half or less of your original wager at it pays out 2 to 1 if the dealer does, in fact, have blackjack. 

If the dealer does not, you lose the insurance wager and play out the original hand. Basic strategy says never to take insurance.

Doubling Down: This is when a player is allowed to double the original bet in exchange for just one more hit. Basic strategy says to only double down when you have a 10 or 11, and the dealer has a 2 through 6.

Split: This is when a player is dealt a pair. To split this pair, the player must wager as much as the original wager. The cards are then split into two hands, and the player plays out both.