How to Play Blackjack

This article will teach you everything you need to know on how to play blackjack. The game of Blackjack is a very simple one to learn and you can be on the table playing in just minutes from now. 

Before you can play a hand of Blackjack, you must place a bet on the table. The minimum bet amount required to play depends on the table you are playing. All winning bets at the Blackjack table are paid even money, with the exception of a dealt Blackjack (Ace and a Ten or Face card), which is paid three to two (3:2). If, for example, you have a $5 bet on the table and receive a Blackjack, you would be paid $7.50.

The game starts with you receiving two cards and the dealer receiving two cards. One of the dealer’s cards is placed face up for you to see. This card is called the “up card” and gives you a little help in guessing what the dealer holds. Each card has a value that is equivalent to its number. So, for example, a two is worth two. The Jack, Queen and King cards are with ten. The Ace is worth either one or eleven. At the conclusion of each hand, the player or dealer closest to twenty-one wins. However, the object is not really to get as close to twenty-one as possible, rather it is to beat the dealer.

As the player, you go first. You can hit, stand, split, double down or surrender. Here is a description of each action.

Stand: You stay with what you have and end your turn.

Hit: You take another card. You can continue to do this until you are satisfied or bust (go over 21). 

Split: If you have two cards of the same value (example: two eights), you can split them up and make two separate hands. you can only split your first two cards.

Double Down: When you double down, you double up your bet and take one final card and your turn ends. You cannot double down after you have more than two cards.

Surrender: You kill the hand by taking back half of your money and giving up. Not many casinos offer this but you may play at one that does. You can only surrender when you have your first two cards. 

Once your turn ends, the dealer completes the hand by drawing if needed. Most casinos are set up so that the dealer must hit until the dealer holds a 17. If the casino hits on soft 17, that means that any 17 made with an ace (example:ace and a six) is a hit. A hard 17 would be a hand consisting of cards like a ten and a seven. 

You are now ready to hit the Blackjack table and have some fun. It would be a good idea to read up on some blackjack strategy before playing to maximize your potential. You will find out some key times to not hit no matter what you are holding, and also the times you will want to double down. Blackjack is a fun game and the house has a lower advantage over you — if you know how to play right. Please continue on to the Basic Blackjack Strategy Page to learn how to reduce the Casino’s advantage and make the most mathematically correct actions based on the dealer’s card and your cards.