Blackjack Rules for the Beginner
Blackjack is played using 1-8 decks of cards. The kings, queens and jacks are worth 10 points and the rest of the cards from 2-10 are worth their face values. Aces are worth either 1 or 11 points. The counting of aces will be dealt with later.
To start the blackjack game, the players must make their bets before the actual dealing begins. The blackjack dealer then deals out each player one card, face up, beginning with the player to his left. The dealer then distributes a second card to each blackjack player and also gives himself another card.
There are two kinds of hands in blackjack: the soft hand and the hard hand. Soft hands are those hands in which the ace can be counted as either 1 or 11 without busting the hand. If the hand can be counted only as 1 and where counting the ace as 11 results in a bust, then it is a hard hand. So a 7 and 5 plus an ace equals 13 if the ace is considered as 1, and 23 (a bust) if the ace is counted as 11.
Starting with the blackjack player to his left, the dealer proceeds to act on each player in turn. When it is your turn to act, you choose whether to stand, hit, split, double down or surrender. If you choose to stand, you do nothing and no more cards will be taken. If you choose to hit, you take another card. Double down means you double your bet and take another card. If you received two cards with the same value, you can choose to split, meaning that you play each card as a separate hand and make two bets instead of one. You can also choose to surrender where you give up or surrender your hand and thus lose half your stake. Take note that the surrender option is not available in all casinos.
Your objective in blackjack is to get a total value of your hand as close to 21 as possible. You beat the dealer if your cards are closer to 21 than the dealer’s cards. If your cards exceed 21, then you go “bust”. If your hand is equal to the dealer’s, you get a “push” and the dealer returns your stake.
After the blackjack dealer has taken care of each player’s turn, he proceeds to play with his hand and may take more cards until his hand’s total exceeds 17. Once the dealer exceeds 17, he has to stand. If the blackjack dealer makes a bust, the players who did not bust win. If you beat the dealer, you are paid 1 to 1 and 3 to 2 if you get blackjack.
The rules of blackjack are fairly simple compared to, say, poker. Once you learn and understand the basics of blackjack, then playing blackjack will be a walk in the park.