Blackjack Casino Rules

blackjack rules

Although the rules of blackjack can vary a little, the fundamentals remain the same and here we give a full breakdown of how to play:


The ultimate aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer, this is usually done by getting as close to 21 as possible with your hand, without going over 21 and busting out. If you hold an ace, you can choose whether it is worth 1 or 11 and use this to your advantage. A card between 2 and 9 is worth exactly what it says on it, 10s and any face cards are worth 10. Your score is simply calculated by adding the value of your two cards together.

Starting the game and basic moves

Each player will receive two cards as does the dealer himself, but importantly, players can initially only see one of the dealer’s cards. Each player will then take their turn in deciding what to do and there are only four or five options. If you ‘hit’, this means that you are asking for another card, and you can usually hit more than once. If you ‘stand’, that means that you are happy with your two cards and do not want any more. Remember, you are trying to score as high as possible, without going over 21.

You also have a couple more options; ‘splitting’ is where you are dealt two equal value cards and choose to divide them and play two separate hands independently. By splitting your hand you must also double your bet, as you now have two hands in play. There are various little rule variations at different casinos regarding what you can do with a split hand; for example, if you split aces, you may only be allowed one additional draw for each ace. Always check the casino specific rules.

The final main option you have is to ‘double’. This move should be reserved for when you feel that you have a very good chance of having winning the hand as it requires you to double your bet. You will then be dealt one more card to make your final hand. You can also choose to surrender your hand right at the beginning, if you feel you're on to a definite loser.

The Dealer

After every player has made their decisions and has their final hand, the dealer then turns over his second card and plays. The dealer does not have as many options as you do; blackjack dealers have a predetermined way of playing based on a statistically consistent game. The dealer cannot split, double or surrender their hand. Also, at most blackjack tables, there is a rule called ‘stand on 17’. This means that the dealer must continue to draw additional cards until they reach 17 or more. At this point, the dealer will stand. This information gives players a little bit of information regarding what the dealer is likely to do with their hand, based on its starting value.

Another option you have with the dealer is to purchase insurance; in this situation, if the dealer's first hand is an ace, he or she will offer insurance to the players. Players can then bet up to half of their original wager against the dealer hitting blackjack (an ace with a picture card). If the dealer does it blackjack, the player will lose the hand, but not actually lose any money. If the dealer does not hit blackjack, the player will unfortunately lose both bets.

As you can see, the rules of blackjack are fairly simple, but the intricacies take some getting used to and a full understanding of the game will only come through experience and time.

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