If you are new to the game of blackjack then the first step is to learn the basic rules of the game. Once you understand these basic rules you will be able to apply them to other variations of the game and begin learning about basic blackjack strategy to increase your winnings. If you are just starting out playing blackjack you may be a little apprehensive but you have nothing to worry about-the basic rules of blackjack are quite simple and easy to learn.
The game of blackjack is played against a dealer. Though there may be several players sitting around the table, each player is in competition only against the dealer and not against the other players. The objective of the game is to achieve a hand that is worth a value that is higher than that of the dealer's hand, without "busting" by breaking a total value of 21.
Hand values are determined by adding together the cards in a player's hand with cards being valued as follows:
- Numbered cards are worth their face value (i.e. a 5 is worth 5 points)
- Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10 points
- Aces are worth either 1 point or 11 points-whichever serves the player's hand better
The highest hand in blackjack is the "blackjack" hand, made up of a Jack and an Ace and equal to a value of 21.
Before a hand of blackjack begins, players must place their bets. You must place a bet equal to at least the minimum bet of the table you are seated at. Once bets have been placed, the dealer deals out two cards to each player, face-up on the table. The dealer also takes two cards, placing one face up and one face down.
Based on each player's cards and the up-card of the dealer each player must make one of the following decisions:
- Stand - Keep their 2-card hand as is and not accept additional cards
- Hit - Request additional cards from the dealer in order to increase the value of their hand
- Double down - Double the bet and receive only one additional card from the dealer
- Split - Split pairs into two separate hands to be played separately
- Surrender - Give up the hand and lose only half of the bet
- Insurance - If the dealer is showing an Ace then a player can place an insurance bet, which is equal to half the size of their original bet. This bet will keep the player from losing everything in the event that the dealer has blackjack
- Note that players who are dealt an Ace-Jack blackjack combination win automatically.
Once players have arrived at their final hands, and hopefully have not busted, the dealer reveals his hand. Players that beat the dealer with a better hand are paid; players that don't beat the dealer lose their bets. A new hand begins.
Payouts in the basic game of blackjack are as follows:
- 21 Blackjack hand - Pays 3:2
- Insurance - Pays 2:1 if the dealer has blackjack
- Winning Hand - Pays 1:1
- Push - If the dealer and player tie the player keeps the bet
- Loss - Player forfeits bet
- Double Down - Pays 2:1 on the original bet
- Split - Each winning hand pays 1:1
Once you are familiar with these basic blackjack rules you can apply them to different blackjack variations like Single Deck Blackjack, Multi-Hand Blackjack, European Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack, Vegas Strip Blackjack, Vegas Downtown Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, Double Exposure Blackjack, Double Attack Blackjack, Spanish 21, Super Fun 21 and Pontoon.