How to Play Blackjack

How to Play Blackjack

There is no maximum number of cards allowed (see advanced rules for exceptions to this). You may then choose to receive any number of extra cards you like, taken one-by-one. The aim is to achieve a higher score than the dealer with your hand. However, any hands over “21”, will bust and so automatically lose. You'll receive two cards more, one for each of the cards you've originally been dealt, pay a side bet, and then start playing with two independent hands.

When you split a pair of eights, you will receive a new card to each one creating two separate hands. When you are splitting a hand, you must also place a bet that is equal to the original bet to cover the second hand. Once this has been done, your matching cards will be separated into two hands. You are also dealt an additional card for each new hand. Splitting can be explained as the actual dividing of a hand into two separate ones, upon being dealt a matching pair at the blackjack table.

So, in such case, you would be allowed to split a King and a Queen. Some players might be wary of doubling down as they are worried about losing more money. If your bet size makes you anxious, then you are playing at a blackjack table that accepts higher bets that you can afford to.


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Often, the rules posted at the table won't mention it even if the casino allows it. And many players just don't like the idea of surrendering a hand. But for a smart player, it is a useful option, and reduces the house advantage by about 0.08%. In either case, once you make the insurance bet you are guaranteed a profit of $10, which is an even money payout for your original bet.

It is one of the easiest rules to remember when playing blackjack. A pair of eights should also be split every time according to basic strategy. Since the total of a pair of eights is 16, it’s never wise to stand as this is one of the worse totals you can have in this game.

Blackjack begins after all players have exchanged their money for chips and placed them on the designated spot on the table as their bets. Others insist that they would not split eights if the dealer is showing a 9 or a 10. One of the best strategies to win a game of blackjack is to always play the dealer for a 10 in the hole. If the dealer is showing a 10, you play as if he has 20 and hit accordingly.

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Casino rules will vary, but some have strict rules about re-splitting. Also, some casinos will not allow you to touch your cards, so in this case, just place another bet over your cards and the dealer will know that you are splitting.

The same rule applies if the dealer’s hole card is a 6 or any other bust combination such as 12, 13, 14 or 15. You need to play as if you know what the dealer’s other card is. You can then proceed to hit, stand, or even doubling down should you wish to. This is just the basic strategy on how to deal with pairs of aces and eights.

If you decide to take insurance, you can bet up to half of your original bet by placing your chips below your original bet. If the dealer has a 10-value card, then he will pay off the insurance bets at two to one, but you lose your original bet.

If your game offers surrender, I recommend reading my complete explanation of blackjack surrender. Even when surrender is available, it is rarely used by players.

You will win more money in the long run by holding out for the full $15 payout when the dealer does not have blackjack, even though you will sometimes end up empty-handed. Regardless, when you are dealt a blackjack, turn the cards face up, and smile.

It only happens about once every 21 hands, but it accounts for a lot of the fun of the game. The distinction is important, because a winning blackjack pays the player at 3 to 2.

Some casinos play with up to as many as six decks, but at home one deck will do just fine. The dealer will then deal the cards to each player and to him- or herself. The dealer should be standing or sitting across from the other players and always starts the deal with the person on his or her left. Some gambling houses offered bigger payouts for blackjack hands, while others gave bonuses for certain card combinations—namely an ace of spades with a jack of clubs.

So, casinos allow you to eliminate the insurance bet altogether, and simply declare that you want "even money" for your blackjack when the dealer has an Ace showing. Many players think this sounds like a good deal, guaranteeing a profit even if the dealer has a blackjack.

You can only split a hand if you have been dealt two cards of the same value. For example, if you have received two Fours, two Kinds or two Aces. Some blackjack variants allow you to also split non-matching face cards since they are still valued at 10.

If the dealer does not have blackjack, the players lose their insurance bets and play continues with the original bets. On the first deal, each player is dealt two cards, face-down. The dealer deals him- or herself one card face-down (the hole card) and the other card face-up. Each player is basically playing a separate game based on the cards he or she is dealt and in relation to what the player thinks the dealer has.

The Five Card Charlie Ok this one's an extremely rare variation which I doubt you will see in any casinos today but I thought I'd mention. If the player draws 5 cards and doesn't bust then he/she automatically wins the hand (this is called a "Charlie"). When surrender is available, make sure you know the correct strategy for using it. Most players who use the option surrender too many hands.

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