Online Gambling

How to Play Blackjack

The objective in blackjack is to finish with a hand that is as close to 21 as possible without going over. Should you go over 21 you will lose the hand. In the game of blackjack your hand will play against the dealers hand so it doesn’t matter what the rest of the table has or does.

The game begins once all players have placed bets on the table and every player gets dealt two cards. The dealer will deal the cards starting with the player sitting to the left of him or her. They will also deal themselves one card face down and one card face up. You will not get to see this face down card until the very end when the dealer plays out his or her hand.

Once you have your cards you can decide if you want to hit or stand. If you hit you will be dealt another card, if you stand you get no more cards and your turn is over.

Once all the players have made their choices the dealer will then play his hand out. He will flip over his face down card and draw cards to himself until he has a hand value of at least 17. The majority of blackjack games have a rule where the dealer must stand on 17. This means once he hits 17 he’s not allowed to take anymore cards.

Blackjack Card Values

  • 2 to 9 – Face value
  • ACE - Can be 1 OR 11.
  • 10's & Face cards - 10.
  • The suit of the cards has no meaning in blackjack.
  • A Blackjack is a two card hand with an Ace and a card with the value 10.
  • A Blackjack beats a 3 card hand with the value 21.

Soft Versus Hard Hands

As you already know an ace card can stand for a 1 or an 11 in blackjack. This means being dealt an ace is usually a good thing. It can allow you to hit a blackjack and it can lower your risk of going over 21.

In blackjack the term a soft hand is used when a player is usually using an ace as a 1. So a hand made up of an ace and a 8 can total 9 or 19, the choice is yours.

A hard hand is when you have an ace but you don’t have the option to use it as a 1 or 11. So a hand made up of an ace, 9, and 5 can only use the ace as a 1 because as an 11 you would be over 21.

As I said earlier the goal in blackjack is to finish with a hand that is closer to 21 then the dealer without going over 21. Should you go over 21, you lose the hand and the dealer keeps your bet.

Player Options

Once you have been dealt your first two cards you then have choices to make. You can take another card or stay with your current hand. If you get dealt a pair of cards you have another option. You can split the pair up into two blackjack hands. If you really like the first two cards you have another option called double down. This is where you double your bet and get one more card dealt.

Selecting the hit option will force the dealer to deal you a card.

The Stand
To stand means you don’t want anymore cards and your hand will compete against the dealers hands.

The Double Down
When you think you have a stronger starting hand then the dealer you may want to double down. This is where you double your initial bet and the dealer to deal you one more card. Note: You only get one additional card using this option.

When the dealers face up card is an ace he will offer you a chance to buy insurance. This insurance is to insure you bet versus the dealer hitting blackjack. The cost to insure is half your original bet and this is place in front of your bet.

The dealer will then look at his face down card to see if it’s a 10 or a face card. Should he have blackjack then your insurance bet will be paid 2 to 1 and you will lose your original bet. Should he not have blackjack then your insurance money is lost but you can play out your hand with you original bet. Casino will always offer insurance because it gives them an advantage so insurance bets are not recommended for the player.

Most casinos don’t offer this option but some of them do. Surrendering is where you fold your hand before the hand is played and you get half your bet returned. You have two kinds of surrender, early and late. Early surrender means you surrender before the dealer looks at his down card to see if he has blackjack. Late surrender is when you surrender after the dealer looks at his down card to see if he has blackjack. Obviously the early surrender gives a large advantage to the player so you will be lucky to find a casino that offers this. Usually when surrender is offered it means late surrender.