Blackjack Rules and Strategy

Blackjack Rules and Strategy


Blackjack Rules

Basic Rules
The premise of Blackjack is to get 21 or be closer to it than the dealer without going over, or busting. You are not playing against any other players at the table, and the play of the dealer is determined by his own draw. So anyone seeing your cards is inconsequential, not to mention impossible when playing online because you’re playing a computer.

The value of your hand is the sum of the cards. The Ace is worth either 1 or 11 (doesn’t have to be specified, just assumed to be the value that makes the best hand). Jack, Queen, King and 10 are all worth 10. Number cards are, you guessed it, equal to the number on the card.

Blackjack Jargon
The first and most important distinction in blackjack is, the Blackjack, or Natural. A blackjack is 21 on the first two cards, an ace with a 10, J, Q, or K. Getting 21 with say 7, 5, 9 is 21, not blackjack. Blackjack has a higher payout than 21. Any time both the player and dealer blackjack it is a tie or Push.

After the initial two cards are dealt, if you’d like another card you may Hit. Once you are satisfied with your cards (you did play your hand to optimize your odds right?) you will Stand.

In addition to the original bet, you are allowed to increase your wager up to double after the first two cards have been dealt, and only after the first two cards are dealt. When you decide to Double Down you are dealt only a third card, so you should expect to be able to win the hand with only one more card. A prime example would be if you were dealt 5, 6, you have a fair chance of getting a card of value 10 and winning and the larger pot.

Should you be dealt a pair you have the option of Splitting. The two matching cards are separated and your bet for each hand is equal to the original bet, and each hand is played independently.

Casinos sometimes offer you an opportunity to opt out of a hand by giving up a portion of your wager. The aptly named Surrender comes in two forms, early and late. The late surrender allows you to opt out only after the dealer has checked his hand for blackjack. In the early form you can surrender before the dealer checks his hand for blackjack, giving the dealer a slightly smaller advantage. As you may expect, casinos are aware of this margin of advantage, thus you will rarely find a casino that offers early surrender.

The final betting alteration is Insurance. Insurance is offered when the first card the dealer gives himself is an ace. The insurance is for half of your wager and pays out 2:1. This is to ‘protect’ you from a dealer blackjack. Purchasing insurance is generally a poor choice and statistically you end up better off ignoring it. However, more advanced players can detect situations with a high likelihood that the dealer with blackjack thus taking advantage of the insurance.

Blackjack strategy
Before playing a hand you should know the context of the game which you are playing. This includes number of cards in the deck and how the dealers play is determined. These two points are important because, if you intend to win or at least optimize your odds, they will influence how you play.

The first fact you should not is how many decks of cards you will be playing from. More decks makes it more difficult to keep track of cards played, thus making it more difficult to speculate odds of cards coming up. For one deck you can simply mark cards played and see what remains. With multiple decks in play if you keep track of how many of each card has been played you will begin to get an advantage as the game progresses.

Slight variations in what determines the dealers play can have an impact on your decisions, therefore should be noted. There are two popular methods of laying out play. The most common method is the dealer stands on all 17s. All aces equal 11 unless it would make them bust. The variation is that the dealer stands on hard 17s and all 18s. This means that if the dealer has A, 6 (soft 17) he would still hit. If a 10 came up then the dealer would stand.

Above all, play with common sense and have a good time. Base your decisions on logic and you just might CrackTheCasino.

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Blackjack : Quickstart Guide

By: Jason A. Martin

Having been a blackjack dealer and gambling instructor, I have taught countless people how to playing the game of Blackjack. The game of Blackjack is a very simple one to learn and you can be on the table playing in just minutes from now. On my main website (, I go more in detail about gambling, but this quick start guide will give you everything you need to play a game of Blackjack. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on playing Blackjack online.

Before you can play a hand of Blackjack, you must place a bet on the table. The minimum bet amount required to play depends on the table you are at. All winning bets at the Blackjack table are paid even money, with the exception of a dealt Blackjack, which is paid three to two. If, for example, you have a $5 bet on the table and receive a Blackjack, you would be paid $7.50.

The game starts with you receiving two cards and the dealer receiving two cards. One card of the dealer is placed face up for you to see. This card is called the “up card” and gives you a little help in guessing what the dealer holds. Each card has a count that’s equivalent to it’s number. So, for example, a two is worth two. The Jack, Queen and King cards are worth ten. The Ace is worth one or eleven–you decide. At the conclusion of each hand the player closest to twenty-one wins. However, the object is not really to get as close to twenty-one as possible, rather to beat the dealer.

As the player, you go first. You can hit, stand, split, double down or surrender. Here’s a description of each action.

Stand: You stay with what you have and end your turn.

Hit: You take another card. You can continue to do this until you are satisfied or bust (go over 21).

Split: If you have two cards of the same type (example: two tens), you can split them up and make two separate hands. You can only split your first two cards.

Double Down: When you double down, you double up your bet and take one final card–and end your turn. You can’t double down after you have more than two cards.

Surrender: You kill the hand by taking back half of your money and giving up. Most casinos offer this now. You can only surrender when you have your first two cards.

Once your turn ends, the dealer completes the hand by drawing if needed. Most casinos are setup so that the dealer must hit until the dealer holds a 17. If the casino hits on soft 17, that means any 17 made with an ace (example: ace and a six) is hit. A hard 17 would be something like a ten and a seven.

You are now ready to hit the Blackjack table and have some fun. It would be good to read up on some blackjack strategy before playing–to maximize your potential. You will find out some key times to not hit no matter what you have and times to double down. Blackjack is a fun game and the house has a low advantage over you–if you know how to play right. is full of articles on gambling, gambling strategies, gambling reviews and more.

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