The game of blackjack is one of the easiest casino games to learn and is also one of the best betting options in any casino, live or online. It doesn’t take long to understand the rules of blackjack and to play the game well enough to have a chance at winning some money. After you understand the rules the next step to playing blackjack is to learn winning blackjack betting strategies and lower the edge the house has against you.
Rules of Blackjack
The object of blackjack is to compile a hand total that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s total, while not exceeding a total of 21. Exceeding at total of 21 “busts” your hand out of the game and you will lose your wager. The same rule applies to the dealer, and when the dealer busts all remaining player bets are winners. Smaller cards are valued by numerical amount while face cards are worth 10, and aces can be either 1 or 11.
The game begins with the player taking a seat and posting a wager on the hand. Table limits are set amounts and you will have to choose a bet within the maximum and minimum limits for that table. Always play an amount that you can afford, and if you’re just learning, you can find smaller-stakes tables playing blackjack at online casinos as opposed to live casino tables.
Once the wager is made the dealer will deal everyone at the table two cards, one face down and the other turned up. When it’s your turn to play you will have to decide what your best option is based on the hand situation that you’re in at the time. You know what your hand is and you also know one of the dealer’s cards.
Making the proper decision when it’s your turn to act is what playing blackjack is all about. Once you know the proper play for every possible situation you will lower the house edge as much as possible, and your chances of winning will be maximized.
The rules of blackjack allow players up to six options to choose from in any given hand situation, but usually the choice is either “hit” or “stand”. Choosing to stand is pretty straight forward – it means that you like your hand the way it is and have chosen to try your luck against the dealer’s hand. In a live casino one usually indicates a stand by waving their hand once across their cards.
If you decide to hit then you’ve decided that you want to add another card to your hand so you can have a total closer to 21. You can hit as many times as you want, but realize that the closer you get to 21 the greater your chances of busting out of the hand become. Dealers will continue to hit on a hand until they reach 17 or higher.
There are a couple of options in the rules of blackjack that give the player a chance to minimize losses in a hand. The first is the “surrender”. This is an option to surrender half your bet to the house when you think your hand will not beat the dealer’s total. The other option is an “insurance” bet that allows you to bet on whether the dealer will get a blackjack when they’re showing an ace. Playing insurance is not recommended by any blackjack strategy and should be avoided.
In the event that you’re dealt a pair you will have the option of “splitting pairs” into two hands. You will have to make another bet for the second hand, but when you’re dealt a high pair it becomes your best option. The last option players sometime have is to “double down”. Doubling down means that you double your initial bet and agree to take only one more card and stand on that total. Sometimes it’s the best option, especially when you have a total of 11.
Making the Right Decisions
In today’s information age there are readily available tools online for making the right play in every situation when you’re playing blackjack. Basic strategy charts will tell you the right option for every situation; you just have to make sure you’re using the right chart for the game you’re playing.