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Black Jack School

How to Play Blackjack

How To Play Blackjack
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

The game of Blackjack can be played with 1 to 8 decks of cards. The cards 2 through 10 have their face value. All of the face cards have the value of 10. Aces can either be valued at 11 or 1. The best hand in Blackjack is any card that has a value of 10 and an Ace, this hand is called a Blackjack and pays off 3 to 2. If the dealer and the player both have a Blackjack it is called a push bet, which is a tie. If the dealer and the player both have the same value of points it is also a push. Any other win in Blackjack pays off even money. The player will win the hand if their point value is higher than that of the dealer without going over the point value of 21. If the dealer or player goes over the point value of 21 it is called a bust and they will lose the hand. If the player and the dealer both bust the player will still lose the hand, which is the house advantage in the game of Blackjack.

The game of Blackjack starts with the player/players making a wager in the betting circle in front of them. The dealer will then give each player at the table 2 cards and they will also get 2 cards. Generally player's cards are dealt face up. With the dealer's hand they will have one card dealt face down, which is referred to as the hole card, and the second card face up. If the dealer's face up card is either an Ace or a card with the value of 10 they may have a Blackjack and they will win the hand unless any player has a Blackjack as well. In casinos in the United States the dealer will check if they have Blackjack right away and if they have a Blackjack they will collect all the bets on the table.

If the dealer has the possibility of a Blackjack they will ask the players if they want insurance. If you take the insurance and the dealer has a Blackjack you will be paid off 2 to 1. If the dealer is showing an Ace with their up card and a player has a Blackjack the dealer will ask them if they want even money. The reason for this is that if the player has a Blackjack the result of the insurance bet and the Blackjack will be a win of even money and it does not matter if the dealer has Blackjack or not. When the players have made the decision of whether to take insurance or not the dealer will check their hole card.


Player Options in Blackjack

If the dealer does not have a Blackjack the players will play the hands they have and there are a few options available to them depending on the two cards that they were dealt.

Here are the player options:

Hit - If you want another card you can do so until you decide to stand, which means play the hand you have, or bust. To let the dealer know you want to hit you can tap the table with your finger or if the game is a single deck game of Blackjack you scrape the cards on the felt towards you.

Stand - If you like the cards you have and want to play those cards you can stand, which means taking no more cards. To let the dealer know that you want to stand wave your hands across your area of the table and in a single deck game place your cards under the wager you made.

Double Down - If you want only one more card and feel with one more card you have a good chance to beat the dealer you can double down. When you double down you will double your bet and then you will receive one more card. No matter what you get you can only take one more card. To let the dealer you know you want to double down put another bet, of equal value of your original bet, next to your original bet. In a single deck game put your cards by your original bet face up.

Split - If your original two cards are the same, such as two 8's or two Aces, you can split them and play them as separate hands. If you split the one card is the first card of a new hand. You can then make another wager, which is equal to your original bet. You will play the first hand until you stand or bust and then you will play the second hand until you stand or bust. You can split on a split hand but generally you can split Aces again. Most casinos will allow you to double down on a split hand. To let the dealer know that you want to split your hand put another wager net to your original one. In a singe deck game put your cards by your original bet face up.

Surrender - There are some casinos that will offer the surrender option on your first two cards you are dealt. If you do not like your chances with the hand you are dealt you can surrender your cards and you will automatically lose half of your bet. If the dealer's up card is an Ace or a card with a value of 10 the will look at their hole card to see if they have a Blackjack before the turn of the first player then the option is referred to as a late surrender. If the dealer does not look at their cards for a Blackjack it is referred to as an early surrender. Early surrender is better for you, as you are protected against the dealer having a Blackjack.

After the players at the table have played their hands the dealer will then play their hand. The dealer will try to get as close to 21 as possible without busting. However, the dealer has to follow some house rules. One of the main rules of the dealer is that they must hit until the have at least a hand with the value of 17 or more. The dealer will play their hand and either pay out players that have beat the dealer or collect the bets of the players that the dealer has beat. If the dealer busts all of the players in the game that have not busted will win the hand.

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Interesting Facts

Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?