Blackjack - how to play blackjack

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How to play blackjack:

 Blackjack is by far the most popular casino game and there are two main reasons for this - one, the game is very easy to play and two - it is the casino game with the best odds for the player. It has never been a secret that blackjack has the smallest house odds, i.e. the odds for the casino to win your money. And this makes it a no surprise that when you walk into the casino you see the majority of the tables being dedicated to blackjack. And playing blackjack is very easy - you don't even have to know how to count in order to play it - the dealers in every casino will announce the game developments for you and would be happy to give you an advice, thus blackjack could literally be played by a monkey. We are kidding, of course, but you will see how easy it is to play the game. By the time you are finish reading this guide you would be able to play blackjack without a problem.

 Let's begin with the game's procedure. The dealer deals two cards to each player and two to himself or herself. The two cards dealt to the players are face-up, while only one of the dealer's cards is face up. The other one remains unknown. If the face-up dealer card is an Ace, the dealer must offer insurance to the players and then check the face-down card to see if it has the value of 10, effectively making a blackjack. You will learn more about this a bit later. Here are the blackjack values of the cards:

  • 2 through 10 have their respective face value, i.e. a three of diamonds has the value of "3"
  • Jack, Queen and King have the value of 10
  • Ace could have either the value of "11" or "1", whichever is better of the player or the dealer.

 As you can see - pretty easy, a 7 of clubs and a Jack of hearts would have the total value of 17.

 The aim of the game of blackjack is to have a total value higher than the one of the dealer, without going over 21. If you do so - your bet is a winner and you are paid the same amount your bet is worth. I.e. if you bet $10 and your hand is a winner - you get your $10 back and $10 extra. The only exception is if you have a "blackjack", i.e. the combined value of your first 2 cards is 21. Then you get paid 3/2, or to use the previous example, you will get $15 extra on top of your $10 bet. And if the dealer has a blackjack an no one else does - the dealer is an automatic winner. What happens if both the player and the dealer have blackjack? Then the bet is simply a "push" and the player only gets their bet back.

 Once the first two cards are deal and neither you nor the dealer has a "blackjack", the player will have 3 options - hit, stand or double. "Hit" means request another card, "stand" means that the player is happy with their total and would not need another card and double (available only when the player has a total of 9, 10 or 11 from the first two cards, although this rule varies by casino and you should check with the dealer first) gives the player a chance to both request only one card and double their bet at the same time.

 If the player decides to "hit", this means that another card from the deck is dealt to the player. Remember, the goal here is to have higher total than the dealer, without going over 21 points, but the problem is that you don't know what the dealer's second card is, since it's face down. So if the player decided to "hit", another card is dealt to them and its value is added to the total value. If the player's total has gone over 21 after the card is dealt - the player automatically loses the bet, i.e. "bust". If the total is under 21 points, the player may either hit or stand. And this goes on until either the player is satisfied and decides to "stand" or the total goes over 21 and the player loses the bet.

 Once the player decides to stand, i.e. stop receiving extra cards, it's the dealers turn to do the same. Unlike the player, the dealer is bound by the rules of the game and cannot make choices like the players do, rather just follow the rules. The rules by which the dealers deal themselves cards are simple - if the dealer's total goes over 17, the dealer automatically stands. Then those players who have higher total than the dealer win their bets and the rest lose. If the dealer's total is under 17 points - the dealer is required to draw another card until the total goes over 17 points.

It's that simple to learn how to play blackjack. But there is no better learning tool than practice. Below you can play blackjack for free and hone your skills before you actually play the game with real money: