Blackjack is one of those elegant games that can be taught in minutes but can take a lifetime to master. Thankfully, your experience and skill level doesn’t affect the rush of that first peak at your cards after they hit the table. There’s a reason blackjack has been one of the most popular table games at casinos for well over a hundred years – it’s exciting!
The Basics of Blackjack
The goal of the game is to get a hand of 21 or get as close to 21 as possible without going over. You start with two cards and are given the opportunity to request additional cards during your turn. If the value of your hand exceeds 21, you lose.
- Face cards – Jack, Queen and King – are each worth ten.
- Every numbered card is worth whatever number is on the card – or its pip value.
- Aces are worth either 1 or 11.
The Course of a Hand
1. The players make their bets.
2. The dealer deals each player two cards face up and him or herself two cards, one faceup and one facedown. The facedown card is referred to as the hole card.
– If the dealer’s faceup card is an Ace, players can make a side bet known as insurance, which pays two to one if the dealer’s hole card turns out to be any card worth ten. Insurance is offered before the dealer looks at their facedown card.
– If the dealer deals themselves a blackjack, they immediately turn over their cards and all players will lose unless one of the players also has a blackjack. If this occurs, anyone who did take the insurance bet will also win.
– A “push” is when the dealer and another player get a blackjack. If a push occurs, neither the player or the dealer wins, and the player’s bet is returned to them.
3. The order of play starts with the player to the dealer’s left. Players have the following options:
– Stand – They don’t take any additional cards.
– Hit – The player is dealt an additional card. There’s no limit to hits, but once the value of a player’s hand exceeds 21 they bust.
– Double – A player can choose to double their bet at this point and be dealt just one more card frоm the dealer.
– Split – If the player has two of any card they can split their hand into two separate hands and double their bet, similar to a double. If a player splits, the dealer gives two more cards, one for each hand. The player then plays both hands as they would a single hand, with the option to stand, hit or double.
– If a player gets two aces and splits they can only be dealt the one additional card for each hand. Casinos may have different rules governing splitting, so ask your dealer about limitations.
– Surrender – Some casinos offer blackjack players the option to surrender. In blackjack, if you surrender you get to keep half your wager, but you don’t get to play the rest of your hand. You can only surrender after the initial two cards are dealt, not after taking any other action.
4. Once each player has finished their turn, the dealer turns over their hole card. If the dealer’s hand is worth 16 or less, they will draw another card.
– At some casinos if the dealer has an ace and their other cards total six – giving the dealer 17 – they will still hit. This is known as a soft 17.
5. If the dealer’s hand goes over 21 they bust, and any players who didn’t bust will win.
– If the dealer doesn’t bust, the house wins against any players who have a hand with a lower value than the dealer’s hand.
Get a Professional Lesson in the Art of Blackjack
Of course, the best way to learn anything is by doing. If you really want to test your blackjack skills, head over to Snoqualmie Casino. At just 30 minutes outside of Seattle, it’s easy to get frоm your couch to a seat at one of our blackjack tables and begin your training in earnest. Find out if you have what it takes to win big at blackjack!