Each player is dealt two cards at the start of the blackjack game. The aim is to try to create a hand with a total as close to 21 as possible without going over (known as going ‘bust’). Read on to discover the blackjack rules you need to know to play this master card game.
Every card has a value – numerical values are assigned to the number cards and all face cards (Jack, Queen and King) have a value of 10. Aces can count as high (11) or low (1).
If your hand is higher than the dealer’s at the end but still under 21, you win even money; if the dealer’s hand is higher than yours, you lose your bet; if you bust your hand you lose your bet immediately, irrespective of what the dealer goes on to do; if both totals are the same the hand is a ‘push’ and you keep your bet.
Hit, stand, split or double?
When it is your turn you can choose to take a card (hit), stand (stay the same), double down (double your bet and you will receive one more card), split (split pairs to form two separate hands) or sometimes surrender (forfeit half your bet).
The decision you make will depend on the hand you have and what the dealer has. It will also depend on what actions are allowable on that particular card combination in the casino where you are playing.
Usually, online blackjack rules include:
- 6 or 8 packs of cards are used
- The deck is reshuffled after every hand
- Dealer stands on all 17s (soft 17 and hard 17 – that is on a 17 value hand with or without an Ace)
- Doubling after splitting is allowed
- Players get one extra card only on split Aces
Payouts are normally as follows:
Blackjacks pay 3 to 2
Insurance pays 2 to 1 – if the dealer shows an Ace as his up card, you will be offered the chance to take insurance against the dealer having a blackjack. This will cost you half your original bet. If the dealer does have blackjack you receive 2-1 on the insurance payout. This works out as a payout of even money overall.
There are sometimes optional side bets in Blackjack that you can chose to place. These side bets pay according to a paytable, which will be displayed on the table.
These side bets can include the ‘perfect pairs’ bet, where you receive a payout if your first two cards are pairs. You can get an extra payout if the pair consists of two cards of the same colour.