Blackjack Game Rules and Tips
Blackjack has held our attention for centuries, with little understanding of how the game came to truly be. There are plenty of myths surrounding the concept, including the one where the game came to the west and a player was holding a one-eyed jack and black-suited ace. Perhaps it is the simplicity in the rules that make blackjack extremely popular as a table game for all players, even high rollers. Casinos have even had to improve their house edge by adding multiple decks, due to some innovative card counting strategies.
Blackjack or 21 is so named because the best winning hand is a total of 21. The natural hand will consist of a face card or ten and an Ace. All face cards are worth 10 points and the ace is worth 1 or 11 points. All number cards are their face value. If you get a three, then it is worth 3 points.
Each player and the dealer is given two cards, but there can be multiple rounds. Unlike baccarat where a third card may be dealt, blackjack can have as many cards as it takes before a player goes bust. There are certain games where the dealer only gives the house one card, but most variations have the dealer provide one face down and one face up, same as is dealt to the player.
Once each player has two cards, and the dealer has provided the cards to his/her hand, the dealer will see if there is any natural hand. If there is a natural hand among the players at the table, then the payout is 3 to 2. The earnings are usually awarded instantly, unless the dealer holds:
An ace, which means the players are offered insurance.
If the dealer holds a face card, it is also possible the dealer will get a natural hand.
The player with the natural hand will get their winnings and then the other players have a chance to make a decision on how to continue with their hands. Play always begins with the right most player at the table, meaning the dealer will go in a clockwise motion around the table.
Options for Playing
A player has a few options with regards to playing the hand:
The player can take a hit, which means to take another card.
The player can stand, and not take another card.
If the two initial cards are the same value such as 10-10, then the hands can be split. A second wager is needed for the second hand. Each card is played as a separate hand and the player will need to decide to hit or stand to try for 21.
Double means a player will double the wager and take only one more card.
Surrender is an option depending on the game you play. You can surrender to obtain ½ of your original wager back. This is not an option when the dealer has an ace.
Insurance means you put up an additional wager, when the dealer has an ace. You are given a chance to insure your hand against the dealer hitting blackjack. If blackjack is hit without insurance, it means your bet is lost. If you have insurance, you are paid 2 to 1 odds if the dealer does not have a natural hand. With insurance, you can go bust, yet still win even money.
Tips for Playing Blackjack
There are certain drawing rules or strategies players will use to determine whether they will hit, stand, split, double, or surrender. As the player you get to determine what to do, but the dealer cannot.
The dealer will need to draw cards until his hand is 17. If his cards make 17 or higher, the dealer cannot take a hit. However, a soft 17 means, the dealer will draw. A soft 17 is when one card is an ace.
If the player has a hand with a higher point score, even money is paid out.
If the dealer has the higher point score, the house wins and the players with the worse hands lose their wager.
If the dealer and player hold a matching score, the game is a push, and no party wins or loses, thus the wagers stand as they are.