Black Jack Rules

How to play BlackJack

Blackjack, also known as Twenty-one, is the most widely played casino game in the world. The object of the game is to get a hand that is valued higher than the dealer's hand without going over 21 (the best hand you can have), which is called busting or breaking.

Blackjack table layout

Below is a typical blackjack table layout showing the various player positions, the dealer position along with items players would find at a blackjack table. In Casino Blackjack, the dealer faces one to seven players from behind an half-round table. Even if other players might be present at the table, the dealer is your only opponent in the game. Players play their hands independently against the dealer. This creates quite a friendly atmosphere amongst players.

Blackjack table layout

When you sit down you must buy chips from the dealer or bring them from another table. At the beginning of each round, the player places a bet in the betting square in front of him. Only chips put in the betting area count as bet. After all bets are made the game begins.

Basic Black Jack Rules

Each player is dealt two cards face up. The dealer receives one card face-up card called the upcard and one card face-down called the hole card (in European Blackjack, the dealer's hole card is not actually dealt until all players have played their hands). After the cards are dealt the dealer will ask each player in turn to make their decision starting with the player to the left of the dealer. This position is known as first base. The position of the last player to act is called third base. Depending on the dealer's up card (you don't know the value of the other one) and the two cards that you were dealt you will choose one from the following options.

Blackjack game play options

After receiving your initial two cards you have the following decisions available:

A rule of thumb for beginner is to assume the dealer has a ten as down card (this is not always the case but it makes it easier to base your decision on this strategy).

The dealer's turn

In terms of making decisions the dealer has much less flexibility and is more restricted than the player. The dealer plays according to a strict set of rules. These rules state that the dealer must take another card if his hand totals 16 or less and that the dealer must stand (not take any more cards) if his hand totals 17 or more. However, if it is a soft 17 (a hand including an ace valued 11 points, such Ace+Six or Ace+Two+Four) the dealer follows the casino rules printed on the blackjack table, either to "hit soft 17" or to "stand on all 17's."

Blackjack card values

In terms of cards and their value an important thing to point out is that in Blackjack suit doesn't matter. The only thing that matters at the blackjack table is the point value of each card and of each hand. The standard game is played with one or more Anglo-American decks containing 52 cards. Blackjack Face Cards

The Ace can be worth either 1 or 11 points, whichever is most advantageous to the player. Suppose you have a hand comprising an ace, which counts as an 11, and a card valued 6 points. This would give you a hand worth 17 points. If you now drew a third card that brought your total count higher than 21, such as a 7, you would lose. However, in that case the ace would now count as just 1 instead of 11 and you have nothing to worry about. Such a hand is called a "soft hand". The soft hand gives you an advantage in terms of card options. The decision to add a third card to a soft hand is not that hard to make. If you take a hit, you will almost never go bust because you always have the option that the ace will be counted as 1 instead of 11.

Blackjack Face Cards

All Face Cards (Jack, Queen, and King) are worth 10 points each.

Blackjack Face Cards

All other cards in the deck are worth whatever the numeric value of each card is.

Blackjack Odds

These Blackjack rules remain largely unchanged (with some minor variations) depending whether you play online or sit at a table in a brick and mortar casino.