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How to play - Blackjack


Blackjack is the most popular casino table game. The objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer. This can be done by the player having a hand which is 21 or less that is higher than the dealer’s hand or it can be achieved by the dealer busting, which means going over 21.

All cards have their face value. All picture cards are worth ten. All aces are worth either one or 11, depending on how they are used. Hands where the ace can be used as either a one or 11 are called soft hands. All other hands are called hard hands. Thus A:2, A:3, and A:4 are respectively a soft 13, 14, and 15, while 10:3, 10:4, 10:5 are respectively a hard 13, 14, and 15. Soft hands become hard hands when the ace must be valued as one or eleven, not both. If a player has an A:6 and receives another card which is a ten, the player now has a hard hand of 17.

The dealer gives each player two cards and himself two cards. One of the dealer’s cards is face up and the other is face down. Once every player has his or her two cards, they are faced with several strategy choices and options.

Blackjack Terminology

The taking of an additional card.

Take no additional cards

The Player will match the original wager and split the first two cards into two separate hands. The two cards must be of the same point value (i.e. a pair of 8's, King and Queen, etc.) In splitted hands an Ace and ten equal to "21" and not blackjack.

The player will match the original (or double down for less) on the first two cards dealt and receive only one additional card. Double down wagering is not permitted on a Blackjack.

When the dealer's up card is an Ace, a Player may buy insurance, an additional amount equal to half of that Player's original wager. A Player may purchase insurance when he/she believes that the dealer's down card is a ten value card. If the Dealer has Blackjack, the insurance wager pays 2 to 1. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, the insurance wager loses and the game continues as usual. A Blackjack will beat a point total of "21".

You get the opportunity to play three separate hands against the dealer’s face-up card -- each with its own bet. The player must play all his hands first. If he busts any one hand, he loses all three hands. If the player hasn’t busted, the dealer now gives himself a different hole card for each player hand.

This is a side bet that the total of your first two cards will either be over 13 or under 13. If the total is 13, you lose. Thus, a player betting the over 13 option, wins when his first two cards total 14 or more, and loses if his total is 13 or less. The player betting the under 13 option, wins if his hand is 12 or less and loses if it is 13 or more.

This is a side bet that the dealer’s upcard will be either red or black. If you win, you are paid even money. If the upcard is a two, it is a push

Some casinos will offer bonuses for certain hands. Sometimes these bonuses are only available if you put up a side bet. Five Card 21: If your hand totals 21 with five cards you receive a bonus.
Six Card Winner: If your hand totals 21 or less with six cards, you are an automatic winner.
6-7-8 Bonus: If your hand totals 21 composed of 6-7-8 of the same suit, you are paid a bonus, often two to one.
7-7-7 Bonus: If your hand totals 21 composed of 7-7-7 of the same suit, you are paid a bonus, often three to two.
Suited Blackjack: Some casinos offer a bonus if your blackjack is composed of an ace and jack of the same suit. Usually, a specific suit is designated - say, the ace and jack of spades.

You will find single, double, four, six and eight deck games on the Internet.

All casinos have the dealer hit and stand according to a set of rules. The dealer will hit anything that is 16 or less and stand on anything that is 17 or more. The one exception is the hand of soft 17 (A:6). Some casinos have their dealers hit soft 17 and some casinos have their dealers stand on soft 17

This blackjack option can be found at some internet casinos and usually has a house edge of between 3.8 percent and 6.67 percent depending on the payoff scale and the number of decks in use. The objective of Royal Match 21 is to guess whether the first two cards that you are dealt will be of the same suit. If you receive any two suited cards you are paid off at 3 to 1 (or 5 to 2 in some casinos) and if you receive a King-Queen of the same suit, you are paid off at 10 to 1 (or 25 to 1 in casinos offering the 5 to 2 variation). Before the dealer deals out the cards, the player must place a regular blackjack bet and a Royal Match side bet. The dealer will then deal to the players. The Royal Match side bet is paid off or collected before the players play their individual hands. Once this is done, the players then play out their blackjack hands.

Author; Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the number one best-selling casino gaming writer in the world. His books and tapes have sold over a million copies. His website is at RGT Online gaming. His books and tapes are available through, or by mail. For a free catalog write to: Paone Press, Box 610, Lynbrook, NY, USA 11563.