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Blackjack – Rules And Strategies Explained

Before you can play blackjack, you need to know the basic blackjack rules and table etiquette and how blackjack differs from other casino games. You also need to know how the casino achieves its advantage over the players and what you can do about it.

This guide covers these basics along with the history of the game. The best way to learn BlackJack is to practice it. And now you can practice Blackjack free of charge online and become a pro player.

Card Values

Each card in Blackjack has the value shown. Face cards count as 10 and the ace counts as either 1 or 11, but suits have no meaning in Blackjack. The sum of a hand is the sum of the hand’s card values. A hand consisting of 4-5-8 is 17. Another hand consisting of a Queen and 5 is 15. The ace is always assumed to be 11 unless the hand exceeds 21. In this case, the ace is returned to a value of 1.

The betting area

Blackjack is played at a semicircular table covered with felt cloth and usually seats up to 7 players.  In front of each player, there is a circle, sometimes a square box called the betting area, where the bet with casino chips is placed.  A trained casino dealer distributes cards strictly according to casino protocol, collects loser bets, pays out winning bets and is usually responsible for keeping the game going at a comfortable pace.

In most casinos, no cash is used for the bets.  You must use casino chips or “checks”.  To buy chips, simply take a seat at a blackjack table, wait for the dealer to complete the current round, put your money on the table and ask the dealer for chips.  The dealer will exchange your money for chips and move the chips in your direction.  Make sure that the chips are neatly stacked in front of you.  Most casinos allow players to play more than one hand in a round, provided there are empty seats at the table.  In this case, the player must place a wager in each betting area for which they wish to receive a hand.  In most casinos, if a player plays more than one hand, he/she must bet twice the minimum bet for each hand.

Chip Values

In most casinos, chips are color-coded according to their face value, although the value is usually also embossed on the chip. For example, a white chip usually means $1, red means $5, green $25, black $100, purple $500 and orange means $1,000.

In casino jargon, a red $5 chip is often referred to as a “nickel” (similar to a 5-cent coin), a green $25 chip as a “quarter” (25-cent coin), a black $100 chip as a “blacks” (black), a purple $500 chip as a “barneys” (luxury department store chain in New York) and an orange $1,000 chip as a “pumpkin” (pumpkin).

Rules for drawing a card

That means you want the dealer to give you another card. In card-slide games, you indicate to the dealer that you want to draw a card by a finger signal or by touching the table behind your cards with your finger (hit). In a handheld game, you scratch the edge of the cards slightly on the felt.

Rules for dividing pairs

If you have two identical cards (a pair, e.g. two 6s or two aces), you can split them. If you wish to split, you must place another bet equal to your original bet. To do this, simply place your chip next to the chip you originally bet on your hand. When you split a pair, you play each card as a separate hand. You may draw as many cards as you wish for each hand. This does not apply to split aces; in most casinos, you may only draw one card for each ace. For example, if you got a pair of 8’s and split, you now have two hands with a value of 8 per hand. You must first finish playing one of the split hands (on the right) before playing the other. In card sled games, you indicate that you want to split by placing another chip next to the original chip. In hand games, you throw the two cards to be split face up on the table and then place the second bet. Most casinos allow players to split all cards with a value of 10, such as Jack-10 or Queen-10, although this playing strategy is not recommended, as you will soon learn about pair splitting.

Double down rules

This play option allows you to double your first bet in exchange for one (and only one) additional card. In most casinos, you can only double down after receiving the first two cards and before drawing another card. To indicate to the dealer that you wish to double down, simply place your chip next to the chip you originally wagered on your hand. In hand games, you throw your cards face up on the table and place the second bet.

While casinos usually allow you to double with a lower bet than your original bet, you will learn that this is not a good betting strategy.

Surrender rules

This game option is sometimes allowed. This allows a player to surrender his hand immediately and automatically loses half of the original bet. In most casinos, players may only surrender their first two cards after the dealer has reviewed their cards and announced that they do not have Blackjack (this is known as “Late Surrender”). Once a player has drawn a card, the option to surrender is no longer available. If the dealer has a Blackjack hand, surrendering is no longer possible.

If you wish to surrender your hand, simply tell the Dealer “Surrender” or “Surrender”. In some casinos, a hand signal for surrender must be given by drawing an imaginary line from left to right across the table with your finger. If a player surrenders their hand, the dealer removes the player cards from the table and places one half of the player bet in the chip holder. The player no longer participates in that round. Sometimes a different type of surrender is offered, called an Early Surrender. In this case, players can surrender their hand before the dealer has checked their “hole card” for Blackjack. Early surrender is a more favorable option for the player than late surrender. You can read more about this here.

What is the basic BlackJack strategy?

The basic strategy for playing Blackjack is a set of rules that shows you how to play each hand you receive optimally when your only information is your hand and the dealer’s card face up. Basic strategy is the mathematically correct way to play each hand, as it will give you maximum winnings over time and minimize your losses. Blackjack can be analyzed mathematically, as the game is based on mathematical procedures. And that’s why Blackjack has a fixed set of rules.

If the dealer has 16 points or less, he must draw and hold at 17 – 21 points.

Blackjack players only have to consider five game decisions: Stand, Hit, Double, Split and Surrender.

The “double-bust” rule, which automatically results in the player losing.

The payouts when a player wins a hand, including a 3-2 bonus for a Natural Blackjack.

All this data can be subjected to combinatorial analysis or entered into a computer to play simulated hands of Blackjack – not just a few, but millions and even billions. Computers are wonderful machines for that. Not only can you play the game like in a casino, but you can also see how many times you have won or lost a hand. And that’s exactly how the basic blackjack strategy has been refined over the years.