Blackjack is one of the most played games in both land-based and online casinos. Whether you are beginner or an expert at this game, it is vital to understand the rules. This will help you make wise moves, increasing the chances of getting higher prizes. For this reason, this guide discusses the rules to play blackjack in-depth.

The Game's Objective

In blackjack, your goal is to finish the game with a count as close as 21 but not exceeding it. Your count should be higher than that of the dealer to win. If you get a hand that is above 21, you will automatically lose. This is referred to as a bust. Here are other terms to learn.

  • Card values
  • Hit or stand
  • Split or Double down
  • Insurance
  • Surrender

Blackjack is played on one to eight 52-cards decks or a six-deck game with 312 cards. The dealer will place a black plastic card towards the bottom to indicate when to reshuffle the cards. This card is never dealt. The dealer will then deal the cards to all the players on the table, which can be 2-7 players.

Blackjack Card Values

When you play blackjack, you should know how to calculate the value of each card to make the right moves. All the number cards, which are 2-10, are valued as indicated on them. The face cards: Jack, King, Queen, give 10 points. The Ace is worth 1 or 11, depending on the choice of each player.

During the first round, each player will place a bet in the betting positions, referred to as boxes. After which, every player will be dealt two cards that face up. The dealer will also get two cards, but one will face up and the other down. Then, all players, from the left side, will start drawing more cards.

Hit or Stand

After drawing cards, you can either hit or stand. When you call out 'hit,' the dealer will give you an extra card. If you don't want to draw any more cards, call out 'stand.' You can hit as many times as you want, but don't exceed 21. Here are tips to help you know which option to take.

  • If your cards total to a less number, like 9, you can hit without exceeding 21.
  • If your cards have a higher total, like 18, it is wise to stand.

The dealer will handle one player at a time starting from the left until he or she stands or busts. At this point, the dealer will move to the next player. This will continue until all players on the table have placed a hand. Remember, your goal is to beat the dealer, not the other players.

When to Split or Double Down

If you get two cards of the same value, you can split them. This means that you can treat them as two separate hands. However, your original bet will go to one of the cards. Hence, you will place a second bet that equals the first one to cover the second hand. The left hand is played first.

If you are not eligible for splitting, you can choose to double your original bet and receive an additional card. This card will be placed facing down until your bets are settled at the end of the hand. The following are tips to help you make the right choice when splitting or doubling down.

  • Always split 8s and Aces
  • Avoid splitting 4s, 5s, and 10 value cards.
  • Double down on 11 points.
  • Only double down on 10 points when the dealer shows 2 and 9 points.
  • Avoid doubling down below 8 points.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a side bet offered when the dealer's card facing up is an Ace. This insures you against the dealer having a blackjack on the card facing down. Thus, you can break even on the hand should the dealer's card total 21. You can only take the insurance before the dealer checks their face-down card.

Another safe option that you can take when playing blackjack is surrender. If you believe you can't beat the dealer with the cards dealt to you, it is safe to surrender. The dealer will take your cards and give you half your original bet. You can only surrender before drawing extra cards.