Blackjack is one of the world’s most popular card games, also known as 21. It has been around for a long time – long enough for the rules to have been changed many times, most of which were made to boost the casino win. The introduction of shuffling machines is one example among these changes. The main reason for this was to combat card counting. Back in the days when Blackjack rules never prohibited anyone from counting cards to increase their odds, winning at Blackjack was much easier. Today, it is next to impossible to keep up with the speed of the shuffling machine, not to mention all the rest that has been changed to minimize the winning odds.
Nonetheless, Blackjack rules are actually quite easy to understand and no problem to remember. I have summarized the rules that apply to the game in point form, so that browsing through them takes as little effort as possible.
The objective of the game is to get a higher-scoring hand than the dealer without going over 21, which is known as a bust.
Number of Decks
The number varies from one deck to eight, depending on where you play and how difficult the game is to be. Single and double decks are dealt by hand and in instances where there is more used, a ‘card shoe’ is used to hold the undealt cards.
Each of the cards has an assigned value: numbered cards are worth its face value; face cards (jacks, queens, and kings) are worth 10 points; aces are worth either 1 or 11, depending on how you want to use it in a given situation. In a situation where the ace is used as an 11, the hand would be a soft hand; if it’s used as a 1, it would be a hard hand.
When the dealer or a player is dealt a 10 or any of the face cards and an ace on the first two hands, it is called a blackjack. If there is no tie, the hand wins 3 to 2.
Bets are made before the hand is played and once it’s on the table, it cannot be taken back. All bets must be within the limits of the minimum and maximum bets, inclusive. You can double your bet under certain conditions (described here). This are of blackjack rules should be displayed somewhere on or around the table since it’s different at each one.
Doubling Your Bet
There is one Blackjack rule that applies to the amount you are betting. In the above summary, I have mentioned that once you put down your bets, they cannot be taken back, nor can you add any more onto your bet. There are two ways to change the bet that you have laid on the table:
Doubling Down – This is when you chose to double your bet and take a hit. You can double down any time you want; however, you can only take one hit when doing so.
Splitting – A double bet is possible only if your original cards are of the same rank (2 kings, 2 fours, etc). You then have the option of splitting your hands: you split the two cards into separate hands and bet on each separately under the same rules.
There is no limit as to how many hits (meaning that you are taking another card) you can take in a game of blackjack. Just remember: once you go over 21, you’re done for that round. You must elect to stand to let the dealer know that you are finished taking cards. If that isn’t done, the game cannot be finished.
So, now that you know the Blackjack rules, see if you can pick up on the strategy as well. The rules are only part of playing Blackjack; you need to know when it is a good time to stand and when you’re best to as for a hit. Find out on the strategy page.