One of the most popular and simple casino table games, the object of Blackjack is to have your cards total 21 or as near to 21 as possible without going over.
Everyone plays against the dealer (the house) who begins the game by dealing each player plus the house two cards with one card face up and one card face down.
Cards are counted at their face value:
- Kings, Queens and Jacks count as 10
- Aces count as one or 11
If the first two cards you are dealt total 21, you have a blackjack. If you are dealt any combination other than blackjack, you can either “stand” (refuse any additional cards) or signal the dealer for a “hit” to receive an additional card.
As you are competing against the house, your goal is for your hand to be closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand. If you achieve this, you win. If it is less, the house wins. If you tie with the dealer, you “push” (nobody wins and nobody loses). If you exceed 21, you “bust” and lose the round.
When each player has taken their turn, the dealer turns over the house’s final card. If the dealer has 16 or less, the house must hit (draw additional cards), until reaching 17 or more. If the dealer busts, the house must pay all the players who are still in the game.
- Splitting Pairs – When dealt two cards of equal value, you have the option of “splitting” them into two separate hands. You are required to match your original bet if you “split.” You may split a pair up to three times (making four separate hands) and can take as many hits as you like on each hand. If you split a pair of Aces, you will receive only one card on each of the hands.
- Doubling Down – Players can increase their wager by “doubling down.” After receiving your first two cards, you may double down and place an additional bet, equal to your ante, in return for one extra card. You can also double down after splitting a pair.
- Insurance – If the card facing up in front of the dealer is an Ace, you have the option of making an “insurance” wager. You may wager any amount up to half your original wager that the dealer’s down card has a value of 10. If the card has a value other than 10, you lose and the dealer takes your insurance bet.