BLACKJACK RULES

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Blackjack has a basic set of blackjack game rules that all players must follow. There are also specific rules that the dealer must follow. Before playing blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, you should learn and master the rules of blackjack. Understanding and mastering the rules of blackjack will help you be more comfortable during your first brick and mortar casino blackjack experience and will allow the game to flow much quicker. The rules to playing blackjack at land-based casinos and online casinos are virtually identical, unless you’re playing a special variation of blackjack online or at a land casino.

Object of Blackjack

The object of blackjack is to achieve a total greater than the dealer, without going over 21. If there are other players at the table, you are still trying to beat the dealer (the casino) only.

Rules of Play


Different versions of Blackjack have slightly different rules, but generally, game play progresses as follows:
Each player places a bet for the next hand.
The dealer deals the cards from dealer left to dealer right, with everyone receiving two cards. Usually, each player receives two cards face up, and the dealer receives one card face up and one card face down (called a hole card). When playing in a casino, you are not allowed to touch your cards if they are both dealt face up.
Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, each player decides whether to accept more cards (hit) or whether to refuse more cards (stand). Except as noted below in special circumstances, each player may continue to receive cards until his or her total card count exceeds 21 (bust).
After each player completes his or her turn, the dealer takes a turn.

Dealer Rules of Play


The dealer plays by more restrictive rules than the players, usually as noted below.
If the dealer’s hand is 17 or more, the dealer must stand, or refuse to take another card. Under some rules, the dealer must hit on a soft 17, a hand that includes an Ace, but not always.
If the dealer’s hand is 16 or less, the dealer must hit, or take another card.

And the Winner Is…


Remember that you play only against the dealer, so you need not keep track of your hand against the other player”s hands. Compare your hand against the dealer’s hand.
The hand that comes closest to 21 without exceeding 21 wins.
If you bust, the house automatically wins, even if the dealer subsequently busts.
If the dealer busts and you don’t, you win, regardless of the value of your hand.

Blackjack Player Options

When playing Blackjack, players are initially dealt two cards, face up. After this initial deal, the players have several options as to what they can do next. Here are the various choices that players have:

Hit
If a player does not think his hand is good enough to challenge the dealers, he may ask for another card. He can do this by making a scratching motion, or by asking for a hit.

Stand
A player may feel that his hand has a sufficiently high score. If so, he wants to stand. The player can let the dealer know that he wants to stand by making a waving motion toward the dealer.

Double Down
The rules for a double down vary slightly between the United States and the United Kingdom. The basic premise behind a double down is that a person can double his initial bet in exchange for only one more card. In the United Kingdom a player can double down only if the players initial two cards total 9, 10, or 11. But, in the United States, a player can double down no matter what his initial two cards totalunless he has a score of 21. In either country, a player can only choose to do a double down after the initial deal; if he has taken a hit, he can no longer do a double down.

Pair Splitting
When a player is dealt his initial two cards, sometimes he may be dealt a pair. If this is the case, the player can opt to split the pair. Any pair can be split in the United States; however, in the United Kingdom, pairs of 4, 5, and 10 may not be split. If aces are split, only one card may be added to each of the handsand, if the card added happens to have a value of 10, this is not considered a Blackjack. Players only have an opportunity to get a Blackjack with their initial two cards, so if this happens in a pair split it is simply considered a score of 21.
When splitting a pair, the player must match the bet he made for the first hand into his betting square. Players have twice the opportunity to win with a pair split; however, they also have twice the chance to lose.

Insurance
If the dealers hand is showing an ace and a player has Blackjack, he may obtain insurance. The player makes an additional bet for an amount equal to half of what his initial bet was. Then, if the dealer has Blackjack, the player loses his initial bet, but the insurance bet pays out 2 to 1. If the dealer does not have Blackjack, the player loses the insurance bet, but he still wins his initial betand, since it is a Blackjack, it pays 3 to 2. Insurance is considered to be a bad bet for players because it has a house edge to it.

Surrender
Many casinos do not offer this option. But if a casino does offer it, this can be a good option for some players. There is an early surrender, meaning before the dealer has looked at his second card, and a late surrender, which is after he has looked at the card. Surrender is allowed in specific circumstances only, and the player must clearly state to the dealer that he wants to surrender. Surrender is generally suggested as a good idea in either of these situations:
Surrender option: If the player has cards totaling 16 (either 9-7 or 10-6 or face card-6) and the dealers face up card is either an ace, face card, 10, or 9
Surrender option: If the player has cards totaling 15 (either 10-5 or face card-5) and the dealers face up card is either a face card or a 10