Blackjack: The Most Popular Casino Card Game in the World

Blackjack is the most popular casino card game in the world, as well as the game with the lowest house edge. Unlike slot machines and some other casino games, blackjack is a game of skill; the worst players lose horribly, and the best players can actually gain substantial advantages against the house. Even players who only go so far as mastering the Basic Strategy, colloquially known as BS, can often play even games against the house. The only reason that the game is profitable for casinos is because the vast majority of players have not taken the time to really learn the game. Learning the game can be quite easy, and this guide is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of blackjack, so that you can walk away a winner.

The Object of the Game

The object of blackjack is quite simple: Beat the dealer. There are multiple ways to beat the dealer, depending on the cards that the player and the dealer are dealt. Assuming that neither the player nor the dealer “busts,” or goes over a combined card value of 21, whoever has the card value closest to 21 wins. Because the player must always act before the dealer, it is possible for the player to bust in the process of attempting to improve his or her score versus the dealer’s up card. If the player busts, he or she loses the bet that was placed before the hand began. However, if the dealer busts, anyone left playing the hand at the table is paid even money for their bets.

Card Values

Unlike in various types of poker, card suits are unimportant in traditional blackjack. Kings, Jacks, Queens and 10s all have the same value of 10. The 2s through 9s are valued at their printed numbers. The Ace can be valued at a score of one or 11, depending on which card it is paired with. For instance: In the case of a blackjack, which is an Ace card and a 10-value card, the Ace is counted as an 11, because paired with a 10-value card it yields an automatic score of 21.

Player Actions

Players must make decisions at certain points in each game, depending on what cards they have been dealt and what up card the dealer is showing.

• Bet: Before each game begins, the player places his or her chips in the betting area. The bet must be within the limits set for that specific table.

• Hit: If the player finds his or her initial two cards unsatisfactory, he or she may “hit,” being dealt a new card each time, attempting to get as close to a total of 21 as possible. If the total value of the cards dealt ever exceeds 21, the player busts and relinquishes all of the chips in his or her betting circle.

• Stand: The player decides to take no further action, allowing the next player in line act.

• Split: When a player is initially dealt two cards of the same type, but not necessarily of the same suit, he or she may turn one hand into two hands. After the player bets an amount equal to his or her initial bet, the two cards are divided and an additional card is dealt for each new “hand.”

• Re-split: A re-split is an action that can be taken in the rare instance that a player is dealt the same type of card after initially splitting.

• Double Down: When a player doubles down, he or she bets an amount equal to—or less than—his or her initial bet, in the hopes that the next card dealt will strengthen the overall hand versus whatever up card the dealer is showing.

• Take Insurance: If the dealer is showing an Ace, a player has the option of taking insurance in an amount less than or equal to half of his or her bet. If the dealer ends up having a 10-value card in the hole, the player is paid back twice the amount of the insurance taken.

• Surrender: When a player takes insurance, he or she gives up half of his or her bet rather than losing all of it against a strong dealer up card.

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Author Staff
Date May 21 2012
Tags Blackjack, Strategy, Guide, screenshot william hill