How To Play Blackjack

Blackjack is a classic card game that has been around since the 1700s. With its simple rules and easy-to-follow gameplay, it's no wonder Blackjack is still one of the most popular casino games today!

Blackjack Objective

Your goal in blackjack is simple – beat the dealer's hand without going over 21! To achieve this, combine the value of your cards with the dealer's to make a better hand.

To determine the best hand, understand what card values are and how they contribute to your total. The numerical cards from two through ten have their face value. Two through nine are worth their number, while 10s and face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) each have a value of 10.

Aces can be either 1 or 11 – whichever helps you get closer to 21 without going over. Your objective is to form a higher-valued hand than the dealer using these rules.

Remember, the key is to stay under 21! So, play smart and have good luck at the tables!


Beat the Dealer

Hit 21 and you'll beat the dealer - it's that simple!

Blackjack is all about making sure your hand beats the dealer's. To do this, you need to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. Going over 21, also known as 'busting', means you automatically lose the round.

If both you and the dealer bust, you still lose even if your score is lower than theirs. The best way to win a game of blackjack is by getting a total of exactly 21 points with your first two cards; that'll allow you to beat most hands that the dealer has.

Knowing how to play smart can help ensure that you come out ahead in any given round!

Lose to the Dealer

You'll lose to the dealer if you go over 21 - don't let that happen! Going bust in blackjack is a real bummer, as it means your hand automatically loses regardless of what the dealer has. What can you do to avoid going bust and losing?

The key is to be smart with your betting strategy and know when you should stand or hit. For example, having a total of 12-15 should usually lead you to take another card since there's a good chance that the next card will get you closer to 21 than busting out. On the other hand, if your total exceeds 16 then it's best to stand since even taking one more card could cause you to go over 21 and lose.


Hand Total






Stages of Play

Once the betting phase has concluded, it's time to move onto the stages of play - where the real action takes place.

In blackjack, there are three main stages of play: dealing, playing, and then settling up.

During the dealing stage, each player receives two cards face-up from the dealer. Once all players have their cards, they can assess their hands and decide what moves to make.

During this stage, players can choose to 'hit' (take another card), 'stand' (stay with their hand), or do other special moves depending on what was dealt.

After everyone has had a chance to act on their hands, it's time for the dealer to play his/her hand according to house rules which may vary depending on where you're playing.

The dealer will hit until they reach 17 or above and stand on anything higher than that.

Then comes settling up - whoever has a hand closest to 21 without going over wins! If both you and the dealer bust (going over 21), it's considered a push, and your bet is returned back to you.

Dealer Deals Cards

After all the bets have been placed, it's time for the dealer to deal out the cards. They'll deal two face-up cards to each player and one face-down card to themselves. The first card dealt is always face-up so everyone can see it. Then they'll move around the table dealing a second card face-up to each person in turn.

For themselves, however, the dealer will only deal one card, but this one will be facedown. This keeps all players guessing as to what kind of hand the dealer has and helps keep up some suspense during gameplay. When it comes time for the dealer to deal their facedown card, you should make sure you're paying attention. This is your chance to get an idea of how strong their hand may be from just a glimpse at their second card.

While it may seem like a small detail or something irrelevant at first glance, being aware of what cards are on the table can be invaluable information when trying to make decisions about your own hand!

Find Hand Value

Want to know who's winning? Once you have all your cards, it's time to find out what your hand is worth! The value of a hand in blackjack can be determined by adding up the values of each card. All face cards are worth 10, while an Ace may be counted as either 1 or 11 depending on the total of other cards in your hand. Number cards are valued at their numerical equivalent.

The best way to keep track of your hand value is with a simple table like this one:




1 or 11

Jack, Queen, King



Face value (e.g., 5 = 5)

With just a quick glance at this table and calculating the sum of all the cards in your hand, you can determine whether you should stay or hit for another card. The goal is to get as close as possible to 21 without going over – that's when you win!

Player Decisions

Now that you know the basics of finding the value of your hand in blackjack, it's time to talk about making decisions for your hand.

When playing blackjack, there are three main choices a player can make: hit, stand, or double down. Depending on what cards you're dealt and the dealer's up card, these decisions can greatly affect the outcome of a round.

To hit means to request another card from the dealer - this is usually done when you don't have enough points to beat the dealer's hand but want to get closer.

Standing means that you stop taking any more cards and accept your existing score - this is usually done when you have a good score and think that it will beat the dealer's score.

Finally, doubling down means that you double your bet in exchange for one last card - this is usually done when you think your existing hand has a high chance of beating the dealers' but need an extra card for assurance.

Regardless of which decision you make, be sure to use logic and strategy instead of relying on luck!

Player Actions in Blackjack

Making the right decisions in blackjack can mean the difference between success and failure - so make sure you use logic and strategy to decide whether you should hit, stand, or double down!

When it comes to player actions in Blackjack, there are three main options: hitting (taking a card), standing (not taking any more cards), and doubling down (doubling your bet).

Hitting is the most common action - if you think that you have a good chance of beating the dealer's hand with one more card, then this is usually your best option.

If not, it's better to stand; when you stand on a total of 17 or higher, this increases your chances of winning.

Doubling down is a riskier move - but if used correctly can be highly profitable. It essentially means doubling your initial bet in exchange for exactly one extra card - so make sure that the additional card gives you an advantage over the dealer before committing to this move!

Dealer Play

Deciding when to hit and stand is a breeze compared to the pressure-packed decisions dealers must make in Blackjack - if they make one wrong move, it can feel like an eternity of regret! In order to be successful in their job, dealers must know the rules of blackjack inside and out. While there are several variations of blackjack, the basic rules remain consistent.

Dealer Moves

Player Hand



2 - 11

Dealer hits until he reaches 17 or higher. At 17 or higher, the dealer stands. If he goes over 21, it's a bust and player wins.



The dealer will always stand on these hands no matter what card total they have. This is because any card drawn by them would cause them to go over 21 and result in a bust for them. The player then has the option to hit or stay depending on the value of his hand versus what is showing from the dealer's hand.



Some casinos offer players an option called “Surrender” which gives them back half their bet if they do not want to continue with that particular hand against the dealer's upcard (the first visible card). Players may surrender even after taking additional cards but before busting (going over 21). Surrender cannot be used after doubling down.

As you can see from this table, dealers must carefully consider each situation as it arises during play to maximize their chances for success while minimizing the risk associated with potential mistakes that could occur due to inexperience or lack of knowledge about optimal strategy for certain situations.


When it comes to Blackjack, your payout depends on the outcome of your hand versus the dealer's! If you win the hand, you'll receive an even money payout from the dealer. This means if you bet $10 and win, you'll get back $20.

If your hand ties with the dealer's, then this is called a 'push', and your original bet is returned to you without any additional winnings. If, however, the dealer wins the round, then all bets made by players are forfeited to them.

It's important to remember that when playing Blackjack, there's no guarantee of winning - it can be a game of chance and luck!

The size of your payout will also depend on what type of bet you make before any cards are dealt. For example, if you place an insurance bet before beginning play and then end up winning against the dealer's blackjack hand, this pays out at 2-1 odds. The same goes for splitting two hands in a round - if both hands beat or tie with the dealers' hands respectively, this also pays out at 2-1 odds as well.

Knowing these types of payouts ahead of time can help inform how much money you decide to wager during each round of play!

Special Situations

While the basic rules of blackjack apply to most situations, there are a few special scenarios that players should be aware of:


If the dealer's face-up card is an Ace, players have the option to take insurance. Insurance is a side bet that the dealer has a blackjack (a two-card hand worth 21). The insurance bet is usually half the amount of the original bet, and it pays 2 to 1 if the dealer does have blackjack. However, if the dealer doesn't have blackjack, the insurance bet is lost, and the game continues as usual.


If the player is dealt two cards of the same rank (e.g., two 7s or two 10s), they have the option to split the hand into two separate hands. This requires an additional bet equal to the original bet. The player then plays each hand independently, receiving one additional card for each hand. In some variations of blackjack, players are allowed to resplit if they receive another pair.

Doubling Down:

When the player's first two cards total 9, 10, or 11, they have the option to double down. This means they can double their original bet in exchange for receiving exactly one additional card. This can be advantageous if the player believes that one more card will give them a strong hand that beats the dealer.


In some variations of blackjack, players have the option to surrender their hand. This means they give up half of their bet and do not play the hand. Surrendering is typically allowed as the first decision a player makes before taking any other action on their hand.

These special situations add depth and strategy to the game and can potentially improve your chances of winning if used correctly.

Author’s Verdict

Blackjack is an exciting and strategic card game that offers players the chance to test their skills against the dealer. By understanding the rules, knowing the value of different cards, and making smart decisions, you can increase your chances of winning.

Remember to play responsibly and set limits for yourself. The game is meant to be enjoyable, and while winning is always nice, it's important to have fun and gamble responsibly. Good luck at the blackjack tables!

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Frequently Asked Questions: Blackjack Strategy Breakdown

Discipline and calculation are key to managing a bankroll when playing blackjack. To maximize your chance of success, decide how much money you're willing to bet each round and stick to it. Even if you lose, you won't deplete your bankroll and can keep playing until luck turns in your favour.

Playing several hands at once can increase your blackjack winnings as a strategy. If you want to increase your odds of success, this is a tactic worth considering. Unfortunately, doing so raises the potential for even greater financial ruin.

First, stick to the amount of money you've decided to spend on gambling. The second main rule is: don't get cocky or take unnecessary risks; doing so can backfire spectacularly.

Counting cards is an effective blackjack strategy that can increase your chances of winning. The MIT Blackjack Team found that players who counted cards had an advantage of up to 2.5% over the house. It takes practice and dedication, but it is worth the effort for an edge at the table.

Playing Blackjack online is a great way to get in on the action without leaving your home. To become a better player, understand the odds of each hand and play conservatively. Practice basic strategy and keep track of your wins and losses. Also, take advantage of bonuses and promotions offered by the casino for extra rewards.

To increase your winning chance,

  • Know your basic strategy: To beat the house, you need to know basic blackjack strategy and when to take risks.
  • Hit at the right time: A good rule of thumb is to not "hit" assuming your hand total is 17 or higher; instead, you should stay still.
  • Learn the frequency: You can gain an advantage over the house by learning the frequency of particular hands by studying the odds.

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